Insiders from Scotland’s property market share their top tips to help your move run smoothly
words Olivia Simpson
Buying a house can be an arduous process and whether you’re an experienced buyer or taking your first step onto the property ladder, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
To help you start the process confidently, we asked the teams at housebuilders Walker Group and estate agents Rettie for their advice. Read on for words of wisdom on everything from choosing a property to packing an essentials bag for move-in day itself.
FINDING YOUR PROPERTY
“The first step is to look at how you are financing a property,” says Lisa A Pitchers, Branch Manager & Valuer for Rettie Glasgow City Sales. “Know your budget and affordability, whether you’ll be buying in cash or getting a mortgage, then register a buying requirement with agents local to the areas you’re interested in, as well as setting up alerts on Rightmove.”
All buyers have different priorities to bear in mind, such as transport links or school catchment areas, but Lisa suggests keeping an open mind when it comes to certain criteria. “It is surprising the number of people who start their search wanting a period property and end up buying a modern one,” she tells us.
For those looking to simplify their move as much as possible, the Walker Group’s Regional Sales Director Liz Cleghorn and her team point out that a new-build home might just be the answer. “Moving into a new build home, like those in our new Roseberry Park development, is one way to reduce the stress of a move, as it gives you a blank canvas to work with.”
For a guide to the nuts and bolts of the buying process, Lisa and the team at Rettie have written a handy blog post covering the Home Report, making an offer, conveyancing and missives, settlement, registration and outlays.
“If you’re listing you current home for sale, give it a spring clean and do some decluttering before getting your advertising photos and videos taken and before viewings start,” advises Lisa. “Most people leave the final boxes to the very end, but getting started early will help you at the other end of the process,” she continues.
Liz and her team point out that having a clear out minimises the packing process and doing so in good time gives you a chance to donate any clothes, toys or gadgets you no longer use so they can be enjoyed by families in need.
Make sure to approach packing systematically, working room by room and labelling each box with its contents, what room it’s headed to, and whether or not it’s fragile. “It’s tempting to pack bits and bobs as you come across them, but packing one room at a time will make your life so much easier in the long run,” shares Liz.
“We’d also recommend you take an ‘essentials’ bag with you on moving day,” she continues. “Pack vital items in it like scissors, bin bags, tea, coffee, mugs, phone chargers, toilet roll, cleaning products, and of course, the all-important bottle of bubbly and some glasses for when you finally get to celebrate!”
UPDATING YOUR ADDRESS
“It’s a good idea to let organisations know in advance that you’ll be moving and require a change of address,” Liz Cleghorn and the Walker Group team remind us. “This way, you’ll avoid any costly consequences when you realise months later that your driving license still has your old address on it!”
Typically, you can inform companies and organisations (such as your energy and internet providers, your dentist and your GP) of a change of address four weeks in advance, giving you plenty of time to do so prior to your move.
COLLECTING YOUR KEYS
When moving day finally arrives, it can be hard to pin down an exact time to collect your new keys. “It depends on whether the missives concluded early enough for it to be a straightforward money transaction on the day,” explains Lisa. “We do get the odd 5pm authorisation, but thankfully, most go smoothly. In that case, the buyers would collect keys (usually from the sales agency) sometime in the late morning or early afternoon. This allows them some time to get to the property and start unpacking that same day.”
“Often, sellers will leave a bottle of something nice and a note for the new owners,” Lisa continues. “For your first meal in the new house, I’d recommend chilling some champagne and bringing home a fish supper!” After all that, you’ve certainly earned it!