Searching for a New House

It doesn’t look like I will be getting my possessions back out of storage anytime soon – after months of scouring the internet and local papers, hounding the local estate agents and everyone I know in the hope they know someone who just might be thinking of selling, there is still no new house purchase on the horizon. The only good thing to have come out of this so far is that, with most of my belongings in a self-storage unit, I’m learning to love minimalism, which coming from a self-confessed hoarder is saying something.

I have put in offers on two houses during the time I’ve been looking – in both I ended up in a bidding war and found myself offering more than I ever thought the house was worth. Probably a good thing I didn’t get the first one as it was a building project needing at least £100k spending on it and I would have ended up moving in with 50p to spare. Who said there was a recession – in my opinion anything decent on the market is selling quickly and for a good price because there is so little to choose from.

I know it is very different in other parts of the country but in the South-East that is my experience (apparently in London the housing market is booming – who’d have thought it?)

Having a big red SOLD sign outside my current home means I am being inundated with leaflets from storage companies and house removals firms – well my storage is already sorted but I would love to be able to phone up some of those removals companies and ask for a quote but given that I don’t yet know where I am moving to I would say that’s a little premature.

Oh well – back to scouring the internet – if you haven’t checked out the feature in RightMove where you can draw a boundary around an area in which you want to search for houses, check it out – very useful and you can even set up email alerts to be notified when a new house comes on the market.

Top Tips For Making Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

Getting Real

The trouble many homeowners face is that they do not realise what it is they are selling. That might sound stupid, however often the biggest barrier they face is the mere fact that it is their home. It is their tastes that are represented, and their idea of perfection.

You only have to look at the success of silly television shows such as “May The Best House Win” to see how much tastes can differ. Now, obviously you are not going to paint your whole house in an inspirational shade of magnolia before leaving, but what are the small things you can do in order to quicken a house sale?

Try to Minimalize

If you are still living in your current home full time then this may prove to be something of a problem. However, when people come to view your home they want the best possible opportunity to view the potential of what they might be buying. The best way for many potential homebuyers to see this is to see a house as empty as possible. Your sofa, HD television, and beautiful decorations may look great but take it from me, people about to commit to a huge financial obligation would much rather see an empty space.

Be Honest

This is especially true in the case of repairs that need to be done to the house. The first temptation in the modern day is to drop the price of the house in line with what you believe will need to be spent on repairs. Unfortunately, this will lead to people seeing an ad for the house, noticing the list price being lower than similar properties and automatically saying “no” to it.

Instead, list the price at a true value representative of the market. However, be honest with regards to any work that needs doing, but offer to pay 50% of the repair price, for example, along with the buyer of the home. Avoid employing a workman to complete repairs on the cheap just to “paper over the cracks.”

Talk to Viewers Yourself

Whether through a shy nature or for some other reason, many homeowners leave the viewing process up to the estate agent. Make sure you are home and talk to anyone viewing your home yourself. There can be an air of suspicion held, probably unfairly, around estate agents that will likely not be there if you converse with the viewer yourself. If they have any questions, too, these can be answered quickly without having to go back and forth to the agent, so cut out the middle man and sell your home quicker!



I’ve Found a Buyer for my House

Two-and-a-half months after it went on the market  I have now found a buyer for my house – that seems like a pretty reasonable time to sell a house in this economic climate where there is still some uncertainty over what will happen to house prices and when it is still difficult for those home-buyers without a large deposit to secure a mortgage easily. And bearing in mind that it is a very nice but not an extraordinary house that was going to be snapped up straight away. I put this success in securing a buyer fairly quickly down to 3 main things:

  1. The Realistic Pricing – I was, naturally, tempted by the high valuation from one estate agent, but given that  I had five valuations and four were pretty much the same I realised that the high one just wasn’t attainable no matter how much I hoped it would be. I had known people to sell at a very high price recently using agents that just targeted city dwellers moving out to smaller towns like mine but that particular house that sold for a premium was a beautiful period property that had been completely refurbished by an interior design so wa not really comparable to my more modest home.
  2. Clean, clutter-free rooms right across the house that I had achieved with a huge amount of effort by storing most of my possessions in my loft and garage and putting the remainder in a cheap self storage facility.
  3. All minor DIY jobs were completed, holes and minor cracks in walls were filled and those rooms sorely in need of a facelift were re-decorated – in a neutral colour, of course.

So, I’m happy with the price (3% less than the asking price) as, obviously, are the buyers. All necessary paperwork is with the solicitor and the sale is proceeding as expected. Meanwhile I am scouring the internet and local papers, hounding the local estate agents and even dropping notes through doors of likely looking houses in the hope the owners are thinking of selling, because the only problem on the horizon is that I haven’t yet found a house to buy. And I am very keen to find a new house soon because I want to get my life back out of storage.


Hiring A Removals Company

The easy part is over – you’ve found a house you want to buy, you can actually afford it and your offer has been accepted. Now starts the difficult part of actually moving your possessions from one home to another with all the hassle and stress associated with that.

If your budget can stretch to it, then hiring a professional removals and storage company can go a long way towards relieving some of that stress and taking the hassle out of the packing and moving process. The professionals can do all the hard work and are experienced in packing belongings to minimise any damage in transit and storing them when necessary. Of course, no company, even the best and most reputable, can guarantee that everything will arrive at your new home in perfect condition but professional packers will certainly do a better job of it than you and your friends or family.

Even so ensure that you have good insurance cover to protect you possessions (something better than simply “adequate”) which will fully compensate you for any damage or loss, and will do so quickly. There can be nothing worse than starting life in your new home without some important item of furniture or piece of equipment.

To help you decide on which removals company to use first ask around for recommendations and compare not only their moving charges but also their packing charges if you want to use this service. Some companies charge a low removals price but then make that up with hefty packing charges so make sure you compare like-with-like – that’s not always as easy as it sounds as I’m sure companies in all walks of life try to confuse us mere mortals with their pricing structures.

If you can’t get a good recommendation then check out any local online forums or communities, or even ask your estate agent, and if all else fails simply go with a name you recognise. This may not, necessarily, be the cheapest option but well-established companies have generally been around for a long time because they do a good job and it’s not worth taking a risk with your complete household contents. Many companies require notice well in advance of the moving date so book a provisional date with them as soon as you have made your choice of company – clearly the actual moving date is very likely to change so make it clear that it is a provisional data and avoid paying a large deposit unless absolutely necessary. Until the papers are signed the deal is not binding and any number of things can go wrong with a house purchase between an offer being accepted and the actual completion.

If you have any particularly valuable items such as paintings or antiques then make sure the removers appreciate their value and/or fragility and don’t just treat them as another piece of furniture. If necessary use a specialist remover for certain items. After all moving is stressful enough without any additional worries so ensure your valuable possessions are in safe hands.

If you’ve had a particularly good or bad moving experience why not share it with us?


Recycled or Used Packing Boxes Are an Eco-Friendly Option

If you are moving home, relocating your office or simply putting some personal belongings into self storage then you will need some good, sturdy packing boxes. It might be tempting to try and obtain free cardboard boxes from supermarkets and other local retailers but, in practise, these types of boxes are not made to be re-used; they are flimsy and are unlikely to withstand being loaded up with heavy household possessions.

So your best option is to buy or borrow packing boxes made specifically for removals. Such boxes brand new can be expensive but if you shop around you can find them for a reasonable price – and they are very useful for storage in a loft or garage after your move. But what if you are on a very tight budget or, as many people are, you are becoming much more environmentally aware and do not like the idea of using brand new cardboard boxes? If your attempts to borrow boxes fail then there is always the option of purchasing used packing boxes; because they are so sturdily made they will not have become damaged at all by a single house move and can easily be re-used a number of times.

If you cannot find used packing boxes locally you may be able to purchase new boxes made from recycled materials as an alternative. These are just as sturdy as those made from non-recycled materials but because they are cheaper to produce, they are also cheaper to buy so if you have a large home or are doing an office move the overall cost savings will be substantial.

So if you are looking for packing boxes then think about the Earth’s resources and try to use recycled or previously used packing boxes. Not only will you contribute to improving our environment but you will also save yourself money.

Declutter Before You Move House

It’s always a good a idea to delutter your current home before you move house. When you are busy sorting and packing for the move that’s the ideal time to get rid of all those possessions that are just cluttering up your space – so they won’t just clutter up your new home. It will also help you cut down on moving costs – fewer boxes to pack and move means a cheaper house move. Moving to a new home is also a great opportunity for a fresh start – without all the unnecessary stuff that we accumulate in our lives. It doesn’t mean throwing out items with sentimental value or precious heirlooms but it does mean taking a long hard look at what you really need in you home and life.

Of course, no one seems to have much spare time available these days, so it’s a good thing if you are able to make the best of the time you have. If you are looking at ways to get more decluttering done, here are four ideas that will help you with decluttering before your house move.

Avoid any interruptions so you are able to focus on decluttering.

Put your phone on voice-mail, turn off your TV, say “no” to distractions! You might even consider closing yourself within the room you are cleaning and placing a sign saying something like “Hard at Work: Interrupt Only With EMERGENCIES.” Make sure your children have something to keep them occupied for the whole time you plan to declutter!

Give yourself a break.

If you choose to assign a full Decluttering Day, don’t forget to plan some stress breaks for throughout the day. Remember, working to the point of total brain fatigue and muscle tension won’t ever do you any good. Plan small treats for yourself! If you would like, you could schedule the short breaks as rewards for whenever you’ve finished a particular chore.

Realize that you have your own approach!

Just as we are all different in other ways, we all have diverse organizational styles. There are countless ways to get more decluttering done, so before you get started, do some quick research and find out which ways will work best for you! Check out some of the ideas in the links below. If you want to get more decluttering done, your best chance is to find tricks that enhance your personal style, not change it. Getting organized should make you feel good, not burdened.

Stick to your plan.

The most effective plans often fall victim to their makers. While impulsiveness is great, plans are made to be followed! There is a fine line between being spontaneous and jumping from small task to small task… and plain procrastination. Once you’ve come up with a good plan for tackling a task, stay with it. Only you can prevent yourself from wavering.

Moving Day

There are few events in life as stressful as when you are moving from one home to the next. It does not matter how well you plan the day and how long you have been preparing, there is so much to do on the day and you will feel under pressure. There are a few things that can ease the stress of moving and although some of them may seem like common sense, you would be surprised how many people overlook the basics.

Clearly Mark Your Boxes

There is nothing worse than arriving at your new home and not being able to find anything because all the boxes look the same. When you are unloading your boxes, it is a great idea to know which room everything should go to rather than dumping everything in one location to be sorted through later. One of the most important things is to make a welcome box and fill it with essentials that you will need as soon as you arrive. Things like the kettle, cups and cutlery along with your toiletries and towels are often what are required first. Do not forget to put in your phone charger and your alarm clock, these items are almost impossible to find among all your boxes, but they are always things you will need on your first night.

Never Overload Boxes

Boxes that are overloaded will not just be tiring to move all day, but there is more chance of something being damaged in transit. It also makes finding stuff that little bit harder when you are going through boxes trying to find a specific item at your new home. Heavy boxes can also damage other boxes in transit if they are placed on top of them. A box should be lifted by a single person without placing too much of a strain on them.

Make use of Friends

Nobody likes moving, so you will probably be short on volunteers when it comes to your move day. Place a few posts on your Facebook wall to let everyone know you could do with a hand. Offer invites to a house warming in the evening with a takeaway meal for all those who lend a hand and even if just one or two commit to helping, it will take a lot of strain away.

Know Your New Home

Some things are easy to find out about your new home, such as where the fuse box is located, but knowing where the stopcock for the water and gas is sometimes less obvious. Ask your estate agent or the previous owners before the exchange takes place and you will save yourself a lot of bother. Also find out when refuse collections take place because it is important not to miss the first one.

This may seem obvious, but make sure you stock up on cardboard boxes long before you need to start packing. Running around last minute to find suitable boxes is a big no-no.

Why not leave a comment and tell us about your house moving experience?