Five steps to finding your new home

Deciding to move house can be a very exciting, but often daunting (and stressful) time. Whether you want to move area, need more space for the family or are hoping to downsize, the process can be a long one – especially when you’re trying to sell your old property at the same time as buying a new one. Read our guide below to help make your next move a good one.
View of tiled roof tops with 'For Sale' sign in front of house. Pink blossom shows in foreground.

Know what you want

It’s worth writing up a wishlist of things you're looking for in a new property and location (if you’re looking to change area), as well as the things you're willing to compromise on. This will give your house hunt more focus.

Work out your budget

Working out a budget is one of the first – and most important – steps to take when deciding to move house. There are plenty of budget and mortgage calculators online, such as The Money Advice Service to help with this. Make sure to take into account other fees and ongoing charges. These include Council Tax, Home Insurance, estimated cost of utilities, Stamp Duty Land Tax, plus additional moving costs, especially if you are using a removal company.

Research Locations

A bit of research goes a long way when you’re trying to move house, especially if you’re moving to a new area. Investigate the property market in potential locations to see whether the types of property you’re after are available (and the amount they’re selling for). Check the areas themselves thoroughly, assessing transport links, schools and proximity to shops – and make sure to visit at different times of day to gauge the general vibe from morning to night. You can also get a good feel for the area by having a look on social media sites (great for finding out more about issues residents are raising). Most of all: think ahead. Will this area serve your needs in five or 10 years time?

Make your viewing count

The housing market is competitive and it’s likely you will be up against numerous other prospective buyers, so come prepared. Have a look at the property's floor plan carefully before you go to a viewing and work out how you would use each of the rooms in advance (top tip: measure your largest pieces of furniture beforehand and get your tape measure out at the viewing). Think about questions you would like to ask (why is the owner selling?) and try to identify any issues or potential problems, such as signs of damp.

Making an offer

This is the most exciting part of buying a house – and the time when you need to know your stuff (our jargon buster can help you out here). You will need to use a property solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal process of buying and selling a home and getting a mortgage, so you should have one in place before you make an offer. You will need to get a valuation of the property done as part of your mortgage application but you should also get a more detailed survey to find out about the condition of the property. If your survey uncovers any issues with the property, get repair quotes – and use these to negotiate a lower price. For more information, Which? has a detailed guide to these processes.

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