A customers journey through the home moving process

The Home Moving Process – A Customer’s Experience

As the listeners wanted to hear from somebody who had experienced the whole home buying journey recently, our guest, Shanine, from York, is going to answer some questions about her experience.

Getting the keys to their new home?

Shanine and Dan got the keys to their new home in August 2020, but they first bought a property together as first time buyers (FTB) three years ago, so had an understanding about the level of stress involved.

Which is more stressful, buying as a FTB or Home Mover?

Both situations were a little stressful, for different reasons. Being a home mover was more stressful purely from a solicitor’s point of view, due to a few issues towards the end of the process. The uncertainty of a definitive moving date was probably the most difficult part to deal with.

No matter your situation, buying a home is one of the most stressful things you’ll do in your life. However, most clients tend to feel that this is easily forgotten once the keys are in their hands.

What made you decide to move again so quickly?

Whilst Shanine and Dan loved their first home, they weren’t so keen on the street it was situated on. They’d always intended to move on at some point, and just decided it was the right time this year. They began looking at new build properties at the beginning of 2020 and then the coronavirus pandemic put their plans on hold.

Being stuck at home for a long period of time, however, gave them plenty of time to look at houses online. Once the rules allowed for the housing market to reopen, they decided to act quickly. As they were looking at new build homes, they knew that building sites reopening would also be good news for them.

Although they had a property in mind, when they actually got to view the property in June, they decided on a different one at the last minute.

Did you have to go to reserve a plot when choosing a new build home?

As they were only allowed to see the gardens due to COVID restrictions, Shanine and Dan didn’t have to physically reserve the property, it was all done over the phone. They also had their own property to sell, so they then arranged an assisted move.

What is an Assisted Move?

With an assisted move, rather than a part exchange, where the new build company would purchase your home, they put it on the market on your behalf and deal with the estate agents, which takes an element of stress out of the move. They also pay the estate agent fees for you.

This took a lot of the hard work out of buying a new home for them and only really left the viewings for them to deal with themselves. The viewings went well and as they had priced their home to sell quickly, it actually sold for above the asking price within the first week.

At what stage did you involve mortgage advisors and solicitors?

Initially Shanine and Dan had looked into mortgages prior to putting their house on the market.They needed to ensure that they could afford their new home, but also, the new build developers wanted a decision in principle in order to reserve a property for them. This is quite a common request when looking to purchase a new build home.

As they had been through the home buying process before, the couple had a rough idea of solicitors, stamp duty and other fees involved. They felt it was very important to have the finances fully sorted prior to looking for a new home, to save the potential heartbreak of falling in love with a home that they couldn’t afford.

What was the process and timescale of purchasing a new build home?

Shanine and Dan made the reservation on their new home first, paying a holding fee, which was subject to them accepting an offer within six weeks of their current property being on the market.

As soon as their first home sold, their plot was officially reserved. If they hadn’t sold their home in the six weeks, their reservation fee would have been returned to them and the plot would have gone back on the market.

After the reservation was finalised, they contacted the mortgage broker, who did a full assessment of their financial circumstances. The mortgage broker checked their outgoings and organised their decision in principle. This was then provided to the estate and the developer. The mortgage broker then assisted them with a full mortgage application and instructed solicitors at that point.

Did you use a local Solicitor?

The mortgage broker organised the solicitor for them and found the mortgage lender with the best rate possible. Shanine and Dan were sent the details and had the whole process explained to them.

The application was carried out on their behalf by the mortgage broker, alongside the lender and solicitor.

Was there a lot of paperwork to deal with from the Solicitor?

The solicitor sent through lots of paperwork, as they were both selling and buying property. For example, census certificates and safety certificates were required for their existing property.

They also needed to provide financial details about their new home so that fees, like stamp duty could be calculated.

Did you still have to pay for the searches on a new build property?

Shanine and Dan had to pay for the searches. They assessed for things like water drainage searches and the flood risk.

Many people, particularly when buying their first home are confused between searches and surveys. Searches related to the land that the new home sits on, drainage, water, mine and local authority searches.

Surveys are based on the property itself. You have the option to do basic searches, which are required or pay for an upgrade. In their case, Shanine and Dan felt that their new home being a new build property, any obvious structural issues would be picked up very easily by a surveyor during a basic valuation.

Thankfully they received confirmation from their lender that the property was valued correctly.

Were there any issues with the process?

At the very beginning of the process, Shanine and Dan had made the developer’s solicitors aware that, due to being in the military, Dan gets set leave. He had two weeks in August, so they had made it very clear that actually moving house needed to take place in those two weeks.

The searches were requested back in July, but largely due to COVID, they didn’t come in until a couple of days before completion. They had taken out indemnity insurance, in case the searches weren’t back in time, but luckily it was not needed in the end.

They had also chosen to use the help to buy equity loan schemes. Due to paperwork processes and people working from home throughout the pandemic, there were also delays with this. Then at eleven o’clock on the morning of the exchange of contracts, they received a call to say that there was an error on one of the forms.

This meant that they had to wait for that form to be rescinded. Throughout this period, which was incredibly stressful for Shanine, the mortgage broker offered to step in and help out. This was something that really helped in these circumstances.

Were there high and low points throughout the process?

The high points:

Shanine felt that the high points were all the exciting bits; looking at the property, picking out flooring and things like that. She also felt that getting all the offers in on their current house was really exciting. That was when it began to finally feel as though the move was actually happening.

The low points:

Shanine felt that the end of the process, where solicitors and paperwork issues came up, were a low point. She had also been in hospital throughout the beginning of the process, so not being able to do viewings was also a bit of a struggle.

What were your main learning points throughout the process?

Shanine suggested that people should relinquish some control over the situation and not try to take everything on themselves. Mortgage brokers are there to help, it’s their job and there’s no point in adding stress to an already stressful set of circumstances, if you don’t need to.

Shanine assures us, with the keys to her new home safely in her hands, she absolutely loves it and can’t remember how stressful the process was.