Michael Blowers, is a partner at Mogers Drewett solicitors and heads up the Residential Property Department. In this column he outlines his advice on how to budget for a house move, whether you are already home owners or first time buyers.
Before you put your house on the market and start dreaming of your new “dream home” you should invest some time in financial planning. There is nothing worse than beginning the process and then realising part way through that you cannot afford it.
A good place to begin is by obtaining a quotation for legal fees. Simple enough but when you do that be really clear on what you are getting for the price and who specifically at the firm will do the work for you. It is important to ensure you feel that you have a rapport with the firm you wish to instruct, as moving home is stressful and you will need someone to work alongside you. Be mindful that an apparent saving may in practice not be that in reality. Ensure all costs are included in your quote such as stamp duty, searches and Land Registry fees. Take recommendations from friends and family who have recently moved and shop around until you find a firm you feel comfortable with.
If you are selling your home then it’s advisable to obtain at least two valuations from different estate agents. Again be clear in what is included in their fee. Find out what mortgage would be available to you and the cost. In many cases an arrangement fee is now payable. This is particularly important following the recent MMR changes. If you are considering moving to a larger home then try and work out a budget for the higher costs – energy services, council tax and be realistic about what you can actually afford.
Obtain an idea of the fees for a surveyor and factor in removal fees and include a provisional sum for additional furniture and other contents as not all houses are the same.
Finally, once you have found your property don’t forget to check the insurance costs. In certain areas and circumstances as in those areas that are high in flood risk zones, the premiums can be very high and finding insurers willing to take on the liability can be difficult.
Once you are armed with all the costs and have your budget in mind you can confidently look at the housing market and hopefully enjoy the buying process.
For further information or advice on this subject please call 01749 342 323