Moving House – Researching Your New Neighbourhood Before You Buy

When buying a new home, you are not only purchasing a house but also buying into the neighbourhood too. Andrea Fawell, Sales and Marketing Director at Kebbell gives us her top tips on how to research if your potential new neighbourhood is what you are looking for, but urges buyers to bear in mind that most neighbourhoods will have benefits and drawbacks.

Browse online before viewing in person. Developers and estate agents have upped their online presence in the past two years due to the pandemic so much can be ascertained about a potential new home including detailed descriptions and information about neighbourhoods. Take a look at local social media groups and notice if any issues are repeatedly being brought up. Check Google maps to see if businesses around the property increase traffic within the area. You may also find local pubs or restaurants that you weren’t aware of, as well as get a better appreciation of the green space that is in the area. 

Research property value trends. Knowing if property prices are increasing, decreasing or stable, even street by street in your new potential area, can give you clues about whether you are making a solid long-term investment, as well as give you an idea of the development history of the area.

Enquire about future planning. Ask your estate agent and solicitor about the potential for developments happening in the area and look up the local council’s area plan. A large scale development that is due to be built near your property can influence property prices, congestion and pollution for example. Equally the benefits of new transport links may be to your advantage in time.

Walk around and soak it up. Taking multiple strolls around the neighbourhood will allow you to notice things you wouldn’t necessarily when you’re driving. You may find particular smells or sounds are very prominent. Pop into a local shop or café to get a feel for the general vibe. Also try walking at different times of day. Ask yourself do I feel safe, especially at night? Is the area too busy or too quiet or does it feel just right? Our new development Misbourne House for example is located about ten minutes’ walk from Gerrards Cross town centre complete with boutiques, independent restaurants and fashionable bars but the area is also surrounded by accessible countryside.

Local insider info. No one knows the neighbourhood better than the locals. Have a quick chat with someone local asking them what they like and dislike about the area and find out how the area has changed over the years.

Check the crime rates. Safety is a priority for all, but crime rates are something your estate agent is not allowed to disclose because it may be misleading and discriminatory. You can check the crime rates yourself but remember crime can happen anywhere so trust your gut instinct. 

 Visit local schools. If you have children you will most likely have considered the schools in the area already. If starting a family is something you’re considering, then it may be wise to take a long-term view and start looking at local schools now. Take a look at their Ofsted and exam results for starters.

 Test run your commute. Your daily commute can influence your quality of life. No one wants to sit in traffic for hours. Test run your commute at the times you would usually be traveling to or from work. If you’re used to going to the supermarket, gym or coffee shop before or after work check if these are still possible. If you use public transport, assess how comfortable the experience is; are you packed into a bus with little room to move or can you find a quieter route?

 Consider climate concerns. As weather unreliability and flash flooding have increased over the years consider where the property is situated. Are there any lakes or rivers nearby? Check previous years weather reports to see the impact of torrential downpours on the neighbourhood. Buying in an area with a high flood risk can not only put the property and your belongings at risk but it can also be incredibly stressful.

 Chat to your neighbours. When you are at the stage of seriously considering a new potential property perhaps introduce yourself to your potential neighbours or have a tiny peak into their garden! You don’t want to be reporting noise complaints every week because your neighbours are always throwing parties. How likely is it that they may consider having an extension and will that be an unwelcome factor for your new home?

Read more here:

(Moving House – Researching Your New Neighbourhood Before You Buy)
(Seen  March 2022

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Moving House- Mortgages – The Nottingham Launches New 95% LTV Products

People looking to make that exciting first step onto the property ladder have received a boost with the launch of a pair of new two-year fixed 95% LTV mortgages from The Nottingham.

The building society has first-time buyers in focus with its fee-free 2.78% product, that comes with £500 cashback. The lender has also introduced a lower rate two-year fixed option at 2.39% (£199 upfront fees, £999 in total) without cashback.

The Nottingham’s Head of Mortgage Product, Christie Cook, said: “It’s important to us to do what we can to help first-time buyers achieve their dreams – something that’s been in The Nottingham’s ethos for over 170 years.

“We’re delighted to be announcing these competitively priced 95% LTV products. As a mutual building society that prides itself on helping people onto, and along, the property ladder we aim to keep evolving our products and services – including our focus on our offerings for first-time buyers and those with smaller deposits.”

All The Nottingham’s residential products are available for purchases and remortgages.

Read more here:
(Seen  March 2022

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Stamp duty holiday to be extended by three months

The stamp duty holiday will be extended by three months to the end of the June, The Times reports.

While it was reported that ministers would opt for a six-week extension for those already in the process of buying a house, mortgage lenders apparently told ministers this would not be long enough to stop sales falling through.

It seems likely the extension will just be for those already in the process of buying a house, or who have received a mortgage offer by a particular date.

An announcement on stamp duty will likely be made when Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his budget on March 3rd.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of really moving, said: “This policy has been critical in keeping the housing market moving through the pandemic but I would urge the government to restrict this extension to buyers already in the conveyancing process – so those who have had their offer accepted and appointed a solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work.

“This gives buyers who began their homebuying journey in good time but have been subject to delays, a new window to complete.

“While the holiday has been helpful for second steppers and those higher up the ladder, it has also caused prices to rise dramatically over the last year at the expense of first-time buyers.

“They have faced greater competition for homes, price increases and a restricted mortgage market – which led to a 12% fall in the proportion of first-time buyers in the market in the second half of 2020.

“Encouraging a new rush of buyers into the market could once again have a detrimental effect on first-time buyer share which has recovered strongly since the start of the year, back up to 58% of transactions from a low of 46% last September.”


Read more here:

( )
(Seen  January 2021

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House Move Buying a house

Buying a House Homeowners call for the government to ban gazumping

Looking to move home, buying a house can be stressful enough.

Four in five (80%) homebuyers would like the government to introduce laws preventing gazumping in England and Wales.

A third (31%) have experienced the phenomenon in the past decade, research commissioned by Market Financial Solutions has revealed.

Two in five (39%) had to pay fees to intermediaries despite not completing on a property purchase.

Paresh Raja, chief executive of MFS, said: “With demand for UK property constantly high, the process of buying a home has become incredibly competitive. As a result, a significant number of UK homebuyers are losing out on deals at the critical closing stages.

“Not only is gazumping a cause for frustration and disappointment, it also can incur significant costs to the prospective buyer.

“In the aftermath of the general election, let’s hope the elected government looks at measures to stamp out gazumping as a top priority.”

Two thirds (66%) feel it has become increasingly difficult to buy properties over recent years as a result of greater competition and a lack of housing supply.

Such is the competition these days, 43% would consider gazumping a rival buyer.


(Article extracts from 21st November 2019)

Buying a New House – Questions To Ask

Buying a new house can be a stressful time and quite overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve made a shortlist of questions to ask the seller:

1. How much interest has been shown in the house

When buying a brand new house there tends to be a higher demand, you may need to act quickly to ensure that you secure the plot. Try to find out how many have already viewed the house to find out if there is any other ‘competition’ with the house.

2. Is there a chain

If there is no chain, you would likely be able to move quickly, if you also are not in a chain or a first-time buyer you will also be a desirable buyer to the seller as the sale could be completed quickly. This can provide you with an advantage, be sure to use this during your ‘negotiations’

3. Included in the Sale?

New homes can often come with ‘extras’ to incentives you to buy the house. But also older home can come with items unwanted or offered by the seller. It’s wise to check just to clarify, are things like cookers, fridges and carpets, for example could be included in the sale (or offered at an additional price). It’s wise to clarify as you may be left with unwanted items that you then need to remove and dispose of.

4. What are your new neighbours like

Try to gain insight into your new neighbours. On new building developments, this may be a little more difficult.

5. Running Costs

These days people are a little more aware of home running costs and will usually have some insight or ask about the running costs of the home such as gas, heating, electricity, water (particularly if it’s a newer home with a water meter. Also things like Council Tax charges.

6. Your Garden

If your garden is important to you and you like to spend time in yours enjoying the open space, then you may wish to check how well the natural light enters your garden and whether it’s south-facing etc.

7. Home Improvements

Generally, when you move into your new home, you will often want to decorate to your own tastes, but what other work needs to be done. On older properties, you may have some ‘fixes’ or repairs to make. Or make improvements to energy efficiency, insulation, garden work etc.

8. Remedial Fixes

If their are any issues identified you can request the seller fixes these before the sale goes through (or reduces the price). In the case of new homes, there can sometimes be some minor repairs required after you move in due to settlement etc, or simple faults you identify after you move in, but ensure you report these within any given time limits.

So when you are buying your new home whether its a new build or older property, be sure to ask the questions you really need to know about the house, also remember to negotiate your buy price, don’t be too keen and offer to high to start with and remember to take into consideration other factors such as when you would be able to move in and that fits your expectations.


10 top tips for a stress-free move

Planning in advance and getting organised means less stress and more time to celebrate.

Moving to a new home is exciting – you get a fresh start, new opportunities and the chance to make your new place your own.

That doesn’t mean it can’t feel overwhelming at times. Luckily, there’s a way to avoid any unpleasantness. Start early, have a plan and do everything you can to make it easy on yourself.

Tip 1: Pick a removals firm early on

Depending on when you’re planning to move, you may find that it’s hard to book in a date. After all, most people try to move at the weekends, over school holidays or bank holidays, giving themselves extra time. Don’t get caught out – plan in advance.

Picking a removals team might seem easy compared to all the other choices you’ve been making, but it’s important to pick professionals. Your items are dependent on the company you choose, and to avoid damage to items or the property, or paying more than you expected, it’s important to do your research.

Look at reviews from previous customers, check what your removals quote includes, and ask if the firm are happy to do a valuation – this means someone will come round to your home to assess how much stuff you have, and make sure you have the right sized van and number of team members on the day of your move.

Tip 2: Making a list

It can feel like there’s too much to remember on the run up to your move – after all, real life carries on alongside your moving plans.

To avoid stress, make a list of everything you have to do, and consider your timeline. You may have only just had your offer accepted and be months away from completion. But that doesn’t mean you should wait until the week before your move to start preparing.

Tip 3: Declutter in advance

Clearing your home of any old, unwanted or unnecessary items before your move can save you time and stress, but it can also save you money!

By donating, recycling or throwing away things you don’t need, you’re cutting down on the amount of stuff you need to move. The less stuff you have, the fewer hours you need your removals team for.

The simple way to save money on your move is to avoid paying to transport things that you’re only going to throw away when you reach your new home.

Tip 4: Make a packing plan – and start early

Packing always takes longer than you think, which is why it’s better to start as soon as possible. When you’ve cleared away everything you no longer need, the best thing to start with is the rooms you use the least.
Packing up those rooms, and then using them to store any of the boxes will disrupt your life the least, and allow you to get as much done as possible.

When you’re labelling boxes, it’s easy to just summarise the content on the top, like ‘kitchen stuff’ but that may not help you when you need to prioritise unpacking!

Label the box with the room you intend it to go into in your new home, and bullet point a few of the items in there so you know what it includes. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to open fifteen boxes marked ‘kitchen’ to find the one with the plates in!

Try not to overpack you boxes! It’s tempting to fill them up but try to use small boxes for heavy items and big boxes for lighter ones. Otherwise you risk the box falling apart and hurting whoever is carrying it.

Tip 5: Think about what you can’t move

There are some things removals teams won’t transport. These include things like hazardous materials, plants with soil in, tins of paint or chemicals. Pots of pain can often be donated to charity, so don’t feel like everything has to go to waste.

If you can’t bear to leave your plants behind, you may want to take most of the soil out, pack the plant into the pot with plastic so it can’t move around, and transport it in your car.

Don’t forget to consider the safety of your removals team and yourself – not only with the heaviness of boxes but the things you’re moving. If you’re packing up garden equipment, be sure to clean it and package it safely. Large gardening equipment like lawnmowers or petrol-fuelled tools need to be emptied and clean before being transported. If you’re packing knives, wrap them carefully and note the contents on the box.

If in doubt, ask your removals team who will be able to tell you what they can take, and how it’s best to package it. They may even offer an extra service where they could package more difficult items for you.

Tip 6: Dealing with paperwork

Store all important documents, such as passports, house deeds, wills and insurance papers in one box or file to ensure easy access. This should then be placed somewhere where you will not lose it.

It may also be a good idea to create electronic copies of important documents by scanning and saving them onto a USB so you always have access to it.

When it comes to making sure you still get your post, you might want to set up the Royal Mail’s redirection service, which will forward post from your previous address to your new one. This gives you a little more time to go through all your providers, memberships and anything else and update your address at your leisure, without worrying about missing out on important post.

Tip 7: Organise utilities

It’s so easy to forget to take final meter readings, but it will make everything so much easier. You could even take photos on your phone so you don’t lose any notes you make. You can register with new broadband providers in advance, and don’t forget gas, electric and water.

If you’re not staying with the same provider in your new home, it’s worth calling to say the house has been sold and that account is finished, just in case your seller wasn’t as organised as you!

Organising this in advance means you can account for any final bills you’ll need to pay.

Also remember to put yourself on the electoral register at your new property, and update any relevant ID, like your driving licence.

Tip 8: Take time to clean

If you can manage to arrange some overlap in when you get the keys to your new home, and leaving your old one, it can make the world of difference to your stress levels. Getting into your new home a little earlier means you can fully assess it, and give it a good clean before you move your furniture in.

Be sure to keep your cleaning supplies separate before moving day so you don’t end up with them packed away!

Cleaning the house thoroughly before all of your boxes and furniture arrives means there’ll be no nasty surprises on moving day. It also means you can create a snagging list as you assess the property.

If you do have access a few days before your move, you could arrange for any deliveries to be made in advance. If you’re ordering new white goods, or need to measure for blinds, carpeting or anything else, take advantage of the empty space and get them booked in.

Tip 9: Pack a moving day survival kit

Before your moving day make sure you have packed a moving day survival kit of essentials. This will contain necessary items that will get you and your family through the day unscathed, such as toiletries, phone chargers, bottles of water, snacks and provisions for hot drinks.

It is important to have easy access to the supplies that will keep you well-fed and hydrated on this busy day, and that you have everything readily available so you can fall straight into bed at the end of it.

Tip 10: Go slowly

Moving day is a big deal – we know you’ll want to get everything done as soon as possible, but it can be exhausting. Have realistic expectations on how much you want to get done – it’s unlikely you’re going to unpack your entire house by the first night!

Be sure to keep your moving day survival kit to hand, make sure you’ve got cold beverages, everything you need for teas and coffees, and snacks to keep your energy up. Be sure to stop (properly stop!) for lunch and dinner so that you don’t wear yourself out.

It will take time to fully unpack and get your new home looking the way you want it, so don’t feel everything has to come together immediately. Take time to relax and unwind – enjoy a night in with a takeaway or go out with friends. Your life does not have to revolve around unpacking!

As long as you have your bed built and set up by the end of moving day, the rest is up to you!

Original Article: Really Moving website
(Seen May 2019


Money saving tips for moving house

A property will probably be the biggest purchase you ever make, but that’s no reason to spend more than you need to on removals. Check out our tips for saving whilst moving.

Moving home can cost a lot money, and I’m not just talking about the conveyancing, surveys and removals (on top of the property itself). When it comes to moving into your new home, there are ways to make sure you’re not throwing away your hard-earned cash on unnecessary costs, when it might be better used decorating your new property or ordering that celebratory first night takeaway.

Saving money moving house is just as much about taking care of your items and making the most of your time as it is about the cost of services. Whilst many people may try to move everything themselves, consider the cost of fuel, the number of journeys you may have to do, and how long it will take you, as well as whether you might be putting your items (or yourself) at risk of damage.

We’ve got a bunch of tips to keep costs down from the minute you decide to move, right up to moving day itself.

Before your move:

Clear the clutter

Deciding to clear out unneeded, broken or unloved items can save you money in several ways. Firstly, it cuts down on the number of packing boxes you’ll need, which cuts down on the time a removals team will need to work. It will also cut down on costs if you need to store your items. The less you have, the less you pay.
Not only that, but you could make some money by selling your items online.

Try and get rid of everything you don’t want and take the time to clear it out way in advance of your move. As your countdown to the move begins, you’ll end up just chucking everything in boxes and promising yourself you’ll deal with it after the move.
Newsflash: you won’t. And you’ll end up paying more for the privilege of transporting items you don’t particularly want.

If you’re feeling sociable, and you have lots of items in decent condition to get rid of, why not invite your friends round to see if they want any of your unwanted belongings? You know your items will be well looked after and appreciated, and they’ll take them for you, meaning fewer trips to the dump/recycling/charity shops for you!

Finding a removals team

The first thing you should do is compare prices on removals, to make sure you’re getting the best deal on a local, reputable removals company. Getting quotes from different companies means you’ll get a great price, and you’ll be able to see reviews and star ratings from previous customers, so you can feel safe knowing your items are being moved by trusted professionals.

Book promptly

The more notice you can give when moving house, the better. Removals teams can get booked up, especially during peak season like summer, or over bank holidays. Booking in advance means you can budget, and let them know if there are any last minute changes. If you can move during quieter times, like January, or September when kids go back to school, you may get an even cheaper removal.

See if you qualify for a discount

Some removals firms will do discounts for OAPs, students, key workers or armed forces, so make sure you have a look at their website or ask about discounts if you fit into one of these categories.

Get a survey from the removals team

If a removals surveyor has come to your house and assessed how much stuff you have to move, you can trust that the right sized van and the appropriate number of staff members will be there to make the move seamless. If you approximate the number of boxes and you’ve underestimated, the cost of going back to get another van, hiring more staff, doing more journeys back and forth, or having to hire another company to pick up any remaining items is going to add to your costs.

Don’t miss work

Depending on your work schedules, it may be better to move at the weekend, when you don’t have to miss a day of work or miss out on shifts. Similarly, if you have to consider the cost of childcare, that might affect your decision. Whilst you’ll have to complete on a weekday, there’s no reason you can’t move at the weekend, so consider which option works best for you.

Cut costs on removals boxes

Instead of buying removals boxes you could use second hand ones, as long as they’re sturdy enough. Even better, to save on the cost of buying boxes, and then dealing with getting rid of them after your move, you could rent them from your removals team. This means you’ll have access to high quality packing materials and they’ll come and collect them once you’re unpacked, meaning less fuss and more space. You could also choose to make your money go further by buying your removals boxes from our partners and getting a discount.

Cut costs on packing materials

It’s easy to assume we need to spend lots on rolls of bubble wrap or go searching for armfuls of newspaper, but you probably have a lot more to protect your items than you think. Using soft furnishings, blankets, towels, clothing and any other materials to protect your items doubles up as smart packing. Why waste money on lots of bubble wrap that you’re just going to have to get rid of later, when you have lots of clothes you need to pack anyway?

Eat up

When you get ready to move, you realise how much food you have stuffed away at the back of the cupboard, and how much needs to be used up from the freezer. Ignoring your frozen goods will mean you’ll have to throw them away in order to defrost and prepare your white goods for the move.

Do an assessment of how much food you have to use up before your move and try your best to use up heavy tins or anything that isn’t sealed properly. Eating up the food you have will mean fewer boxes to pack, less waste and saves you money. Also, by preparing some meals in advance you won’t be tempted to spend money on takeaway when a chunk of your kitchen is packed upIf you really can’t eat all that food, make sure it doesn’t go to waste by using OLIO, an app that helps people give away food so it’s not wasted.

Packing carefully

Saving money also means not having to replace things further down the line. Ensure you pack your items with care, label fragile items clearly, and try not to load too many heavy items into one box, or too many boxes on top of each other. Make sure you know the limits and inclusions on your insurance, so if anything is damaged you can cover the costs. If you have sentimental items you’re worried about, either make sure the team know, or bring those items with you in your car.


Can you imagine the frustration of having to run out and buy something when you know the item is definitely in a box somewhere? Consider which items you might need in that first week in your new property, and keep those aside. Label your boxes clearly and consider creating an ‘unpacking kit’ with things like scissors, tools, cleaning supplies and anything else you might need.

During your move:

Whilst you’ll have done most of the planning for the cost of moving in advance, it’s definitely worth knowing that you can save money on the day by simply being organised!


If you haven’t booked a disassembly service with your removals team make sure your larger items have been broken down appropriately. Expecting the team to move items that won’t make it through the door and to disassemble without previously agreeing to this means extra charges, as well as extra time if they were not prepared and did not bring the right equipment/tools. If you know you’re not going to be able to break down your furniture yourself, then book that service in advance. If you are doing it yourself, tape a sandwich bag with any small screws or necessary pieces to one of the larger parts, so you know that you have everything you need to put it back together at the other end.

Don’t damage

Whether you’re leaving rented accommodation or have sold your old property, if you leave it in a state you’re likely to face some angry phone calls, or even charges. Moving large items does have its risks, and there is always the chance of scuffed doorways or skirting boards, something heavy being dropped on the floor, or even mud being tracked in onto the carpet. Your new buyers will expect to find the house as listed, and if there is unexpected damage they may expect you to cover the costs. If you’ve left your rental property unclean and full of rubbish or left behind items, your estate agent may keep your deposit.

Time management

We all know time is money, and on removals day that saying has never been more true. Your removals slot will have been considered when a survey was done of your property, but if you hold up the move you will end up paying more for the team’s time. By ensuring your packing has been finished way before the team arrive, they have easy access to the property and parking permits if needed and you’ve disconnected items like the washing machine or dishwasher ahead of time, you can make sure you’re not responsible for a hold up. As well as paying more for removals, if you’ve held up the people moving in to your home, you may be liable for their extra removals costs, so just be as organised as possible in the run up to your move.



Original Article: Really Moving website
(Seen May 2019




Moving House – What is gazumping? Is it legal?

Gazumping occurs when a buyer has had an offer to purchase a property accepted by the seller, but before the sale is completed the seller accepts a better offer from another buyer.

It can be a crushing disappointment to lose out on a property you had your heart set on, and for which you thought you had made a binding offer to buy. In the worst cases, gazumping can also leave the unfortunate would-be buyer out of pocket to the tune of thousands of pounds in non-refundable survey costs, conveyancing fees and mortgage arrangement fees.

Is gazumping legal?

As unfair as it might feel when you’re on the receiving end, the truth is that gazumping is a perfectly legal aspect of the property-buying process in England and Wales. The reason for this is that an agreement to buy or sell a property doesn’t become legally binding until written contracts are exchanged, and until then neither party can be held to a prior verbal agreement.

When buying property in England and Wales the exchange of contracts between your conveyancer and the seller’s solicitor comes relatively late in the process – after you have arranged for a property survey, your conveyancer has conducted the necessary searches and you have received your mortgage offer. This means that there’s typically a delay of at least several weeks between the seller accepting your offer and that agreement actually becoming legally binding.

Within this period, the seller may accept an offer from another buyer in preference to yours. This is usually because a higher purchase price has been offered – although this is more likely to happen when there is a strong property market with lots of demand driving house prices up.  The estate agent is obliged to pass on all offers, and of course prefers higher offers (with commensurately higher commissions). It is also not unheard of for the buyer to claim at the last minute that there is a higher offer, whether there is one or not, just to see if he can squeeze a little extra out of you.

Strictly speaking, you can be gazumped if the seller decides to reject your offer in favour of another buyer’s for any reason – it doesn’t have to be for an offer of more money. For example, if you are experiencing delays with the conveyancer or your mortgage application, the seller may decide to accept an alternative offer from a buyer who already has a mortgage offer in place, in order to facilitate a quicker sale.

What can you do to avoid gazumping?

Act quickly

It’s unlikely that you will have all the elements for the purchase in place when you first make your offer. There are some checks that you will want to carry out first. You will probably want to arrange a survey, for example, and this takes time. The quicker you are at getting these complete, the less opportunity there is for gazumping.

Mortgage in principle

One obvious thing to sort out before you even start looking at properties is a ‘mortgage in principle.’ This is a conditional offer made by a mortgage lender that they will ‘in principle’ give you a loan up to a specified amount, provided certain conditions are met. Even though there will still be hoops to go through concerning the property in question, having a mortgage agreed in principle will speed things up a lot.

Conveyancing solicitor

Similarly, having a found a conveyancing solicitor you want to work with in advance will also help to speed up the process, so it is worth having a look around and getting quotes from property lawyers. As any payments to the seller will be made through the conveyancing solicitors, it will also help if you are very prompt in getting the money to them. Often they hold it in advance so that payments can be made without delay.


Having a surveyor in mind means you can make that call and organize a survey as soon as you are ready to proceed. You can get quotes from Chartered Surveyors for a HomeBuyer Report and a Building Survey here at

Off the market

Assuming you have everything lined up and ready to go when you make your offer, what else can you do? Ask that the property be taken off the market as part of the offer. The seller should be willing to do this, especially if they know that you are serious and ready to move quickly. While sellers are under no obligation to take a property off the market, they can often be surprisingly amenable to this, particularly in areas with a fairly flat housing market.

Lock in agreement

A lock in agreement (sometimes called a lock out, preliminary or exclusivity agreement) is a binding agreement in which the seller agrees not to negotiate with any other parties within a fixed period, allowing the buyer to arrange their mortgage etc. without fear of being gazumped.

The way these normally work is that both buyer and seller agree to pay a deposit (eg 2% of the property price). If either side tries to back out of the sale or change the price without good reason, their payment is forfeit to the other party. The written agreement should list those things which would allow for an alteration, such as problems with the survey. The exclusivity granted in such an agreement is for a limited period, usually about 10 days from receipt of the contract.

Provision should be made for either side delaying sending paperwork. It stands to reason that such a document will cost some money in legal fees, but you may decide it is worth it for the peace of mind. This may also be something you want to consider when selecting a solicitor.


Lastly, it is possible to buy insurance which would pay you an agreed sum to cover losses in the event of being gazumped. Of course, it is not possible to be entirely sure you won’t be gazumped, but if you go in well prepared you can minimise the risks.

Stopping gazumping for good

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid has announced a call for evidence to improve the experience of house buying and selling, making it ‘cheaper, faster and less stressful.’ One of the main focuses of the intended overhaul is gazumping, with ministers discussing ways to make it less likely. Whether that involves new types of lock in agreements, moving the point at which the sale becomes binding, or streamlining conveyancing and surveying processes, we will have to wait and see.

Original Article: Really Moving website
(October 2018

Anyone who’s ever undertaken a house move will agree it’s one of the most challenging life events, both physically and emotionally, that anyone can go through.

In a recent poll, two thirds of people voted moving house top of their stress list, with it triggering more anxiety than relationship breakdowns, divorce and starting a new job.

“It’s one of life’s most stressful experiences, and it’s because it involves having to cope with change,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of charity Anxiety UK. “Moving house represents a transition in life, it’s about change and unfamiliarity and for many people that causes stress and anxiety. Most of us like familiarity, routine and order. When you’re moving, you have none of those. Plus it causes a ripple effect of change throughout your life. You’re not just changing your home and getting to know the new one, you might be in a new area, you have to find new schools for your children, take on a new commute to work, find a new GP and dentist.”

She says that if you feel stressed or anxious, that’s perfectly normal. “It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s an understandable reaction,” says Ms Lidbetter. “The lack of order, the uncertainty and upheaval that surrounds a move can trigger underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety, OCD and depression.”

“Take time off work and get someone to mind your children”

Dr Sandi Mann, senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, agrees. “Moving house can be a very overwhelming experience,” she says. “It’s a massive upheaval, and we are inherently territorial creatures who like familiarity and routine, so it creates a lot of uncertainty and chaos in our lives.”

Moving can put a particular strain on families and relationships – the latter of which is the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 16-22 May. TV personality Trisha Goddard, a family resolution and mental health activist, knows the stresses all too well. “Not only have I moved house with little ones, I’ve also moved from one continent to another,” she says. “Parents always feel guilt at moving kids from their friends and home – but one thing you cannot afford to do is ignore the potential impact moving will have on you.”

Ms Lidbetter of Anxiety UK advises giving yourself as much time as possible to deal with the move. “If you can, clear your schedule around the time of a move,” she says. “Take time off work and get someone to mind your children, so you are not spreading yourself too thin.”

Mansfield Removals

Preparation can also help in managing stress levels. “If you can do things in advance, for example, switch your broadband to the new address, register with a new GP in the area, plan in advance what furniture and items will go in what rooms… all of that will help the actual day feel a bit less overwhelming and more controlled.”

As hard as it might feel at the time, try to focus on the positives of what you’re doing. “Embrace the change instead of focusing on the difficulty of a move,” says Ms Lidbetter.

“Although there might be a lot to do, taking an occasional break is key”

Dr Mann advises remembering why you made the decision. “Perhaps you’re moving to a bigger house, or to a beautiful area, nearer friends and family,” she says. “Remind yourself why it will be worth all the effort you are putting in.”

During a stressful time, both Ms Lidbetter and Dr Mann agree that looking after yourself is key. “Get enough sleep and eat well. Don’t be too busy to look after yourself,” says Ms Lidbetter. And although there might be a lot to do, try and take an occasional break, too. “Respite is essential,” says Dr Mann. “Whether that’s going for a walk, a trip to the cinema, meeting up with a friend… it doesn’t matter what you do as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with your house move. Your mind and body need a break.”

Some simple breathing exercises can help you feel calmer, says Dr Mann. “Find a quiet corner, and sit, stand or lie down. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of five, then slowly exhale for five. Do this for up to five minutes, clearing your mind and focusing on feeling calm and revived.”

Anxiety UK advocates using mindfulness techniques to help deal with stress and anxiety. “Download the Headspace mindfulness app and just ten minutes a day, away from the move, can be beneficial,” says Nicky Lidbetter.

However, she says if you start to experience symptoms such as mood swings, a racing heart and sweaty palms, and an inability to concentrate, these are signs that you may need to seek professional help to deal with your stress and anxiety levels perhaps by seeing a psychologist or a counsellor.

The important thing to remember is that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. “Moving is listed as a major life stressor for a good reason,” says Ms Goddard. “Be kind to yourself and realise that sleepless nights and worry before and after a move are normal. Accept all help offered: it’s not a slight on your organising capabilities. And if folk offer to help, give them something concrete to do; a proper task that you can cross off your list. And if people are slow to offer help, damned well ask for it.”


The telegraph
(27 July 2017)