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Even if you’ve been a homeowner for some time, the process of buying and selling your property is always daunting. Maybe you waded through the process so long ago that you’ve forgotten how it works. Or, maybe you’ve never moved before and this is all new to you.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is the first time you’re selling a property, our moving house guide will take you through the journey. We’ll tell you how your mortgage could be affected, highlight some things you need to think about, run through the costs of moving house and outline a few, practical moving house tips.
Many mortgages are “portable”, which means you can transfer your current mortgage product to a new property. You’ll need to check with your lender or broker about whether your mortgage is portable and learn more about the T&Cs that your lender will apply.
If you’re thinking about porting your mortgage, remember:
Sometimes your lender won’t allow you to port your mortgage to a new property, even if it’s possible. This could be for several reasons, for example the lender might find the type of property you want to buy unacceptable
When you ask your lender to "port" your mortgage, you effectively have to reapply for the borrowing. Bear in mind that you may no longer qualify. Your circumstances could be different, you may have a new profession, your outgoings could have increased, or you may have had recent credit problems, etc.
Equally, nothing may have changed for you financially, but your lender may have changed their criteria. In recent years lenders have had to carry out more stringent tests and checks on applications as a result of the 2008 “credit crunch”.
Even if you took out your first mortgage without any hassle, you could still face restrictions the second time around.
If the lender has tightened their affordability rules then you might not be able to borrow the amount the amount you need. You may need to consider using another lender instead.
If you can port and are able to borrow more money, don’t forget that you’re tied to a lender already so you’ll have little choice other than to choose the rate your lender offers you. This may not be particularly competitive and could be far from the cheapest available, leaving you stuck paying a higher rate of interest on the extra borrowing.
There are a number of options available to you should you need an entirely new mortgage when moving home. However, it’s important that you find out whether you would face an early repayment charge if you chose to leave your current mortgage product before the introductory period ends.
If you can’t port with your current lender, or they don’t have an alternative deal that’s suitable, then you can look elsewhere.
It’s sometimes worth sticking with the same type of mortgage if that’s what works best for you. However, personal circumstances change. You may find that a different type of rate or term now suits you better. A mortgage adviser will listen to your situation, explain your options and help you come to a decision you’re confident in.
You don’t have to stick with the same interest rate product when you take out a new mortgage, only if you port your existing one. You can choose from any available products that the lender has to offer for any new borrowing. These could be fixed, variable, tracker, discount, etc. Your mortgage broker will help you choose one that best suits you and your personal situation.
Find out more about the different types of mortgages in our Mortgage Types Explained guide.
It’s always worth consulting at least one estate agent when you’re looking to buy a property. They should be experts on the housing market in their areas who can keep you updated about any suitable properties and help you liaise with sellers when you start making offers.
The more specific you can be with your estate agents, the better. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you want and ask lots of questions about the properties they present to you. You should never feel like your settling – you’re choosing somewhere to live after all. It’s the place you’ll wake up every day and go to bed every evening.
So, beyond the number of bedrooms and price range, here are a few other things to ask your estate agents about:
Inside the House
Outside the House
First impressions are very important. You’re likely to have made 80% of your decision on whether to buy on the very first visit. But don’t be too hasty – it’s not 100%. Even minor factors such as the weather affect the way a property can come across on a particular day.
Go for a second viewing. You don’t need to pressure yourself more than necessary when moving home. If you’re unsure, go back and have a second look.
It’s worth going back even after you’ve had an offer accepted on a home and you’ve received a surveyor’s report, as a second viewing is a great opportunity to assess the extent of any problems.
Finding a new property is normally the fun bit. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all - just make sure you give equal attention to selling your property. After all, you want to get a good price for it to cover as much of the cost of your new home as possible.
Below are a few important elements involved in selling your property.
Take a look at the questions we recommended you ask when buying a property again. If you’re selling a property with some good answers to those questions, make sure you mention them in your advertisement or tell the estate agent managing the sale about them. Your estate agent can make those features really clear to prospective buyers of your home.
Although you want someone to pay a decent sum for your property, you don’t want to price people out and make it harder to sell. The best way to ensure you put it on the market for a reasonable amount is to have a valuation and ask your estate agent about the local market, so you can see how your home compares. You can also ask how to improve your home and boost the value by applying each of the questions we recommended earlier. For an even more accurate value estimate, we recommend having at least 3 valuations from different estate agencies. You can then use the average figure, rather than rely on a singular opinion.
You can advertise your property yourself or have your estate agent do it. There’s no legal requirement to use their advertising services but it’s a smart move if they’ve got an encouraging reputation. Just be aware that estate agents will charge you to advertise and it’s normally priced as a percentage of your final sale price – usually around 1.5%.
Online property advertisers are also becoming a popular option for sellers. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll likely have to arrange viewings yourself and pay fees upfront, regardless of whether you end up selling via that website or not.
You’re more likely to sell your home quickly and for a good price if it’s looking its best when people come to view it.
Here are our top tips:
Moving home is not only stressful - it’s expensive.
Here are some stats to give you a better idea of what you’re likely to spend:
How can you save money? You can’t cut certain expenses completely but you can reduce them by comparing providers. We recommend obtaining at least 3 quotes per service.
It’s important to be aware of any additional hidden costs you might have to pay, e.g. HM Land Registry fee, electronic transfer fees, property fraud fee, mortgage arrangement fee, storage fee, phone line and broadband setup costs, etc. The amount you pay will likely depend on the services you use.
John Charcol can help you organise everything, from finding a removals company to setting up bills, with our free concierge service.
The property chain refers to the number of properties involved in a sale. For you, moving home will likely involve selling one property to move into another one. That’s 2 properties. But the people from whom you’re buying your property will likely be moving into a new place themselves and the people buying your property will be moving from somewhere - and so on. You’ve got yourselves, your buyers, their buyers, the people selling you their property and the people they’re buying from – that’s a lot of buying and selling contracts that need to change hands. To make matters even more complicated, all these transactions need to complete on the same day.
The bad news? Stress and nail biting is inevitable when moving home. The good news - most of the head spinning contract stuff will be taken care of by your solicitor.
Here’s how you can stay on top of everything and remain informed throughout the process:
You don’t have to do everything at once when you move home. There are different stages. We’ve outlined below what you need to do as you approach your moving date below.
6 weeks before you move you should:
4 weeks before:
1 – 2 weeks before:
On the day you move:
You need to inform pretty much everyone when you change address.
Some examples include:
We can find you a mortgage, so you can move up the property ladder and into a bigger, better home. See Moving Home Mortgages for more information on what we offer. Or call us on 0344 346 3672.