Thinking of moving?
The days of people being born and living out their whole lives in one home have all but disappeared as the average person now moves roughly every five to seven years currently in the UK, a surprising revelation yet it’s only taken a couple of generations to become “the norm” in UK housing.
For example, my own gran rented the same house for thirty-three years and only moved because her landlady died and the house had to be sold as part of her estate. My sister, who wants to live in the rental sector as the housing ladder’s just too high to reach, has found herself frustratingly needing to move on after just a couple of years at each address, by landlords who’ve decided they’ve “made enough” from their investment properties and want to sell and release their equity. Meanwhile, I’ve had to sell my own house and move several times due to reasons ranging from awful neighbours, the arrival of my own little ones and a delightful episode where local planning meant a block of flats were constructed directly opposite my flat, completely obscuring the sea view I’d fallen in love with! All of which goes to show that whether you’re living in a bought and mortgaged home, or a rented property, the reasons for having several moves in a life-time cover a whole range of life-situations:
- Moving in with others, such as a spouse, family or friends in a house-share for many reasons including companionship, matrimony or financial / care support.
- A home becomes too small to accommodate a growing or merged family.
- A home becomes too large once everyone’s flown the nest.
- Change in employment, from a new job in a new location to redundancy and a need to make the most of a payout or cut on-going bills.
- Neighbourhood changes, including intolerable situations such as a by-pass being constructed close to country residences, a sudden influx of neighbours who keep anti-social hours (and ill-thought out blocks of flats which spoil the view)!
- Moving to be closer to family.
- Problems in the home itself… perhaps now you’d like a larger garden so the kids can have a dog, or maybe issues with your joints mean you’d rather move to a bungalow and avoid stairs.
- Upgrading or a home ‘trade-up’ to ameliorate boredom, to fit in with family circumstances or to be nearer better schools.
Whether you’re choosing to move for some of these happier reasons, or obliged to move to make the best of your life circumstances, the primary consideration will of course be…
Whichever sector you’re in, a move incurs considerable costs:
Private sector: property deposit; solicitor and conveyancing fees; bank, building society and / or mortgage broker fees; property valuation and survey fees; stamp duty (depending on the price of the property involved); land registry fees; estate agency fees if you’re selling.
Rental sector: security deposit; managing agent fees.
And for both, there is the settling up of any previous utility bills as well as removal costs.
So, if you want to reduce your chances of incurring such costs every few years by having to move, what can you do?
- Double check those property searches (to identify whether there is any local planning afoot which might affect the property you want to buy). You can also investigate this if you like a particular rental property too, by taking a good look at the area and scouring the local paper for planning notices.
- Visit the neighbourhood at different times of day (particularly on weekends too) to help identify what the neighbourhood’s like.
- Look at the facilities available in the nearest community hub to the property. You can tell something about the local community if you’re faced with an area full of galleries, tea shops and high-street names or a strip of betting shops, all-night supermarkets, charity shops and nail bars. If either of these types suits you in the long-term, then you’re likely to be in a place you’ll enjoy living in!
- Visiting the pub which is most local to the property is also a useful way of finding out more about what it’s like to live in the area: locals are usually quick to reveal all, or you can just sit in the corner and people-watch, which can also be very revealing!
- View your prospective new home with two different sets of “spectacles”… no, not rosy coloured ones, but ones which reflect the stage of life you’re at or are aiming for with this move:
- Want a family home? Imagine the accommodation with a screaming baby and a toddler. The thin walls and TV point just below the “nursery” bedroom might make living there a bit tricky. Is the garden safe and easy to secure for children?
- Want a forever home? Is there a downstairs toilet or shower room, or space to install one if the stairs get too much in old age? Will the garden be easy enough to maintain and is it secure for if you end up living alone at some point?
Once your move’s inevitable, remember that a quick checklist of to-dos can save you time, hassle and maybe even a bit of money across what is an expensive time:
- Arrange for mail to be redirected as soon as the move is confirmed… don’t rely on goodwill from the next occupants.
- Arrange for removal quotes too and remember to ask for the services you need: if you’d rather pack yourself but you’d like the boxes supplied, then ask for a quote which reflects this.
- Arrange for utilities and services to be switched over and remember to take final meter readings on the day.
- Take the opportunity to shop around for new deals for utilities and services such as broadband etc.
- Make sure that your home insurance covers your moving period and update your insurances in relation to the new property. For example, if your new home offers off-road parking or a garage this could mean a reduction in your premium!
And finally, remember to keep identity documents, receipts and relevant paperwork in a folder which you’ll keep close to hand on moving day as even though you’ll have parted with all your cash, you’ll almost certainly have to show ID to the estate agent or managing agent in order to get your keys!