1 .Are you sure you want to move? Are you really ready for it?
Moving house is a big deal. Do plenty of soul-searching, and know that you’ve not rushed into a decision, and that with time and detachment you reached the conclusion that the time is right. There may be times, later on when you wonder if it’s all worth the hassle… but if you have really thought about it beforehand, you can draw strength from knowing you considered everything with a clear head at the start. If circumstances don’t allow you this time, and you have no option but to make a snap decision to move, then that should give you the resolve you need to see the process through.
- Prepare your home to sell
Clean, tidy, pack away, touch up the decoration, clear the garden, polish the door-knocker. If you do this before the estate agents come round, you will show your home in its best light for the valuation. The agent can advise you on any additional presentational details to address if need be, but doing things first will help to cement your commitment to move.
- Find an estate agent
Start with some research. Ask friends or colleagues who have just moved for their recommendations of who to use (or avoid!). Visit a few offices and see how well you are treated. Learn about the different ways in which the different companies operate (there is lots of information in this guide). Choose three companies to give you a valuation – make sure at least one is an independent, local firm, and at least one is a larger, corporate firm. Visit the agents’ offices BEFORE you meet them, posing as a buyer (you may well actually be looking to buy locally.. but if not, go anyway). You need to know how well the agent will gather information from anyone that might want to buy your house from them. Quiz the agents in close detail when they come round. Once you are happy which agent you want, instruct them by signing their agreement, and get your Home Information Pack ordered immediately. Have two forms of ID ready to show the agent, because you will need to prove that the house is yours to comply with money laundering regulations.
- Order your Home Information Pack
You cannot begin to advertise a house for sale – even if you are selling privately – until certain key parts of the Home Information Pack are completed and available. Do this quickly, and as soon as you know you are going on the market.
- Sort out your financial affairs
When your sale goes through, your solicitor will receive a large sum of money. Where will this go? If you have an old mortgage to pay off, check if there are early redemption penalties. Calculate agents and legal fees – including VAT – so you know how much you will actually receive. Now is a good time to reconsider investments, pensions etc.
- Find a Solicitor
Strictly speaking you don’t need a solicitor until you have a sale agreed, although some solicitors can provide the Home Information Pack. But you will need one eventually, so use the time you have now to research a few local companies and pick one that suits you. Otherwise, when you find a buyer and need to know, it will all be in a rush.
- Keep focussed on the prize
When viewers start to come round, and you don’t know if the eventual buyer will be here next day or next year, it can be unsettling and stressful. Always concentrate on what you are trying to achieve in the long term. It will get better once it’s all done and dusted. Don’t lose sight of that. Selling is a means to an end.
- Consider your options and alternatives
It may be that the progress of your sale needs a little lateral thinking. If you planned to find a new home after you’d found a buyer, but then the perfect buyer has to meet an urgent deadline, perhaps you should consider renting for a short while so that the sale can go through. If the offers you receive are lower than you hope, but you have found your dream home to move to, perhaps you can make a lower offer so that the end result is the same. Maybe you don’t need to sell at all – you could remortgage as a buy-to-let, have enough for a deposit on a new place and let the new tenants pay the mortgage on your current home. Things don’t always follow an obvious pattern, and the more creative and flexible you can be, the more chance you have of getting the right outcome.
- Try not to worry
It’s very easy to say that! But always look to the horizon, the fresh start. Try not to take on too many other big decisions or new projects if you can avoid it.. the stability in other areas of your life will make it easier to deal with the upheaval of a move. If you have friends and family you can call on for support, this is exactly the time you want them around. Your estate agent and solicitor should be a calming voice of experience, for while moving home is rare and scary for you, these professionals have seen it all hundreds of times before. You are paying them for their service, so call them as often as you need.
- Project ahead and look back
The home you are selling will hold many memories and associations. Those are not for sale. Try and imagine a point in the future, looking back on this move. Your new house will not be new any more – it will just be your home. You take all your memories with you, but you will have a place of comfort and security from which you can look back and enjoy those memories. The stresses and strains will pass, and will be forgotten.