Having recently moved house I now feel the need to offload my vast wisdom on the subject. Maybe it will be of use to someone.
- You need an estate agent. Some people manage without. I wish we had taken the option of not having one. They really are the spawn of Satan. You pay them vast amounts of money from the proceeds of your sale. They do precisely nothing. Ok they do something. They put your house on Rightmove with some photos and boring description. This is all they do. They are bare faced liars. To gain you as a client they will say anything. They are good a this sales pitch part. They come into your home and compliment you on your sofas even though they are ancient and chewed to bits by the cat. They are like your best friend. You feel like you have known them for years. They promise you your house will sell like a hot cake and it is worth massive amounts of money. Incidentally, I have never bought a hot cake? Has anyone? Weeks will pass and nothing will happen. You hear nothing from them. You phone them and ask what is going on. Apparently nobody likes your house. Nobody likes your street. Your house has no interest. They arrange an open day which is attended by two sets of buy to letters who make snooty comments and then don’t buy it. More weeks pass. No viewings. The estate agent comes round and suggests you lower the price. He seems to have forgotten that he recommended the price in the first place. He now says your house is virtually unsaleable and is tired. Oh what a change of tune from the first meeting. The lowered price causes a rush of interest. Still no offers. They don’t like the view. They don’t like the garden. They don’t like the lack of allocated parking space. The main estate agent gives up on you. You are phoned at intervals by a girl who sounds like she is on helium and repeats what she said last time she phoned. She affects a fake cheery tone that makes her sound quite mad. Eventually, an offer is received from a naive first time buyer.
- You need a solicitor. Solicitors vary massively. Don’t use the cheapest because they will take forever and be uncontactable. I chose a local one who turned out to be quite efficient though slow. I was much more pleased with the solicitor than the estate agent. She periodically sent me the results of searches which are bizarre things like maps of your septic tank and a note of all wells in the area. The obtaining of searches takes an age because they are received from the council who work on Biblical time. It took five months from the date of my offer for the sale to complete. You have to wait for the mysterious exchange to happen which was often promised but always delayed. This was because of problems higher up the chain because their solicitors could not get their act together. Once exchange has happened the move can be very swift, even just a few days.
- You need to find a new house to live in. Everything happens on Rightmove nowadays so you spend hours scrolling through properties. You drive out to see them and find out they are on a major A road or next to an electricity generating station or somebody has the right of access to drive across your property whenever they feel like it. There is always something. There is no such thing as a bargain any more. You look at wrecks of farmhouses and imagine yourself doing them up into dream homes. You then remember you can barely screw in a light bulb and abandon this dream. Eventually you find the right place. In my case it was a Methodist chapel conversion. All the slog had already been done. Result at last.
- If you have as much stuff as me you probably need a removal company. They also vary. Some are polite and professional. Some are hideous and suck their teeth in and tut when they see all your stuff. Sack off the rude ones. We ended up with quite a nice company who did it at short notice with good cheer and efficiency.
- Don’t forget to inform all your utilities. If you don’t you will realise to late that all your direct debits are still active and they will just keep taking the money until you cancel them.
- You finally get to move in. You can’t believe it has finally happened. You wander round your new home marvelling at everything. It all feels strange and will take a long time to get used to but it is so worth it.
- Remember: all good things come to those who wait.