sell your home fast

6 Secrets to Sell Your Home Fast

If you have finally decided it is time to sell your house, you are already ahead of the game. In London, timing the market and making the decision to sell a house is often one of the hardest decisions for people.

If you have sold a property before, you must be aware of how things work in the property market. When you decide you want to sell your house, it is time to start interviewing estate agents, staging your house to attract prospective buyers, and take listing photos.

However, with a new era of technology, a changing, and slightly uncertain property market, it is important for sellers to take note of the top tips or secrets to sell your home instantly.

1.   Hire the Right Estate Agents

When you consult the right estate agent, for example, experts at Fish Need Water, they should be able to guide you about the ins and outs of the property market, right down to your neighborhood, as well as your block. They should have the right amount of knowledge about the families buying near you and the present value of your home. A good agent might be able to recommend ways on how you can stage your home to attract buyers, and more tips to highlight your home.

2.   Consider Latest Gadgets

Sellers are turning to all new ways of showing off their home’s best features. This means that hiring a professional photographer might not be enough for you. Experts in the estate market suggest homeowners should create 3D virtual reality tour to make their house stand out in the competitive market. An increasing trend this year is drone photography too.

3.   Emphasise Those Listing Photos

When it is time to advertise your home, you need to have it well represented in the listing photos. Many estate agents these days recommend that you should work on a few renovations to highlight the appearance of your home. Your home has to stand out, so you can work on tile enhancements, repaint or fix new lights along the front deck.

4.   Freshen Up Your Home Space

One of the most inexpensive ways to make your home smell and look newer is through a coat of fresh paint. When you go to an estate agency, usually the agents would guide you to work on a repainting project. Why is this so? The truth is that when a place shows really well, buyers try to visualize themselves in the home space. This way, you can also increase your chances to sell faster.

Another trick is to declutter your space – especially removing personal items like photos, artworks etc. If you have nospace tostore those things in your home then rent a cheap self storage unit for a month or two.

5.   Try To Go Social

When your home finally goes into the records of an estate agency, make sure that your agent highlights your home on places where buyers often search – online! These days, people turn to social media sites to search for recent updates and everything new and happening in their city or area. Ask your agent where your home’s listing would appear online and make sure they take advantage of marketing capabilities on social channels.

6.   List Your Home at the Right Price

You have to consult an estate agent and carry out research of your own to know the market value of your property. This will help you to price the property right up front and it will usually sell for more money. A concern for most property owners to avoid being a part of the price drop game. To sell your home faster and for more, you need to price it correctly.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Scoff at the First Offer

A small bit of uncertainty is clouding the predictions of the current market, and when uncertainty appears, it is a smart decision for sellers to take the first offer they get or end up taking the risk of losing big. Sellers can no longer dictate their terms as the market is shifting towards a buyer’s market. Do not scoff at the first offer; it is best to take it. After all, something is better than nothing at all.

Keeping these tips in mind when selling your home could help you to sell faster. Although it may seem like a difficult choice to make in the end, when you consult the right estate agent in any area in London, you can rest assured you will be able to sell your home at the right price and the right time. Just take your time to explore your options, interview a few estate agents, go through their portfolio, and the prospective buyers they have for you. Try to set a price quote that fits within the present property market, and when you finally feel that you have the right buyer in line, you can go ahead and sell your home.

moving house in the rain

Tips For Moving House In The Rain

Sadly, living in the UK almost guarantees a rainy day when you’re moving house. Here we have some tips to help you prepare for bad weather and  move house on a rainy day.


In your head, on your moving day the sun will be shining, the moving company will arrive on time, everything will be packed and ready to go, and the kids will be perfectly behaved all day. Now, in all likelihood a few of those scenarios are unlikely to happen, but living in the UK, one of them is almost guaranteed not to happen -, and that’s the sun shining. You can check the weather reports and book your move for the height of summer, but you know that sods law will have you in your rainmac, covering the new carpets desperately in carrier bags, wondering why you ever thought you’d be lucky enough to move on a dry day.

The problem with moving in the rain is that it’s messy, and it can be dangerous as well depending on how bad the conditions are. So do have the best intentions for moving on a sunny day, but prepare for the rain as well, so that if you find you are moving on a wet and windy day, you’re completely prepared.

Here are some tips to help you move house in the rain like a pro:


Ask Your Moving Company

Ask your moving company how they adapt their services to a rainy day. Most companies will have a different way of doing things for rainy days. This might involve plastic sheeting being laid down on carpets, plastic covering for furniture and similar items and a change in logistics. Remember an experienced company will have worked through all weather conditions, so they know how to make your move work whatever the weather.


Plan For Storage

If you are moving your items into or out of self-storage in London or another major city then you’re going to need to prepare the items you are moving for a rainy day. You may already have plastic sheeting for the larger furniture items, but it is unlikely you have plastic sheeting for any boxes. If you don’t protect cardboard boxes from the rain, you will have a pretty huge problem on your hands. Don’t assume the boxes will dry off in storage, work to prevent them getting wet in the first place. You do not want soggy boxes, mould, damp and rot wrecking your items as they stay in cheap self storage. Remember moving a box to a new home is different to moving one into self-storage where the items inside are likely to stay boxed up. So if the box is wet or damp, it will cause you immediate or long term issues in the way of damage.


Anti-slip Mats and Stick Ons

You can buy cheap grippy mats from anywhere and they come in really handy on rainy days – safety comes first! You can also buy double sided grippy tape and pads which will stick on the bottom of furniture and boxes to stop them from slipping around – something that much more likely when it is raining.


Plastic Sheets, Plastic Sheets, Plastic Sheets!

You WILL need plastic sheets. They aren’t expensive so stock up. They protect items from moisture and dirt, including the items being moved and the carpets and flooring in your old and new property. The removals or self-storage company may well have these materials but it will not hurt you to stock up too.


Secure Your Boxes

You should do this anyway, regardless of whether or not it might rain. Any thin cardboard boxes should be positively covered in packing tape. Any boxes that don’t have secure lids should also be covered in packing tape; better still use solid, double–walled cardboard boxes that you can buy from any good self-storage company in London rather than rely on free boxes that tend to be too flimsy. Try and think of it like preparing boxes for postage, imagine the box being bashed around, held in the rain and shifting around in transit – prepare for the worst case scenario and make your boxes indestructible.


Tips For Taking Your Houseplants To A New Home

Packing house plants is not as simple as packing a regular box for self-storage or a house move, they need special care and attention. Here are a few tips to help you.


When you have spent years cultivating healthy houseplants to bring warmth and greenery to your home, you don’t want to see them damaged or worse – dead – after a house move. Packing house plants is not as simple as packing a regular box for a house move or for self-storage in London or any other major city; they need special care and attention. Often they can be low on packing priorities, which is understandable when there’s so much to do. It is important you consider your houseplants when you’re moving if you want to keep them healthy and alive.


Here are some useful tips to help you keep your precious house plants alive during a move:


Give Them Away

If they won’t survive a long move, give them away. Think about how long you’re going to be travelling for and how hardy your plants are. If they simply won’t handle the climate change or rough transit, then you may have to give them to friends and family. It’s a tough sacrifice to make, but you will be able to replace them with new ones in your new home.


Check If They Are Covered By Insurance

It is likely that your moving company will not pay you any money if your houseplants get damaged in transit. This may not be a big issue if your plants are not precious to you, but if they are or if the plant is worth a lot of money you may want to think about taking the plants in the car with you.


Check You Can Take Them With You

If you think they will survive the long journey, check they are actually allowed to come with you. If you’re moving countries, there may be rules and regulations stopping you taking certain plants across the border, so read up on the rules before you move.


Take Cuttings

If you can’t take your plants with you, but love them – take some cuttings so you can cultivate baby plants from the original plants. There are products available at garden centres that will enable you to do this efficiently.


Check For Infestations

It is important you do not take plants into your new home if they have insect infestations or plant diseases that can be passed on to other plants. You can make an effort to remove the disease or insects before you move home, just make sure you leave enough time to do so.


Pack Your Plants Last

Make sure you pack your plants last but allow adequate time to do so – don’t just chuck them in the back of the car last minute. They need to be securely packed into sturdy boxes that cannot fall over, and that aren’t having other boxes on top of them. If you’re moving some items to self storage units and some to your new home, make sure the plants don’t accidentally get taken to the wrong place – they will not survive in a dark self-storage unit.


Keep Plants Moist

If you are travelling for a long period of time, plants will need to be extra moist so that they survive. Don’t water them during the move, simply install a drip feeder into the plant pot or give the soil a good soaking before you set off.


Plan Where Your Plants Will Go

As your plants will have thrived in their current environment, it is important you give them a similar environment in your new home. Make a note of the conditions your current plants live in IE; on the windowsill or in a cool, shaded corner, and find similar places in your new home to house them.


top home improvements that add value

Top Home Improvements That Add Value

When it comes to home improvements, you might not be aware of how helpful even the simplest ones can be when it comes to increasing the value of your property. Even small things like superficial repairs and new windows can make a world of difference to the value you will be quoted when selling your home. Of course, it’s not always easy to undertake this kind of task, and so it is important to carefully consider it before you go ahead. However, before you make any decisions, make sure you read our list of the top home improvements that add value to your home. You might find a few that you can do easily.


Preparing to Sell Your House

Getting ready to sell your home is no easy task. There are solicitors to talk to, viewings to arrange, and a range of hoops that you need to jump through. However, these things can wait. The first thing you need to do before you go through the main phases of selling your home, is to ensure that it is in prime condition. After all, no one wants a house that is falling apart or looks a little run down. Make home improvements your priority, and you will see a sharp increase in the market value for your home.


Improvements You Should Make

#1 Structural Repairs

These are incredibly important, and they need to be dealt with. You can’t just cover these up either. It might fool the person who is viewing the home, but it won’t get past the surveyor. Structural damage can take a lot off your asking price, and lead to you getting a lot less than you bargained for. No one wants to move into a house that is suffering from structural damage, and it is only right to make sure this is fixed before it goes on the market. Here are some examples:

  • a sagging or leaking roof
  • rising damp
  • structural cracks to walls
  • bowing walls
  • rotten joists or roof timbers
  • insect infestation
  • missing or broken roof tiles
  • an unstable chimney stack
  • a collapsed floor/slab

While these tend to be some of the most expensive repairs you are likely to make, it is well worth it when you consider how much can be taken off the value of your home if they are left as they are. Of course, you can always consult a few builders and surveyors to ensure that it is structural work and not cosmetic.

This kind of repair work can take quite a lot of time to complete. As a result, it is important that you identify the issues early on and get them sorted right away. The faster the work is complete, the sooner you can have your house on the market.


#2 Superficial Defects

The superficial defects don’t really detract from the overall value of the home. However, before you dismiss them, there is an important point to make. While they don’t affect the value, they do affect the sales. People who are viewing your home will be less likely to buy if there are superficial defects. People want to see themselves living in a lovely and pristine home, not one that is falling apart. Here are some of the main ones, all of which you can fix yourself if you have the time:

  • peeling paint
  • squeaking or sticking doors and windows
  • door latches that don’t work
  • mouldy sealants in kitchen and bathroom
  • dripping taps
  • loose tiles
  • sewer smells
  • broken or damaged windows
  • squeaky floors and stairs
  • cracks in ceilings and plasterwork
  • lifting flooring


bathroom in a loft conversion

#3 Loft Conversions

Loft conversions are incredibly popular. They add a lot more space, and that means additional value. You can create a whole new bedroom in the loft, or a home office. Of course, before you go ahead with this, you first need to make sure you have room for the staircase on the floor below. Without an ample staircase, there is little point in the project.

Next, you need to receive planning permission for certain aspects of the conversion of your loft. You must also ensure that the work carried out meets all building regulations and is built using the correct timbers. This is something you can discuss with the builders you talk to, as different roof timbers cost different amounts. Building regulations also mean that you need to ensure it is very well insulated, as well as meeting a range of other criteria.

Dormer windows and skylights are great for allowing natural light into the room. When it comes to planning permission for loft conversions, it tends to only be the dormer windows that require the permission. The rest is free of planning permission, unless of course, it is a listed building. That requires you to contact your local council for further information.


#4 New Windows

Replacing the windows can do a world of good for adding value to your property. Doubled glazed and PVCu are the things that will help to add value, especially on the lower end of the market where it is considered essential. They are a very secure form of window, are energy efficient, and they require very little maintenance – making them more than ideal.

However, higher value properties may not benefit from an increase in value with windows like these. For these properties, aesthetics is a bigger issue, and PVCu windows can really detract from this. As long as they are intact and in good condition, leave the original period windows. If you need to replace them, try to find a wooden framed window, or ones that are very similar to what you have currently installed.

Make sure all new windows are double glazed, unless a conservation area or listed building regulation declares otherwise. It is essential to check these things before you replace windows, as plastic windows are not acceptable for many conservation areas or listed buildings. Timber doesn’t always mean high maintenance either, so make sure potential buyers know that.


new kitchen

#5 New or Repaired Kitchen

The kitchen is often the heart of a house, and a kitchen that looks well-kept and maintained is one that will sell. It should appear hygienic, newly painted, and fresh out of the catalogue. If your kitchen cannot be saved by a lick of paint and some new cabinet handles, consider having the whole thing replaced.

If you go for the replacement option, it also opens up new possibilities. Having the kitchen ripped out gives you freedom for remodelling and restructuring the room, allowing you to move it around as you please. Play with the layout, think about what works best, and implement it into your home.

Before you decide to throw your kitchen out, make sure you check to see if any parts can be salvaged. If you are DIY savvy, you could save yourself a lot of extra cash by making repairs and improvements yourself. Of course, if you are purchasing new appliances, you may need a little professional guidance.

Make sure the room is well-lit as well. The lights should be central and bright, highlighting this room out of all the ones in your home. Make sure the floor looks clean and new, steam clean the grout if you need to, just as long as it looks fresh and hygienic. People want cleanliness, and you need to deliver that.


#6 Remodelled Bathroom

Just like the kitchen, the bathroom also needs careful care and attention. It should look clean, new, and completely hygienic. It should be painted in a neutral shade, such as an off-white, to make the room brighter and more spacious to be in. Ensure that there is good lighting as well, highlighting the room.

At least one bathroom should have a shower, as this is a big selling point for most potential buyers. Electric showers are also rather popular if this is an option for you. If your bathroom is chipped and damaged, or an unfashionable colour (essentially anything except white), you should replace it.

If your bathroom is carpeted, you need to remove it and replace it with tile or a similar flooring. Carpet is not acceptable for a bathroom in a home you are trying to sell, and it should be replaced with something that is easy to clean, and that does not store bacteria.


#7 Remodelled Space

Take a look at the existing space in your home. Can you remodel it? Are there alterations that can be made to improve it? Consult builders about the potential for the space if you have questions, and set about altering it.

Think about the potential of combining rooms, like the kitchen and dining room, or removing hallways that aren’t needed or practical. Fewer rooms with better natural lighting will sell better than more rooms with a lack of natural light. These are important aspects to consider, and should be taken into account.

This work does not have to be expensive, but make sure you always contact a structural engineer and a surveyor before you go ahead with any changes to your home. Equally, make sure you have permission to make these alterations in the first place.


#8 Extending the Home

An extension is also a fantastic option for increasing the overall value of your home. Of course, it can also depend on the location of the extension and its size. It is best to go through your options with a builder and an estate agent so that you understand how much extra your home would be worth.

An extension can add additional bedrooms and create new spaces that are larger and more accessible. You can knock down walls, create new ones, and generally recreate the layout of your home. This can be great for adding value to your property and can make your home more accessible to a wider range of buyers.

Of course, the important thing to do is ensure that you apply for planning permission first and receive it if you want to extend. You must also make sure you follow all building regulations, especially as it is not uncommon for the council to visit you during the project. Always make sure you maintain a good bathroom to bedroom ratio as well.


#9 Fix the Garden

No one likes a dying garden. Take some time to take care of your plants and lawn, make sure that they are green and full of life before you put your house on the market. If you have decking or a patio, these should be washed and scrubbed so that they look spotless.

Privacy is also a big selling factor. People like gardens that are secluded, with hedges and high fences to block the neighbours out. A garden should be a place for peace and tranquillity, and making it as private as possible will help to promote those feelings when people are viewing the house.

Areas should be created in the garden. A place for storage, such as a shed, a place for eating, and a place for cooking. Make these sections clear, without ruining the overall aesthetic of the garden. This helps the buyer to see what the garden could be for them, extending their overall perception.


beautiful house with great kerb appeal

#10 Kerb Appeal

The one thing you don’t want from potential buyers is a negative first impression. The kerbside appeal of a house can make or break a sale before a viewing has even started. The front garden is, of course, essential, but there are a few other tips you can follow for a better exterior:

  • repointing brickwork
  • repainting doors and windows
  • replacing an old garage door
  • changing/repairing windows
  • repainting walls
  • repairing cracked or broken cladding such as render or timber
  • removing stone cladding
  • adding a porch
  • adding climbing plants/trellis
  • replacing/adding a house sign or number
  • or even renaming the property


#11 Build a Conservatory

You would be surprised by how much a conservatory can add to the value of a home, and also how sought after they tend to be. If it works well with the layout, you are looking at an excellent increase in value, whereas a poorly constructed one could backfire completely. As a result, always make sure they are professionally constructed to avoid disappointment.

Always ensure the conservatory faces south. That way, it will always have heat. A north facing conservatory will be a disaster and quite chilly in comparison. They will also help to devalue your home. So remember to always go south, and also to ensure that the materials used (glass and flooring) are energy efficient to make them even more desirable.

Most conservatories will not require planning permission, so check with your local council and planning office. However, they will need to stick to standard building regulations, and this is something you must make sure is enforced throughout.


#12 Renew the Lease

A property with a declining lease will start to lose its value once it reaches under 60 years. Once the lease on a property falls below 30 years, it can be very tricky to get a mortgage. If the landlord does not live on the premises, then it may be possible for you to purchase the freehold or share the freehold – granting yourself a new lease and restoring value to your property. Taking control also means that you are in better control of the ground rent and service charges, as well as management of repairs and common areas.


#13 Off Street Parking

Creating off-street parking can do a world of good for the value of your property, especially in urban areas where street parking is restricted. If you can’t create a garage, a driveway that takes one or two cars is more than acceptable. A well-designed and low maintenance drive are far more attractive to buyers than a front garden they will never use.

You don’t always need planning permission to create a driveway, but there are a number of rules and regulations that need to be followed if you want to create a drive. The best thing to do is consult your local council before you begin work, so you know that you are in complete compliance.

#14 Add Bathrooms

Additional bathrooms are actually a very valuable asset. An ensuite to the master bedroom is even more of a benefit if you are looking to install new bathrooms. People like the privacy that comes with an ensuite, especially in family homes. There should be a WC on each floor that contains bedrooms, and a general ratio of one bathroom to every three bedrooms, plus an ensuite.

Moving a bathroom upstairs from downstairs can also help to increase property value, but you should be warned that you may lose a bedroom in the process. Make sure there is a shower in at least one of the bathrooms, as this is a desirable feature. A bathroom upstairs and a WC downstairs is often a good way to go if possible.

add a luxury bathroom

#15 Update the Plumbing and Electricity

You should always make sure that your wiring and plumbing is up to date and completely modern. Old systems and wiring can take a good chunk off the value of your home, so it is worth ensuring that everything is up to date.

If it has been a long time since the house was rewired and you have an old fuse box, it might be time to consider some electrical work around the home. This is not always expensive, but it does help with the overall value. Adding extra sockets can also be very beneficial, as people need them and they allow for more electrical freedom around the home. The same goes for an extraction fan in the kitchen and a dehumidifier in the bathroom. Little things go a long way.

Old plumbing can lead to burst pipes and issues with clogging, as well as loud noises that disturb you in the night. A new and updated system will run better and create no noise, which is ideal for those who are moving into your home. If you consult a plumber, they can talk through the best systems and deals for you.


To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has been able to guide you when it comes to the top home improvements for adding value to your home. There is a lot to consider, and many different paths you can take. A good idea before you get started on the first steps towards moving house is to consult a few local estate agents. Ask them what they think the current value of your home is, and what it would be with the improvements you are thinking of. This gives you a good idea as to whether or not it is worth it. Take some time to think and plan, then see how much more you home could be worth.

buying a home

Buying a Home: A Step by Step Guide

Purchasing a new home can be an incredibly stressful event. After all, it places third behind bereavement and divorce as the most stressful events we face in our lives. It’s not hard to see why either, especially when you take the amount there is to do into consideration. This guide takes you through the six stages of buying a home, detailing everything you need to do throughout the process. Hopefully, you will be able to use this guide as a checklist for buying a home, as well as helping to prepare you for the process.


Do You Need to Move?

Considering how stressful the entire buying and moving process is, you should carefully consider moving home. Some of the most common reasons people move are as follows:

  • Need more space
  • Dislike their neighbours
  • Dislike the area
  • Want a change of scenery
  • Want to get out of rented accommodation

If you are moving because you need more space, you should first decide if any of the other criteria on the list apply to you. If not, then consider extending your home instead or simply add more storage space. This tends to be a cheaper and less stressful process, even if it does tend to take longer. Sometimes an extension is all you need to improve your home, giving you more space without all the hassle associated with buying a new home.


The Steps to Buying Your New Home

If you are adamant about buying a new home, however, then there are six main stages that you need to complete – none of which are necessarily quick or easy. Here are each of them, in detail, for you to go through.


Step One: Find a Property You Can Afford

The first thing you need to do is assess your budget and determine what you are able to afford in terms of purchasing the house and the cost of the mortgage/bills every month. Make sure you take changes in your financial situation into account, and how you will be able to cope with these payments if something goes wrong. After all, your savings will not just cover the mortgage fees, but also things like stamp duty.

The first thing to do is check your credit score. Lenders are going to be looking at this, so you need to make sure it is up to scratch, and see if there is anything you can do to improve it. You can also check it for any errors and apply to have these rectified. A bad credit score is very likely to be rejected, so make sure you know what you are dealing with before you progress.

buying a house checklist

You also need to choose a mortgage that is right for you. Many people choose to go with their bank, but you can often find better deals when talking to the estate agent. This is because they usually have a mortgage broker that they will recommend to you.

Once you have found an offer you like, you can agree to a mortgage in principle. This is what tells you how much a lender is likely to offer, and the interest you will pay. You may have to pay a fee to reserve the mortgage product you want, which can cost up to £250.

Provided you have passed all of the relevant checks, you are now free to progress to the second stage of the buying process.


Step Two: Make an Offer

So, you have found the home of your dreams. It is within your budget, and the mortgage has essentially been agreed. Now you are ready to make an offer. Usually, you will do this through an estate agent, and often it is acceptable to start your offer price at around 10% below the asking price.

People often get confused about estate agent fees at this point in the process. When you are buying a home, you don’t need to pay estate agent fees on top of your purchase price. You only pay fees for the home that you are selling. These fees are only usually between 0.5% and 3% plus VAT, so it’s not a massive amount.

buying a home - finding a solicitor

Step Three: Find a Solicitor and Surveyor

Your solicitor is the person who handles all of the legal paperwork and filings. Some people choose to hire both a solicitor and conveyancer, but you will save money hiring someone who is able to do both.

You solicitor will always tell you how much you will be expected to pay before they start work, and you should expect to pay an upfront fee before they get started. Usually, this will be a 10% deposit that will be taken off the full amount after completion. Expect to pay up to £1,500 for their services, as well as 20% VAT.

Your solicitor will also submit searches to the local council in the property’s location. This check is to see if there are any local or planning issues that might affect the overall value of the property. You can expect this to cost up to £300.

The surveyor, on the other hand, surveys the property. This means they check the home thoroughly for any problems that could affect its overall cost. There tend to be two surveys – the valuation and property surveys.

The valuation survey is carried out by the lender. This is to ensure the property is worth the amount you are planning to pay before your mortgage is approved. However, this is not an extensive survey as it will not look for and try to uncover any damage or issues with the property. You can still expect to pay up to £1,500 for the service, however, depending on the value of the property. You may also get it for free, depending on the mortgage deal you selected.

The property survey is one that is commissioned by you. Many people neglect to do this, but the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have found that, on average, buyers who don’t get the right survey find themselves faced with £5,750 worth of damages and repairs after moving in.

As it is going to be your property, it is worth paying a decent price to have a good and professional surveying job completed. Plus, it can really help you in terms of price negotiation. For example, if it is found that the property will need £5,000 worth of repairs, you can ask the current owners to lower the price by that much to make up for it.

Here are the three main types of survey that are available:

  • RICS condition report: This is a basic survey, as well as the cheapest one available. If you are buying a home that is in good condition, or one that has been newly built, then this is probably the best option to go for. No advice or valuation will be provided with this type of survey, and you can expect to pay around £250.


  • RICS homebuyer report: This is a much more detailed survey than the one above, and it is most suited to homes in reasonable condition. They look at the inside and outside of the property thoroughly so that they can note any damages or issues, before providing advice and a valuation. You can expect to pay a minimum of £400 for this service.


  • Building or structural survey: Of the three types, this is the most extensive. It is suitable for all properties, but is especially handy of you are buying an older building, or ones that look as though they might need some extra care and attention. Advice and a valuation will be provided at the end, and you can expect to pay a minimum of £600 for this type of survey.


Once this stage is complete and you have planned the type of survey that you will require for your home, you can move onto the next step of the buying process.

buying a home - having a survey done

Step Four: Finalise the Offer and Mortgage

Once the survey stage has been completed, you might want to consider renegotiating the offer that you made on your new home. There are two main reasons why you might want to go through with this:

  • The lender may have valued the property at a lower price, thus leaving you with a shortfall. This means that you won’t be able to match the asking price or what you were originally intending to offer.
  • Your survey may have uncovered issues with the property that will be expensive to fix. With this new information, you can try and renegotiate the price based on the estimated cost of repairs.

Once you have reached this stage, you may start feeling the pressure. This is because it is at this stage that things often become incredibly stressful. At this point, delays and issues could arise for a multitude of reasons, including these ones:

  • The seller decides to withdraw the property from the market (which they are entitled to at this stage)
  • The seller decides to accept a higher offer from another buyer. This is also known as gazumping
  • Your mortgage application could also be rejected at this stage

If things start to go wrong, make sure you communicate regularly with your solicitor and estate agent. Even though things may seem to be going badly, you would be surprised by how often things turn around when the lines of communication are kept open. Don’t give up after a bad turn because things could still go right for you.

However, if everything has gone to plan, you can contact your lender or mortgage adviser to move on with the mortgage finalisation. Usually, there is a fee for this service of up to £2,000. You can have this added onto the mortgage, but remember that if you do you will be paying the interest on it for the lifetime of the mortgage.

Once you have received your binding mortgage offer, the lender must give you seven days to think about it. This gives you time to compare it with other mortgage deals to make sure you are getting the right one for you. However, if you are positive that the mortgage being offered to you is the perfect one, you can give the go-ahead any time before the seven days are up.

It is important to remember that before you and the seller exchange contracts, you can back out of the purchase at any time. It is better that you pull out if you feel that you will not be able to afford the property in terms of repair costs or over the long run, so don’t feel ashamed about doing it. You may, however, lose some money, depending on how far through the process you are.

Once you have decided that this is the right choice for you, and your mortgage has been finalised, you can go ahead and start the next stage of the buying process.


Step Five: Exchange Contracts

If there are no problems or delays, you should now receive the contract to complete your sale. Signing this legally binds you to the purchase. Before you sign it, however, make sure you go through it carefully with your solicitor so that you understand each part.

You need to make sure you agree with what the sellers are leaving behind, and also ensure that all of your questions have been answered suitably. If you have any issues, make sure your solicitor has them ironed out immediately to help things continue running as smoothly as possible.

Once signed by both parties, you and the seller are committed to this stage of the buying process. The seller may ask you for a holding deposit at this stage of the process, usually only up to £1,000, to ensure that you are showing serious intent to follow through with this process.

Once the contracts have been exchanged, moving dates can be discussed and negotiated so that both parties have adequate notice. You will also need to purchase building insurance at this point to cover the structure of the property. Get your insurance sorted at the very beginning to avoid any shocks and disappointments.

Once this stage has been completed, you can move onto the final (and most exciting) one.

house keys handed over

Step Six: Completion

Completion is the most exciting, and most expensive, stage that will be carried out. It is when you pay off all of the money you owe, and you get to move into your new home. There are several things that need to be done in the final steps that lead up to full completion, and this stage lists them all.

The remaining money that is owed on the property will be paid. It will be transferred from your solicitor’s account to the seller’s solicitor. As some of the money will come from the mortgage provider, you can expect to pay a telegraphic transfer fee. Usually, this will cost up to £50.

You may also have to pay a mortgage account fee. The lender charges this fee for setting up, maintaining, and closing down your mortgage account. It is often added to the mortgage itself, which means that you will end up paying interest on it. As a result, it is often a good idea to pay for it up front. This usually costs up to £300.

During this stage, you will also need to pay the remainder of the bill for your solicitor. As a reminder, this typically costs a total (including the deposit) of up to £1,500 plus 20% VAT. Make sure you get this paid off early on as it is an important bill to settle.

At this point in the process, you solicitor will also register the sale with Land Registry for you. This covers properties in England and Wales. For properties in Northern Ireland, it will need to be registered with Land and Property Services. For properties in Scotland, it needs to be registered with Registers of Scotland. The cost of this process largely depends on the price of the property being purchased.

You will also need to pay your estate agent once the completion stage has been reached if you are also selling your home. If you are only buying, then you don’t need to worry about this point. This fee will have been agreed from the outset. Typically, it is a percentage of the purchase price, plus 20% VAT. Generally speaking, the percentage will be no more than 3%, and some agents will offer a percentage as low as 0.5%.

Stamp duty is also something that buyers need to take into consideration. Homes that cost more than £125,000 will require you to pay stamp duty. You will have 30 days after the completion date to pay the fee that is incurred by this tax. Your solicitor will arrange this for you most of the time, taking a good part of the stress away.

There are a number of stamp duty calculators online if you want to know roughly how much you will be expected to pay. If you are purchasing a second home, or one that you plan to rent out, you will need to pay an extra 3% on top of the regular stamp duty band. Make sure you take this into consideration when you are planning how much you are likely to spend.

If you are using a moving company to help you get all of your belongings to your new home, a top tip is that it is cheaper to move on a weekday than it is a weekend. The price will vary depending on how far away you are moving, but you can expect to pay a minimum of £300 and anywhere over £600. Make sure you get a lot of quotes and compare them before you decide on a company to use.

Now that you have paid all outstanding funds and moved in, you can finally relax in your new home. It’s not easy, and it can be very stressful at the time, but at least you have been able to find yourself a wonderful new place to live. Next up is a bottle of champagne while you plan your housewarming party and get those boxes unpacked.


To Conclude

Hopefully, our guide to buying a new home has been useful to you and given you a lot of information about what the process entails. It is not always an easy task to undertake, but it once you find yourself in your new home, you can breathe a sigh of joy and relief. Just remember to keep yourself incredibly organised, and to try and stay calm during the process.

If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear them. Feel free to drop us a message in the comment section below to let us know what you thought of our step by step guide.

selling your home

Selling Your Home: A Step by Step Guide

Selling your home and moving house is not an easy task to undertake. In fact, it is listed as one of the most stressful experiences you will have in life – below divorce and bereavement. There’s good reason for that as well; it can be a real strain both financially and emotionally. However, it doesn’t have to be a complete mess; you can make the process a little easier for you to handle. Our step by step guide to selling your home breaks the process down into 15 simple steps that you need to take when you go to sell. Plus, we have a handy checklist so that you will have everything you need to get started. Take a look, and start planning your big move.

Your Moving House Checklist


  • Make sure you have a list of the tasks you need to do on hand. Check off completed ones
  • Keep an eye on maintenance issues and get anything that is damaged fixed
  • Gather business cards from multiple agents
  • Gather business cards from multiple solicitors
  • Get rid of your clutter before you go to sell
  • Get an inspection/survey before you sell your house, so you know about any issues
  • Always be prepared and start organising the move as soon as you decide you want to sell

selling a house checklist

15 Steps to Selling Your Home


#1 Deciding If You Should Sell

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you should sell your home. This might seem bizarre, but it is actually an incredibly important stage in the process. After all, there are several vital factors that you should be taking into consideration.

The first of these is why you are thinking of selling your home. Are you looking for more space? If so, have you considered making alterations to your current home? Things, like building an extension, converting your unused loft space, or even digging out the basement can lead to a more spacious home. It is often cheaper as well, and often less stressful.

You should also consider the changing house prices. Prices that are rising rapidly may affect your budget in a negative way and leave your house on the market longer than you expected. Similarly, declining house prices may leave you with a less than ideal price.

Are you in negative equity? If the answer to this is yes, then you need to determine if you can afford to sell your home. You should also consider if you are better off renting the home out as opposed to selling it, something which could prove profitable in the future.


#2 Looking at Finances

Next, you need to figure out your financial situation. This is also a key aspect of preparing to sell your home. The first thing to do is let your mortgage lender know that you are making plans to sell your home. This helps them to prepare for the legal paperwork that will be required to do so.

While you are notifying the mortgage company about this, you also need to find out how much your outstanding mortgage is and if there are any early redemption penalties. After this, you need a rough idea of how much your house is worth so that you can calculate how much you will be left with after paying the mortgage.

If you are purchasing a new home, you also need to determine how big a mortgage you need in order to do that. Make sure you get a few estimates from mortgage lenders before you go to sell. Similarly, it is important to remember that in the early stages all the pricing will be approximate, so don’t hold any of them as solid figures.

You will only get a precise cost for your mortgage when you have agreed on a completion date and exchanged contracts. Make sure you plan the financial aspect carefully to avoid any unnecessary stress and disappointment.

small family home for sale

#3 Deciding If You Should Rent While You Wait

This is something that people rarely think to consider. Yes, renting can add to the overall cost of selling your home and moving house. However, it can reduce the pressure to find a new home and move out. You won’t be rushed into buying a new home that is not ideal, and you also won’t have to sell your house at a low price because you have found the home of your dreams. And if you’re worried about where you will store all your belongings if the rented place is furnished then there’s a simple solution to that. Just rent a cheap self storage unit nearby.

One of the great benefits is the fact that you will be able to break out of the housing chain, which is much more attractive to buyers. This means that you are the only two people relying on the sale, there is no chain of buyers and sellers that are waiting for everyone else to accept offers and complete. You see, with a chain if something goes wrong for one link, the whole sequence of purchases and sales collapses.


#4 Finding an Agent

This can be a tricky step, especially when it comes to choosing who to go with. You have three options for this stage. You can find a local agent, an online agent, or you can sell the home yourself.

If you choose to go with a local agent, you will need to do some research. Go and visit as many as you can, talk to family and friends about their recommendations, and surf the web for reviews and customer experiences.

You can even use an estate agent comparison website to find the best one for you. You can also use multiple agents to sell your home if you choose to do so. This can give your home wider coverage on the market and attract a larger number of potential buyers, although it will cost you more in estate agent fees.

You will also need to agree on a fee with the estate agent for selling your home. Generally, you should try to aim for 1% plus VAT with a sole agent. Of course, you can also go with online agents (they also take fees). They are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s worth taking a look at what services they are offering alongside their lower fees.

With regards to selling your home yourself, it is something that is definitely possible. However, it requires a lot of hard work, planning, and organisation. Not to mention experience. It’s not a task for the fainthearted, and it will certainly add to your stress if you are inexperienced.


#5 Setting Your Price

Now you have to set the price for your home. This part can be tricky, but it’s important. Make sure you get several estate agents to come and value the home, that way you will have a good price range to work with. You should also take the time to research the market, so you have a rough idea of what other homes in your area are selling for.

Don’t always go for the highest valuation that you are offered. Remember to take your market research into consideration. You should also note that the majority of buyers will be looking for a 5-10% discount on the price, so bear this in mind when you are coming up with a price you are happy with.


#6 Finding a Solicitor

Now you need to have a solicitor and/or conveyancer lined up and ready to get started. These are the people that will handle the legal work for you so that the ownership of property can be transferred. Talk to family and friends about their recommendations, but also make sure you look online to find good local firms.

Make sure you decide which firm you want to use before you accept an offer on your house. Of course, you cannot instruct them until a sale has been agreed, but it is good to have them ready. Next, you should ask for an estimate when it comes to costs. Typically, you can expect to pay between £500 and £1500 for their services.

Your estate agent will likely recommend a firm to you, and you should definitely get a quote from them. However, make sure you compare this quote to other firms as there is usually a pretty hefty referral fee attached to the one you were recommended. It’s something to watch out for.

preparing your home for sale

#7 Preparing Your Home

Staging your home for viewings is essential. It should look like a show home, with things like children’s toys and pet beds tucked away and out of sight. This makes your home more attractive to a buyer, and it can both help to sell your home faster as well as make it more valuable. People like to see a home as they imagine it – perfect and ready to move into.

Make sure you give it a few touch ups here and there. A splash of paint, doing all those little DIY jobs and removing any potentially off-putting odours. One of the top tips that people give is that you should bake the morning of the viewings. That way your house has a fresh and homey scent to it that will attract the viewers and help them associate your home with positive things. Fresh coffe brewing and fresh flowers always help too.


#8 Filling Out the Paperwork for the Buyers

You will have a good chunk of paperwork to fill out for the buyer. You will also need to make sure you have things like past planning permission forms and the environmental impact check form ready for them to view as well. The paperwork will also let the buyer know everything about the property, as well as further information with regards to the actual sale.


#9 Accepting an Offer

Once you reach this stage, you have been given an offer. Something useful to note is that the estate agent is legally required to pass all offers on to you, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. If you are not happy with the offer you have three options:

  • Decline it there and then
  • Wait for a better one to come along
  • Instruct the estate agent to negotiate a higher price

Once you are happy with an offer, you must formally accept it. You can then instruct the estate agents to take the property off the market and list it as sold. It is important to note that an offer is not legally binding once you have accepted it. You can back out or accept a higher offer if it comes along. Just remember that this can be distressing for the buyer.


#10 Negotiating the Draft Contract

The next stage is worked out between you and the buyer. You have several things that you will need to organise and discuss so that it works out well for you both. Here they are:

  • The length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days)
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included and how much extra they may cost if not included
  • Any discounts due to issues raised by the survey

The middle point is a good one to remember. Buyers may want to purchase some of the furniture in your home, and you are allowed to sell it to them during the process. There is a separate section in your contract where you list what is staying and what can be left behind/sold. For example, you could sell them the fridge/freezer for an additional fee instead of taking it with you, especially if they are integrated into the kitchen units.


#11 Exchanging Contracts

At this point, everything becomes legally binding. You are legally committed to selling them the property, and they are legally committed to buying it from you. It is still possible to pull out at this stage. If you do, then the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them. Bear in mind that you may be sued for the inconvenience you caused them and also breaking a legal contract.

Moving House Indicates Buy New Home And Box

#12 Moving Out

You are free to move out whenever you want, even on the day of completion. Of course, it may be wiser to move out before that so that you have less stress and can relax a little more, particularly if it is a large house with lots of possessions or if you are moving a long distance to your new home. Remember that at the time of completion the house must be in the condition agreed to in the contract, which includes all the fixtures and fittings.

The buyer and estate agent may come to visit you between the time of your moving and the completion to make sure that everything is in order and going smoothly. Usually, they will let you know they are doing this but not always, so remain vigilant and keep on top of things.


#13 Completion

This stage is when the property is officially handed over to the buyer and changes ownership. At this point, you will accept the payment and hand over the keys to the property. It will take place on a date that was previously agreed and usually around midday. Most agents tend to have the same rules for the completion of a sale.

On the day of completion, the money is transferred, and any deeds for the property are also transferred between the solicitors and conveyancers on each side. They will then proceed to register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry, making everything official.

At this point you can take your first sigh of relief as the hardest part is over. You’ve moved, completed, and now you only have two steps left.


#14 Paying Off the Mortgage

The mortgage company will have given your solicitor/conveyancer a precise outstanding amount for your mortgage, ready for the day of completion. They will pay the money off for you now that the buyer has transferred the funds. Your legal team take a good chunk of the stress away, so you don’t have to worry about it. It also allows you to start settling into your new home without too much weight on your shoulders.


#15 Paying Your Solicitor

Once the completion has taken place, you will receive an account from your solicitor/conveyancer. This will detail their costs and disbursements, alongside the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage. If you are buying and selling at the same time, then they are able to settle both transactions at the same time, including paying the stamp duty on the house that you are purchasing.

This is great to kill two birds with one stone effectively. As a side note, it could be useful to know that there are sometimes discrepancies that will entitle you to a small refund. However, these are not particularly common.


#16 The Bonus Step

The most important thing to do is try to relax and enjoy the process. Sometimes the easy way may be more expensive, but it will be better for you physically and mentally – especially as you still have to physically move. Make sure you stay organised and look forward to your new home. Make sure you keep yourself feeling positive and excited for the next adventure.


To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has been able to provide you with a little more insight into the world of buying and selling homes. Moving is not an easy task, and the selling process can be a long one. However, it is important to remain positive and proactive throughout the process. With hard work, a good mindset, and professionals around you to help, you’ll be in your new home in no time at all. Make sure you follow each of the steps above carefully so that you can experience and easier and more relaxed process.

What did you think of our step by step guide? We love hearing from you so let us know in the comments below.

buying your first home

Advice About Buying Your First Home

The property market in the UK is still shaky – after what initially seemed like a recovery a couple of years ago prices in the usual property hotspots have seen falls in recent months. And there are still parts of the UK which never even experienced the recovery and are still suffering the effects of the long drawn out recession that is supposedly over now. The recovery in those areas could be a long time coming.

But whether you are buying in the more buoyant south-east  or anywhere else in the country one of the best ways to afford your first home is to find a place that needs some TLC and get it at a low price. Many homes are reasonably priced simply because they have dated décor but have no other problems. These are the ones to go for because re-decorating is relatively straightforward and relatively cheap; at least compared to re-wiring or new central heating or new windows.

Buying a home that doesn’t present well means you can get it for a good price and make improvements to bring it up to date without spending too much. The chances are your first home may be small but it will be the first step on the property ladder and, anyway, small homes can be very cosy and bijou.

But before you start house-hunting you need to know how much you can afford because there is no point looking around at desirable homes just to find they are all out of your reach financially. So take a look at your savings now or how much you could realistically save in the next 6 months to a year then talk to a bank or other lender about your chances of securing a mortgage. Remember that borrowing money now is all about how affordable the debt would be to you. It is no longer possible simply to work on multiples of your salary.

As affordability checks by banks and other lenders have become more stringent so it has become harder and harder for first time buyers to raise a big enough home loan to buy even the smallest apartment in some areas. Some of the options that people are reverting to include:

  • Moving in with parents for a year to save more money
  • Moving to a cheaper location
  • Borrowing money from parents
  • Using no credit check loans to raise money for the deposit

Sometimes parents will act as the guarantor on a guarantor loan to help raise the deposit when they cannot or are unwilling to lend the cash to their offspring. This way they help reduce the risk in the eyes of the lender but the young person buying the home is responsible for making the loan repayments. For those determined to get on the housing ladder there are always options but they often require tough decisions such as taking on a large amount of debt that could affect your lifestyle or moving to a new area away from family and friends.

In the end it is a very personal decision whether owning your own home is worth these sacrifices. It will depend on your personal situation, including relationships and career development. Those young people who are at the start of a career that could lead them to much higher incomes within a few years may be more willing to take the risk of borrowing a lot now, knowing the strain of the debt will ease significantly in the relatively near future.

Whatever you decide to do with regard to buying your first home the best bit of advice I was ever given was that you will know when a property feels right so don’t ever buy somewhere if you find that you are persuading  yourself it will be OK.

Moving Insurance Cover

Moving Insurance Cover When Relocating

Have you ever known anyone that’s moved, and something got damaged? And the first question that the customer has is, my stuff is insured – I have moving insurance cover, correct? And the mover says, well, no sir, it wasn’t. And you’re thinking, well I paid you.

Well, there are a couple of different options when moving, that a consumer should be aware of. When you move locally, you have, in many states, what we call 50 cents per pound per article liability. In general, intrastate is a little different, it goes 60 cents per pound. And again, if you’re moving long distance, it would also be 60 cents per pound. These are all general liabilities that a licensed professional mover has to give you as required by law. By law, movers must offer two types of coverage on interstate moves: Released Value Protection and Full-Value Protection. We will attempt to simplify the terminology by further explaining each type of coverage.

Eliminating The Stress

Having insurance eliminates customers’ stress by providing them with the appropriate insurance for their household goods. Different options can protect customers’ goods for a single item damage or loss, or for a catastrophic occurrence to an entire shipment. It can cover damage in transit or damage while in self-storage.

The insurance agency explains that Released Value Protection is set at $0.60 per pound and is offered by the moving company at no additional cost based on regulation stipulated by the Department of Transportation. This protection plan means that you will be reimbursed for all your belongings at $0.60 per pound. It’s important to note that such a coverage plan is not enough to fully protect your belongings.

The other type of coverage, Full-Value Protection is based on your valuation (valuation: the designated dollar value of your shipment) of the contents being transported. The cost is based on the movers’ rates, as listed on their tariff. Keep in mind that when it comes down to it, Full-Value Protection is more secure, yet Released Value Protection is lighter on the pocket.



Customers can also choose to upgrade their coverage if the common plans don’t appeal. Customers can ask their moving companies for other valuation or insurance options provided by third party insurance entities. Sometimes they will be surprised to discover other options that are more fitting.

Now when you are moving internationally you would actually purchase an insurance certificate from an insurance company and there’s a fine line in a court of law between liability and insurance and most people think if the movers damage something then it’s insured to its full value.

When in truth the reality is a mover has a liability of the actual cost of the item meaning that there can be no sentimental value. A case in point is a photo album, although it’s everything in the world to you, it has no cash value. So from a liability standpoint you want to think in cash value.

There are some third party providers out there that offer full value insurance coverage if you needed to cover items of sentimental value and the likes. Another good starting point would be to check with your homeowners insurance, and see if you’re covered. There may be an option to purchase an additional rider on the homeowners insurance. This might save you money if doing it this way versus buying it from your moving company. If for instance your movers dropped a TV- let’s say it a 27 inch TV, at 60 cents per pound or we can even say 50 cents per pound, that TV may weigh 50 pounds, you would have $25 of liability coverage provided by law. But say if you had purchased additional replacement coverage, that TV would be covered at the full value of what you bought it for.

To Wrap Up…

So those are a couple things that you should consider when you decide what to select for your liability coverage. You should make sure that you understand the risks and coverage before the movers start moving you. Once your move is started, it’s too late to make that decision. You need to make it just before your movers start. And if you’re unsure, always ask your relocation consultant. That is what they’re there for – to walk you through the moving process, and make sure that you have the proper protection.

Bottom line, there are plenty of options when it comes to selecting the right type of coverage. It’s important to do some research and ask questions in order to ensure that you purchase the best, most thorough insurance policy.


Author Bio:

Andrew Morgan is a moving and relocation consultant and you can obtain more information about the moving industry on the blog of his website yourmovingservice

Removal Company - ask questions when moving house

7 crucial questions to ask your removal company

Anyone who has ever moved house knows how stressful it can be. A big part of that stress is the time it takes to find a good removal company at a decent price. How do you know you’re getting value for money? How do you know the company will do a good job? When comparing different removal companies, the following key questions will give you the answers you need and make your choice far easier.

1. “How long have you been in business?”

Fly-by-night man and van movers offer cheap prices, but little else. After all, it’s easy for someone to borrow a friend’s van and set themselves up as a removal company.

Ask how long the company has been around. The longer that is, the better the chance they know what they’re doing.

That said, professional and skilled companies do spring up all the time. Even if a company hasn’t been trading long, a professional looking website shows you they’re more serious about their reputation. Check for contact details on the site, especially a physical address.

2. “Do you have any customer referrals?”

Any good company will have a ton of happy customers they’ve moved. Ask to speak to a couple of customers from within the last three months. All good, reputable removal companies recommend that people do this.

So don’t be shy. Pick up the phone and see how good that company really is. If they can’t – or won’t – give you any details, forget about them and move on to the next.

3. “Do you have any accreditations?”

Although the UK removals industry is not regulated, there are a number of industry bodies that exist to spread best practice. The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the biggest fish. It’s been around since 1900 and has a strict code of practice that its members have to follow. The organisation carries out regular audits to ensure their standards are being followed.

As well as the BAR, there’s also the Alliance of Independent Movers (AIM). And for international moves, look out for the Federation of European Movers Associations (FEDEMAC) or FIDI (Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux).

Industry accreditations alone are no guarantee of better service. But any company that is a member of two or more of these bodies is serious about good customer service. You can find the relevant logos on the removal company’s website. If in any doubt, do a search for that removal company on industry bodies’ websites too, as companies do occasionally claim membership that they’re not entitled to.

4. “What’s the value of your Goods in Transit insurance?”

Any good removal company should have public liability insurance and goods in transit insurance. You’ll want to check the value of their goods in transit insurance, in the event that any of your belongings are damaged during the move.

Smaller companies may have insurance that covers damages of £15,000 all the way up to £2 million. Larger companies will usually be covered for even more. If you have anything valuable to move, you’ll want to check their insurance is enough to cover you.

5. “Do you charge a waiting fee?”

OK, so you’ve just exchanged contracts and you’re due to pick up the keys to your new property at 10am on moving day. So you book a removal company to be ready to move by then. Excellent. There’s just one problem…

According to the vast majority of home removal companies, keys are NEVER handed over on time. Most morning handovers tend to drag on and on and on and… you’ll finally get the keys that afternoon.

Some companies charge a waiting fee, but many others do not. Removal companies cite this single factor as the number one cause of stress on moving day. So be sure to ask.

6. “Can you do a deal on packing?”

Yes, you might want to economise. And packing your goods yourself is one obvious way to do this.

However, if you pack yourself then you’re less likely to be covered by your removal company’s goods in transit insurance. This is because the company needs to know what condition your belongings were in before being packed and moved. If they don’t, then your item may have been damaged before they even got there. Your chance of an insurance payout from them in these circumstances is pretty much zero.

So, ask how much they would charge for them to pack for you. Then ask if they can do you a deal or discount. You’ll be surprised how many companies will go for it. Especially if you’ve also asked question number 7…

7. “When are your least busy days?”

Everyone wants to move at the same time, and that drives removal companies mad with frustration. The flipside of this is that there are times when they are less busy and you’re more likely to get them to agree a discount.

Avoid moving in June to August if at all possible. That’s when prices are highest. January and February tend to be cheapest. Many companies will offer lower rates in the winter as standard. Even then, ask which days they’re least busy, and then see if you can negotiate an even lower price. Most removal companies will go for it just to get the work.

And, as mentioned in point 6, remember to ask if they’ll do a deal on packing for you as well. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much you could save just by knowing the right questions to ask!

Founded in 2013, is a comparison site for home and office moves that allows customers to compare fully-insured and trusted removal companies in one place.

taking in a lodger

Could You Clear Some Space For A Lodger?

Since the changes to the tax threshold for having a lodger changed earlier this year, spare rooms have become potential gold mines for anyone willing to take in a lodger. Here we look at utilising that spare room for some extra cash each month.

Your spare room no-doubt has the potential to be anything you want it to be. A new office, a spare room for when friends and family come to stay, your own private gym, a music room, even your very own yoga studio. But what if your spare room could offer you more than additional space for activities you rarely use it for? What if your spare room could offer you the ability to make some extra cash? Would you be willing to part with that extra space if the price was right?

As the government eased up on the amount you are allowed to receive, tax free, in return for housing a lodger in April this year, spare rooms right across the country became potential gold mines for their owners, especially in sought after and expensive rental areas in our major cities. You are now allowed to earn up to £7,500 tax free per year from anyone lodging in your home.

There are currently millions of homes with spare rooms in the UK (many with more than one spare room as adult children have left home but the parents remain in a large family home), so millions of people just like you have the opportunity to make some extra money for relatively little effort. Many lodgers these days are professional people working away from home during the week so if you are lucky they will only be there mid-week and the place will still be all yours at the week-end.

What would put you off taking in a lodger?

lodgers roomClearly it is a bit of an effort clearing out the spare room. Most people chuck clutter into their spare room without a thought, and the job of clearing it gets bigger and bigger and bigger as time goes by. Have you ever opened the door to your spare room planning on sorting it, and decided you will do it another day because it is just such a mammoth task? The answer is probably yes, and you have probably done that several times too over the past year. A spare room in the UK tends to be a spare room for guests that maybe come once every year, or never. A casual storage room with a cross-trainer you never use, a keyboard for that band you never started, and a rack of clothes you’ll never wear, or a complete clutter room full of broken things you plan to fix one day. It could house presents you never really wanted, and impulse buys that were immediately regretted and pushed to one side. When space is at such a premium in so many parts of the country, and when you paid thousands extra for that extra room when you bought your property, isn’t it a shame that it isn’t really valued or utilised at all? In some areas an additional bedroom can add £100,000 to the purchase price and in really upmarket areas it can add much more.

Taking in a lodger

If you want to earn £7,500 tax free by taking in a lodger there are some rules you must follow. Your home has to be your main home and you have to won it (or, at least, have a mortgage on it), you have to live there a certain amount of time because if you’re simply renting your home out you’re under the buy to let rules which are different and have different tax implications. If you do look into the details and decide that housing a lodger is for you, then your very first step is going to be decluttering that room – and this time you will have no excuses. It is much less of a laborious task when you consider the financial reward you will have at the end of it – that might just be the impetus you need. Here are some tips to help you declutter that spare room in preparation for your new money-making scheme of taking in a lodger:

  • Put the time aside – there’s no point in doing it little by little if you know that you will keep putting it off. Put aside an afternoon, evening or weekend (if you need it) and commit to spending that time clearing the room out.
  • Set everything up ready to do the job – get cleaning products, get bin bags, boxes, set up self storage, clear space in the garage – whatever it takes to get the job done
  • Be ready to make some tough choices – you will need to be honest and accept that hoover is never going to get fixed, that keyboard is never going to get played, and that ugly dolphin statue is never ever going to get displayed – be tough so you can get rid of more
  • Have places for everything to go – everything you get rid of will need a new home, whether that is self storage, the bin, or charity shops – ensure you have an idea of the different places items will be going to so you can package them accordingly
  • Make some money while you are at it – why not carboot or sell online any items of worth? This could make you the cash you need to spruce the room up ready for its new tenant


Remember that you will need to do extensive research before setting up a lodger in your home. Look into the legalities, insurance, financial rules and also the impact it will have on your home-life before going ahead. If it doesn’t work for you, perhaps you could still commit to clearing out that room so at the very least you have additional space to utilise.