Thinking of moving home? Here’s what you need to know

From surveys and searches to stamp duty and solicitors, the process of moving home is made simpler if you have the right team working for you. 

Brits are moving home half as much as they used to, according to estate agents Savills. Previously, homeowners would move four times in their lifetime following their first purchase. But since the credit crunch, coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit, it now takes an average of 23 years before the next big move is planned.

moving home

Moving home can be both expensive and stressful, which is why it’s essential you have a solid understanding of the homebuying process, and ensure you have a great conveyancing solicitor working hard to get you those keys!

Getting started

So, what happens once you’ve had your offer accepted? The first thing you’ll need to do is hire a conveyancer to act on your behalf. They’ll begin by drawing up a draft agreement outlining the terms of engagement and their fees. Once signed, they’ll make initial contact with the vendor’s solicitor to request a draft copy of the contract as well as the property’s title deeds and forms related to fittings and content, as well as property information.  A conveyancer will go through this information with a fine toothcomb to look for anything that warrants discussion with the vendor’s solicitor. As the buyer, you’ll be given the task of looking through the fixtures and fittings info to check if there are any queries you’d like to raise.

Searches and surveys

If you’re financing your new home with a mortgage, your lender will arrange for a mortgage survey, but this won’t provide you with all the details you require. Instead, it’s a good idea to instruct a surveyor to carry out a full structural survey of the property. Alongside your survey, reputable conveyancing solicitors in Essex will also carry out some standard property searches, some of which are required by the lender, and others are there to safeguard you from any peculiarities in the area surrounding your home. These might include an environmental search, chancel repair search checks, and searches with the local authority, the land registry and the water authority.

Exchange of contracts and completion

If the searches don’t raise anything noteworthy, and there’s nothing further to discuss with the vendor’s solicitor, then you’ll agree a date to exchange contracts. Be aware that if you’re in a property chain, then you’ll need all parties to be ready and agree to exchange on the same date. The longer the chain, the more difficult it can be to negotiate this stage of your move. At the exchange, you’ll pay your property deposit, and the agreement will be legally binding. Your conveyancer will subsequently arrange a completion date for your move, which again will require all parties to agree to the same date. If you’re using a removal firm, then you should line them up in advance for any provisional completion dates that have been discussed. On completion day, your solicitor will communicate with the bank to send the cleared purchase funds to the vendor’s solicitor and once received, the estate agents will be able to give you the keys to your new home.  

Stamp duty and Land Registry duties

Following completion, your solicitor will pay your stamp duty and contact the Land Registry to transfer ownership of the property to you.

Moving home can be a stressful period, so it’s important to work with an experienced conveyancing solicitor who raises any queries you have with the vendor and provides you with excellent communication throughout.