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Top Tips – Preparing for your next home move during the lockdown

Here we share with you our top tips for preparing for your next home move during the lockdown. Whilst your house move might be on hold in the short-term, there’s nothing to stop you from getting ahead of the game by laying the groundwork for a move later in the year.

Whether you were planning to buy your first home or move to your next property, you might be feeling a little down with the current restrictions on moving home.  But there’s nothing to stop you from making the best of the lockdown situation by using this time to prepare for when the restrictions ease.  If you’ve found yourself with extra time, put it to good use by getting your finances in check and/or preparing your home for sale and checking out properties in your favoured locations. 

Here are our five top tips to help you put your plan into action:    

1. Get online & go ‘virtual’

Whilst physical viewings are not currently allowed, do your research online.  Many agents are offering ‘virtual viewings,’ enabling prospective buyers and tenants to virtually walk through a property from the comfort of their own home.

If you have a budget in mind, you can find out how much people have spent on homes in a specific street or postcode by using the Land Registry’s ‘price paid’ tool.  Likewise, Rightmove’s ‘market info’ tab on listings lets you view nearby properties that are under offer or sold. This is an important part of preparing for your next home move during the lockdown.

2. Dig out your measuring tape and learn how to read a floorplan

If you’re finding it difficult to visualise the dimensions of a room, measure a room in your home and compare it against the dimensions shown in an online floorplan.  If it helps, use objects to plot out the dimensions within an existing living space. 

3. Get your finances in order

If you’re thinking of taking out a mortgage later in the year, it’s a great time to give your finances a spring clean.

Start by checking that everything is up to date on your credit report.  Carefully analyse your credit rating online. You can check use free sites such as Experian and Clearscore to check your credit score.  If you’ve borrowed very little, you may find that your credit rating is surprisingly low.  To improve your credit score, a credit card could help. However, a credit card should only be used wisely i.e. to pay for your weekly food shop.  It’s essential that you pay off your card straight away – this will demonstrate to lenders that you are able to borrow sensibly.

In the current climate, most of us are carefully watching our finances.  In lockdown there aren’t too many luxuries to take advantage of, so it’s a great opportunity to carefully review all your household bills and assess whether you could make savings.  If you have an existing mortgage, contact us at Ingard as we may be able to find you a much better, cost-saving deal.  A detailed assessment of your outgoings could save you a lot of money, either helping to boost your deposit pot or with some of the moving costs.

4. Explore your mortgage options and make sure your paperwork is in check

Despite media speculation, mortgage lenders are still lending.  Yes, the number of products available has reduced slightly, but we’re seeing new products being launched daily.  Rates on two and five-year fixes also remain incredibly low.  If you’re not quite ready to go ahead with your mortgage application, we could still help you to explore how much you could potentially borrow (the rule of thumb is up to four-and-a-half times your annual income – although this varies from lender to lender).  Note, saving a larger deposit could open more options and get you a better deal.  A whole-of-market mortgage expert, like Ingard, will be to explain all of the options available to you (including hundreds of products that you won’t find on the high street) and guide you towards the best deal.

In the meantime, dust off your paperwork.  Lenders require proof of your identity, at least three months’ bank statements and evidence of your pay and proof of your address.

5.  Selling? Make sure your house stands out from the crowd

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your house attractive to prospective buyers – a little bit of TLC can go a long way. 

Finish any DIY jobs

Use the spare time to get on top of those niggling jobs.  Freshen up your paintwork, wash the windows, clean the carpets and declutter.

Got a garden?

Make it look as good as the inside of home.  Paint any fences, wash and weed patios, fill pots and plant bulbs that will bloom around the time you hope to put your property on the market. 

First impressions count

For instant kerb appeal, paint your front door (and garage door if you have one).  Clean your windows until they sparkle and make sure bins are hidden away (invest in a bin store if needed).  

Preparing for your next home move during the lockdown and taking proactive steps will help you remain positive about the future. For advice on any aspect of mortgage lending, a remortgage or product switch, please give us a call on 01702 533 400 – we will happily do everything we can to help.