Talk about bad timing – just as we got the ball rolling – Covid-19 arrives and hits us right in the tummy.
We have been discussing moving from our first home, a 2 bed apartment, since we got married back in 2018. We won’t be the only couple that once we said ‘I do’ , wanted to move straight to the next thing – a house. But property prices back in 2018 didn’t allow us the movement we needed to move up the property ladder, and we just decorated instead. Not exactly the same thing but yanno.
Roll forward 2 years, some pay rises and our frustrations of hearing neighbours, carrying shopping up a flight of stairs and no private, outdoor space, we decided it was the year. We were going to put our first home on the market and move to a house. And then Covid-19 made its appearance.
Lock-down has inevitably put the whole property market on pause. No house viewings, mortgage meetings, house valuations, property surveys and no moving dates. It’s all just paused. And for us, that means we are currently in limbo.
Thankfully, we hadn’t got to the point of putting our property on the market, much rather we are only at the start of the process. Nevertheless, its very very frustrating. But every cloud and all means we do have some things to do whilst in lock-down to make the whole process run quickly when it resumes.
Checking on our finances
A new home means a bigger mortgage, more credit and a horrible conversation about finances. They are my worst nightmare. One thing is for sure, the lock-down and pause on the property market has allowed us a little more time to keep track on our finances.
It’s always advisable to keep a track on your credit score and record whether you currently want to move or not. And it’s something I check monthly, ever since signing up to clearscore 3 years ago. It gives you a great indication on what banks see, and you can spot any errors or problems early.
I would suggest to anyone to check their score regularly. especially if wanting to borrow more money or get a mortgage. Somethings can take a while to iron out and you really don’t want any surprises when chatting to lenders. Clearscore is free and gives you a guide on what lenders will see when looking at lending you money.
Saving as much as possible
Being a ex estate agent, I had lots of clients who were surprised by unexpected bills and costs when buying and selling a property. The lock-down has given us some more time to save save save. Because even the most organised can be caught out with costs, even if it’s just buying new furniture or home essentials.
When selling a home, de-cluttering can save you on packing, and help ease the clutter in your home for viewing purposes. Viewers can be put off if they see a home over-run with clutter and mess, since it suggests you have outgrown the property, or it doesn’t offer much space and storage. Whether that is the case, best not visualize it to potential buyers.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been organising home accessories we would like for the new home, as well as the usual ‘loft items’ that we can hide at my parents whilst we are marketing the apartment.
Your home can get very straggly very quickly, and its only when you look at it as a potential buyer you see some of the marks or small fixes it might need. Spend some time touching up marks and plaster cracks. Make sure anything broken is fixed too. Blown bulbs or broken handles are small indicators to buyers that you might not look after your home.
We have spent the last couple of weeks touching up paint work and cleaning the white walls. It doesn’t look great and we want potential buyers to see this is a loved home, well looked after.
Finding the right agent that fits your budget and will market your property correctly can be a process in itself. Take this time to research and call around – ask plenty of questions and look at the properties they are marketing currently, and have sold recently. Checking this now, and finding an agent will give you a jump start on the market when things get moving again.
We have found a fantastic, local agent that we trust and works within our budget. We have already verbally instructed, indicating that we want to be on the market as soon as the lock-down easement allows.
The property market may be frozen for the time being, but there is still plenty to be done if looking to buy or sell in the coming months. With low interest rates, its a great time to consider borrowing more and moving up the property ladder.