Top Tips for a Smooth House Move

Often cited as one of the most stressful things you can do, moving house can involve a great deal of time, expense and worry.

But it can also be fun – most of the time, the reasons for moving house are to provide a benefit to you or your family.

So what can you do to reduce the stresses and strains involved in the moving process so you can be better positioned to look forward to your new future?

Claire Egerton, our Head of Residential Property, provides some tips…

Be prepared

Moving house can be a tedious and sometimes lengthy process, especially if there is a long chain of other buyers involved. However, there are things you can do yourself to streamline the process. If you are selling a property to buy your new one, be sure to have all your paperwork in order at the outset. This includes certificates for any works carried out on the property such as extensions, electrical works etc and any guarantees.

When buying a property, have all your ducks in a row as early as possible – for example, book your survey as soon as is sensible.

Be clear on what you’re actually buying

According to data compiled by, the average decision to buy a property is made in only 38 minutes. It is impossible that you will be able to take everything in during this time! If you can, arrange to visit the property you are buying again before committing to an exchange of contracts. Check things such as the physical boundaries and that they correspond with the legal boundaries shown on the title deeds. Be sure that you are happy with what has been listed in the Fittings and Contents Form (sometimes called the Fixtures and Fittings Form) that the vendor has completed – do not assume that everything you saw when you visited the property will be included.

If you are buying a new build property, be sure to double check what is and isn’t included as standard, and ensure that any additional extras you may have negotiated with the housebuilder are agreed in writing.

Be prepared to be patient

As much as you may want to move into your new home tomorrow, you’ll need to be aware that some parts of the process take time, and unfortunately, this cannot be avoided. For example, ‘searches’ can sometimes take 3 to 4 weeks to be turned around.

Purchases of flats or apartments can also take longer than anticipated – this is because there is usually a management company involved and as such, there will be more information that needs to be reviewed and checked. Be prepared to pay the fee required by the Management Company or Agent as soon as possible in order that this doesn’t delay the Sellers Pack being sent to your solicitor.

It can be easy to forget that there are usually several parties involved when you are moving house – your buyer, the vendor of the property you are buying, the other buyers and sellers in the chain and all of their advisers – surveyors, mortgage lenders, solicitors etc. Any hold up caused by any one party can quickly have a knock on effect! So try not to get fixated with a completion date – lots can change along the way and dates aren’t fixed until contracts are exchanged.

Be ready for moving day

It may sound obvious but when it comes to the crunch, many people are poorly prepared when moving day actually dawns. Be sure to have all your arrangements in hand so that you can move out of the property by the agreed time on completion day.

Remember that on legal completion, the property ownership changes hands.

Choose your advisers carefully

Buying a property is likely to be one of the most significant financial transactions you will make in your lifetime, so be sure you have a team of professionals you can trust and rely on! This applies from the outset with your choice of estate agent, and then on to your mortgage adviser, solicitor and surveyor too. If you don’t have your own network of advisers, ask for recommendations from friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials – advisers that have a good relationship with their clients, gained from providing a good service, will be only too happy to provide them!

For more information or to discuss purchasing a residential property, please contact Claire on 01457 761320 or email [email protected].

Claire Egerton is Head of Residential Property at O’Donnell Solicitors.