Although we’re loath to use the C-word when the sun hasn’t even dimmed on summer, there are occasions when it’s unavoidable – and for those people hoping to be in a new home before Santa arrives, this is one of them.
So if this is the first time this year that you’ve seen Christmas mentioned, we apologise.
It may be you’ve already found your new perfect home, in which case you’re already some of the way to collecting the keys. But in all likelihood, house-hunting is something you’re probably putting off until the holidays are over or the kids are back at school.
Being prepared is half the battle in any house move, but Christmas is often a milestone moment in the moving calendar – and if being in your new home by then is your goal then you’re going to need to get serious about it in the coming few weeks.
The thing many would-be movers overlook is the need to get a mortgage lined up. Even if you don’t need to upsize your existing debt to finance your new property, unless you’re a cash buyer it’s a near-certainty that you’ll have to apply to your lender to take your current mortgage with you.
For most of us, though, it’s a case of having to apply for a new mortgage to buy our dream property, and while it may be tempting to use price comparison websites to find potential mortgage products, there are definite benefits to be gained from using a professional mortgage broker.
One distinct advantage is that a broker like Oportfolio will have access to mortgages you won’t be able to see or buy online or on the high street. That means a wider choice of rates and terms.
A broker will also be able to offer tailored advice to identify the mortgage best suited to your needs – something you wouldn’t get by going to a lender directly.
Also, many estate agents now have brokers tied in to their service. Remember that you’re not obliged to use their services – though you may want to talk to them, too – and whether you intend seeking their help or not shouldn’t have any impact on your chances of having an offer accepted on a property being marketed by the agent.
So, think carefully before you plump for a mortgage you’ve found while searching online. Calling a broker and finding out what they can offer won’t cost you anything – and it could save you time and money.
Once you’ve chosen a broker or a mortgage, get a mortgage agreed in principle with your lender. That’s often a golden ticket for both buyers and estate agents.
Knowing you’re dealing with someone who already has finance in place gives you greater negotiating power and means your offer on a new house is more likely to be accepted – even if it’s not at the asking price.
Next, when it comes to finding your new home and selling your current one, use estate agents that have signed up with all the major selling portals like Zoopla and Rightmove. Not only will you have more property to choose from, your existying home will also reach the widest possible market.
If your current home is a bit cluttered and tired – as well-lived-in homes can tend to be – then have a good clear out from top to bottom and freshen things up with a lick of paint, sticking to neutral colours as much as possible. Making sure you’re sale-ready is vital if you want the best chance of getting your home moving.
In terms of pricing, keep it real. Some estate agents will dazzle you with promises of a sale figure at the very limit of your imagination, but if it’s not realistic you’ll end up wasting valuable time reducing the asking price to something the market will support.
Look at similar properties that are for sale or have sold recently and pitch your price appropriately.
If you’re lucky enough to have multiple offers on your home, plump for a buyer who’s ready to move or is a good way down that road. It’s sometimes worth accepting a slightly lower offer in return for confidence the deal will go through, rather than a higher offer that may fall through halfway through.
Unless you’re buying a new build, which is guaranteed for ten years, you’ll need a surveyor and a solicitor. Find professionals who are readily available and who can demonstrate they’re efficient and reliable.
In the case of your solicitor particularly, keep on top of things. Make sure they are aware of your timetable and believe they can meet it – and then make sure communication is good and that everything is being done as quickly as possible.
Now you just need to get an agreement on a quick turnaround on completion. Typically, this happens a couple of weeks or so after exchange of contracts, but these days, if everything is organised well, both elements can be concluded on the same day.
Finally, once everything’s agreed, you can book a removals company and start to pack up in an organised way that happens at your own pace. Just don’t forget to put the Christmas decs on the van last so they can go up the moment you move in!
Need more information about your mortgage options? Take a look at our short guide to remortgaging.
To find out more about our friendly and professional mortgage service, fees and what we can do to help make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your mortgage, why not visit www.oportfolio.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7371 5063.
Oportfolio Limited is an appointed representative of Primis Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Oportfolio Ltd fees are payable on application. We charge a broker fee for property purchases of £495 and a remortgage/further advance fee of £395. Our product transfer fee is £295.