Buying or selling your home
A guide for moving house
Whether you’re selling or renting your home and moving to a new property, there’s plenty to think about. Here’s some tips to help you plan.
Selling or letting your property
Are you planning to sell or rent out your house or flat? You’ll need to put your property on the market. When choosing an estate agent, remember that while paying less is attractive, you should always check the terms of the service very carefully before agreeing to anything so you understand exactly what you’ll get for your money.
This applies to online and high-street agents. Ask what’s included in their service, specifically about any potential extra fees. For example, some may charge extra if you decide to take your property off the market.
Ask friends, neighbours and family if they can recommend any estate agents – but remember that their circumstances may be different than yours.
Here’s our guide on how the selling and buying process usually works. Remember, it’s just a rough outline, so if you’re starting to move home make sure you get professional advice from a lawyer or conveyancer.
- If you’re planning to rent out the property, contact your mortgage lender to get their approval – this may be a condition of your mortgage, so check to be sure
- Appoint an agent to sell or let your property and agree an asking price or rental amount for the property
- Make sure the property is clean and tidy for viewings. Consider fixing or decorating any parts that might put off potential buyers or renters
- The agent will arrange viewings of your home and tell you about any offers
- Once you decide to accept an offer to buy, property buyers may arrange a survey of the property to carefully check its condition. They could lower their offer if any problems are found
- Appoint a solicitor, advocate or conveyancer – a legal expert who will represent you in the selling process. It can make sense to use the same person or firm for the home you’re purchasing
- Your solicitor will negotiate the legal aspects of the transaction with the buyer’s advocate or solicitor. This covers the purchase price, date and which items are included (such as curtains, blinds, carpets and appliances)
- Once you’re happy with the details you can formally accept the arrangement, as ‘passing’ or ‘exchanging’ contracts
- If you’re renting the property, make sure you understand your legal duties to the tenant and have suitable insurance in place
- Start making arranging to move by contacting removal firms if you need them
- The day that the sale is finalised is called ‘completion’. This is when the solicitors take care of the final details, exchange the purchase money, and the buyer collects the keys to your old home.
Buying your new home
- Think about the area you want to live in and the type of property you want
- Work out a rough budget, taking into account what you owe on any existing mortgage, how much you expect to sell your property for - if you own one - and any extra borrowing you may want. Contact agents in the area and register your interest as a buyer
- Start visiting potential properties and making offers
- Once a seller has accepted your offer, appoint a solicitor or advocate. You can pay for a full survey of the property to check its condition and potentially lower your offer if any problems are found. Your mortgage provider may arrange its own property valuation
- The buying process follows the same stages as your sale – with you as the buyer instead of the seller
- If your mortgage lender is happy with the valuation, they’ll confirm their offer in writing
- You usually need to arrange to pay any solicitor’s fees by the completion date
- Your solicitor or conveyancer pays the seller’s solicitor and you get the keys to your new home.
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