Hey there Sunshines!
Wow, time really does fly when you’re having fun! I can’t believe it was February since my last blog post.
So firstly, apologies and secondly the reason! After 3 years, we’ve finally moved house and we couldn’t be happier with our new home. As anyone whose moved house will know, it’s no easy feat. We had a few ups and downs along the way including not being able to sell, time out for studying (moi) and a general fed-up-ness with the situation!
But I’m a firm believer in the cheesy ‘everything happens for a reason’ line and things have worked out just fine. Even if it has taken literally years!! 😁
From paperwork to boxes to waiting and wondering, if you’re not careful it really can swallow you up and before you know it you become a house moving diva.
But I’ve learnt that if you stick with it, it will come good. For us, it was a classic scenario of relaxing how we felt about it and then it happened for us.
Our new home needs a lot of work, but we’re really enjoying putting our own stamp on the place and seeing it become an extension of us.
So if you’re taking the plunge be it your first home, second or tenth, I have some tips which hopefully will help you! All plucked from our experience. Good luck, count to ten and above all try to enjoy it. Plus if you have any handy hints, tips and advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’d love to read them!
In amoungst the madness we tend to forget that its one of the most monumental moments of our lives and its only with hindsight you wish you had enjoyed it a bit more.
So here goes, hope it helps!;
So simple but so true. If you’re not careful, you’ll feel like you’re living in an archiving store (well you have all the boxes at least!). Buy some folders, punched pockets, dividers, a stapler, post its and get filing paperwork from the get go!
Sub-divide everything into categories including solicitors, estate agents, mortgage company, financial advisor etc. I know this sounds very ‘Monica Gellar-Bing’ aka ‘Friends’ esque, but trust me, when temperatures are rising it will reduce your stress levels tend fold. For a double gold star, file everything in date order, trust me!
Ok, this is a tough one as it comes with the ‘what if’ risk. But it’s worth it! Once your purchase and/or sale has moved into the relatively safe zone, get the sellotape out and start boxing up! We did this about halfway into a 4 month purchase and it really did help. It meant we were ahead of the game and able to diffuse a large amount of the stress well ahead of time.
We bought a selection of moving 20 boxes (EBay £20.99 with free brown tape and bubble wrap! Bargain!) and we took our time boxing everything up. We started with non essentials and as time ticked by, the list reduced to things we needed day to day. On moving day this helped massively as we knew that the only things left to pack were essentials.
TOP TIP! Remember to label every box, this will save you so much time!
DOUBLE TOP TIP! Pack in room order, so everything is packed together. This will save you so much time in your new place as you know which boxes have what stuff in without having to rifle through tens of boxes! And we all know the thing that you’re looking for, will be in the last place you look!
Boxes & Magazines
Start collecting boxes you can get from supermarkets or deliveries you receive at home. And keep the bubblewrap!
No box is too small! Small boxes are perfect for packing fragile and precious items which need safeguarding.
Keep old magazines too as these are great for keeping things dust free.
TOP TIP! Don’t throw out all your boxes in your new place. They are great for shifting things about and also boot sale storage!
Make a list!
Keep lists for various subjects i.e what to do when leaving your old home, what to do when getting in your new home, what to pack and when, timescales and contact names and numbers. It sounds so simple but it’s so effective.
Your head is filled with so much information that its good to get thoughts out on paper to keep track. Plus, ticking tasks off physically is really motivating because you feel like are getting somewhere in a situation which feels like sometimes you are not!
TOP TIP! Keep a priority chart, the closer you are to moving day, the less things you will have to do!
The most important one! As much as you can feel that you’re organised and of top of things with your money, it really doesn’t hurt to keep a physical budget. I would suggest a spreadsheet to keep a track of every item.
Plan out what your budget is from the start, (be realistic!) and keep a track of all expenditure. Our biggest realisation is that there will always be incidentals that crop up and there will be things that go over budget, so if you can do it, build in some contingency too.
From solicitors, to estate agents, to moving costs, to general maintenance, to feeding moving helpers! It all adds up and its amazing how quickly you manage to spend it too! If you feel like you are losing control of your money, its a sure fire way to feel stressed and you’ll head for burn out.
Another massive reason keeping control of your budget is so that you will really enjoy the whole experience and not resent it or dislike the experience because you feel you are in a money pit!
TOP TIP! Spreadsheets are your friend! Keep receipts and update the budget regularly to keep track.
Plan your budget
As obvious as it sounds, plan your budget BEFORE you decide to buy/buy and sell.
It’s really easy to underestimate how much things are going to be and your affordability. We saw a financial advisor (you only pay IF you use them for your mortgage, haggle for a discount too!) who helped us understand how much we could afford, including the maximum. They gave us different scenarios (at our request) in terms of different borrowing values. This really helped because we then knew which properties we could view and how much of an offer we could put in, it puts you a step ahead from the start and also makes the experience more enjoyable and comfortable because you know your comfort zones in terms of borrowing. You also feel more excited about putting offers forward because you know where in your budget it is.
When planning your budget together remember to include your purchase costs, deposit for your mortgage if you need one, selling costs, solicitors, financial advisor fees, moving costs, decorating costs, new furniture costs, general maintenance (such as new keys/locks/boiler servicing/final utility bills/disposal of old furniture etc), agent fees, final rent bills, final/first utility bills and above all a contingency!
Plan how much time you will need to save the above and go about setting up standing orders to a dedicated account, this way you will keep the house move money separate and you won’t be tempted to dip into it! You’ll be surprised at how quickly it builds up!
If you’re in control of your budget, you’ll feel in control of the whole experience!
TOP TIP! Capitalise on good interest rates! Be sensible about your borrowing, don’t over stretch yourself if you don’t have to. If you are risk adverse, go for a fixed rate mortgage and work out if a 2 year or even 5 year is better for you. If the rates are good, go for 5, even though the rate is higher (assuming also that your new place is somewhere you want to stay for a while). If you can be flexible with your monthly outgoings, then a variable rate may be the one for you and these are normally a better rate.
Plan your move
Once you have an idea of when you are going to move and have an approximate date, plan your move.
Rally troops and lots of willing family and friends (make sure you ply them with treats and pizza or the offer of a reward!) and think about the logistics of the move itself. This can be anything from a day or a few days if you are moving far or have a lot of things to shift.
If necessary, make a physical list and a to do list for moving day. For us, we used our 3rd bedroom to house all the packed boxes which we wouldn’t need immediately We moved them into the room in a ‘U’ shape so that you could still move around the room and see what is in it. By having most of our things in one room, it meant that we didn’t have stray boxes lying all over the house, which can be quite de-motivating and also be a hindrance when decorating as you keep having to move things about.
We were lucky as we could be flexible as the people moving into our old place weren’t doing to straight away. However, some people have told me that they needed to be out and in within a day due to being in a chain. If this is you, even more reason to be organised. The last thing you want or need is to have a car full of people and belongings sitting outside your old house waiting to go in!
If you have a garage, use it for temporary storage rather than filling up the house with boxes. Again, a great way to keep the house itself clutter free and instead as a decanting space that you can quickly make your own. Its really easy to decorate and visualise a room with not much in it. Plus it is really stressful if you have a room full of stuff which you need to find the time to empty before you can do anything with it.
If you’re moving into a small property with not much storage, try to use 1 room to house your stuff and use it as the shifting room. We were previously in a one bedroom apartment, so I have become the queen of storage! If you have a loft, use it! Great for storage, however don’t forget to empty boxes you have up there and clear out temporary items, otherwise they will stay up there for years!
TOP TIP! Keep clutter minimal! And keep boxes contained within certain rooms for maximum organisation.
Change of address
Such a good tip! Before your move, start making a list of all the people and places you need to inform of your change of address. Whenever you get a letter or email, add that person or company to the list.
This will save you so much time and as soon as your move date arrives you can get the ball rolling. When we completed on our house, we went into town to collect our keys from the estate agent (such an emotional moment!) and went straight to our banks to let them know.
I found a really good check list on the internet which gives you ideas of who you need to tell. Another idea is to look through your bank statement (especially if you have a bill account) as it will remind you of companies you correspond with and it will jog your memory too. You’ll be amazed at who you have on there and also you may find that you have direct debits and payments you no longer need!
We also used a re-direction service with the post office for 3 months, again a great way of giving you time to get setup in your new place and more time to let everyone know about your new Casa!
TOP TIP! Prioritise who you tell first. Banks/Insurance companies/Car Registration/Driving Licence/Family/Friends/Work/Credit Card Companies & other loan companies/Doctors/Dentist would be my top ten.
Be realistic about time scales. Most purchasing and selling take more time than you expect (unless you are lucky!) There will always be things that crop up and extra paperwork or searches to be done. Try not to let this stress you out (so much easier said than done I know!) but keep an open mind. If you are in a chain this is especially hard, but if possible give yourself some contingency rather than feeling like your dates have to be completely in sync. Don’t forget, you don’t know for sure how long it will take for you to move out of your old place and no doubt you’ll want to give it a clean before you go, which again takes time.
If you’re moving into a house which needs renovation, be realistic about how long it will take to re-decorate and most importantly how much it will cost! Give yourself an idea about how much you think it will cost and how long it will take, then double it! And don’t forget to build this into your budget if you can.
BUT don’t put yourself under pressure, if you plan to stay in your new place for a while and its liveable they way it is, give yourself some breathing space and a break. It doesn’t have to be done in 5 minutes flat and you can take your time. I made this mistake when we first moved in, thinking that we need to have everything done by x date. But in reality it doesn’t work that way. Life needs to be balanced and you’ll just stress yourself out by having too much structure.
I found that by thinking that it doesn’t matter within reason how long it will take, as long as it gets done, has really helped me. Its allowed me to focus on enjoying the experience rather than feeling rushed to get everything done. Not only that, its amazing how quickly your money gets eaten up by all the things you didn’t think of and that adds up very quickly!
Enjoy the moments, the experience and absorb yourself into the feeling of excitement. Celebrate little milestones and achievements, before you know it, they create the ultimate picture and your home is exactly how you want it.
Most importantly – take pictures throughout the whole renovation! You’ll be amazed when you look at them just how far you have come and you can celebrate in your success.
Above all, enjoy, have fun and celebrate, after all – YOU DID THIS! Xo