What to do now to move in before Christmas

Do you dream of spending this Christmas in a new property? With three months to go, there’s still time to make it a reality. The last working day you can complete a sale and move is Friday, 20 December.

Time factors to consider are:

  • Whether you have a property to sell before you can buy
  • How long it takes to sell your property
  • The length of your buying/selling chain
  • Whether you are applying for a mortgage
  • The speed and efficiency of your conveyancing solicitor

Are you ready for the Christmas countdown?

10…Move with confidence

With Brexit on the horizon you might be wondering if now is a good time to move. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a slowdown in UK property prices over the last three years.[1] However, property prices do vary between localities, so it’s best to check what’s happening in your area. 

According to Which? mortgage expert, David Blake, recent price drops in some areas mean “it’s becoming more of a buyers’ market, so you might be able to get a good deal. Besides, buying a property should generally be regarded as a long-term investment and, even if there is a short-term price drop, house prices will probably stabilize in the future”.[2]

The current economic climate has also led to low mortgage rates, which can make buying a more attractive proposition – especially for first-time buyers. 

9…Spruce up your property

Congratulations – you’ve decided to go for it!

Now it’s time to make your home more appealing to buyers by cleaning, decluttering, gardening and painting if necessary. 

Speed tip: Start today!

8…Put your property on the market

Arrange for two or three estate agents to visit your home. Choose an estate agent with an established track record of success in your area.

Speed tips:

  • Set a realistic price
  • Put a ‘for sale’ sign outside your house
  • Make sure the estate agent takes the most advantageous photos of your home
  • Be ready for viewings
  • Keep in contact with your estate agent to make sure they’re managing the process effectively
  • Auctions are fast. If you sell through an auction, the completion must take place within 28 days

7…Organise your finances

How much equity do you have in your current home? How large a mortgage can you realistically afford? Speak to an independent mortgage broker, your bank or other trusted financial institution.

Bear in mind the costs of the move itself; some costs may require deposits or the full fee to be paid upfront. Costs to work out in your budget include stamp duty, property deposit, surveyor’s fees, legal fees, estate agent’s fees, mortgage costs and removal costs.

Speed tip:
A mortgage broker can quickly find the best possible mortgage for you by comparing a range of fixed and flexible rates from various lenders.

6…Find your dream property

Wait until your property is under offer, find a new house and put in an offer. It’s of course possible to put an offer in on a property while your own house is still for sale, but keep your budget in mind – if your offer is accepted before your house is sold, you may need to take out a bigger mortgage!

Speed tips:

  • Get your financial paperwork ready for your mortgage application
  • To find a property in a particular area:
    • walk around searching for ‘for sale’ signs
    • advertise locally that you’re looking for a house – you might prompt somebody to sell
    • search estate agents’ websites daily
    • connect with a local estate agent that understands the area and will work with you to find properties with your wish list and in your budget

5…Apply for a mortgage, find a solicitor and a surveyor

Once your offer has been accepted on your new property, get back in touch with your mortgage advisor and start the application process.

The next step is to choose your property solicitor wisely. Your solicitor will manage the entire legal process of the transfer of property ownership from seller to buyer. This includes property searches, contract negotiations, exchange of contracts, financial transfers and ongoing legal advice.   

Cost may be an important factor when choosing a solicitor for your conveyancing, which is why QualitySolicitors offers a No Hidden Costs guarantee. For a conveyancing quote, call QualitySolicitors on 08082747557.

Money is not the only factor to take into account. Finding a trusted and proactive property solicitor is crucial to the management and speed of your sale and purchase. QualitySolicitors will be completely transparent about what sort of timeline to expect with your purchase or sale and will keep you updated at each step with a Direct Lawyer Contact guarantee.

Choose a surveyor who is registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Surveyors carry out property inspections to help buyers make an informed judgment on whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

4…Instruct a solicitor and a surveyor

Once you’ve instructed a property solicitor, they will send you a contract of their terms, conditions and fees. They will write to your seller’s solicitor to say they’ve been instructed and they’ll start the legal process. They will also carry out the following searches on your new property:

  • Local authority
  • Environmental
  • Drainage
  • Water

Instruct a surveyor to carry out a building survey of your new property. The survey will highlight any problems which could affect the price you pay for your new home. It may be necessary for the surveyor to carry out additional checks for a more complete report if they have concerns over the structural integrity of the building. Your surveyor is the best person to recommend what surveys are needed.

Your mortgage lender will carry out a valuation survey on your new property. They want to check the sale price you’re looking to pay matches what they deem the property is worth. This is an important step as your lender will not approve a mortgage if the property has been highly over- or under-valued.

3…Finalise your mortgage and arrange insurance

In the light of your solicitor’s searches, mortgage lender’s valuation report and/or your surveyor’s property survey, you might want to renegotiate the purchase price of your new home. Your solicitor can initiate these negotiations on your behalf with the seller’s solicitor.

If there is an agreed change in the sale price, contact your mortgage broker or lender with the new details to finalise the mortgage.

At the same time, arrange buildings insurance for your new property. As soon as you exchange contracts you are responsible for your new property. It’s vital to be insured from exchange of contracts in case the worst happens. 

Also check that your contents insurance covers transporting your home contents in a removal van.  If your contents insurance doesn’t cover ‘items in transit’ your removal company may offer cover.


  • At this stage you can still change your mind about moving house, but you are likely to lose money from any surveyor’s fees you’ve already paid
  • Take time to check your insurance policy and shop around for deals

2...Exchange contracts

Everything leading up to the exchange of contracts is the difficult part, and so you can take a deep breath if you’ve come this far in the conveyancing process. Once you’re happy with all the sale terms, your solicitor will organise the exchange of contracts. If you are in a chain your contracts will only be released for you to sign once everyone in the chain is happy. It is also during this stage that you can agree on a completion date.

At the time of contract exchange, you may be required to pay a 10% deposit on your new property to your solicitor, who will then transfer the money to your buyer’s solicitor. Once contracts are exchanged, you have a legal obligation to buy the property; if you pull out of the purchase after this point, you will lose the deposit you paid for the property.

Speed tips:

  • Keep lines of communication open with your solicitor so you are up-to-date with progress
  • Book your removal company


Completion is moving day! 

While you are busy packing, your solicitor will:

  • Transfer the remaining money you owe on the property from their holding account to the seller’s account by telegraphic transfer.
  • Once money has been transferred, your solicitor will contact you to say you can collect the keys to your new property from the estate agent.
  • If your new home was over £125,000 then your solicitor will arrange for your stamp duty to be paid.
  • Your solicitor will register the sale with the Land Registry. The document – the ‘transfer deed’ – indicates the transfer of the property from one owner to another. If you have a mortgage, this will also be noted with the Land Registry.

All set for a Christmas move?

QualitySolicitors is ready to help you!

The proactive, personable solicitors at QualitySolicitors are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of customer service. Take advantage of flexible opening hours to find appointment times that suit you and help make this a stress-free conveyancing experience.

Whether you are buying a property, selling a property, or both, we will do our very best to meet your deadline.

Call us today on 08082747557.


[1] Office for National Statistics, UK House Price Index Statistical Bulletins https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/previousReleases

[2] Which?, What will Brexit mean for house prices?

[3] The Advisory, Simple Guide: Conveyancing Searches

Expert legal advice you can rely on,
get in touch today

Please let us know you are not a robot