The House Move Checklist

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.

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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.

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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.

How to schedule chores

‘Life is better if the home is prepared… that housework is a task that, once done, allows for flexibility and enjoyment in other parts of our daily existence’ – Martha Stewart, Living the Good Long Life p.283

We all have things in life we don’t particularly want to do. Household chores must be one of the most disliked things for many people. I myself don’t mind cleaning and tidying… It gives my world a sense of order that perhaps other aspects don’t have.

If housekeeping isn’t to dominate our day and keep us from doing the things we love, it’s best to get organised. As with all things, forewarned is forearmed. With a bit of forward thinking now, we can save heaps of time.

Consider the following points to help schedule your household chores:

(1) Avoid busier days

The last thing we feel up to is cleaning and tidying our home when we’ve been busy all day. If possible, schedule your housekeeping for less busy days.

Taking special care to avoid working days, evenings you’ll get home late or be going out again, or days you and your significant other are both free to spend quality time together.

(2) Break jobs down

It isn’t always possible to avoid doing chores on busier days. In that case, break chores down into more manageable chunks. This might also come in handy for people with larger properties.

Don’t vow to dust and vacuum every room on every floor on Saturday. Instead, do the bedrooms on Saturday afternoon, the living and dining rooms on Sunday morning, and clean the bathroom on Monday. Plan laundry day for Wednesday evening.

(3) Keep on top of smaller jobs

Linked to point number 2, try to do as you go along. This is particularly relevant for the two most used and most untidy areas: the bathroom and the kitchen.

In the bathroom, rinse and/or wipe down surfaces after showering or applying cosmetics.

In the kitchen, clean or dispose of items as you finish with them. I almost always fill the washing up bowl with warm soapy water before starting to cook or bake nowadays. Easier for washing my hands and for washing dirty pots, and a soaked cloth quickly wipes worktops.

(4) Tools of the trade

Store your most frequently used cleaning products together in containers and close to where you want to clean.

In the cupboard under our kitchen sink, you’ll find a box of surface cleaning spray, cloths, white vinegar and bicarb of soda.

Likewise, when I lived alone, I kept a bucket with bathroom cleaning products, scrubbing brushes, cloths, bicarb and vinegar in a cabinet.

This saves minutes of trekking round the house to gather your tools!

(5) Set time frames

Figure out roughly how long you need to clean each room or area regularly, and stick to that each week. If you say the bathroom will take an hour, choose to lay aside 10:00-11:00 every Saturday morning and, special occasions aside, do it then.

You’ll get a pleasant sense of satisfaction and success on those days when it takes less time than that too!

When we’re faced with tasks we don’t want to do, as always, I say we must do it now. If we break our homes down room by room and chore by chore, and allot days and times to them, we are much less likely to avoid doing it and be faced by a greater task in the future.

For more info on keeping your house spick and span, check out these handy chore checklists from Martha Stewart, or have a nosey around the Housewife How-To’s site.

Top 5 things to do around Ripon

Alex and I are lucky to have a “second home” in North Yorkshire thanks to his mum and dad, and as we spend a lot of time up there, I’m going to list my top 5 things to do around Ripon in case you ever find yourself up that way too.

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These are the simple pleasures in life that I love. If you’re around Ripon to relax, these will be right up your street.

Without further ado…

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(1) RHS Harlow Carr

Top of my list is visiting Harlow Carr gardens, the RHS’ northernmost site down by Harrogate. I love gardens and gardening. I could spend hours just sat outside, admiring nature and studying the intricacies of flowers. I’m desperate to grow my own fruit and veg.

RHS Harlow Carr combines all these things. There are different areas to the garden, all inspiring in their own way: gardens through the decades; woodland; streamside walks; veg patches; an alpine greenhouse.

For those with kids, there’s also a play area and often child-friendly features and “treasure” hunts.

The RHS website explains how Harlow Carr’s ‘chief aim was to set up a trial ground where the suitability of plants for growing in northern climates could be assessed’ when originally established by the Northern Horticultural Society in the 1950s. This is still evident – we always spot some sort of trial going on whenever we visit.

There are regular flower shows and other events (such as the Peony Show held on June 26) to excite your interest. The perfect way to finish off is with a browse around Harlow Carr’s ample garden centre and gift shop (I’ve never come away empty-handed!) and something to eat or drink in the on-site branch of Betty’s tearooms.

I now have annual RHS Individual membership (which cost me £42.75) as we go more often, and it gets both Alex and myself in “free” and easily each time. Other packages are available here, and of course you can then access other sites for “free” too. Otherwise, entry is £11.00 each for adults paying with GiftAid.

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(2) Eating out in Ripon

I love to eat out with Alex. Ripon is an absolutely amazing place to eat, to say it’s so small as a town. There’s no shortage of choices. Places we’ve tried at least once and loved include:

  • La Grillade: Italian and French cuisine in a little Parisian-style place opposite the cathedral.
  • The Water Rat: Delicious “pub grub” by the river, perfect for sunny days (although the conservatory is cosy for the rainy ones).
  • Byblos brasserie: Mediterranean food in a small and comfy environment, again near the cathedral.
  • Balti House: Quite possibly the best curries I have ever eaten in my life, plus it’s bring-your-own-booze which can reduce costs quite a lot.
  • So! Bar & Eats: We love this place with its gorgeous food AND it’s amazing cocktails – we’ll often eat elsewhere and still end up drinking here (before and/or after!).

You’ll also find your chains like Prezzo and Wetherspoons in the town centre, and for a no-frills takeaway Zorro Pizza can’t be beaten.

One place in Ripon we still haven’t eaten at, next on my list, is Lockwoods – it looks small but sweet!

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(3) Shopping in Harrogate

What Ripon has in the way of dining, it lacks somewhat in shopping. It has the basics, like a WHSmiths, Boots, supermarkets and even an Edinburgh Woollen Mill (!), plus a few lovely little boutiques, but if you want more variety of chain stores, head to Harrogate.

What’s more, Harrogate has a quaint arts and antiques quarter, the Royal Pump Room museum, and amazing-looking furniture and fittings shops to inspire and provide.

You can find some fancy bars and eateries dotted about the side streets.

There’s also a pleasant stroll to be had through the Valley Gardens if you get a moment (that said, I did see a man peeing slap bang in the middle of the lawns once when I went with a friend..!).

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(4) Newby Hall & Gardens

We’ve only been once, but it’s made a lasting impression, and it’s definitely somewhere I want to visit again. Newby Hall itself is a grand old house which visitors can have a look around as long as it’s not closed for a private function.

The hall is set within picturesque grounds sloping gently down to the river. It incorporates lawns, large flower beds and wooded areas. Exhibitions are regularly held at Newby – we visited during a large outdoor display of African sculpture, most of which was for sale.

The Yorkshire Party Company runs a restaurant in the grounds for when you get thirsty or hungry, and there is a small giftshop and garden centre by the entrance/exit if you’re after a souvenir or feel horticulturally inspired.

House & gardens tickets currently cost £15 each for adults, while gardens only are £11 each on arrival.

(5) Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

Definitely go and have a wander round this surprisingly well-preserved ruins of this old Cistercian abbey. When weaving in and out of the weathered chambers and columns, Alex and I even spotted robed children! I presume they were on a school trip, and not ghosts of monastic life past…

After the majesty of the soaring stonework, take in the pools, follies and wooded hillsides of the landscaped grounds beyond. Keep your eyes peeled as deer can be spotted over fences and through gaps in the trees.

There are places to grab refreshments such as paninis, scones and cuppas around the grounds.

Just after you’ve made your way in, you’ll come across Fountains Hall – which I had never heard of – and although you can’t look around a lot of it, what you do see put me in mind of Wuthering Heights and rugged pre-Industrial Revolution living (albeit aristocratic!).

It costs £13 each for an adult to visit Fountains Abbey with GiftAid, and £6.50 for children, but a family ticket costing £32.50 can also be purchased.

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Other honourable mentions include: beautiful Ripley Castle; a trip out to the scenic Pately Bridge (where my own parents have a “second home”); beautiful York; the market town of Thirsk; a drive out to the coast at Whitby; Leyburn and Aysgarth Falls by the Yorkshire Dales National Park; and Markenfield Hall, if you can time your trip to fit in with its few open days (it’s still someone’s actual family home, after all!).

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Is there anywhere in North Yorkshire that you think I’m missing? I’d love to hear of any other suggestions for future stays up in Ripon, so share them below, and remember, you can follow my blog on Bloglovin’ or follow me on Twitter and Instagram!