Top ten tips for moving day

It’s finally here. The day you’ve been longing for and dreading at the same time. Moving day can be one of the most stressful days of your life. So follow our top tips to make the big day as hassle-free and exciting as it should be.

1. Instruct your removals company
If you’re using a removal firm for moving day, provide them with a floor plan of your new property so they know exactly which room to place the boxes and furniture as they unload. And, talking of key, make sure they have access to your new home.

2. Prepare for a tiring day
Moving is tiring and chances are you‘ll just want a good night’s sleep at the end of moving day. Keep your bed linen in a box that travels with you so that you can find it easily that first night. Also include towels so that you can have a bath or shower at the end of what could be a dusty, dirty day.

3. Be the last to leave
It’s up to you to ensure that all your belongings are taken away. Be sure to make a final inspection before the removal van leaves. It is also a good idea for you and your removal team leader to have a clear agreement about the condition of your furniture. You might even want to take photos. This will help back up your claim for anything damaged in transit.

4. Arrange refreshments.
Make sandwiches in advance, buy fruit and have bottles of water to hand. Make a flask or two of tea, coffee or soup. And remember you’ll need refreshments at the other end so keep tea, coffee, snacks, long-life milk, cutlery, plates and a kettle together in a clearly-labelled box.

5. Keep your mobile charged.
We’d advise leaving your phone connected throughout the day you move – or at the very least, have your mobile to hand. Once the removal firm has left and you’re ready to follow, make sure your phone is easily accessible for when you arrive in your new home.

6. Don’t lose important documents
Keep keys and important documents, such as deeds, ownership papers, passports, driving licences and birth certificates, with you at all times. Don’t pack them away.

7. Check your utilities
Before you set off for your new home, check that gas, electricity and water supplies are switched off at the mains, and windows and doors are fastened securely.

8. Inspect your new home
Make sure all the items and fixtures and fittings that were included in the sale are present and correct. If anything is missing, contact your solicitor as soon as possible. If you find any major faults with the property that were missed in the survey, alert your surveyor at the first opportunity.

9. Take meter readings
Take meter readings and check that electricity, gas, water, heating, phone and intruder alarms work.

10. Put your feet up!
You’re finally in your new home! Enjoy your first evening with a takeaway and a glass of wine and forget about unpacking for the night!

One Woman’s Personal Experience of the UK Housing Market (Part 3)

I last wrote about my house moving experiences a while ago after 3 failed house purchases and after my very patient buyers had eventually pulled out of the sale of my house. Things didn’t exactly go from bad to worse then, but neither did very much good happen over the next few months.

I put my house back on the market at the end of the summer of 2012 expecting to sell it as easily as I had done almost a year earlier but the market (in my area of the South East, at least) had changed. I still had just as many viewers through the door but they were all very much more cautious and perhaps, with hindsight, many of them simply weren’t committed to moving. They all seemed to be looking for a dream house (aren’t we all) but even those who found something close to that in my home weren’t prepared to make an offer.

Eventually I did get a reasonable offer, not too far from the asking price although less than I had previously accepted so I was feeling fairly optimistic that this could be the buyer I was looking for. I even went back for a second viewing to a Victorian villa that I had seen a couple of weeks earlier. A few days later I found out that they had made the offer on our house simply as a bargaining tool to get another house they preferred for a lower price. I know that times are tough in the housing market and we all want to get the best possible deal but that, in my opinion, just seemed the wrong way to go about it. Not only did it affect me but the owner of the Victorian villa had been hopeful of my putting an offer in on her house.

Fortunately for her she did get a good offer shortly afterwards (not surprising as the house was beautiful) but once again I had to backtrack in my own mind and try and convince myself that it hadn’t really been the house for me. After all my office would have been in the converted loft with no view of the outside world from my desk and 3 flights of stairs to run up and down every time someone came to the door or I wanted a cup of tea.

But at last I did get a good offer from a serious buyer – someone who had been looking for a long while in a neighbouring town and had started to spread the net a bit wider in an effort to find a new home that was both suitable and affordable. Something I had, myself, already started to do.

So a selling price was agreed and once again I returned for a second viewing of a house – this time one I had seen in a nearby village. Coincidentally the same village I had worked in many years before when I had first moved to this part of the world. Nothing much had changed in the 20 years since I had worked there – the usual few shops had changed hands but pubs, bank, chemist, greengrocer, fabulous Indian restaurant were all pretty much the same.

The house I went back to see had one very tempting feature – a beautiful outdoor swimming pool. I know we don’t get the weather for much outdoor swimming here in the UK but on a sunny day (even in winter) a pool with a large south facing terrace can tempt even the most sensible of folk. And I was seriously tempted – so much so that I was ignoring all the downsides of the house itself.

It was an ugly house (simply no getting away from that), it had serious damp problems and, whilst the road itself was nice, the surrounding area left a lot to be desired. But worse than that it was hugely expensive and being a probate sale the current owners were not prepared to budge on price and it would need an extension to get the space I needed, which would mean renting another property while the work was done and paying for self-storage of many of my belongings.

Next time I will tell you whether I came to my senses (or not!) but why not share some of your own house moving dramas – I will probably find I’m having a fairly easy ride compared to some of you!

Top tips for renters

Today’s economic climate means more and more people are choosing to rent a new home, rather than buy. But how do you avoid the pitfalls of renting a property, whether it is a single room, a flat or a house?

1. Tenancy agreements
The tenancy agreement lists your responsibilities as a tenant. It is essential that you read the tenancy agreement carefully before you sign it. If there is anything in the tenancy agreement that you don’t agree with, discuss it with the landlord or letting agent and ask if it can be removed.

2. Vet potential flatmates
If you are renting a room in a house already occupied with other people, make sure you have plenty of conversations with them before moving in. It’s important to get on well with your flatmates, and even better if you have similar interests.

3. Save early for a deposit
By providing a holding deposit, this will take the property off the market. The letting agent or landlord will then request references from you and carry out any necessary credit/income checks. You will then be asked to pay the full deposit and then the property is yours for the rental period.

4. References
You may be asked by your letting agent or landlord for references. This will include a personal reference and job reference, so be sure to choose people that you trust and who know you well, as you don’t want to be let down by a poor reference!

5. Set up direct debits
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of bills, including utilities, water and TV licence. Set up direct debits as soon as possible, so that you’re not presented with unexpected bills a few months down the line that you can’t afford!

6. Home insurance
Although your landlord may already have home insurance, you still need to arrange your own home contents insurance to cover your personal belongings. MoveMe.com provides quotes for home insurance via our network of professional independent financial advisors.

7. Record your utilities
The day you move in, take a note of gas and meter readings and ensure your landlord or letting agent does the same. Find out which utility provider the previous tenant used. You will usually be expected to take on most utility bills. If you decide to stay with the existing utility providers, you’ll have to notify them that you are taking over the account.

8. Inventory list
A good, thorough inventory will help resolve disputes that may arise at the end of the tenancy agreement. Carefully go through the list, ensure every item is there and make a note of its condition. If there is any damage to fixtures or fittings, mark this on the inventory and get the letting agent/landlord to sign against it.

9. Repairs
Your landlord or letting agent is responsible for repairs to the property. But get a list of the people they use (plumbers, electricians, etc.) so you can act in the event of an emergency or if your landlord is on holiday.

10. Take photos
Take photographs of fixtures and fittings when you first move in. These are not necessarily legally binding but they may help in the event of disputes over deposit reductions at the end of your tenancy.

Who needs to know you’re moving

There’s so much to think about when you’re moving home. We’ve brought together a list of people you must inform of your new address to ensure you have alerted everyone who needs to know!

1. Utilities
You can take your old provider with you when you move, or you can use this as an opportunity to change suppliers and reduce your bills. Whatever you decide to do, contact your supplier at least 48 hours before your move.

2. Water Suppliers
You need to find out who supplies water and sewerage to your current home, settle the bill and determine who your new water provide will be. It’s just a matter of information; unlike gas and electricity, you have no say over who your water supplier is.

3. The Post Office
Remember to get your post re-directed to your new address. You can do this by downloading a form from the Post Office website. Do this in advance, as it can take up to 10 days to set up. There is a charge for re-directing your post.

4. The Bank
Let your bank know your change of address and think about transferring your account to a branch closer to your new home. And don’t forget any items that are held by your bank for safe-keeping. Think about other companies that you may have standing orders or credit cards with, as you will need to tell them too.

5. Providers
For your landline and broadband, contact your suppliers and let them know your moving date. Moving home is also your chance to compare quotes for both TV and broadband to find a better deal. Don’t forget to let your mobile phone provider know your change of address too.

6. Electoral Register
The Electoral Register is updated every month and you need to be included on it to vote. A form is available from the Electoral Commission’s About my vote website. You can complete the form online, or download and send it to the Electoral Registration Office which is based at your local council.

7. Home insurers
In addition to notifying your buildings and contents insurance company that you’re moving, check that your current policy covers your possessions during the move. Find out if your change of address means a change in premium and make sure you have adequate buildings cover on your new home.

8. Car insurance provider
Notify your car insurance company of your change of address. Your premium is likely to change with your new postcode and if there is any change to your parking arrangements. You may also be charged for updating your existing policy so it’s worth shopping around for a cheaper quote before you commit to staying with your current car insurer.

9. DVLA
You need to update your driving licence and your Vehicle Registration Document. Failure to inform the DVLA with your change of address within a reasonable period of time can result in a £1,000 fine so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute!

10. Friends and Family
Finally, don’t forget those people closest to you! There’s no need to buy expensive “change of address” cards. Most people have access to the Internet so send an email, or you can find a good range of “change of address” e-cards online.

Top ten tips for first time buyers

First-time buying is daunting and more than a little stressful, but follow our advice and you can make your foray into the property market the exciting experience it should be.

1. Choose the right mortgage
Finding the right mortgage is just as important as finding the right property as you’ll be living with both for a long time. You need to find out how much in principle you’ll be able to borrow before you start house-hunting. We suggest contacting a financial adviser and provide competitive quotes for mortgages via our network of professional independent financial advisors.

2. Beware of hidden costs
Remember the property purchase won’t be your only cost. There are other costs that you need to budget for such as solicitor’s fees, stamp duty (if the property is more than £125,000), insurance and furnishings.

3. Draw up a list of requirements
Location is usually key but there are a whole load of other factors to consider. Do you want a flat, a house, or a maisonette? Think about the number of bedrooms you need. Is a large kitchen or a garden important to you? Also consider proximity to public transport links, work and schools.

4. But be realistic!
Chances are your first home won’t be that pipe dream mansion and most first-time buyers have to make some compromises. And don’t lose heart. Remember it’s not called the property ladder for nothing! You get on the first rung and climb your way up over time.

5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price
First-time buyers have a great deal of bargaining power and are an attractive prospect to property sellers. You won’t have a chain, and many sellers are prepared to accept an offer below the asking price in exchange for a quick sale.

6. Save for a deposit as early as you can
It’s no secret that deposits nowadays are extraordinarily high, so start saving as early as possible. Saving a small amount on a regular basis really will pay off in the long run.

7. Be financially stable
Most estate agents will advise you to stay in your first house for at least five years, as this may help you to make capital gains on your property. Consider a spare room when you are looking for properties too. Renting out a room could help if you are struggling financially and it’s worth using a mortgage calculator to make sure you don’t overstretch yourself.

8. Research prosperous areas
You’re more likely to find a good deal on an area that has seen recent sales. Some areas are more popular spots than others, particularly in London. Therefore it’s important to check out local property prices in the areas you are researching.

9. Look out for rising house prices
To avoid negative equity, it’s more beneficial to buy when house prices are slowly rising. This way, you will not lose value on your property and you could potentially make some money on it by the time you want to sell.

10. Consult a conveyancer
Consult a conveyancer as early as possible to guide you through the legalities of moving house and although it may be tricky, once you’re on the property ladder, the only way is up! Moveme.com can help you to find the best rates for conveyancing quotes.

Guest blog – Best Neighbourhoods In London

London is one of the most advanced cities in the world, and has a lot to offer to the people that live and work there. Some people use caution and some towns are more troublesome than others, but for the most part London as a whole is a wonderful place to be. Here, estate agents Anderson Rose take a look at just five of the best towns the city has, and what makes them stand out.
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Battersea
This quirky little town is known for many things, from its cat and dog rescue centre to its gigantic power station. It has a population of over 75k and is in close proximity of Clapham and Brixton. It has a sizeable park with a duck pond and a boating lake, and is home to four main housing estates. It is also the place of a few good schools, including the likes of the Royal Academy of Dance. It is an old town with a lot of rich history, and is worth at least one visit.

Romford
It sits near the outskirts of London alongside its neighbour, Dagenham, and both are thought to be part of both London and Essex. It is a popular town with various markets and attractions such as Romford Greyhound Stadium and Romford Ice Arena. The first records of Romford, then Romfort, were created in 1177 and back then the town was known for its corn grinding mills. It has a sizeable shopping mall and has plenty of free parking dotted around the town.

Kensington
It is a town central to London and is closely located near many poplar locations like Shepherds Bush, Notting Hill and even Hyde Park. Being so close to everything there is a bountiful amount of things you can do, from a visit to one of the many parks to a trip to the zoo. Kensington alone is home to Kensington Palace, The Royal Albert Hall and even The Natural History Museum. In a town like this you could never be bored, and there will always be something to explore.

Docklands
London Docklands is famed for its rich heritage and its new developments. It is a stone’s throw from the O2 and isn’t too far from London City Airport. There are a few parks and schools dotted around, and they have some of the most stunning apartments in London. It is also where the hit sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ is based. In recent years the entire town has been revamped and upgraded to benefit the public and local businesses, and is doing well for itself.

Harrow
It is an old English town situated near Sudbury and Northolt Park. There is plenty of greenery scattered around the town, and is home to the University of Westminster. Because of the vast amount of untouched land it’s no surprise that they have a large golf course for pros and beginners alike. It is quiet and simple, but offers a lot of culture and fresh air.

Top ten tips for choosing a conveyancer

Buying or selling a home is an important event in anyone’s life. You need things to run as smoothly as possible. Therefore, it’s critical to appoint a conveyancer who will give you the quality service you need.

1. Set aside plenty of time to organise a conveyancer.
Conveyancing can be a complex process, so be prepared for this. Furthermore, conveyancers will charge extra for complex issues that may take more time than anticipated so do budget for contingencies.

2. Choose an established law firm
They will be handling all your legal fees, so make sure the firm you choose is regulated and insured. Some people think they can undertake their own legal work, but unless you have in-depth knowledge of property law, it’s a false economy and can lead you into a huge amount of pitfalls and difficulties.

3. Appoint a local conveyancing firm
Property laws in England and Wales are different to those in Scotland and lease arrangements differ throughout the UK. It will save you time and money if you appoint a local property solicitor who will know the local property laws and leaseholds. Choosing a conveyancer close to you means you can deliver or collect documents in person. This can save a great deal in time and expenses.

4. Get a minimum of three quotes
We recommend you get three quotes before you choose your property solicitor. Some conveyancers charge a fixed free; others charge a percentage of the property’s value. Remember to factor in other costs, such as disbursements.

5. Use a comparison website for the best rates
Our specialist quote engine provides up to four conveyancing quotes instantly, allowing you to save money on moving costs and work with an experienced and professional firm.

6. Don’t necessarily go for the lowest quote
You really do get the service that you pay for. A cheap quote may mean that the conveyancer is handling a lot of jobs at one time and you won’t get the quality of service that you require.

7. Ask around for recommendations
To make sure you select a company that will serve you well, get recommendations from friends or family who have been through the house-buying or house-selling process.

8. Make sure you understand the process
The legalities of buying or selling a property are complex and you need to work with a conveyancer who takes the time to explain details in layman’s terms. Whether the property you’re buying or selling is worth £100,000 or £1,000,000, you need to be assured that you’ll get the same high level of service and attention.

9. Research online conveyancing thoroughly
Instead of popping in to your local solicitors to handle the legalities of your home move, there are many companies now offering their services online. Although there are many benefits, including 24/7 access to your records, weigh up both the pros and cons before you decide to go ahead, and check that the firm is reputable.

10. Contact your conveyancer the moment you know you want to bid for a property
They can get ahead of the game by registering your interest with the selling agent and preparing a written offer in good time. If you are dependent on funds from selling your current home to buy your next property, make sure you have a binding contract for the sale first.

Top ten tips for selling your home

Selling your home can be as stressful as buying, particularly if you need to do it quickly. You don’t want the new house you’ve fallen in love with to be snapped up by another buyer. Follow our guide to maximise your chances of clinching a quick sale.

1. First impressions count
Kerb appeal is essential, so make sure you weed the garden, mow the lawn and hide the bins. Give your window frames a lick of paint if they need it, and mend any broken fences or gates. If buyers see a tidy welcoming exterior, it sets the tone for the interior.

2. De-clutter your home
Throw out unwanted bits and pieces, give them to charity or put them away in cupboards. But do remember prospective buyers will look in cupboards and wardrobes, so keep them neat and tidy; they need to know that there will be enough room for their own belongings. Alternatively, order some packing materials to keep things tidied away!

3. De-personalise your home
Prospective buyers need to envisage themselves living in your home and don’t need reminders that it used to belong to someone else. Put away family photographs, birthday cards, your children’s drawings, their toys.

4. Maximise your space
Make sure that every room in your house does what it’s supposed to do. If you’re using a bedroom as a study, turn it back into a bedroom. It might seem a hassle but some buyers just can’t visualise a room that has the wrong type of furniture in it.

5. Think about your pets
Just because you adore your puppy doesn’t mean a potential buyer will. If at all possible, take them to a kind neighbour or friend when you have a viewing arranged.

6. Tidy up
Four out of ten buyers are immediately put off buying a property if it is messy. A child’s bedroom is the worst offender, with some buyers using this as a way to negotiate a lower price, so make sure everywhere is clean and tidy.

7. Keep things minimalistic
If you’ve got eclectic taste when it comes to decor, consider that other people may not share your taste – one in ten buyers is put off by unattractive art hanging from walls and clashing colour schemes! Consider removing unusual wall art or give the walls a fresh lick of paint (neutral colours will be best) and see what a difference this can make!

8. Fix those odd jobs
Creaky floorboards or wobbly staircases will not appeal to your visitors, but a simple DIY job can fix this and make all the difference. If it’s a bigger job, for example a kitchen renovation, then it’s worth hiring a tradesman and investing in doing it up properly. It doesn’t need to be a completely new installation, but fixing up cupboards (and making sure they’re not crammed full) could make the space more inviting.

9. Awaken the senses
There are certain smells that apparently encourage positive feelings, so it’s worth using them in your home! Have plenty of fresh flowers out and put on a pot of coffee if you can, as estate agents believe this is the most welcoming smell for potential buyers!

10. Offer insights about your neighbourhood
Describe the local area and where the nearest pubs or parks are. Even trivial details such as the nearest supermarket or the closest takeaway could swing the decision for a buyer.

Moveme welcomes Confused.com on board!

Moveme.com is pleased to announce that our handy, interactive Moving Checklist is now available to Confused.com customers!

Confused.com’s HelpMeMove Moving Checklist launched yesterday (9th January 2013). The all-in-one tool helps homemovers to organise everything and gives them recommended times to arrange all aspects of their move. HelpMeMove can make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Confused.com joins a long list of brands, including Zoopla, Barratt Homes and Royal Mail, that have partnered up with Moveme.com to offer our unique Moving Checklist to their customers, as a white-label product.

1.3m days wasted each year arranging a house move

In a new piece of research we have undertaken here at moveme.com, we’ve discovered it takes almost two whole days (47 hours) for buyers to arrange the core elements of a house move including booking removals and switching utilities. This means that with 650,000 people moving each year, approximately 1.3m days are wasted on arranging a house move in the UK each year.

What’s more, once the core elements of the move are arranged, we estimate that a further 25 hours per move is used on tasks such as finding a new school, registering with the doctor’s and updating the electoral register.

Home movers could save approximately 59 hours of their time arranging a house move if they used our Moving Checklist which includes a dynamic itinerary of all that’s required for a house move, as well as handy price comparisons for some of the essential supplier services required. The Checklist includes over 50 tasks – everything from finding a removal company and redirecting mail, to finding local restaurants – all in one place. These tasks are unique to the user and are prioritised and tailored to the relevant stage of their home move.

Each task is separated into achievable weekly goals with timely reminders of what to do and when, according to the users requirements, allowing anyone moving home to manage their move efficiently and effectively. There is also a Moving Checklist app which can help the user to manage their home move whilst on the move. To download the app, you can find it by searching the term ‘Moveme’ in the app store.

Ian Lancaster, Managing Director of moveme.com, comments: “Moving house is incredibly stressful, and several hours are wasted researching quotes and information in relation to the move. We created moveme.com and the Moving Checklist as a “one stop shop” for anyone moving home, saving time, money, and hopefully, stress.”