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Upsizing for Christmas: an Aldermore guide

POSTED: 22nd October 2014
IN: Personal Guides
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While there has been a significant focus on helping first-time buyers get their foot on the housing ladder in recent months, in many cases moving on to a second home can pose just as much of a challenge.

undefinedDue to the chain-like nature of the housing market, with each homeowner waiting on others to move on, upsizing can easily turn into a lengthy process. With Christmas just over two months away, Aldermore shares some useful insight with homebuyers in order to achieve a smoother transition into their new home.

Affordability

The most important first step for homebuyers is to honestly ask whether moving is the best option financially. It’s not just the increased price of a bigger home that must be considered: estate agents’ and solicitors’ fees, stamp duty and housing surveys can quickly add up to make moving a costly process. It might be worth considering how to use existing space more effectively or investigating if an extension could be added to the current property.

For those whose only option is to upsize, begin by putting together a realistic budget. Sellers should research local pricing to get a clearer picture of how much their current property is worth, allowing some leeway in case the asking price cannot be met and factoring in estate agents’ and solicitors’ fees.

On the other side of the equation, it may be worth prospective buyers approaching a number of mortgage lenders to gauge how much they will be able to borrow before setting their heart on a property. In particular, lenders will be careful to check that any potential interest rate rises in the near future wouldn’t cause borrowers to become overstretched.

It’s also crucial to bear in mind that recent house price rises may have pushed many properties into a higher stamp duty rate bracket, which could increase buying costs, and, although it may seem obvious but possibly not considered, that larger homes could mean greater utility bills and upkeep costs.

Finding a buyer

For most second-time buyers, upsizing will entail selling their current property, though, if financially viable and with the mortgage lender’s permission, renting it out could also be an option. Start by finding a reliable estate agent and negotiating a fee arrangement. The Home Owners Alliance recommends asking for one per cent commission, plus VAT, though it may be worth offering an increase on this percentage if the property sells above asking price, as an incentive.

In order to maximise house value, make sure to fix any problem areas, keep the property clutter-free and consider replacing bold decor choices with more subtle finishes for wider appeal. Deciding which fittings and fixtures are included with the house may have some impact on sale price, and sellers should be prepared for buyers to try to negotiate a discount on the asking price.

Once an offer has been accepted, the homeowner will need to employ a solicitor to handle the legal requirements of the sale, so it’s advisable to obtain several quotes and references in advance to avoid being rushed into accepting a solicitor who doesn’t quite match your requirements.

Even once a sale has been agreed, the legal process of transferring ownership can take some time, particularly with the pressures of Christmas. January tends to see a flurry of activity in the housing market, so it may be worth waiting until the New Year to try and sell property and avoid the disruption that December inevitably brings with it.

Choosing a new home

Choosing a new home may seem like the more exciting part of the process, but there are still several considerations to make. Given the weighty burden of stamp duty costs and fees, it makes sense for buyers to invest in a property that will still serve their needs for years to come, such as opting for extra rooms if they foresee extending the family or where value could be added by extending the property in the future. Another area of consideration is making sure that buyers choose the right type of property survey as this enables the buyer to make the best decision on the potential purchase. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions to take and it could be better for sellers who have already found a buyer for their existing property to stay in rented accommodation while they search for a new home, rather than rushing the decision.

Experienced home sellers, do you have any further advice to add? Let Aldermore know on Twitter.

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