Selling your home and moving somewhere new is always daunting and exciting in equal parts. While it’s well documented that buying a new home is one of the most stressful processes people put themselves through, there are ways in which you can prepare.
From getting your property on the market and hosting successful viewings, to finally packing up and leaving your old home to a new family – here are our top planning tips to help at every step of the way.
Work with experts
The most important step in making sure that your home sells in good time and for the right price is to work with people who know what they’re doing. This helps you to manage your expectations and achieve the maximum value of your property.
The best way to get an accurate market valuation of your home is to appoint a Chartered Surveyor. They will use a combination of experience, local knowledge and market research to help you understand what your home is worth, and why.
Choosing an established local estate agent is a good idea, too. The team at Mountgrange Heritage is based across Kensington and Notting Hill, and know that their local knowledge and network gives them the edge over other agents. “Our team knows the areas of Notting Hill, Kensington and North Kensington intimately. This expert local knowledge helps achieve the best price for your property, and ensures it’s being seen in the right way, by the right people.”
Staging and viewings
As your estate agent will tell you, when most people move house, they’re not just investing in a property – they’re investing in a lifestyle. If you can capture this in your advert photos and while people are viewing your home, you’re more likely to score a quick sale at a competitive price.
There’s no real secret to this, just a few simple steps to follow:
- Arrange for professional cleaning over the viewing period
- Declutter and de-personalise – viewers want to imagine their lifestyle, not yours
- Keep a few cosy touches, like coffee table books, fresh flowers, lamps and soft furnishings
- Get rid of window dressings or pull them back as far as possible for maximum natural light
- Keep pets with a friend or relative to minimise disruption, fur and smells
- Use (very) subtle air fragrances
- Expect viewers to check inside in-built storage – keep it organised
It’s surprising how a small investment in home staging can affect the perceived value and desirability of your home. Read some more tips here, and talk to your estate agent to see if they have any ideas for targeting potential buyers.
Reduce the chain
Housing chains are where a series of property transactions are linked; each depending on the proceeding or succeeding purchase. For example, you have a buyer for your home but are still waiting to exchange contracts on your new home because the seller hasn’t exchanged contracts on their new home. If any of these deals fall through – for example, a vendor pulling out or a buyer being unable to sell their home (and therefore afford a deposit), the whole chain can break.
You can go some way to mitigate this by finding alternative accommodation while you wait for your new house purchase to complete. Some homeowners choose to move into rented accommodation so that their home can be sold, while others manage to move in with family and friends. Ideally, it should only be for a number of weeks. However, property transactions are notoriously unpredictable, so you should be prepared to stay in interim accommodation for several months in a worst-case scenario.
Once you know you’re moving somewhere new, it’s never too soon to start packing. Beginning the process early can even help you sort through belongings you no longer need and give you time to sell, donate or get rid of them. Start with non-essentials, like out of season clothing, books and the electronics and cookware you don’t use often.
If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with bubblewrap, cardboard boxes and parcel tape yourself, consider hiring a removals company. A professional team will efficiently pack and organise bulky furniture and smaller belongings for easy unpacking in your new home – although they might not work quite as conscientiously as removal teams in Japan!
Leaving your old house
Before handing over the keys, make sure you’ve checked every area of your home. It’s surprisingly common for belongings to get left in sheds, cupboards, attics and gardens, usually because one person assumes somebody else has already checked them. Make a list or walk around in a methodical manner, opening all doors and checking behind appliances and any other furniture you’re leaving behind.
One of the last things to do is make sure any locks (for cupboards, garages, windows and doors) have the appropriate keys left in or near them – ideally with clear labels for the new owners. Finally, take a time-stamped photo of your final meter readings to submit to your energy providers.
Updating your address
Make sure anyone that needs to know your new address has it – although remember that you may need to wait for your first bills to come through to use as proof for certain organisations. This might include:
- Workplaces and schools
- The local council(s) – ask for a final council tax statement once you leave
- Doctors, dentists and vets (update pet microchips)
- Inland Revenue, Department for Work and Pensions, the VAT office
- Banks and insurance providers
- The DVLA (car registration details and driving license)
- Old and new utilities – water, gas, electric – submit your last and first meter readings asap
- Phone and internet providers (mobile and landline)
- TV licensing
- Subscription services (magazines, deliveries and reward schemes)
Yes, there’s a lot to think about, but a little bit of planning can get you on your way to your new home quickly, cost-effectively and – hopefully – without too many grey hairs!