Moving home is often described as one of life’s most stressful events. So here are our practical property purchase tips from our experienced conveyancing solicitors, aimed to make your move just that little bit easier.
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Do not restrict your search to using one or two estate agents. In order to receive the best search results possible, draw up a generic email containing the following information:
- What type of property you are looking for
- What size and number of bedrooms you want
- What location and how many miles surrounding that location you are willing to extend your search to
- Your realistic lower and upper budget for the purchase
- Any specific requirements such as a garden, utility room or garage
- Include your preferred contact details such as an email address and mobile number
In order to widen your search for the ideal property, send this email to as many local estate agents as you can. Follow up your email with regular telephone conversations to ensure that the estate agent has you at the forefront of his mind when new properties enter the market.
It is also a good idea to point out areas to the estate agent in which you are willing to be flexible, for example having a garage may be an added benefit but not really essential. If you provide this flexibility it is likely that you will get a wider range of properties put forward to you.
It’s always good to keep and open mind when looking at the estate agent’s description of a property. If there are certain point in the description that discourage you, they may turn out to be minor when you view the property.
As tempting as it may be to put an offer on a property just out of your financial range, it is a dangerous move to make. It could either result in you having to pull out of the purchase at a later date – or worse still, even if you can secure the mortgage you will not be able to afford the repayments in the future.
The key to budgeting effectively is to produce a financial statement, which will examine your income and outgoings. This statement allows you to calculate exactly what deposit money you can afford to put forward and what monthly repayments you can make. Remember to over budget for the costs of moving home and any refurbishments you may have to make. It is always better to have some money left in the pot than to be left short.
Once you have created your financial statement, shop around for mortgages before you start looking for a property. Seek the assistance of an independent mortgage advisor. An independent advisor will either work for a financial services company or will often work alone. They work on a combination of a fixed fee and commission basis. If they find you the best mortgage deal then you will have to pay a fixed fee prior to taking out the mortgage and they will also claim commission monies from the mortgage company. Using an independent body rather than merely having an appointment with your bank ensures that you will get the best deal for your financial situation.
Choosing your Solicitor
Finally, when coming to select a conveyancing solicitor to help with your house purchase, make sure that you pick a specialised conveyancing solicitor – especially if the conveyancing for the property you’re buying has some specialist feature e.g. the property was purchased at auction, bought as a property investment, shared ownership or staircasing conveyancing – or involving a lease extension.
It’s also worth appointing a local solicitor rather than relying on one of the conveyancing factories scattered throughout the country. These so-called conveyancing factories are often recommended by non-independent, estate agency chains – in return for a referral fee. In our experience, many of our clients are highly critical of any previous experience with conveyancing factories who tend to have a disproportionate number of inexperienced and unqualified staff.
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Buying a flat rather than a house? Here’s what you need to know
Flats are normally purchased on a leasehold rather than freehold basis. And there is a real difference between these two types of property ownership .What relevance does this have. Click here to read more about should I buy a leasehold flat
Practical Tips for Moving House
6–8 weeks before your move
- Instruct us to act on your behalf and guide you through the process
- Research your new area for restaurants and shopping as well as finding out your new council.
- Check the contents of lofts and attics and dispose of any unwanted items.
- Sort through your possessions and decide what you wish to take with you when you move.
- Research local schools in your new area and arrange for your children’s records to be transferred to their new schools.
- weeks before your move
- Have your car serviced particularly if you are moving far away.
- Start to pack-up non-essential items and ensure to label all boxes with the details of their contents and which room they are going to.
4 weeks before your move
- Finalise your moving date.
- To ensure you get the date and the company you want book your removals as soon as possible. Fridays and Saturdays can be more expensive and get booked up well in advance.
- Check your home contents insurance policy to see what cover you have regarding moving home. Your removal company can provide this if you are not covered.
- Arrange for parking of the removal van outside your current and new addresses. Removal companies can arrange this but they will charge for it.
3 weeks before your move
- Order boxes, bubble wrap and packing materials so you can start packing in good time and not leave everything to the last minute.
- Let your broadband supplier know as soon as possible that you are moving to ensure you are not penalised for shutting down your account.
- Order change of address cards to send out to friends and family.
- If you are moving out of the local area you will have to notify your doctor, dentist and optician and register with new ones in your new area.
2 weeks before your move
- See who offers the best deal on gas and electricity at your new home. The size and postcode of your new home will affect your gas bill so it is worth investigating all the options.
- Inform credit card, store card and insurance companies of your new address.
- Book pets into kennels/cattery etc. for moving day.
- If possible arrange childcare on moving day or set aside an area of the house for them to play in with some of their toys.
- Inform your cable/satellite operator of your moving date or if you wish to start up this service check to see if they are available in your area.
- When you move home you are required to register your change of address to be eligible to vote.
- Inform the DVLA of your change of address. Failure to do so is an offence.
- Start to empty your freezer and throw away any out of date tins and jars in your kitchen cupboards.
- Review the security arrangements at your new home. At the very least we recommend that you change the locks on all your outside doors as you don’t know who may have had access to the keys.
1 week before your move
- Notify your local councils (current and new) of your change of address. Council tax is calculated on a daily basis so you could be due a refund.
- If you have a landline, call your home phone company to transfer your account. Request that they disconnect your current phone as late as possible on moving day.
- Contact your bank/ building society with your change of address.
- Inform TV Licensing of your change of address. Keep hold of your current licence as you will not be issued a new one until your existing one expires.
- Contact your mobile phone network to let them know your change of address.
- Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
- Do not water any plants a week before moving.
- Shut down and set up your water accounts.
- Settle all outstanding accounts with the milkman and newsagent.
- Check with your estate agents when the keys to your new home will be available on the day of your move and what you should do with your own keys. Spare keys should be labelled and left in a secure place in the house.
- Collect any remaining items from your dry cleaners.
- Pack a box for use in the new home to include light bulbs, toilet rolls, candles, screwdriver, matches, cash and a note of important telephone numbers. Put this in your car.
- Empty, disconnect and drain pipes of your dishwasher and washing machine. Secure the drum with travel brackets.
- Empty your fridge and freezer of any unwanted food.
- Please remember to take final meter readings for Gas, Electricity and Water.
- Keep refreshments flowing – moving is physically demanding work.
- Remove all bedding and clearly label the box for immediate unpacking for the first night at your new home.
- Identify to the removers anything that is not to go to the new home.
- Once van is loaded do one last check around the house to ensure all items have been packed.
Day 1 in your new home
- Provide final meter readings for gas, electricity and water to your suppliers. Surrender parking permits from your old address and apply for a new one if applicable.
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