We have put together this moving home checklist to make the moving process easier for you. Read along and you will learn everything you need to know about moving house, as well as what you need to get moving.
Marketing your property
First on the moving home checklist, you will need to market your property. You will need to provide some basic information to get the ball rolling.
Confirm your identity
You will need to confirm your identity when you agree to move forward with launching your home onto the market. As a client both for their own security and also to follow the Anti Money Laundering legislation. You will need to provide photographic ID such as a drivers licence or passport and a document confirming your proof of address.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
You are legally required to have an EPC to market your property unless it falls under one of the few exemptions. The main one being that it’s listed or officially protected. We are able to organise this for you. EPC’s are valid for 10 years, so there may be one already available for your home if you have moved in the last 10 years. See an example in the image below.
How your property looks online
The second part of the moving home checklist involves working on the online profile of your property. It will be one of the main sources of interest. Ensuring it’s presented to the highest of standards is an absolute must if you are looking to achieve the most value. A successful property listing should:
- Have at least 6 or 7 photographs including an external shot of the property – this doesn’t always need to be the lead image on property portals
- Ensure that you get photographs taken on a sunny day, and get them taken by a professional photographer. Otherwise, you will be at a disadvantage versus other properties you are competing against.
- Include a floorplan showing the scale and layout of the property
- Avoid including images of your personal photographs on the mantelpiece
Helping us, to help you
On the third part of this moving home checklist, we need to ensure that you can provide the required information. The more information we have, the more likely we are to be successful. As part of our property assessment process we will ask about the property and the neighbourhood.
Key items to gather
Property outgoings and how much you pay for
- Council tax
- Energy bills
- Water charges
- Buildings and contents cover insurance
If the property is Leasehold
- How much are the annual service charges?
- How frequently are they paid?
- Is the managing agent good?
- The amount of time remaining on the property lease
- Are there any major works due in the next few years?
If you have had building work completed
- What was the work?
- Was planning permission required?
- Did you get a certificate from the Building Control office confirming they had been done to standard?
- Does any of the work carry a guarantee – for example, damp proofing – and do you have the paperwork?
- Do you have the installation certificates for the electrical and heating systems?
- When was the boiler installed?
- When was it last serviced and do you have a service record?
- If you have chimneys, when were they swept and do you have a certificate?
The fourth part of this moving home checklist focuses on your viewing strategy. As your property goes on the market, make sure you have arranged and agreed the correct viewing strategy for you. A full-service agent like ourselves will offer accompanied viewings. While some agents are offering the option of you undertaking the viewings yourself.
Agree in advance any times that are difficult for you to accommodate a viewing. For example during children’s teatime. You don’t want the frustration of the agent always calling to arrange a viewing at the most inconvenient of times.
- The easiest way to handle viewings is to simply go out. A buyer will generally be more comfortable if the owner is out, so they can have an honest dialogue.
- Ideally if your agent holds a set of keys, there is no reason for your usual schedule to be interrupted.
- If you are going to be at home, say hello and then leave the agent and the buyer to it and busy yourself doing something away from them.
- Avoid following your agent and buyer around the property and adding your own commentary as it may undermine the agent.
- Group viewings or Open days are popular and can attract competition between buyers. We would recommend this viewing strategy. It’s more convenient for you as a homeowner knowing the time that you need to vacate the property. For us as an agency, it allows us time for the marketing to work. As well as that, we are able to create urgency from those viewing if they see there is potential competition.
Coming to the fifth part of the moving home checklist, you need to be prepared to negotiate offers. Offers are an exciting part of the process and are usually part of a negotiation. They also often include a couple of rounds of offers and counter-offers back before coming to an agreement.
We have a legal obligation to pass all offers to you. If you have very specific criteria for an acceptable offer, you may choose to instruct us to reject all offers below a certain price. We would recommend receiving all offers as each will have its own positives and negatives.
When you receive an offer, the quality of the offer will often depend on many factors. It’s worth taking these into consideration depending on your circumstances.
Some of the questions to consider are:
Is the buyer ready?
- A well-prepared buyer will have secured an ‘offer in principle’ for the mortgage if they need one.
- If they are going to need a mortgage and have not yet worked out how much they can afford, how realistic is the offer they are putting forward?
- Have they already chosen a solicitor who is ready to start the process?
- If the buyer is ready now they are likely to be more reliable during the sales process.
What is their situation?
- Do they have another property to sell or are they a chain free buyer? A chain free buyer will mean there are fewer elements to the sale, which could go wrong at a later date.
- If they have a property to sell, is it on the market and under offer already?
- What are their time frames for moving and how does this suit your time frames for moving? If you are still negotiating an onward purchase a flexible buyer would be helpful.
- Are they a cash buyer or will they need time to process a mortgage?
- Are there any other associated people that have not yet seen the property. For example, if a parent is providing part of the funding, do they still need to see it
- Does the offer (regardless of the level) give you enough money to make your onward purchase?
- If the price is lower than expected, do the other factors make up for the shortfall (such as speed of purchase or flexibility)
- It’s always useful to have an open conversation with your agent on their thoughts
- Do they think this is the best offer that the buyer will be able to put together?
- Do they think they can get a better offer from another buyer?
- What interest from other buyers do they have in the property at the moment?
- Do they think the buyer is organised and motivated enough to see the transaction through?
- Does the applicant have a second-choice property already?
- What else is available locally that is like your property? Is the offer competitive to what else is available?
When considering an offer, take time to think it through. Especially if it is lower than you were expecting, and do not feel under pressure to give an immediate response. That said, you need to remember that the potential buyer will be excited about the process. So if you can go back reasonably quickly you should be able to continue their enthusiasm. Aim to give a response either way within 24 hours.
You are under no obligation to accept any offer. For example, someone may offer the asking price for the property but may not be in a position to proceed. This is where they have yet to sell or accept an offer on the sale. In this case, it may be better to keep marketing to find a buyer that can proceed.
Where there are many offers going backwards and forwards the agent may suggest a sealed bids scenario. Here each buyer will get a deadline by which to submit their best and final offer for the property. Then you would be able to decide which best suits you.
Once you have accepted an offer your agent will issue a Memorandum of Sale. This confirms the buyers and the sellers’ details and their respective Solicitors or conveyancers. The property gets marked on their books as Sold Subject to contract (SSTC.) The actual sale will only get confirmed once the lawyers have ‘exchanged’ the legally binding documents.
Ensuring the sale goes smoothly
The sixth and final part of this moving home checklist involves ensuring that the sale goes smoothly. At the same time as instructing your agent to market the property, we recommend that you organise a solicitor or conveyancer in advance to do the legal work upfront so they are ready to start as soon as you have accepted an offer.
Their details will be included in the Memorandum of Sale that gets sent out as soon as you have accepted an offer and so you should choose them in advance. Even if you have a solicitor in mind, its always important to ask your agents advice on the best options to use from a legal perspective. If your agent doesn’t have a relationship with your chosen solicitor, it will impact hugely their ability to manage your sale effectively. Do bare this in mind if you are keen to avoid having to be to involved in the legal process of your sale
Once the sale is agreed, the conveyancers will need to complete their work and your buyer will arrange for the property to get surveyed. Surveyors are insured to be able to access properties unaccompanied to do their work so if it is not convenient, you don’t need to be at home.
It is likely that they will need the following two surveys.
- A valuation survey – the mortgage lender arranges this to confirm the value of the property. They also confirm that the property is adequate security for the requested mortgage.
- A condition survey – the buyer arranges this (they don’t have to have one but it’s recommended.) It will give them a report on the condition of the property. There are different levels of survey which get more detailed.
Conveyancing is not an especially quick process. It can take anywhere between 10 and 114 weeks from the day you accept an offer to getting all the paperwork completed and queries answered, even where there is no chain.
To get started, you will need to supply similar documents to instruct your conveyancer as you would your agent:
- Signed terms of business
- Photographic ID
- Proof of address
Gather all the documents that you’ll need, including those needed for when instructing an agent to market your property. Doing this as early as possible will help to ensure the process goes smoothly and quickly.
Here is our quick guide to understanding the process with your conveyancer
- Your solicitor will ask you to put some money on account (referred to as Putting them in funds) to cover the initial costs.
- They will contact your current mortgage lender to get the Title deeds for the property if necessary
- They will ask you to complete all the information forms which are usually:
- Property Information Form – this gives information about the property, it’s boundaries, any planning consents, suppliers etc.
- Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form – this details what you are leaving in the property when you leave and what you are taking away.
- Seller’s Leasehold Information Form – this gives details of the managing agents, service charges and potential building management costs.
Your solicitor will then bundle these documents. This along with the information about the property title, any guarantees, planning permissions etc. They will then send them to the buyers’ solicitor with the purchase contract.
If the property is leasehold your solicitor will receive a Managing Agents Questionnaire. They will ask the relevant Managing Agent to complete it, giving details about the building and the charges.
The buyers will review the information. Once done they will raise queries asking for clarification or more information. The solicitor may need to liaise with you and it is important that the information is accurate. It will be on the basis of this information that the buyer makes their purchase.
The buyers’ solicitor will review the sale contract. Once done you will need to sign it so it is ready for ‘Exchange’ which is when they will secure the sale.
To sell, you will need to pay off any finance held against the property. Your solicitor will contact your mortgage company to get a statement of the amount due to be repaid.
The last thing to do is to agree on a completion date between the parties which is the date the sale will conclude.
If you need help with moving home, read our Tips for Selling Your Home in 2021.