Follow our suggestions on how to sell and move in before Christmas, and you could move in time for Santa. Leave things to chance though, and you may find your goose is cooked – and not in a good way.
But is it really possible to sell up and be in a new home by Christmas? Be in no doubt, it’s a big challenge, but if you are organised, you can still do it!
Christmas is very close. There’s no chance of selling up and moving into your new home, is there? Yes – act decisively, and you could still be in for the Holidays.
Channel your inner Cub Scout and be prepared – for both the sale and purchase. The more organised you are now, the smoother things will be. Following a pre-moving checklist can help you stay on track!
Plan your sale
People buy houses all year round – life doesn’t stop! Don’t procrastinate thinking Christmas will put off a buyer.
To have the best chance, you must smarten up your home and make it as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. Declutter as much as you can and take everything you no longer use to a charity shop. Turning the junk room back into a bedroom will help people imagine themselves living in your home.
Sort out those little DIY jobs you’ve been putting off. A coat of paint can work wonders, as can a deep clean. To make the Christmas deadline, it may make sense to find local tradesmen and get the work done correctly!
Incentivise your estate agent
Choosing an estate agent can be tough. Interview three or four and offer an incentive-based commission scheme to the chosen agent. The quicker they close a sale, the higher their fee. To sell quickly, be sensible. Look at what else has sold in your area, and price your home accordingly.
They may try to encourage listing at a higher price to test the market. But to sell quickly, you’re better off asking for a more realistic price.
Make sure your finances are in order
Get a mortgage quote from an independent broker and discuss how much you can borrow and the best type of mortgage. Let them know your timescale as some lenders may have a backlog of applications. If you already have a mortgage, check with your existing lender if you can transfer it – it may be quicker.
Either way, have your last three months’ pay slips, three years worth of P60s, six months’ bank statements, passport and a utility bill ready. There are many documents required to buy a house – so it helps to double check.
Self-employed? Make sure you have three years of audited accounts as well.
This step will speed up getting a Decision in Principle (DiP) and show you are a reliable buyer.
Planning your purchase
Budget your purchase. Not just the mortgage, but conveyancing, moving costs, stamp duty and any essential work on the new place. You don’t want to be celebrating Christmas without central heating or hot water!
Next, narrow down your chosen location, price limit, the “musts” of your new home and the “must nots”. Then give your dream property list to all agents in your targeted area, and add these criteria to online portals.
Once you have found your new property act quickly, as one in three buyers in England and Wales get gazumped (where the seller accepts a higher offer before exchange). You can protect yourself from gazumping, however.
As with your sale, be pragmatic – an offer must make the seller happy as well. Get their agreement to move before Christmas too – after all, that’s what this whole exercise is about!
Get a survey!
You have your sale secured and found the perfect new home. Things are on track to move in by Christmas! The property seems perfect, and you are in a rush – you can skip the survey, right? Wrong!
Getting a property survey is vital; it helps you make the right decision and provides essential information you need on the property’s value and condition. Depending on the property, there are different types of property survey you can choose.
Use an RICS registered surveyor to carry it out, and emphasise you’re on a deadline. Most surveyors can turn around a house survey report in a week. You’ll feel better sitting down to Christmas Dinner in your new home knowing you had a survey.
Choose the right solicitor
Consider hiring a solicitor offering a fixed-price “no sale, no fee” service. It means the more effective they are, the more likely they are to get paid. The more proactive your solicitor, the quicker you can move. And of course, using the same solicitor for your sale and purchase will keep timings efficient.
Give your solicitor all the necessary identification and paperwork immediately – they can then prepare a contract pack in advance. It’s then ready to send over to your buyer’s solicitors as soon as you go under offer.
Remember, timescales can shift especially in a chain and you’ll have no choice but to sit tight. Good communications will increase your chances of success, but the last day you can complete and move before Christmas is Friday 20 December 2019.
Removal firms may get busy, and prices could rise in the run-up to Christmas. But, using a reliable removals company means they can supply you with packing materials and may even offer to pack for you – easing the stress on you!
Moving without a removal company may be cheaper, but it can be more stressful (and tiring). If you do move yourself, start packing at least two weeks before moving and be ruthless! Remember, there are ways to save money when moving home.
Either way, keep an ‘Essentials box’ to hand – things like toiletries, tea bags, a kettle, phone chargers – remember a Christmas box too! You’ll want a few festive decorations, and of course, remember where you packed the presents!
Wrapping up loose ends
Notify utility companies of your move and forward your mail to the new address once you have exchanged. Switching energy suppliers can help you save.
Remember to update your home insurance as well – from the point of exchange for buildings insurance. And consider insuring your belongings while in transit.
It’s a tall order, but you can sell and move home before Christmas. Put together a top team of solicitors and mortgage brokers to ensure your success.
Make sure you have chosen the right area as well as the right home when you move. Phil Spencer’s Property Report can give you all the information to provide you with this comfort.