We all know buying a house is a stressful experience, and when you’re looking to buy your next house and sell your current one, it can be even more stressful. In this episode we’re going to help you to get through the process with less stress and a calm mind, while also minimising the costs involved.
When my wife and I had our first house we were quite happy in it until we decided that we want to… sell it. Not sure why all of a sudden but I’m sure you’ll have those moments. Maybe you want to have more children and you think the house you live in is not suitable for this purpose. You also might need to move because you have a job offer in a different city, you’d like to downsize, or you just like to be closer to your family. But you’re unsure of the future challenges, you’re scared of the increasing interest rates, you don’t know how you can afford the new house. Is it possible despite your need or your good income?
My first tip is coming from my own personal experience:
1. Make it attractive
Make sure your current house looks attractive to the buyer as you’ll have to sell for the best price out there. We started selling our house because we didn’t like the interior mostly. However, when it came on the market we had lots of views but no offers, not even any silly ones which can cut you down quite badly. After a few months we had to withdraw it from the market and decided we’re staying there.
Later on, we started renovating the house. I changed the kitchen with a ready made one from IKEA, I replaced the laminate flooring and the old boiler, removed all the old wardrobes and the outdated decorations etc., we painted the house with a nice neutral colour (white) and bought some new furniture. We totally loved it. However, one day still unsure of what to do I accidentally filled an online valuation form on an estate agent’s website. After that the agent called and came to give us an approximate price. He had the confidence that the house will sell and convinced us to try to sell it. Eventually it did sell at a higher price than we expected. If your house looks more presentable then the chances of someone buying it at a good price are much higher.
2. Build equity
The more equity you have, the lower the interest rate the bank can offer you and you would be able to go for a house much closer to your house you want. This might mean that you would have to wait a few more years until your house appreciates in price so you can start the process.
3. Find a good estate agent.
I came across them accidentally. Previously had one of the major estate agents who didn’t do a good job and we decided to try with a hybrid one: they market the house but you welcome the potential buyers to show them around. They were also local which ensured that they know the market well. Your agent should know how to make your house look as beautiful as it can starting from the pictures, description and presenting it to the potential buyers. If you’re not getting the viewings or the offers, talk to them and ask them to provide feedback from the buyers. Ours were sending us any feedback they received which was even better.
4. Don’t be desperate
Don’t be desperate to sell unless you get the price you want. There will be many buyers who would like to undercut you and try their luck. Make sure you don’t lose your temper because of that and don’t pay attention to them. Continue to wait and be certain that nothing is impossible (unless your asking price is way too high!).
5. Set a maximum price
Set yourself a cap for the maximum price of the new house, which you can really afford. If you go to your mortgage advisor or complete a decision in principle with some of the major banks then you’d have an idea how much more you can borrow based on the selling price of your house, the equity you have in it, and your income. Now you can start looking for your new house but make sure you don’t go for the highest price and instead try to go for a lower price if possible. This way you would be able to afford to spend some money to refresh the new house later on if needed.
6. Be patient
Wait for a good offer to come on the market and don’t settle for just any house. New offers come to the market every day so don’t lose hope if you can’t find the one you like. The process of searching for a house on Right Move or Zoopla may take a long time. Discuss exactly what house you’d like, whether with your partner or your closest relatives/friends, and when you see a suitable one list all the advantages and disadvantages to take them into account in the big picture.
7. Have a strategy
When you find the house you like, have a strategy as to the price you’d like to start with when you make an offer. Don’t be afraid to go for a lower price at first. You can always negotiate a higher price. Usually the buyer will go with your lower offer if they don’t have any good offers but they might decline as well. And although this might be discouraging it’s still part of the normal process.
8. Consider fees
Have in mind the fees you need to pay this time round: estate agent’s fee (these are usually 1% of the house price or higher), stamp duty (find out the current stamp duty on gov.uk), and conveyancing charges for both the sold and the newly purchased property (get a few quotes to compare them). You would also benefit from a homebuyer survey as it’s a good to know if there any structural or other defects in the house.
9. Check the new house thoroughly
Check the overall condition of the house including the boiler and find out if there’s any warranty left on it. Read carefully the fixture and fittings contents from the seller to know what appliances and other fixtures you’ll need to buy yourself. The EPC certificate is also important to know the efficiency of the house and have an idea whether you’ll need to make some home improvement to bring it to a higher rating.
10. Prepare for completion day
The completion day can be very stressful. Prepare for it! After you’ve agreed to sell your house and your offer for the new house has been accepted you would be in a position to set the completion date.
On the day you would need to move out of your house as soon as possible and move into your new house at the same time. Speak to your buyer to ask them to give you some time to move out once you have the keys to your new house. Pack everything in advance and ask the man with a van/the removal company to come early at a good time to allow you to start loading. You’ll have a very small window to move out and move into your house. Planning for the logistics is essential.
11. Don’t stress about the mess
When you move into your new house everything will be in a mess. Don’t get upset or anxious as it’ll take some time to put everything into place. This is quite normal. You’ll have sufficient time to do it all. Relax and enjoy the fact that you’re in a new house.
These are all my tips for buying a house for the second time. We’d like to hear whether they’ve been helpful to you. Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.