15 Common Mistakes People Make When Moving Home (and how to avoid them)

For most people the buying or the selling of a home can be one of the most stressful times of their life.  Our residential property team understands this.  We also understand the importance of communicating with everyone involved in the process, the importance of acting quickly so that there are no delays and, most importantly, in providing a value for money service.


Usually, a house sale or purchase involves a chain of transactions which extends beyond your immediate control.  Timing, negotiation (and often a sense of humour!) all play a vital part in achieving a successful outcome for you.




1.Not instructing a Solicitor early enough


When selling a property, most people often only decide to instruct a Solicitor once they have found a buyer and agreed a price.  However, instructing a Solicitor from the very beginning before a price is agreed, means that the Solicitor is able to obtain full instructions on the proposed transaction.  This will ensure that all the Contract papers are ready to be forwarded to the buyer’s Solicitors as soon as a buyer is found.  This will help to avoid any delays.


2.Not taking time to choose the right Solicitor


A sensible way of choosing a Solicitor is by personal recommendation.  For example a friend, a family member or work colleague may be able to recommend a particular firm that they have recently used.  Alternatively, we would recommend appointing a local Solicitor.  Whilst it is possible to appoint a Solicitor in any part of the Country, the local Solicitor will have valuable local knowledge and will be readily accessible for face to face meetings.


3.Not checking the chain of transactions at the outset


It is important that you check the chain of transactions is complete below and above you and that everyone is in a position to proceed.  Normally your Estate Agent should verify these details for you.




4.“I do not have to tell them that”


If you are asked any questions by the buyer (or their Solicitor) about your property, then you must answer them honestly.  You will be asked to fill in a seller’s Property Information Form which asks for details such as which boundaries you maintain on the property whether you have had any disputes with your neighbours etc.  Failure to answer these enquiries may jeopardise the sale later on and equally you could be liable to the buyer for withholding or providing false information.



5.“I do not want to move out until after completion”


The Contract states that you must vacate your property on the day of completion.  This means that you must have moved out, normally by 2.00pm on the day of completion.  However it is not uncommon to agree to an earlier time, such as 12.00 noon.  As well as physically vacating the property you need to remove all furniture etc. and the property should be left clean and tidy.


6.“I have moved out of my property and it is still fully insured”


When a property is empty it is often wrongly assumed that as long as the Buildings Insurance Policy is maintained that it will cover all the usual circumstances.  However it is quite normal with a lot of Insurance Companies that certain risks will be excluded after the property has been left empty for more than 30 days.  For example risks such as burst pipes and vandalism are commonly excluded.  It is important that you ensure that such risks are covered on your Policy in the event of your property being left empty.





7.Not viewing the property on more than one occasion


Before making an offer on a property it is always important to consider whether or not the property is right for you.


8.Making an offer on another property when I have not received an offer on mine


There is nothing to stop you making an offer, however you will be treated far more seriously if you have a buyer for your property who is able to proceed with the purchase of your property immediately.


9.“Everything I see in the house will still be there when I move in”


When making an offer you should consider whether there are any fixtures and fittings that you would like to stay at the property.  As part of the negotiation process you may wish to make an offer based on certain items (e.g. carpets and curtains) being included in the price.


10.“I do not need a survey”


The purchase of a property is probably the largest financial transaction of your life and it is important that proper professional advice is obtained from a Surveyor regarding the condition of the property.  A lot of people make two common mistakes regarding surveys.  Firstly, if they do not need a mortgage, they assume that a survey is not needed.  Secondly if a mortgage is needed, they opt for the cheapest option, which is the basic valuation survey.  The basic valuation survey is purely for the lender’s needs and does not normally contain any details whatsoever about the condition of the property.  It is important therefore that you have at least a Home Buyers Report.  This is a survey commissioned directly by you with the Surveyor which means there is a contractual relationship and the Surveyor is under an obligation to provide advice regarding the condition of the property.  The advice given is backed by a professional indemnity insurance which means that you are covered in case any problems are overlooked.


11.“The purchase price cannot be changed once my offer has been accepted”


Up until contracts are exchanged, further negotiations on the purchase price can always take place.


12.“I can move into my new house when contracts have been exchanged”


Normally you can only have access to the property on the completion date.


13.“I do not need to pay a deposit on exchange”


If you are selling one property and buying another, normally the deposit which is received from you sale can be used as a deposit on your new property.  This means that you should not need to pay any additional money on exchange of contracts.  Furthermore, whilst the contract may state a 10% deposit needs to be paid, it is common for a lesser deposit to be accepted.


14.Failing to notify the service provides, e.g. gas, electricity, etc


Before moving into a property it is important to find out who the service providers are.  You should also ensure that all service meters are read on the date the seller moves out of the property.  This will help to ensure that future bills are accurate and any disputes are avoided.


15.“I do not need to make a Will or up-date the one I have”


Due to property prices increasing in recent years, many people are now caught by the Inheritance Tax trap.  You should certainly have a Will to control where your property will go in the event of your death and if you Will is properly drafted it can also be tax efficient.  At the same time you may also wish to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney, particularly if you are not in the first flush of youth.




For help on any property matter requiring legal help get in touch with us here at Busbys on 01288 35 9000

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