Moving house? Let Harrison Murray take the strain

MOVING house can be one of life’s most exciting, but in some cases, daunting experiences – particularly if you haven’t done it for a while.

There’s ever changing legislation to get to grips with, current stamp duty implications and a range of other requirements that come hand in hand with the moving process.

Development director at independent estate agents and valuers, Harrison Murray, Jackie Scotten, said: “Moving house can be somewhat daunting for people who haven’t been through the process for several years, and aspects of it may have changed over that time.

“Our aim, as should be that of all estate agents, is to be completely transparent with buyers and sellers and guide them gently and confidently through the moving procedure.

“We will explain the process thoroughly and in detail, and take the time to care. Moving to a new home is a big investment, financially and emotionally, and all our staff want customers to enjoy the journey without feeling rushed.”

Some points to bear in mind when moving buying or selling a property.

Once you are certain you want to move, choose your agent wisely. Instruct an agent with a good reputation whom you feel will market your home to the best of their ability, and who is a member of The Property Ombudsman scheme and the National Association of Estate Agents.

If you are selling, be sure to highlight and pass on to your agent details of any outstanding features that first attracted you to your property. Your agent will work this information into the sales details. This could include such things as extra large storage spaces or a dedicated outdoor dining area.

As a buyer you may have to pay Stamp Duty. This is a Government tax payable on the completion of a property purchase – normally set at between one and three per cent of the purchase price. This can fluctuate, and over the past 18 months, Stamp Duty has been frozen for first time buyers. However, as from the end of March 2012, this Stamp Duty exemption will be axed.

There are many legal points to consider, but being well prepared may help to speed up the process, from viewings to the eventual sale.

Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers’ solicitors will expect to see all documents and it could result in delays if they are not provided. Windows installed after April 1, 2002 need FENSA certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees.

Any previous building work will require copies of the relevant building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the completion certificate for the work.

By law, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) – which gives current ratings and information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions – needs to be provided. Your estate agent can arrange this.

Conveyancing is the last hurdle. Put simply, this is the act of legally transferring a property from one person to another, and has, by law, to be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Harrison Murray’s conveyancing solicitors can open the file for the Seller at the start of the marketing process and prepare all the necessary documentation in order to reduce the time from offer to exchange of contracts, as the longer the process takes, the more likely it is that the sale may fall through.