We’ve lived in our house now for nearly 8 years but we have recently been thinking more and more about moving house. More specifically, Covid and the pandemic made us realise that actually, our house doesn’t work for us any more and we want different things compared to when we bought it. Moving house especially during a pandemic, might not be as easy as it once was so here are some things to consider.
The property market
At the start of lockdown pretty much everything was closed. People who had been in the process of buying or selling were put on hold and everything took a lot longer than normal. It was taking months to get sales or purchases finalised and things like house viewings were put on hold.
Properties are much more in demand right now and the property market isn’t what it was when we first bought our house back in 2014. Then, there was lots of choice and we were able to go on plenty of viewings. At that time, it was the done thing to put in an offer under the asking price of at least 10% less, if not more. You definitely never went in at the asking price or above it unless it was somewhere really special.
In our area properties are getting snapped up nearly as fast as they are put up for sale. Demand is huge and there just aren’t enough houses going up for sale compared to the amount of buyers waiting. Instead of going in under the asking price when putting an offer in on a house you’re now expected to either go straight in at what the seller wants or above it.
There are things that could benefit you when putting an offer in on a house. If you don’t have a chain this means that you’re ready to move and could probably do so quite quickly and with this, you might be able to go a bit lower with your offer. The same goes for if you are a cash buyer or if the seller needs to move quickly. It’s definitely worth trying to find out why someone is looking to move as if someone needs to move quickly they might accept a lower price.
With a lot of properties selling for above the initial asking price, making sure you have your budget right to start with will make a huge difference on your house search.
Financing a house purchase
The most important thing to think about before even planning to move house is your finances. Your circumstances may have changed since getting your first mortgage and Covid could have had something to do with that. A lot of people were made redundant, on furlough or already unemployed and unable find work.
The first thing to do is to check how much you could borrow and how much your repayments might be by using a mortgage calculator. There’s no point in looking for houses out of your price range and falling in love with something you won’t be able to afford. You need to be realistic about your monthly payments and ensure that even if something was to happen, you could still cover your mortgage payments.
Other things to consider when looking at the financial aspect of moving house are stamp duty, moving costs, any legal fees etc. This can add a good chuck onto your final purchase price and some things have to be paid upfront.
What you’re looking for in a house
When we first bought our house we actually thought it would be our forever home. It has 4 bedrooms and plenty of room for improvement and upgrades. We didn’t think about how our needs would change over the years, especially when we had a child. Luckily, you can use online tools to look for properties and put in some specific information to narrow down your search.
One of the big things that has changed since March 2020 is that a lot of people are now working from home. People have ended up working in a small space at home or repurposing a room that is actually used for something else and that’s not really ideal. Many companies are now carrying on with home working so you might want to consider looking for a new house with a separate office space.
Living spaces are another thing that you might be looking to change. We currently have a big open plan living room and dining room but this doesn’t really work for us any more. Although we like some open plan rooms we would prefer to have a bigger kitchen with a dining area included and then have a separate living room.
If you’re looking to move to a house that’s ready to move in to and needs nothing doing to it then you might want to prepare yourself to pay extra for this or have a longer wait to find the right property. If you don’t mind having to do some decorating or upgrades to your new home then you might have more to choose from.
If you are a family with children then I think it’s especially important to include them in the search for a new home. Although they won’t get any final say it’s a good idea to get their opinions on houses you might be considering. Don’t forget, children have to live in the new house too. They might find something they really dislike about a property and it might be something you hadn’t thought of before. Children tend to have a different way of looking at things and their opinion is definitely worth listening to.
You might also want to consider things like children’s schools, parks close by, how far away somewhere would be to walk to if you didn’t have use of car or transport links.
Buying a house, whether it’s your 1st or 5th can be a stressful time but with careful planning and preparation you can make it a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.