Essential Tips For Moving Home

Are you planning to move home? I personally have moved over a dozen times in my life, including property purchases and sales, to and from rentals, as a single, in a couple, and with Squiggle. Our last three moves have been since becoming a parent and that is not easy, that’s for sure! Moving can be stressful whether you have a family in tow or not, but there are ways to help ensure a smooth(er) move. Here are some tips, based on our experiences…

Essential Tips For Moving Home text with image of hand holding keys

House Hunting

There are so many tips for house hunting, I think this would need a post of its own! In very brief summary; consider the area, local facilities, what the neighbourhood and that particular road is like, the house itself (layout, type of build/ style, state of repair etc…), your actual neighbours and so on. Ask questions of the vendor to find out why they are selling too.

First Time Buyers

As first time buyers, we were a little over eager and rushed into it somewhat. We also totally underestimated the costs involved!

My advice would be to haggle and don’t be afraid to walk away. Take your time to think about what you really want from a home; what your priorities are and what you are prepared to compromise on. Take into account the cost of surveys, solicitor fees, stamp duty and actual moving day costs, as well as any other expenses, and make sure you have enough set aside for any unexpected eventualities too!

House with a for sale sign

Buying and Selling

We found buying and selling hugely stressful and had a horrendous experience. We made alot of rookie mistakes, but we were also quite unlucky, and I think we certainly should have chosen our solicitor more carefully too, to be honest. I won’t go into the finer details on this post (maybe one day!) but it’s not an experience I would like to repeat!

All of my above advice for first time buyers applies here too. Remember there will be greater expense, especially in solicitors fees, if you are buying and selling at the same time. Make sure you have a good solicitor and keep in regular communication with your chain.

If you need to pull out during the process for any reason, do not let other members of the chain pressure you into proceeding regardless, if your reasons for doing so can not be fully resolved. However, if the chain starts to crumble elsewhere down the line, see if there is any way of helping to resolve the issues as this is mutually beneficial. The bottom line is, moving home is a huge expense, so only go ahead if and when you are 100% sure.

Renting

We have rented many homes, some short term and some longer term. We rented when we were younger but we also rent our family home now too. These days we are very specific about what we are looking for but before we had a child to consider, we were somewhat more versatile!

If you are renting, you need to think about whether it is a long term let (worth asking about the landlord’s situation in our experience), is it furnished or unfurnished, and do they allow pets. If it is a shared house, you also need to consider who your housemates will be of course. If it is a family home and/ or long term let especially, you are also likely to want to take into account the tips mentioned for house hunting above too.

Practical Tips For The Actual Move

My top tip for the actual move is to enlist plenty of help! Depending on how much stuff you have, how busy you are, and how far you are moving, largely dictates how much help, and what type, you are likely to need.

Squiggle and Andy carrying items from van

Many people, including ourselves, pack up their own belongings to cut costs and save some money, rather than paying a full service removal company. We have often hired a van ourselves too, especially if we are only moving locally. However, I would recommend getting some friends or family to help, or alternatively hire a man with a van to assist. We did this before and it certainly relieved some of the stress!

For example Man and Van services – The man van operates in the London area and offers a cost effective solution to moving home or office. There is a choice of a smaller van if you have less stuff or a larger Luton van for a whole house move. As long as you can fit all your belongings and furniture into one load, or if it is just a very short journey (for example we once moved just a few streets away) then this often a more economical solution that a larger removal company and more practical than doing it entirely yourself.

Another tip is to be organised. Arrange to get the keys as early as you can in the day to allow yourself more moving time. With rentals you can allow yourself a small overlap, if finances and circumstances permit, to take the pressure off somewhat. Bare in mind when buying a house though, the keys are not usually released until the solicitor has received your money. So make sure they will be available and easily contactable on the day!

Do you have any top tips for moving? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

What To Look For When Renting/ Top Tips For Landlords #RentalInsights

Recently homelet.co.uk carried out a survey and have found some interesting stats about tenants:

  • Overall 86% of people were either very happy, quite happy or somewhat happy with their landlord or letting agent
  • 75% of people surveyed claimed to be happy with the response to maintenance requests
  • 43.6% of tenancy agreements do not allow pets
  • 12.5% of people surveyed have had their deposit withheld with 39.1% of these down to cleaning and 19.3% down to re-decorating costs

We are long term renters but have also been landlords ourselves too, so we have seen it from both sides of the fence. We have had some poor experiences as tenants, but have also had some very positive ones as well. Over the years, we have rented privately and through letting agents, in house shares, as a couple, and as a family, and have had our homes managed by many different companies along the way. Therefore I am pleased to take part in HomeLet’s #RentalInsights campaign, to share our experiences and top tips!

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Renting as a family (especially with an SEND child) means that our experience, and our priorities, maybe different to other people in some regards. I know that before we started a family, we personally had a very different view on renting, whereas what we look for has shifted now that we are parents. For example, we used to move around every 6 months or so; a scenario we are most definitely very keen to avoid now! We both used to work full time so rarely gave any thought to how much notice we were given or how often access was ‘required’. Infact we were probably pretty quick to complain if things weren’t dealt with very promptly! These days, that is a disruption that we want kept to a minimum and we need flexibility with regards to timings, with as much notice as possible given too.

The top priorities we have when looking for a family rental home, aside from location and so on, are three fold:

Firstly, it must be a long term let. As a family, and especially with an SEND child, long term means years. Many agents consider 6 month contracts to be a long term let, so it is important to clarify what is meant by ‘long term’ for the particular property that you are considering. 

Secondly, we need somewhere that accepts pets. They are part of our family; rehoming them is absolutely not up for consideration. However, as the survey suggests, this reduces our options by roughly half before we can even begin to think about any of the other factors that we need to consider. Sometimes a personal letter to the landlord, an offer of a higher deposit and/ or clauses added to the agreement can help with finding a pet- friendly property.

Thirdly, we look for a suitable landlord/ letting agent. If initial conversations suggest that the attitude of the landlord, or approach to property management, is going to cause us stress and/ or prevent us from feeling like it is our home, we dismiss it. We also ensure that we are upfront about our own circumstances (home educating, SEND child etc…) so that we can find a good match for us. 

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We have had some totally appalling experiences along the way though, both as a couple and as a family. This includes landlords letting themselves in without warning, agents showing round viewings after we have said it is not a convenient time, drastic rent increases regularly, keeping deposit without justification (prior to the compulsory deposit schemes) and even being evicted in the midst of our child having a health crisis (through no fault of our own; it was simply because they decided to sell). It can quickly turn into a nightmare if you find yourself in a difficult situation, so I recommend both landlords and tenants are clued up on their legal rights and responsibilities at all times. 

The key points we would give to landlords/ agents is to build up enough of a working relationship with your tenants that you understand their personal priorities, and vice versa. Are they the type of tenant who will want every little detail dealt with immediately? Or do they need any essential work done around their schedule? Are they away alot anyway so people letting themselves in (with prior written notice of course!) is irrelevant to them, or are they a homebody who values their privacy and wants to be left alone as much as possible?

The absolute crucial thing to remember is, for the period that they live there, it is the tenant’s home. And most people want, and need, to feel at home. It can be stressful living in a property where you feel like you are just visiting, or are made to feel uncomfortable in any way, and that in turn can affect peoples’ health and wellbeing. So putting yourself in the shoes of your tenant is a must.

Understanding abit about the tenants and their situation, and knowing what matters most to them personally, helps everyone to have a more enjoyable, relaxed and positive experience. 

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post written as part of HomeLet #RentalInsights campaign.