Moving house this spring?

Moving house this spring?

Here’s a handy guide to help you get ahead.

It may feel like the middle of winter, but spring will be here before you know it. And that means the busiest time of year for moving house.

So if you want to buy or sell this spring, start planning now. The more you can do ahead of time the better placed you’ll be to move fast and beat the competition.

Follow this handy PM Property Lawyers guide and get ready to go.


1. First, check your credit score.

There are many credit score providers but the big names are or A low score or errors will affect your mortgage application and could also cause delays in the process. For example, high levels of existing debt, a history of missed payments and not being on the electoral roll will all have an impact. While they don’t necessarily mean that you won’t get a mortgage, you may not be able to get the best interest rate. If you find any mistakes on your credit record, contact the relevant organisations to resolve them. More helpful advice from the Money Advice Service here.

2. Next, if you need a mortgage, find out how much you can borrow.

Different lenders will have different criteria for offering a mortgage depending on your circumstances, so do shop around. A mortgage broker may be useful here as they will be able to sift through a range of potential lenders to find one that suits you (as long as they are ‘whole of market’ brokers, and not tied to certain lenders).

Without a specific property to buy, at this stage you can arrange a ‘mortgage in principle’. This is not a definite offer from a lender, but a statement or certificate that ‘in principle’ they would lend you a certain amount. This can give you an advantage over other prospective buyers as it shows the estate agent you are serious about buying.

Bear in mind that a full mortgage offer takes around two weeks to a month to arrange.

If you are selling a property, make sure that you have all the relevant paperwork to hand so you can produce it when required. This includes title deeds (if you hold them) and documents relating to any building work, boiler etc. And of course, make sure your home looks its best for prospective buyers.

3. Now, look for a conveyancer.

It’s easy to get conveyancing quotes online (you can get a fixed-fee quote from us here) and then compare. While cost is obviously very important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you look at. Make sure the conveyancer has CQS accreditation – that means they have a high level of skills, experience and professionalism.

For additional peace of mind, membership of The Conveyancing Association means that the firm is one of the top residential conveyancing companies in the UK. A good conveyancer who is thorough about their checks and enquiries will save you money in the long run.

4. Check that you have all the right documents ready for ID checks.

Strict rules around money laundering mean that your estate agent and your conveyancer will need proof of ID before they can start work. So if you aren’t ready with the right documents and certification you’ll face a delay right from the start.

We ask our clients to provide original or certified copies of one document from each of the following lists:

Proof of name

*Current (in date) signed passport

*Current UK or EEA photo-card driving licence AND counterpart

*National identity card containing a photograph

*Firearms or shotgun certificate

*Benefit book or original notification letter from the Benefits Agency confirming the right to benefits


Proof of address

*Utility bill no more than three months old (gas, electricity, water)

*Council tax bill for current year

*Current UK or EEA photo-card driving licence AND counterpart

*Bank, building society or credit union statement or passbook containing current address

*A recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender

*Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address

*EEA member state identity card

*House or motor insurance certificate

You can get a certified copy by asking a professional person who is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority such as a chartered accountant, bank or building society official, or solicitor or notary. Alternatively, one of the quickest ways to get a certified copy is to use the Post Office. See a list of the branches that offer this service here.

5. Work out how much your move is likely to cost you.

You’ll need to factor in:

*Estate agent fees (if you are selling a property)

*Solicitor/conveyancing fees (including search fees)

*If you are buying or selling a leasehold property you will have to pay additional fees to the management company and/or landlord for, e.g. deed of covenant, notice of mortgage (for a fuller explanation see our resource on Buying a Leasehold Property)

*Stamp Duty (if the price of the property you are buying is over the threshold – calculate how much you’ll pay here)

*Surveyor fees (if you are having a mortgage, the lender will require you to carry out a survey on the property)

*Removal costs

You will have to pay some of these costs upfront – search fees and leasehold fees, for example. So be prepared and make sure you can afford it all.

6. Get ready for the paperwork!

There will be many forms to fill in so keep on top of them to avoid building up a logjam. Delay is the most common cause of conveyancing complaints. It can be incredibly frustrating to find that someone in the process hasn’t sent in the right information and is holding up everyone else. Don’t let that person be you!


Get going with your moving plans now and you’ll have a head start when the property market gets busy in a few months’ time. Then when you find your perfect home you’ll be ready to go!


If you have any questions about buying or selling a property, we’d be happy to help. Just give us a call on 0114 249 6926 or email



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