6 top tips to save moving stress
Plan ahead and be flexible to make property moves as smooth and speedy as possible. Here’s the inside track from our friends at local solicitors, Paris Smith
Bigger house, comfortable downsize, change of area – buying a new home is exciting, but rarely stress free. Focusing on the end goal (beautiful new kitchen island, a room each for the kids, outdoor space) is a brilliant way to stay motivated. But no matter how excited you are, what is inevitably major upheaval is bound to be stressful at times – gulp.
Deep breath – it’s time to call in the experts. Katy Rhodes is a Solicitor at top local legal firm Paris Smith, specialising in property, finance and residential conveyancing. If you’re standing at the precipice, here’s a few of her top tips to make the process of moving home as smooth as possible. Katy, it’s over to you!
1/Get your documents in order
As soon as you put your current house on the market, gather any documents you have relating to your property ready to send to your solicitor.
Start by looking for copies of the documents you were given by your solicitor at the time you purchased the property. This may include planning permissions and building regulations certificates, guarantees or warranties for any work which may have been carried out on the property or any indemnity insurance policies. Don’t worry about Land Registry documents – your solicitor will download up to date copies of these.
It’s also helpful to find copies of any paperwork you have relating to any work carried out on the property, together with the most recent boiler service record. It’s likely your buyer’s solicitor will ask to see copies of all this paperwork. If you have it ready to send it can save time and a lot of to and fro between solicitors.
If you own a leasehold property, be prepared for the transaction to take a little longer. It’s not necessarily more difficult to buy or sell a leasehold, but there is more legal work involved.
If you’re selling a property, be prepared that the buyer’s solicitor is likely to ask questions. Your solicitor will need to refer to your knowledge of the property to answer some of these enquiries. Try to answer enquiries referred to you as fully as you are able to but, if you don’t know the answer to any questions, just let your solicitor know.
2/Allow time for searches
Your solicitor will recommend that searches are ordered on a property purchase. This is always a good idea. In fact, the majority of mortgage lenders will insist on it. Local authorities vary greatly in the amount of time they take to return searches. In some cases, it can be several weeks. However, the information revealed by searches is invaluable. So, it’s well worth allowing time for this important step in the conveyancing process.
3/Get insurance sorted early
If you’re purchasing a freehold property, the responsibility to insure the property will pass to you, the buyer, on exchange of contracts. To save time and a last-minute rush, it’s a good idea to obtain some buildings insurance quotes in good time before exchange. Once you have decided on your preferred insurer, it’s then just a case of giving them a quick call once your solicitor has confirmed the exchange has taken place.
Some mortgage lenders will ask to see and approve your proposed buildings insurance policy before they will release funds – another good reason to organise this in plenty of time.
4/Keep your solicitor informed
Often, buyers and sellers exchange phone numbers once an offer is accepted. While it can be helpful to keep in touch, it’s very important that you ensure you instruct your solicitor to confirm anything you have discussed or agreed with the other party’s solicitor. This avoids the possibility of misunderstandings and crossed wires. It’ll also ensure that everything agreed is provided for in the contract and is legally binding on both parties.
5/Be mindful of mortgage offers expiring
When there are delays in the process, it’s important to keep in touch with your mortgage provider in case you need a new application. This often is the case if you’re buying a new build. If you are buying a new build, property exchange of contracts will often take place before the build is completed and your new property is ready to be occupied.
There can be a gap of several months between exchange and completion. A residential mortgage offer will generally expire after six months, so make sure to contact your mortgage broker before exchange of contracts. You’ll need to check whether your particular lender is prepared to extend the existing offer or whether a new application will need to be made. It’s definitely a good idea to clarify this in plenty of time.
6/Give yourself some flexibility
Keep an open mind as far as dates are concerned. The completion date will not be set in stone until contracts are exchanged. The dates for exchange and completion will have to be agreed with all parties in the chain and changes to dates often do happen right up to the point of exchange. Make sure you provisionally book your removal firm and only confirm your booking once your solicitor lets you know contracts have been exchanged.
The majority of completions take place around lunchtime on the agreed completion day but sometimes completion doesn’t take place until later in the afternoon. This is worth bearing in mind if you need to plan childcare or for someone to look after any pets you may have on moving day. Basically, allow yourself more time on moving day than you think you need!
For questions on moving home or more information, contact the Paris Smith Residential Property team.