Whilst it is a well noted fact that moving home can be one of the most stressful things you do in life, it should also be a time for excitement! With the right support and advice from the experts, moving house needn’t be traumatic.

Letting your head take the lead before emotions become involved is key when finding your perfect home.

Here are some other top tips for taking the stress out of moving house.

Know your limits

Before you start viewing houses, it is best to have a mortgage agreed in principal so you know your budget. If you have a property to sell, it is also important to have at least three estate agents carry out sales appraisals as relying on a figure you may have paid for it previously won’t necessarily reflect the current market.

Do your homework

Once you have your mortgage figure, it is time to factor in all the extra costs that you may forget, but will add up to your total spend.

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold has recently changed but only temporarily.  If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before.

If you are buying an additional residential property for more than £40,000, the 3% Higher Rate will still apply on top of revised standard rates.  The Higher Rate SDLT is on the full value of the property unlike the standard rates which only apply to that part of the purchase price above each of the thresholds.

If you want to find out how much SDLT you will need to pay on your purchase, you can use HMRC’s SDLT calculator.

There are search and registration fees, costs of surveyors, estate agents and solicitors to pay. Knowing this at the outset will avoid any upset further down the line. More information about these costs can be found in our blog about the costs of buying a house.  For an estimate of your conveyancing costs, visit our conveyancing quote generator.

It is also worth bearing in mind that if you are buying or selling a leasehold property, there are likely to be additional costs that we cannot predict at the outset of the transaction, as explained here.

Compare the market

Look at other houses in the area and what they have sold for.  As well as asking estate agents, website such as Zoopla and Right Move contain information from the Land Registry about how much properties have either sold for or been valued at when changing hands.

Chain reaction

The main factor which brings uncertainty and delay into moving is the chain. If you can break the chain and be a cash or first time buyer you will be more appealing to a seller. It’s not suited to everyone but looking at selling your home and getting temporary accommodation can be a good option to improve your bargaining position.

Our blog about why conveyancing is taking so long explores some of the causes of delays when buying and selling properties.

Also bear in mind that if the property you are buying or selling is unusual in some way such as being listed, having a private water supply or septic tank, the conveyancing process is likely to take longer.

Look then look again

As well as having a second viewing to check if your sofa will fit and how you will make use of the garden, it is important to take a step back and look for any problems. Your mortgage company will send a surveyor to check on value but it is important to get your own professional in to do a home buyers report and look at any structural issues that may not be seen by the untrained eye. The principle of “Buyer Beware” means that there would be little that you could do if such issues came to light after you have legally committed to your purchase.

Some more practical tips can be found here.

Get your ducks in a row

There are different ways to own a property jointly and you will need to take advice as to what is best for you. Think about the future, and make provisions for the worst case scenario. Our blog on this subject provides more information about the differences between owning a property as joint tenants or tenants in common

When buying a new property, it is also advisable that you consider your life insurance policy, along with your will (which you ought to have) and make sure all these are updated to reflect your new home.

For further advice in relation to a property sale or purchase, please contact us. Our team of property solicitors provide a range of pricing options to assist in your house move. If your property sale or purchase is a commercial venture, our dedicated team of commercial property solicitors are ideally placed to assist.