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.

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.

Sustainable house move

How to Have a Sustainable House Move

In 2020, ignoring the climate crisis really is not an option. While we trust that you are doing your bit, we also imagine that the environment is not your greatest concern amidst your house removal. We are here to change that by showing you how to have a sustainable house move.

 

Did you know? On average, moving house emits a whopping 17 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. While moving house is an imperative, and we recognise cancelling your move altogether is simply not an option, why not try and shave a few kilos off that total by following the simple tips outlined below. Remember, being more eco-friendly means greater efficiency, and greater efficiency means saving time and money. That’s killing not two, but three birds with one stone!

 

Before Your Move

A sustainable house move requires you to start off on the right tracks, and get your eco-hat on well in advance of your actual moving date. The following steps show you how.

 

Choose an Eco-Friendly Moving Company

Bet you did not even know that such a thing exists! While there are of course limits to how sustainable a removal company can be, there is no doubt that some try to do their bit more than others. Reward those who do for their efforts, and when requesting quotes, or researching your removal company, consider this a factor in your selection process.

 

The key things to look for when working out whether a removal company endorses eco-friendly behaviours are:

  • Do they practice corporate social responsibility?
  • Do they carbon offset some of their emissions?
  • Do they drive eco-friendly vehicles?

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope it gives you some pointers to start selecting a sustainable mover. Need a bit more guidance? Sirelo’s list of top eight international moving companies considers corporate social responsibility as a deciding factor in who made the cut!

 

Reduce Your Load

Thinking of bringing your neglected armchair? Or the lamp collecting dust in the cupboard? Think again – that isn’t the route to a sustainable house move.. Naturally, the greater the volume of your move, the more carbon dioxide emissions it will emit, and equally the more expensive it will be. It therefore goes without saying, that reducing your load is essential to ensure both a sustainable and budget-friendly move.

 

Don’t Dump!

You may think we are contradicting ourselves a little here, but stay with us. So you have been ruthless in selecting what furniture to bring with you, and now you are stuck with mountains of unwanted goods. Rather than taking these to landfill, think about doing one or some of the following things instead:

  • Sell it! Save the environment and make money at the same time? A double win. There are many platforms in which to sell second-hand goods. Anything that is in good enough condition is worth finding a new home for.
  • If you can afford it, an even better option is to donate any unwanted furniture to a charity shop. Alternatively, there are NGOs dedicated to collecting and redistributing unwanted furniture to vulnerable people. If you are strapped for time, they will often do the legwork for you.
  • Even if certain items of yours are damaged beyond repair or use, many people fancy their hands at upcycling. Wooden furniture in particular can be useful, so donate your furniture to a creative and watch your old side table transform!

 

During Your Move

If you have managed to be sustainable up to this point, you are doing incredibly well. But the hard work does not stop just yet. The following measures will help you ensure that you keep up the good work throughout the moving process.

 

Pack Wisely

So you have managed to narrow down what to bring with you on your adventure, but there are also ways you can pack those that made the cut in a sustainable manner. Consider some of the following:

  • Second-hand boxes. Why not have a look to see if you can source boxes that have already been used. Given that the price of moving boxes can add up, you will save some money along the way too.
  • Minimise packing materials. Think twice before you buy heaps of bubble-wrap and other padding materials. Why not use blankets, towels and scarves instead? Another way to cut back on both your moving expenses and carbon emissions.

 

Transport

At this point, your efficiently packed, reused boxes are safely packed and ready to go. If you are moving yourself, think about the best way to avoid multiple trips in your vehicle, again reducing both petrol costs and emissions. Sensing a theme here?

 

If you and your boxes are parting ways, and a removal company is taking care of them, you will still have to get yourself to your new home. If possible, avoid flying. We know this is not always an option, so if jumping on an aeroplane is the only viable option, think about carbon offsetting your flight, if you can afford to do so.

 

After Your Move

Start good habits in your new home, and think carefully about how to reduce your carbon footprint, both immediately after your move and in the weeks, months and years to come. We have outlined some of the ways you can do this below:

 

  • Go paperless. We imagine that your house move has been somewhat plagued with exhausting amounts of admin. Moving often requires you to get in touch with you bank, doctor and many other services, in order to change your address. While doing this, why not also opt to go paperless? May as well, while you are at it.
  • Buy second-hand furniture. What goes around comes around, quite literally! Replace all that furniture you so generously sold and donated with someone else’s unwanted goods. Both charity shops and platforms such as Facebook Marketplace often have real steals!
  • Choose eco-friendly utility providers. Much like you did when selecting a removal company, ensure your new utility providers have eco-friendly policies. This is becoming more and more common, so it should not be too difficult to find.

 

First of all, congratulations! Moving house is no mean feat, and you seem well on your way to making it success and a sustaniable house move. Remember, every little helps; we know implementing all of these tips into your move may seem overwhelming, but even just a couple can go a long way to help save our planet.

home staging

Getting (and Keeping) Your Home Ready to Show — Even with Kids

Most of the effort that goes into selling a house goes toward helping potential buyers envision themselves living in the space. Buyers need to be able to see the house for what it could be and the memories they could make in it. The more personalized it is to your tastes and lifestyle, the harder it will be to sell the house. Busy parents don’t have a lot of extra time to put into the sale of a house. Keeping that in mind, here are some tips that could make the process easier on you.

Getting Some Help

If you can make it fit within your budget, hiring a professional to stage your home can help. A home stager can assist you with lighting, arrange the furniture in an appealing way, and highlight the great attributes of your house. At the end of a professional stager’s stint in your house, buyers will be drawn in by the warmth, and the investment in the staging will pay off.

Professional stagers are not cheap but if you can afford a good home stager, your house will likely sell quicker and the stress will be taken off of you to figure out what buyers want to see.

Depersonalize Every Room

Some potential buyers may disagree with certain design choices yet still want to make the purchase. For instance, a chair in the wrong corner or a paint color they wouldn’t have chosen are things that they can overlook. There are other personal touches that can stand in the way of a buyer from being able to see themselves living in the house.

Some of the personalized touches that should be avoided are:

  • Family photographs
  • Clothes lying all over the room (with exception of the closet)
  • Certain pieces of art
  • Certain books
  • Diplomas
  • Trophies and awards
  • Too many knickknacks
  • Toys everywhere

Designated Spots

It’s easy for a house to fall into disarray; it can happen within a brief moment. To help you and your family to keep things organized and clutter-free, give everything a spot to fall.

Help your children keep their toys organized by having them choose the toys they love and use the most, with the caveat that it has to fit into one bin or basket. All the other toys can be packed and stored away until the big move. Giving each child one bin or basket is also beneficial in that when a showing happens it is easy for you and them to round up the toys and stash them away.

Use Creative Options

Potential buyers will scrounge through your closets and open drawers to get a feel for storage and space within the home. You want those areas to look as organized as possible, but you still need to live in your home and your family still needs to be able to function. Wherever possible, try adding some creative storage options to your home that not only will add to the design but also hide away your belongings in places buyers won’t look.

Here are some storage options that may work for you:

For a short period of time, while going through the process, selling a home can feel like a full-time job. Add on raising a family, careers, and daily responsibilities, it can get overwhelming if not prepared for. If possible, start by enlisting the help of a professional to stage your house. Then organize, give everything a place and use creative storage solutions. In no time, the stress of a sale and move will be but a distant memory.

moving as a student

Moving house as a student: the trials and tribulations

Moving home is stressful for anyone. For students possibly even more so. This could be their first time moving away from home. If you’re a student, moving into student halls or a house is the first big thing of many you’ll have to do.

 

This can seem a little bit daunting (I know I thought it was!). But luckily I’ve put together a few tips to make packing for uni that much easier.

 

Many of these things come in handy not just for students but also regular movers, too.

 

Make a list

 

Before you start moving things and putting them in boxes. Before you do anything else. Make a list. This list is going to be your best friend during your move.

 

List all the things you want to take with you, room by room. Plates? Check. Clothes? Check. Stuffed animal that you’ve had for years and just can’t bear to leave behind? Check!

 

This list will help you keep track of things. Crossing things off as they’re packed can help you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

 

moving checklist

 

Can you leave things behind?

If you feel like you’ve got waaay too much stuff, it could be a better idea to buy some things when you get there. General household items, like bedding and kitchenware, are easy to get once you move to your new place.

If you’re moving into halls, you can usually buy a pack full of these things from your accommodation. It’ll be ready for you as you move in. And if you want to leave it in your university town during the long summer holidays then just rent a cheap self-storage unit for the purpose.

 

Label your boxes

This is another tip to help you keep track of your items. It’s a good thing to pack your boxes methodically for moving. But remembering which box you put things in is definitely going to come in handy when it comes to unpacking. Write clearly on the box the kinds of things that are in it, and which room it should go in.

 

moving boxes

 

Moving into Halls?

Make sure you know where you’re going and what to do on the day

It seems obvious, but it can be quite easy to get lost trying to find your accommodation. Getting your keys and finding your room can also be a hassle. Though your accommodation should have people there to show you around, it’s not smooth sailing for everyone. Which is why it can be a good idea to check beforehand where you need to go.

 

Moving Out of Halls

If you’re moving out of halls, there’s also a checklist of things you need to do before you leave. You’re likely to have paid a deposit before you moved in, so doing these things can help make it more likely to get it back

 

Clean

You won’t get your deposit back if your accommodation has to hire cleaners to tidy your room when you’re gone. Make sure that your room is as tidy as you can make it. Wipe down surfaces (even in the bathroom!) and hoover (but maybe don’t hoover the bathroom).

 

keys to new home

 

Hand in keys

You’re not just going home for the holidays, you’re moving out of your accommodation for good. Meaning you won’t need your keys again. If you accidentally take them home, but live far away, you could get charged for replacement keys

 

Check for HOW you’ll get it back

Getting your accommodation deposit back can involve some effort on your part. You might have to do some other things, such as fill in a form online or request your deposit back.

 

DON’T FORGET things that aren’t in your room

You may have other things at uni that you don’t keep in your room. You might have your bike in a bike shed, or if you’re a music student you could have our instrument in a store room. If somehow you have sporting equipment at uni that you need to take, remember to take them back with you too.

 

Remember!

For both moving in and out of halls, make sure you have all of your important documents with you.

 

When moving in, make sure to bring your accommodation contract with you and your acceptance letter. As well as this, remember to bring photo ID (such as a passport or driving license) and proof of your home address (you can find this on a bank statement).

moving mistakes - period home

The Three Biggest Moving Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Moving home is an exciting time. Perhaps it means an interesting new job, a larger place or even being closer to your friends or family. Whatever your reason is for moving, we all want a smooth stress-free home move. This is why we’ve pulled together this article to highlight the three biggest moving mistakes and exactly how you can avoid them.
So, let’s jump right in.

Mistake 1:

The Primacy Bias, Why You’re Spending Too Much Money

There is a natural bias we have as humans called the primacy bias. This basically means that your judgement of something is affected by what you saw earlier. The classic example is when you walk into a bridal dress shop and see three dresses all for £5,000 or even higher. Then, the shop assistant brings out a dress for only £1,995. Bargain, right? By comparison the new dress seems to be cheap but it’s only because we have seen the more expensive ones before.

But what has this got to do with moving home?

If you’re buying a home you can have tens of thousands to spend, so costs such as pricey mortgage brokers or “recommended” solicitors can seem negligible in comparison to the total value. This therefore means that you’re more likely to spend more and actually buy items you might not otherwise because the costs seem less in perspective of your entire move. This also applies even if you’re renting, just on a smaller scale.

This isn’t to say these services aren’t worth it or you don’t need those items, it’s just important to really think about it .

Mistake 2:

Making More Work Than You Need To

Moving home is often seen as a stressful experience. In part that’s because we can make a meal out of what should be simple activities, meaning we have to spend lots of our time on the non-glamorous stuff. So, what can we do about it?  The good news is that there are some simple, easy-to-follow tips you can follow that will save your hours of time when moving home

  • Spring clean weeks before you move. Get rid of most of the stuff you haven’t used in the past 3-6 months. This can dramatically reduce the amount of stuff you’re taking to your new place – stuff you don’t use anyway
  • Label your boxes with the room they’re destined for. This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised the amount of people that forget to do this. Once you move into your new place it will be a complete time-saver
  • Update your address online. The team over at SlothMove have pulled together an online service where you can update your address online. Instead of spending up to 7 hours telling everyone that you’ve moved, you can tell them all within 5 minutes. That’s time better spent doing other things!
  • Book everything in advance. The further in advance you can make arrangements such as childcare, pet day-care, van rentals & storage the easier and smoother your move will be.

 

Mistake 3:

Stressing Too Much

Recent studies show that two thirds of people placed the process of moving home at the top of their stress list, suggesting that it caused more anxiety than breaking-up, divorce or even starting a new job.

If this is the way we perceive moving home, we might be less inclined to do so which can reduce our geo-mobility. Therefore, it’s important that we change our perspective about moving home itself.

But, how do you do that?

The first thing to bear in mind is that taking a break from the home move is completely fine and should be done. You don’t need to be a machine and get it done as quickly as possible. Feel free to take the afternoon or the weekend off and do something completely different. This will help the home move feel more part of your natural routine.

Secondly, try to take some time off work. Don’t try to squeeze everything in between your work and at your weekends. The impact of doing it in the evenings and weekends is that it compounds stress and gives you a completely full schedule. Just taking a week or even a few days off work can make a massive difference in delivering a stress-free home move.

Finally, remember why you’re moving in the first place. You might be moving for something really exciting. In the typical chaos of the home move it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that what you’re doing is really exciting. Contrary to popular opinion, moving home should be fun and is something to be enjoyed.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you’ve found this article of value; with there being so much to do with moving home and it can be tough to stop and consider if there is a better way to do something. However, if you can take five minutes and apply just one of the principles we’ve covered today you can save yourself stress, time and even money.

check out some tips about moving home with a pet...

Moving house with a pet – Tips for moving with dogs and cats

Ideally, the best case scenario for you and your pet would be to find someone – a friend or a family member – to look after the pet and keep it away on your moving day. But we don’t live in an ideal world and that probably won’t be the case for you on your moving day. So what can you do to make the moving house with a pet easier?

 

We’ll talk here about dogs and cats because they are the ones who can have trouble with moving to another home. Read on and check out some tips about moving home with a pet…

 

Tips for moving house with a dog

 

  1. Leave packing the dog’s bed and toys to the last minute. Let them feel at home until the last moment.

 

  1. When hiring professional movers, it would be best to keep the dog in a room where the movers won’t go. It’s to protect the dog and the movers. There could be someone who is allergic to dogs or deadly afraid of them.

 

  1. If you’ll be traveling a long time to get to the new property, don’t forget to secure your dog in the car and stop regularly for bathroom breaks and feeding time. For overseas relocation, it’s important to talk to the vet and get advice about taking your dog to another country.

 

  1. Make a new collar for your dog with the new address, in case your pet gets lost.

 

  1. Research vets and dog parks near your new house so you can be prepared.

 

  1. Do not be quick to wash your dog’s bed. Leave it as it is for a couple of day at least in the new house, so the dog can sense a familiar smell.

 

  1. Try to maintain its normal routine as much as possible.

 

  1. If there’s a garden at your new property, check if there are holes or places your dog can easily escape from before letting it play freely.

 

  1. Take the dog for a walk around the neighbourhood to meet the neighbours (especially the canine kind) so it gets to know them.

 

  1. And most importantly, be patient with your dog. It will get used to the new house but you will have to help it.

 

 

Some dogs get used to new places rather quickly, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, often youngsters or very old dogs can have trouble getting used to the change. They may exhibit the following symptoms: lower activity levels, trembling, tucking its tail, hiding. If you notice any of the signs, call the vet.

 

Tips for moving house with a cat

 

Cats are a little bit easier to handle in such situations. Most cats love their routine, which when they get older is mostly sleeping and eating; and most of them don’t mind changing homes.

 

Some, however, can dislike the change and feel uneasy at a new home at first.

 

  1. Make sure the cat is put away in a room where movers won’t go on your moving day.
  2. Buy a cat travel bag in advance to limit the chaos it can cause while on the road.
  3. Stop regularly for bathroom breaks for the cat. Carry it in on a leash or in the travel bag, it might get scared and run away otherwise.
  4. Just as with dogs, if your cat has a bed – don’t wash it for a couple of days after moving in.
  5. Find a new vet if your current one will end up being too far away.
  6. Introduce the cat to the new house and be patient. Chances are it will walk around and sniff for a little while and find a place it likes and fall asleep. But if it starts acting differently or weird, call the vet.

 

Takeaway

Cats and dogs have feelings too. If they feel nervous and show unusual behaviour, do not wait too long to call a vet. Moving is stressful for them just like it is for you. Be understanding and supportive. Keep things as normal to them as possible and they should get used to the new place.

deal with stress when moving

How to Deal With Stress When Moving

Whatever the circumstances surrounding your upcoming move — good or bad, exciting or nerve-wracking — the process is going to be fast-paced, overwhelming, and potentially stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to go through with a house move and not turn your hair grey at the same time.

 

If this sounds appealing to you, here are our top five tips to deal with stress when moving.

1. Plan and then plan some more

We all procrastinate, especially when something as overwhelming as moving house is on the horizon. However, attempting to clear clutter, pack those boxes, organise your belongings, and vacate your old home all at the last minute is guaranteed to bring on unnecessary levels of stress. You need to start planning far earlier than you think!

 

However long you think it is going to take, double it. Seriously, things are going to crop up that you don’t expect and nothing will go entirely according to plan, so prepare yourself with a realistic timeline.

 

In order to remain calm, cool, and collected during this time, make a list of what needs to be done, and then break these tasks into weekly to-do’s. From this point, you can divide the weekly to-dos into more manageable daily tasks. This strategy is the best way to beat procrastination and help you feel as though you are in control of the situation. There is so much to remember that it helps to have a moving house checklist.

 

2. Schedule “me” time

Whether or not you want to be moving, there are still (probably) going to be feelings of grief about the upcoming transition. Don’t be afraid to experience these feelings – they are normal, and everyone has them!

 

That being said, it is essential to take care of your own well-being while you are dealing with this process. Ensure that you are regularly getting enough sleep and that you are eating a wholesome, balanced diet. Far too often, when you are busy, these things go out of the window. But being tired is only going to make the move feel a lot more overwhelming and stressful!

 

Additionally, schedule “me” time so that you don’t feel as though the move has taken over your entire life. Whether that means regular exercise (which you should be doing!), time to read, coffee with friends, or meeting up with your local knitting group, don’t forget about the things that make you happy.

 

3. Hire a professional removals company

There is a reason that people hire professional movers – they reduce so much of the stress! If your budget allows, hire a dependable removal company that can pack and move your furniture. On the day of the move, you will be thanking yourself for making this investment.

 

4. Reach out to your friends and family

In addition to hiring movers, you also should make use of your network. Friends and family will undoubtedly be willing to help you with anything you need before, during, and after the move. Relocating shouldn’t be a lonely process and having your loved ones by your side as much as possible can aid you in reducing the stress.

 

5. Shift your mindset

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, profoundly said “the only thing constant in life is change” and even all these centuries later, it remains true. Change is going to happen in your life, you can’t always resist it. However, change can be seen as exciting — a new adventure — you just have to shift your mindset.

 

When you find yourself getting sad, stressed, or nostalgic about what you are leaving behind, reflect on this quote and open yourself up to embracing what is to come.

 

There’s no question that moving is stressful, overwhelming, and often downright annoying. However, it has to happen. We all have to do it at certain points in our life. Don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.

 

When you feel stressed and crabby, sit with yourself and identify what exactly is making you feel this way. From this point, you can make a plan for dealing with it. By utilising these five tips, you can make the move a lot less stressful and maybe even bearable. Good luck with the move and remember, “home is where the heart is, even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in!”

 

AUTHOR BIO

John Pfeiffer has been the proud owner of Ashtons Removals for over 40 years. His attention to detail, a product of his accountancy background, and his emphasis on training and empowering his team members, has ensured the vast number of Gold Coast families who have been moved by Ashtons Removals, have had their furniture and effects moved undamaged and with minimum fuss.

moving out of home

Tips For Cheaply Moving Home As A Student

Students move home regularly, which is why it is important that every move is as cheap as possible. Here we have some great tips to help students move home cheaply and efficiently.

 

Moving home is expensive for everyone, especially for students. Students in London tend to move around a lot from home to halls, from halls to a shared house, then back home again. It’s a pretty changeable lifestyle when you’re a student which is why you have to become pretty great at moving your stuff or find someone else who can move or store stuff cheaply.

There are tons of ways you can save money when moving home as a student, here are just a few of them:

Mates Rates

Get everyone and anyone to help you. Don’t be afraid to trade cups of tea and favours for help moving, you need the help and this is when those closest to you should be available. Your family should be your first port of call as your parents probably have a bigger want and need to care for you than most of your mates, plus they like to help out however they can and may well be offended if you don’t ask them first. Then it’s time to call in the heavies – your mates. Plenty of them will be moving as well so simply call it ‘helping each other out’. You carry my box I’ll carry yours sort of thing! Everyone is in the same boat so hitch lifts and lifting help wherever you can, just don’t forget to say thank you and offer your services back, otherwise you won’t be getting much help next time!

Use What You Already Have

Where possible, try to avoid buying packing materials and use what you already have. Wrap clean kitchenware in scarves and clothes and ask friends to save up newspapers for you to wrap things in. Don’t bother buying packing boxes either, get down the local supermarket and ask them for spare boxes. Many shops have to pay to get their cardboard removed so will be more than happy to give you their spares. Top Tip – banana boxes are particularly strong and often come with lids so ask for those as a priority!

Have A Sale

Use moving as a chance to sell some of your unwanted items for extra money. Not only could this save you money on your move (saving fuel costs for car trips etc) it could make you money! Car boots are always an easy way to make a bit of spare cash on a Sunday morning (in some places pitches are just £5.00 for the whole morning!) or there are auction sites available to, not to mention recycling shops where you can weigh in old clothes.

Don’t Buy New

If you’re moving out for the first time, this is not the time for you to be buying loads of new and fancy items for your new home. You want clean and comfortable, not designer, so go mad on shabby chic! The best way to do this is by frequenting the car boots every Sunday in the lead up to your move. You can get plates for 20p, cool ornaments for £1.00, board games, clothes – anything you can think of! When you’re a student you can get away with being as wild and as out there as you want – so do it and grab yourself some second hand bargains!

Self-Storage

If you’re moving somewhere for a short time, try one of the many cheap self-storage units available to save money. The rates charged are very variable so compare prices of different self storage providers – but this is a great way to find secure space for your stuff if you need to stay in a friend’s room for a bit or at home for a bit while you save or look to find better digs.

Leave Time

 

Leave plenty of time to get yourself organised. Pack up your stuff for storing well in advance and try to label it so you know what is in every box. If you’re putting items in self-storage in Cambridge, Oxford, London (or wherever you are based at university) you need to make sure you lay out your self-storage unit well so nothing gets broken or damaged through collapsing stacks or dust infiltration. If you’re already studying then time management should be second nature to you, so there’s no excuse for being unorganised!