MOVING WITH CHILDREN? HOW TO SELL AND BE SETTLED BEFORE THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
If you thought you’d missed the boat for a family move this year, the good news is you’ve still got time. With the speed of the current market, you can sell your home and be in your new one by the end of the school holidays.
The Times recently reported that the average conveyancing time in the UK is now 59 days. Given that property is selling faster than ever – often within a week or even days after hitting the market – it’s perfectly possible to move within 2-3 months from the date your home goes up for sale.
But there’s no time to waste, and this week’s blog guides you through the steps to speed up the process and strip out delays. If you want to complete your move before the kids go back to school, all you need to know is right here.
STEP 1: LIST YOUR HOME FOR SALE
Under normal circumstances, we’d recommend a thorough sprucing and styling for spring, but a quick tidy round could be all you need with the current high demand. Right now, securing a home is far more important to buyers than Pinterest perfection.
To encourage swift action and offers from people who are ready to move to your timeframe, you can run two strategies side by side.
- A launch day advertised on the property portals to reach everyone looking for a home like yours. These are usually scheduled on Saturdays when most people are off work to give you a full day of viewings.
- A sneak preview before your launch for the very best buyers already registered with your agent. People often pay handsomely for the exclusivity of beating the crowds.
Of course, if an offer does come in from your preview, you’re free to either accept it or wait until the results of your launch day.
STEP 2: DEFINE THE HOME YOU WANT TO BUY
Make a wish list of family features for your next home to help estate agents identify properties fast, both on and off-market.
10% of UK sales have been off-market this year as agents bypass the shortage of property for sale, so don’t be disheartened if there’s nothing available on the surface – your dream home could already be waiting in the wings.
Are you seeking a forever home your family can grow into, or do your future plans include another move? Perhaps you’ve got a particular secondary school in mind for a few years from now, or you hope to downsize after your children leave home.
No two wish lists are the same, but family buyers often think about:
- bedroom journeys from cots and single beds to bunks and teenage years
- ease of access to schools, whether on foot, by bike, with public transport or in a car
- gardens with space for children to play, dogs to run about, and parents to relax
- together-time, from telly’n’pizza nights to multi-purpose spaces for homework, drawing, cooking and eating
- neighbourhood amenities from shops and child-friendly pub gardens to sports clubs, cinemas, parks and forests.
Finding something for everyone in the family goes a long way to making your move a happy one.
STEP 3: OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Moving is a time of lists, and two biggies are shopping and selling. There’s nothing like the prospect of a new home to start thinking about overdue upgrades or your children’s changing needs.
Make a room-by-room sweep to explore what you’ve outgrown, need to replace or no longer want. Try these suggestions for starters.
- Clever storage for kids’ clothes, toys and studies (slide-out and stackable crates, wardrobes, shelves, desks and ottomans).
- A couch for bigger Netflix nights, a sofa bed for spontaneous sleepovers, or a larger dining table for best friends for tea.
- Do you need a washing machine, fridge freezer or dishwasher with a larger capacity?
- Are siblings moving from sharing a room to one of their own, or does a teenager have their sights on a double bed?
- Accidental hoarding: a forgotten treadmill, old bikes, unused gifts, or any impulsive purchases that never saw the light of day? Wish them a fond farewell and get them listed.
With some early research for your shopping list, you’ll be ready to hit the Buy Now button as soon as you have a moving date. And if you’re selling to upgrade, consider whether replacing something now would enhance the look of your home for sale while ticking a job off your later to-do list.
STEP 4: SPEED UP THE LEGAL PROCESS
You can find and strip out potential delays in the conveyancing process by acting now to help your sale keep up momentum. The goal is to leave your buyer with only their survey, mortgage application, and local authority search to arrange.
Use the following checklist to have a full contract package ready for when you accept an offer.
- Instruct a conveyancer as soon as your home goes on the market
- Sign their letter of engagement and provide your ID and proof of address
- Fill out the forms they send you about the ownership of your home and any guarantees or permissions for improvements made
- Ask your conveyancer to check your paperwork, pre-empt additional questions and see if they can be answered before they are raised
It’s not the most exciting part of moving, and most sellers wait until they accept an offer. But doing it now can shave weeks off the time it takes to exchange contracts to help you move in plenty of time before the school year starts.
STEP 5: BE A SMOOTH MOVER
Moving alone is one thing, but moving with children has a lot more to it. They can form strong attachments to their room and home, so it’s worth making your move feel like an adventure and a time of possibility for the whole family.
You’ll find a complete moving day checklist in our previous blog that covers general planning and changing address, but here are some ideas to make the big day more exciting for children:
- Get them involved in taping up boxes and labelling with colourful stickers and marker pens
- Put them on bubble-wrap duty
- Keep out a favourite toy or two and accept intermittent lulls in interest
- Play their taste in music
- Talk about their new room and how they’d like to decorate it
- Pack an open-first box with the kettle, mugs, tea bags, coffee, some tasty treats, chargers, the iPad, portable speaker and, last but not least, loo roll.
Finally, ordering your children’s favourite takeaway for your first night in your new home can provide excellent unpacking motivation and help them settle in.
What’s your next step?
The summer holidays are the perfect time to move home without disrupting children’s routines, and I’d love to help you make it happen. Just think: you could enjoy a few weeks of barbecues or have your children’s room decorated before they go back to school.
Call me on 01384 958811 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat about putting your plans into action.