It’s amazing how much information there is out there on the ‘net about moving home.
Even more amazing is how I never found a sort of checklist of what to do in the moving process. All Google came up with was checklists of what to look for when viewing properties.
Without further ado, here’s my roadmap for this exciting (albeit stressful) journey…
(1) Gather documents
There are a lot of documents you might probably need when moving house. Firstly, there’s those for the mortgage advice sessions you’re likely to attend.
Then there’s the stuff you’ll have to pass on when selling on your own property, if you have one, such as an insurance certificate for your new build if it’s still under the developer’s warranty.
(2) Value your property
If you have a property to sell, you should get an idea of its value early on in the process. It’s one essential part of understanding how much you can afford for your new home.
(3) Mortgage advice
Briefly mentioned in step 1 above, get a mortgage advice session with a bank, building society or mortgage advisor as early in the process as possible.
Alex and I used an independent financial advisor linked to an estate agency. The reason: they can search through the best mortgages for you when you need it. That way you don’t get one establishment’s offers shoved down your throat when they might not be the most affordable or appropriate for you.
(4) Draw up budgets
Connected to step 2 and how much your current property will bring you, is drawing up monthly budgets for anyone who will be paying the mortgage. This is essential! I believe we should all have budgets anyway, to be fair…
Don’t just do one budget per person. Mix things up.
Do first your “ideal” budget, i.e. your top monthly income, your lowest outgoings and cut out any unnecessary expenses you can halt in future (like subscriptions). I even dropped things like a TV licence and Netflix and NowTV subscriptions.
Next, do a worst-case scenario budget. Use the lowest possibly monthly income (if yours is variable at all), increase expenses realistically and keep in extra spending. For example, I looked at the wage I was on when a typist/assistant a couple of years ago and included costs for a new car loan which might one day happen.
In the first budget you can keep the mortgage at its lowest (we could currently lock into a £250 each a month repayment for what we want), whereas in the second you can hike this up in relation to an increase in interest rates (e.g. £500 a month each).
(5) Research potential areas to live
Once you have an idea of your budget and mortgage opportunities, get looking at where you may like to live. Do your research. Spend time there.
Are that area and the type of house you’d like doable on your money?
(6) What if your home sells soon?
If you are going to sell a current home and it sells before you’ve settled on a new place, what will you do?
Do you have relatives or friends you can move in with temporarily?
Will you rent while you continue your house hunt, and is this the best option monetarily?
It is said to be best to work around the new buyers of your current property. Don’t jeopardise your sale and waste time and money by being unable to move out when convenient to them.
(7) Get your property on the market
As soon as you know your options and plans for where you’ll move to, get your existing home for sale.
The earlier you get it on the market, the longer you have to look and the more time there is to get the deposit you need for your next home.
Please do remember, too, to keep your home clean, tidy and presentable at a moment’s notice. Just like in step 6 and having to move out to suit your buyers, you should be ready for potential buyers wanting to view your property within hours of now.
(8) Keep in contact with your agent
If you go through an estate agent, as we have, touch base with them regularly.
Remember – they are working for you. Don’t feel guilty or irritating. You’ll be paying them for their services, ultimately/hopefully!
Ask them for feedback from viewings. Ask them for figures and ratings from online advertising. Ask them about the market locally and in general, and how other properties overall are doing.
There you have it – these are the steps we’ve followed in our house hunt journey so far. Perhaps I’ll be updating this post soon with any extras, but for now, these are the things I’d recommend doing from day one.
Bear in mind circumstances change regularly (income, the property market, interest rates), so it’s important to remain fluid and check back on these points often.