Moving House

Solicitors, Surveys and Santa

I’m not going to lie, this week’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.  Not least kick-starting the sale and purchase process with solicitors, or having a building survey undertaken of the new house (and positively sh*tting my pants about it), I also had a follow up chat with my consultant and it doesn’t seem that it’s all gravy with my foot, as Tom would put it.  Physical set back aside, the stress of moving has started but it’s been pretty plain sailing so far and I’m just hoping it continues this way to make all our lives easier! (I’m not that daft though, I know it won’t – or it’d be a miracle if it does at least!).

We instructed our solicitors on Monday and by Tuesday we had our snazzy online portal set up where we can upload all our documents and track their progress.  I’ve always been hesitant using a solicitor who hasn’t got a local office presence and the only reason we received a quote from these solicitors is because our estate agent recommended them (as they tend to…).  They’ve confirmed they can work to 30 days for an exchange, which I’m sceptical about (I guess it depends if all parties co-operate and nothing comes crawling out of the woodwork – quite literally in our case), however they’ve got good reviews, were reasonably (but not too cheaply) priced and seem to be doing a good job so far.  What took us probably 2 weeks previously to receive, complete and send back (forms such as the Property Information form and Fittings and Contents etc…), only took us 3 days and we won’t have any issues with my questionable handwriting as it’s all filled in on an Adobe forms apart from our signatures.  So far, so good…

Snapshot of our online conveyancing tracker

before we knew we had a firm offer on ours (mortgage in principle agreed etc…) and had the offer accepted on, lets call it the ‘new one’ (it does actually have a proper name as well as a number – I’ve always loved homes that have names so this is a big thing for me.  Tom’s not so fussed.  I’ll save that for another day), back to the point… we got a lot of quotes in for building surveys so we had someone lined up.If you’re buying a property that you’re going to be doing work on, whether that’s modernising or extending, if it’s just a bit of an older, quirkier property or if you want to investigate something just ‘because’, I totally recommend getting a full building survey done pre-purchase.   This is the highest and most complex of the 3 levels of RICS surveys and if like us, you’ve purchased a property with known problems, it’ll probably throw up a few extra ones and give you some further surveys that you might want to consider such as an Electrical condition report, structural survey etc…  Issues that you don’t know about until after you move could end up costing you tens or hundreds of thousands so being the slightly risk conscious individual that I am, would always make sure we get one of these done on any renovation property.  At least if you know about the issues pre-purchase you can still make a swift exit or bring the property value negotiation back to the table and get some money off to cover the costs of the issues you didn’t know about (assuming your initial offer reflected what was obvious in the first place).

For our first house we didn’t bother with a building survey and it didn’t warrant one.  It was cosmetically in a very good condition and we weren’t planning any work on it.  For our current house, even though it was a purpose built 1950’s terrace, because it was in need of modernisation and was a riskier purchase for us (we were putting all our eggs in one basket in the hope of making a little bit of money eventually), we got a full building survey done and boy I’m glad we did.  It threw up some problems we weren’t aware of, thankfully none that were too expensive or damaging to put us off, but it also meant that we were aware of absolutely everything when we come to sell it, putting us in a much better position.

This time, we instructed a local surveyor who I met on site at the end of his inspection on Thursday.  As I walked up the hill towards the ‘new one’ at 11am, I can’t tell you how nervous I was, half expecting the surveyor to tell us to stay well clear and it’s going to fall down.  Thankfully I was wrong.  Whilst there’s a couple of points we haven’t considered, in the main we’ve costed (not budgeted – we don’t 100% know how we’re financing it all yet – again, one for another day) for all the remediation work that needs doing.  This was such as relief and hopefully means that we won’t be the ones holding up the process with solicitors.  I don’t want to jump the gun but I feel a lot better after meeting our surveyor and fingers crossed there’s no major red flags when the final report comes in on Tuesday.

Finally, and as the title of this blog suggests, to cheer me up / because Tom’s decided to bugger off next weekend and I’m as excited about the 25th December as a 8 year old who’s just witnessed Santa and his reindeer fly (that was actually me, in Lapland, all those years ago… it was amazing), we’ve put our Christmas decorations up.  I know, it’s not December, but it makes me smile and I’ve been taking some time lately to do more just for me, my own little bit of TLC, so that’s all that matters.

Take that as some Monday motivation and have a great week! x



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