Want to ring in the new year in your dream home? If so, you'll need to get organised now. Here’s Phil Spencer with some simple tips on how to move home in time for the festivities.
You’ve found your perfect home. But do you have enough time to sell your current property and move into your new one by Christmas? If you follow these 8 simple steps, you might well make it.
1. Use a selling agent that’s signed up to the major property portals
You’ll need to ensure the estate agent (or agents) you hire list their properties with the major portals – namely Zoopla and Rightmove. This will mean your property gets full exposure to potential buyers.
Read more: How to choose an estate agent
2. Get your home 100% sale-ready
There are many aspects of the home buying and selling process that are beyond your control - and that is why it is especially important to take charge of the ones you can.
Embark on a big ‘clutter clear out’ of your current home - from the loft right through to the kitchen cupboards - to make it ready to put on the market. And when you’ve freed up some space, consider giving tired walls and ceilings a fresh lick of paint in neutral colours to attract potential buyers.
3. Make sure the price is right
It’s a good idea to get three local estate agents to provide valuations for your home (and don’t forget you can also get your own estimates using Zoopla’s house prices tool).
But don’t just choose the agent who gives you the highest price. If you want your home to sell soon, it will need to be priced according to the current market.
Above: Four-bedroom terraced house for sale in west London
4. Pick a buyer who's also ready to move
You want to make sure that potential buyers are serious so do your homework. Find out how they are financing the purchase. Cash buyers are best of course, but if – like many people – they need a mortgage, ask to see an Agreement in Principal. This is a document from the lender confirming that, all being well, it will lend the money.
If your buyer has their own house to sell, make sure that it is under offer before you take yours off the market.
5. Get your paperwork in order
Don't forget to get your own ducks in a row too. Even if you don’t need to change the size of your mortgage to move to your next home, it’s likely that you’ll have to reapply for the same deal if you plan to take the loan with you.
This means getting all the relevant documents, such as your payslips, tax returns, bank statements and employment contracts, ready well in advance. It's also a good time to check your credit score and ensure there’s nothing lurking in it that could scupper your application.
Read more: Moving house checklist for buyers
Above: Five-bedroom detached new-build home for sale in Waltham Abbey, Essex
6. Shop around for a readily-available surveyor
Unless your next home is a new-build which is still under the NHBC guarantee, you’ll need to get a survey carried out. Some surveyors will be busier than others so telephone several and check their availability.
Read more: What survey do I need?
7. Keep a tight rein on your solicitor
Solicitors and property lawyers can be notoriously slow when it comes to the legal work behind buying and selling – the process known as conveyancing. So choose one that’s been recommended.
Ask the solicitor upfront if they’ll be able to work within your time parameters. Then it’s down to them to choose whether or not to accept the challenge.
When you’ve settled on a solicitor, ask them to prepare all the paperwork, such as the draft contract, in advance. And dig out your title deeds now. If everything is already set and ready to go, a complete package can be sent to your purchaser’s solicitor on the very same day.
And of course, it also pays to stay in close contact with your solicitor and stay informed of exactly where you are in the conveyancing process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be proactive in pushing forward with what needs to get done.
8. Agree a quick turnaround for completion
Completion is the point at which you get the keys to your new home and it officially becomes yours. Agree your completion date at the start, so you and your buyer both know what you are working to.
While completion typically takes place a couple of weeks after exchange, you can decide to make it sooner than this. In fact, if timings get really tight, both events can even take place on the same day.