There's no way around it, moving house is a very big thing. For me, personally, I've always considered it THE most stressful thing to do and something I always do everything I can to avoid, for a long time, before going ahead. Much to my husband's chagrin. I wrongly thought moving was still up there in the top 5 most stressful things an adult could do, but a quick look on Google tells me that actually the top 10 are now:
- Death of a spouse: 100
- Divorce: 73
- Marital separation: 65
- Imprisonment: 63
- Death of a close family member: 63
- Personal injury or illness: 53
- Marriage: 50
- Dismissal from work: 47
- Marital reconciliation: 45
- Retirement: 45
What do you think? Do you agree with the 10 above? I have only encountered the scenarios 5, 7 and 8. Death would be my Father in Law, which given I have been with my husband for 28 years was a big deal and involved travelling "home" for a burial. Marriage, yes it was stressful as it was in Ireland, so alot done remotely but to be fair I found it rewarding and challenging rather than stressful. As for 8, that was dismissal by reason of redundancy and I guess I still haven't fully processed that if I am entirely honest. Good to see that death of a spouse ranks with the highest score, as I can imagine that yes, that must indeed be horrific and of course anyone would, hands down without a doubt, prefer to be moving house.
Which neatly brings me back to that topic. Whether you’ve outgrown your current property or want to move to a new area, there are lots of different factors you’ll need to have in mind. Each and every time we've moved it's been for both reasons. Thankfully We Buy Any House, the nation’s trusted house buyer, have a few tips to make sure the transition is as stress-free as possible. Wish I'd known when we moved.
You’d be surprised at how small a house can seem after 6 months. Are you sure you only need two bedrooms? The difference having a spare room can make is huge. Storage can become a massive problem once you’ve moved in and you find your place isn’t big enough. Make sure your house has enough space to meet all of your immediate and future requirements, or that there is the option to extend further on down the line.
Personally I would recommend decluttering prior to moving. I managed to garner a sale on our flat despite my clutter but boy did I regret it when I met it all again, coming out of all of the boxes the other end of the removal van journey. "Declutter to sell and all will be well" - I just made that up :-) I am so glad our first purchase was a 2 bedroom flat rather than a 1 bedroom as it meant we happily continued to live there after having Aaron, only needing to move once planning for Lottie's arrival.
How close are the shops? Walking or driving distance? Parks, pubs and soft play centres are always good to have nearby for an easy day out with the kids. Make sure you check where the nearest GP practice is, and hospital should you need it. Do some research on the local schools in your new catchment area to see how they perform and perhaps arrange a visit.
Personally I was over the moon with Right Move's school's section (the school checker tab on each property) which shows you the nearest schools. It even links to Primary AND Secondary schools. They're then shown to you on a map in order of proximity to your chosen property. The Ofsted result and whether the school is over or under subscribed in 2016 is information immediately visible without even leaving the site. So that's one stress removed. If you're wading through lots of potential properties deciding which ones to view, it's handy to have information at your fingertips as you won't view them all or be impressed by each and everyone you do view.
Moving to the middle of a city is very different to moving to the suburbs, or moving to the countryside. A house in the City Centre may be more convenient but a place on the outskirts might have a safer, calmer atmosphere. Moving to the country may be more peaceful and the houses may be bigger, but they are out of the way, so getting around is something else to consider. Another thing to have in mind is the safety of the area you move to. You can check the crime levels of your street and surroundings by doing a quick internet search.
If you are moving because you have a new job in the area, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the route to and from work, and how long it's going to take you. It may also be worth checking out how readily available jobs are for future reference.
Check out the state of the plumbing, see what kind of heating is on offer, but most importantly check the boiler. An older, unsafe boiler that’s on the blink may end up needing maintenance and could cause serious problems, so on that note make sure you have a fire alarm fitted with a carbon monoxide detector.
A full structural survey (rather than just the bare minimum valuation) might seem like an unnecessary outlay but it will highlight any bigger safety issues and the overall condition of the property before you commit to buy. This will give you a good idea of how much you will need to spend to make sure the property is in top condition, alternatively you could ask the seller to make the necessary repairs.
Personally I feel, It is also something that provides you with a lot of leverage if you would like to negotiate on price. It can also reveal something that either the seller would not want you to know or even something they were not aware of themselves. They're more likely to negotiate more willingly for the latter. However if you are in a seller's market, while you haggle on this, another easier swifter buyer may snap the house up from under your feet which if it is your forever home, you may not want to happen.
I am of the belief however, that what is for you, won't pass you by, so go with your gut instinct. Buying a house is a huge commitment and is not something any of us take lightly. Go into the purchase (and sale) with your eyes wide open.