How to save £5000 on the cost of selling your home

Cost of movingMoving house is definitely a costly business, but once you’ve decided to sell up there are  a few things you can do to ensure that it doesn’t end up costing you thousands of pounds.

Here are our quick top ten tips for saving money when selling your home……

  1. Set a budget – to ensure that costs don’t escalate set yourself a realistic budget based and stick to it
  2. Market the property yourself – with estate agency costs coming in at anywhere between 0.75% and 4% of the total sale price, marketing the property could literally save you thousands of pounds. (If you do choose this route make sure you do lots of research, you don’t want your property stuck on the market without a buyer)
  3. Shop around – you don’t have to use the Solicitor your Estate Agent recommends,  by shopping around you could save up to £500 on the cost of your legal fees as you won’t be paying any referral fees. However, be wary of very cheap conveyancing quotes as they could end up costing more than you think.
  4. Negotiate – the initial quotes you receive from Estate Agents, Solicitors, Removal Companies etc. don’t have to be the price you end up paying – in the current climate everyone wants your work, so don’t be afraid to haggle over the cost
  5. Declutter – The majority of removal companies will charge you based on your volume of belongings, by selling, donating and skipping what you no longer need or want you could save yourself a good couple of hundred pounds on the cost of your removals
  6. Do your own removals – you can hire a van for as little as £50 a day from your local charity (try YMCA) and by doing the actual moving yourself you could save up to a £1000 or more
  7. Instruct your own EPC – Every property that goes on the market requires an Energy Performance Certificate before being marketed for sale, by getting your own you can save up £30-£50 when compared to getting one through your agent
  8. Do your own conveyancing – Not one for the feint- hearted but it is possible to do your own conveyancing when you are only selling your property, this could see you saving £1000 or more in legal costs
  9. No sale, no fee – with one in three sales falling through, ensure that any services you agree to are on a no sale, no fee basis to prevent you being charged abortive costs should the sale not proceed
  10. Use a Move Planner! – Your personal Move Planner has already negotiated preferential rates for all services you need as part of your sale. They also manage the whole process for you, saving you a great deal of time and stress. By using a Move Planner you could save £1500 or more on the total cost of your sale, meaning that their services are effectively free!

By implementing all of the above you could save a whopping £5000 on the cost of selling your house.

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Why you need a moving essentials kit

MovingIf you are moving house this Easter weekend don’t forget to pack an ‘essentials box’.

Most of your belongings will be packed away – hopefully all nicely labelled so you can find things relatively easily. However, by taking a box with all of those essentials you will need, you can save a great deal of stress and time frantically searching for the one and only screwdriver that puts your bed back together!

Ideally this will be the last box you pack and the first one you open when you get to your new home.

By ensuring that you take this in the car with you, you can rest assured that you have everything you need to get you through the first 24 hours in your new home.

So what should you include in your essentials kit?

Small kettle, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, cups and biscuits – after all that hard work loading the van, you (and any helpers) will most certainly want a brew at the other end.

Paper plates/ cups and plastic cutlery

Basic cleaning equipment (the previous occupants may not have left everything as clean as you would like) – Washing up liquid, cloth, all-purpose cleaner, tea towels, kitchen roll & bin bags

Screwdrivers/ allan keys/ small toolkit & anything else you need to put your furniture back together

Batteries, candles, matches, torch, spare fuses, light bulbs

Quick and easy food such as pasta, bread & fillings for sandwiches, snacks and a bottle of cordial – alternatively telephone numbers for local take-away delivery services!

Pet food and bowls

Shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet roll & soap

A change of clothes and a towel for each member of the family

List of essential numbers – estate agent, solicitors, utility companies

Notebook & pen to take down meter readings

Essential paperwork to ensure it remains safe throughout the move – passports, driving licences, birth and marriage certificates

By packing a moving essentials box, it will ensure you can feed & keep clean everyone in the family, as well as deal with any small emergencies that may occur in the first 24 hours in your new home.

 

What to look for in a Removal Company

Removal vanIt doesn’t matter if you are moving down the road or to another country, the right removal company is a priority decision and choosing the right removal company will help your move go smoothly; as long as you provide them with a steady flow of tea/coffee!

So, how do you find the right one for you?

Leave Plenty of Time

Don’t try to find one a week before you move.  The whole thing could leave you stressed and ready to blow.  Getting a quotation, checking out reviews and getting recommendations can take several weeks . Remember that many good removal companies will be booked up weeks in advance.

Get Several Quotes

Don’t just assume that one quote will be enough.  You will want to find out what service you will get for the price and you will also need to choose whether to get the removal company to pack for you and what this actually includes.

Look out for hidden extras.  Removal companies that say you can get an online quote could end up costing you more.  A reputable removal company will send out a removal surveyor to accurately calculate the cubic feet of your belongings before giving you a written quote.

Speak to Friends and Family

The best way to find your removal company could be as simple as asking friends and family for a recommendation.  If a removal company has done a good job for someone you know what better reference could there be?

Check Credentials

Be safe when choosing your removal company.  The British Association of Removers (BAR) is an organisation which is committed to ensuring the removals industry maintains excellence.  The standards and code of conduct they set for their members should go a long way towards reassuring you about the level of professionalism of your chosen removal company.

Need help choosing a removal company? We work with some of the best in the industry and can help you make an informed decision.

Rachel MacLeod  Article written by Rachel MacLeod. Rachel is a Virtual Legal Secretary and owner of www.pencil-case.net. When powered by coffee and Haribo she can type 3000 wpm, blindfolded.

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Top 5 Ways To Reduce Your Removal Costs

moving house packing the carMoving can be expensive, especially if you’ve collected  a number of years’ worth of your belongings.  We’ve come up with some ways you can lower your moving costs:

Declutter

The best way to reduce your moving costs is to reduce the volume of your belongings.  Moving home is a good excuse to rid yourself of all those “must keep” items that you don’t use from one year to the next.  You can sell, recycle or donate items that are still usable and failing that you can throw away the things you no longer need or use.

Estimates

When using a removal company make sure you get at least three estimates, it doesn’t hurt to let the removal company know that you are obtaining other estimates.  Be aware though that the lowest price doesn’t mean you should disregard the other companies.  Check the internet for reviews from previous customers and see how many would use the service again.  Another thing to check is that the estimate contains a full breakdown of what you will be expected to pay, with no hidden extras!

Packing

Make sure to reduce your costs even further by disassembling all of your furniture yourself and making sure that all the removal company need to do is load your belongings onto the truck, transport and then unload at the other end.

Moving Date

If you want to reduce costs further try moving in the middle of the week rather than on a Friday.  Demand for removal companies is highest on Fridays and at the end of a month – picking the middle of a month and the middle of the week could see you receive a discount.

Negotiate

Just because a company has given you their price doesn’t mean it is set in stone.  If you don’t want to pay what the removal company have estimated, negotiate a price that suits you.

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I’m a house buyer…..get me outta here!

Stressed man moving houseLocation, Location, Location – it’s not just a cliché and we all know it.

When you decide to move, as a buyer, it can often be a daunting process.  Where do you look and who will help you?  Whilst an Estate Agent will help you to a certain extent, they work for the seller of a property and are usually only interested in getting properties sold asap to the highest bidder.

Don’t worry though, all is not lost, a buyer can get help in the form of a Property Finder.  Property Finders will help a buyer or a potential tenant find a property that suits them, think Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer.  Most Property Finders will also offer a full service, this means they not only help a buyer or tenant find a house to buy or to rent, they then help you manoeuvre through the minefield of the house moving process, from making your offer through to getting you the keys on moving day.

Property Finders take some of the emotion out of house buying by looking at the practicalities of local transport, parking, local shops and schools in the area you are considering.  All you need to do is give your Property Finder some details of “must haves”, “must not haves” and things that you could live with/without and they will come back with recommended properties and areas.

Sounds simple, yes?  It is.  We know that you will probably still have some questions about Property Finders before making your decision. We would be more than happy to answer them for you.

Did you know that we also offer a full property finding service? You could spend up to 50 hours of your own valuable time trying to find your dream home. Alternatively, speak to us to find out how we can help you.

With prices starting from just £199 can you afford not to speak to us?

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Rachel MacLeod is a Virtual Legal Secretary and owner of www.pencil-case.net. When powered by coffee and Haribo she can type 3000 wpm, blindfolded. She also writes part-time for an online Conveyancing Newspaper. [/author_info] [/author]

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Why you need a Move Planner when Moving Home

plans and keysHave you ever moved home and found the whole experience frustrating and stressful? Not being able to speak to the key people or feeling ‘in the dark’ when you do because of the property jargon?

There is a mountain of tasks to be completed when moving home from organising companies to act for you – Solicitors, Estate Agents, Financial Advisors; as well as utility companies, removals and all the companies you have to let you know that you’ve moved! Not to mention the adminsitrative tasks of packing, change of address notifications, finding new doctors, dentists etc….Phew! The list is almost endless!

On average it takes over 70 hours to plan, organise and manage your own house move. Couple that with dealing with industry professionals who know the industry inside-out and it’s no wonder you can end up feeling out of your depth and out of control.

Wouldn’t it be great to have an industry professional who is truly on your side? Someone who knows the industry well and the challenges you face as a home mover. Also someone who can do it all for you, whilst also getting you the best deals and give you hints and tips along the way to speed things up!

That’s where your own personal Move Planner can help. Not only can they make your house move quicker, easier and more affordable but they also liase with all the other parties involved, meaning that you only ever have to speak to one person – your Move Planner.

All of our Move Planners are legally trained, property professionals. There’s no pulling the wool over their eyes. They know the best companies to use and those to avoid….and they know what to do to make your house move the enjoyable, exciting experience it should be!

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Beware of hidden costs when moving – Part 1 Estate Agents

money when moving homeA lot of people are concerned about ‘hidden costs’ when buying and selling property and rightly so.

Whilst you may think that the professionals (Solicitors, Estate Agents and Financial Advisors) involved in your house sale or purchase are looking out for your best interests, and in most cases they are, there are some out there just looking to make as much money out of your move as possible.

However, if you know what to look out for there really should be no costs that come as a nasty surprise at the end.

In this 3 part blog series we’ll be focusing on what you should be looking out for and where so you don’t get caught out.

Estate Agents – Be EXTREMELY wary if your estate agent says ‘you have to use ‘their’ Solicitors or you will lose the property’ or ‘so that is everything is under one roof’ or ‘you will move quicker’.

9.9 times out of 10 what this really means is they are getting paid a REFERRAL FEE for sending you to that Solicitor which is why they want you to use them. What this means to you is that sometimes as much as 60% of the legal costs (Yes really! More than 50% of the fee you pay ‘your’ Solicitor for doing the legal work!) is being paid back to the estate agent just for them sending you to those Solicitors.

In reality, this means you could be paying well over the odds for the legal service. Also, as the Solicitor is, at the end of your case, receiving such low costs they will have to do more work to make the same amount of money as a Solicitor not paying referral fees. More cases usually means service standards start to slip as a result; they may struggle to keep up with the volume of telephone calls and the paperwork that needs doing.

When you receive any paperwork, whether at the office of your estate agent or in your own home, ensure you read ALL OF IT. Yes, even those teeny tiny small prints that you need a magnifying glass for. In fact…especially those! That is where you’ll find anything that they can charge you extra for or where those ‘hidden’ costs hide. If you query these later they’ll probably say something along the lines of…’Oh that? Yes, we told you about that in that really tiny writing that was too small to read’.

You must also ensure that you read the agency contract carefully…yes, all of that small print again…this is where you’ll find the details regarding the agreement you will make the agent. In particular, it will outline any costs that you will have to pay if, for example, you want to terminate your contract for poor service. It will also outline how long you are in agreement with the agent for – not strictly a hidden cost but it could end up costing you money if the agent is not selling your property and you need to change to a different one.

In Part 2 of this series we’ll be looking at the ‘hidden’ costs that can arise when using conveyancing solicitors.

To ensure you don’t miss the second part to this series why not subscribe to this blog?

What is a Move Planner?

Home Move Planner

Home Move Planner

At Home Move Planner we use the term Move Planner to mean your own personal house moving assistant, organiser and planner.

They are your one point of contact who will deal with all the other companies on your behalf, saving you a great deal of time, stress and money.

Once you instruct us to act for you we will get to work straight away finding you the best deals and companies to work with to make your house move as easy and seamless as possible.

Everyone knows that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do.

Moving is only stressful for most people because they’re not sure what to do or who to speak to and when.

There can be so much uncertainty and worry associated with the house move.

Your own personal Move Planner takes all of this away for you, dealing with your whole house move from start to finish – from obtaining quotes to booking your removals, transferring your utilities and sending out change of address notifications. They also manage the service provided to you by Solicitors, Estate Agents and Financial Advisors ensuring that you are kept updated and your move stays on track.

If you could use a Move Planner to help make your house move more enjoyable please do contact us, we would love to hear from you.

How to find a great Conveyancing Solicitor

Property law conveyancingYou’ve found a house to buy or you’ve agreed a sale on yours and now it’s time to find a Solicitor.

With so many of them saying the same things it can be very difficult to know which one to choose.

We have worked with over 100 solicitors firms across the UK so here are a few tips on what to look out for.

Experience – How many conveyancing transactions do they handle? Whilst they will be legally trained and insured should something go wrong, if they have not handled many transactions they may be unfamiliar should anything out of the ordinary crop up. Don’t be afraid to ask them how many transactions they deal with a year or you can find the information on the Land Registry’s website.

Specialism – is conveyancing their specialist area? Many Solicitors are known as ‘general practitioners’ which means they deal with other areas of law too – this doesn’t mean they are any less qualified – but it does mean they could be out at court when you need to speak to them about your property. You could also choose a Licensed Conveyancer who are only qualified to deal with conveyancing.

Recommendation – It is always good to have the personal recommendation of a friend or family member but make sure you still do your own research – ask them what they thought was good about the service, does this fit with your own requirements? How long ago did they use the Solicitor and is the same Solicitor still working there to handle your case.

Seniority – How many years qualified is the person that will be handling your case or will it be dealt with by an unqualified person under supervision?

Price – The old saying that you get what you pay for is usually true when it comes to legal services. Bear in mind that if the service is cheap compared to the rest of the market, the firm will have had to cut corners somewhere to ensure they make a profit. They will also usually be busier than more expensive firms as they will need to do more work to make the same amount of money. Will your case be at the bottom of a very large pile?

Turnaround times – how quickly, on average, do they use get their cases through to completion? If they can’t answer this question then they do not monitor this for their clients so be wary.

Communication – how will they communicate with you, will it be by telephone, email, text message, online updates, and when can you expect to hear from them? Does this fit in with your requirements and expectations?

If you are in doubt, speak to us and we can help you choose a conveyancing solicitor that is right for you and your circumstances.

Photo by Umjanedoan

Secrets to choosing a Great Estate Agent

sold sign blogWith so many Estate Agents to choose from it’s no wonder you’re probably finding it quite difficult to decide which one to use.

We have worked with some of the best agents in the industry and here are our top insider tips to make sure you pick a good one….

1. Look for sold signs in your area – which agent is selling the most? It’s sales that count not for sale boards so only pay attention to the sold ones.

2. Carry out a mystery shop on at least three that you like the look of – pretend that you are interested in buying one of their properties and see how they treat you. This is a good indicator of how they will treat potential buyers for your property, so make sure they are easy to reach by telephone, polite, informative and call you back if they say they will.

3. Price – Don’t be swayed by the cheapest price – they may be desperate to get you on your books and a low fee may mean that they are not sufficiently motivated to get a sale for you.

4. Valuation – have they valued your property in line with the current prices in your area or are they just telling you what they think you want to hear? An overinflated asking price could put off buyers in those important early weeks meaning your house gets stuck on the market. It’s easy to find out what houses are selling for in your area just take a look at Rightmove sold prices.

5. Recommendation – ask local family and friends can they recommend an agent to you? If so, ask them why they used that agent and what they liked about them. Make sure what they say fits with your requirements.

Once you have found the right Estate Agent to work with read the contract carefully, make sure you won’t be tied in for long periods of time or subject to penalties if you want to change agents due to poor service.

Do you need help finding an Estate Agent? If so, we would love to help you.

Photo by Diana Parkhouse