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7 steps to take now if you want to move house this year

If your plans to move house were put on hold because of coronavirus, then there’s finally some good news.

The housing market officially reopened in England on 13 May 2020, meaning you can once again move house - yey!

Estate agents have reopened their doors and viewings can go ahead, under social distancing measures. And removal workers have been told they can return to work too, under new guidance on working safely.

However, whether you’re hoping to list your property and move house as soon as possible, or wait until later this year, the key is to use the extra time we have stuck indoors during the lockdown to do your preparation now.

Here’s what to do:

1. Prepare your home for sale

Make the most of time spent at home in the lockdown by ensuring you’ll be able to show off your property in the best light possible. So, if you have any unfinished DIY projects or things that need fixing, like a broken door handle or a dripping tap, then repair them. You want to show buyers that your home has been well-maintained.

Also, consider giving your home a lick paint to freshen up the interior. Choosing a neutral colour scheme will help buyers envisage how they would put their own stamp on the property.

And if you’ve overlooked your garden in recent months, invest time in getting it tidy.
For more advice, read our ‘Top tips for selling your house’.

2. Boost your kerb appeal

Remember, first impressions count, so improving your home’s exterior is a crucial part of preparing to sell. Go outside your home and give it a critical look for ways you can improve it; big or small. Could the fascias and soffits benefit from being cleaned? Does the drive need de-weeding? Then now’s the time to get it done. Also, make sure the gutters are clear too. Read our article on ‘How to add value to your home’.

3. Work out what you can afford

Buying a new home takes a great deal of planning, especially financially. You might need a mortgage to fund your new property. If you do, then you’ll need to find out how much you can borrow before you start house-hunting.

By speaking to a mortgage adviser, you can get a more accurate idea of what you can afford to buy.

Finding out this information early on means you won’t waste time looking at houses in the wrong price bracket. It also means you can get an Agreement in Principle (AIP). This is a document provided by your chosen mortgage lender to show they could, in principle, give you a mortgage up to a certain amount.

Most estate agents will request this before you start the buying process.

4. Sort your paperwork

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to supply a range of paperwork. This includes things like three months’ bank statements, three months’ pay slips and proof of address and identity. For a full list of what you would need to bring to a mortgage appointment, click here.

Not all of us have the perfect filing system, so gathering these documents together now while you’re stuck indoors will save you time when you want to apply.

5. Investigate your credit score

Lenders will look at your credit score when you apply for a mortgage. They’ll use it to help decide if they'll lend you money, how much they'll lend you, and sometimes how much interest to charge you.

So if you’re hoping to move home, it’s important to check it as one of your first steps. If your score is lower than you had hoped, there are things you can do to improve it. And if you think your credit report contains mistakes, then it’s essential you get them corrected.

6. Find an estate agent

You’ll need an estate agent if you’re planning to sell your current home, so another good use of spare time during the lockdown is to do your research to find the right one. It’s important to speak to a number of agents; find out how much they charge in fees and how much they'll list your property for.

And while viewings are now allowed, online research will be more important than ever to the vast majority of buyers, so see what different agents are offering in relation to this. For example, one estate agent in South London is offering ‘vendor video tours’, where sellers film walk-through videos of their homes which can then be viewed online.

7. Sort the legal side

You’ll also need a conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal work involved in buying and selling a house.

So instead of waiting until you’ve had an offer accepted on a property to find one, why not do your research now? Getting everything in place now will speed up the process further down the line.

You can find out more about what conveyancers do here.

Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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