Christmas is coming and it’s time for homeowners to get moving – literally. With just over three months to go, the race is on for house buyers to get everything completed and the family packed and comfortably settled into a new home before Santa slips down the chimney.
For many, Christmas Day has become a target to aim for to relocate, whether upsizing, downsizing or going to a different street, town or part of the country.
The last day you can move house and complete the sale before Christmas? Friday 20 December – leaving you four days to put the decorations up, defrost the turkey and make sure the oven’s working.
A smooth move can depend on many financial, legal and logistical variables, particularly if you end up as one link in a long chain. But there are things that can help to make the whole process go as quickly and easily as possible and help you beat that Christmas countdown.
If you are looking for a swift and painless move, read our advice on how to sell your house quickly. Otherwise, read on to find out how to hit your festive schedule from conveyancing experts at JMP Solicitors (opens in new tab).
1. Get your home ready to sell
If you’ve decided to move house before Christmas, it’s a good idea to smarten up your home to make it more appealing to prospective buyers. Declutter and redecorate if necessary; a coat of paint can work wonders, as can giving the house
a deep clean, emptying the loft and turning the storage/junk room into a useable space. Check the market and set a realistic price. Get the best survey you can before you commit to any purchase of your own. If the boiler doesn’t work and you’ve already moved in, prepare for an expensive and inconvenient replacement at Christmas time.
2. Be patient
Be clear on timescales, which can often shift if you’re in a long chain. Sometimes you have no option but to sit tight. However, you can still communicate your wishes to an estate agent and solicitor who can reach out to a buyer/seller on your behalf, increasing the chance of a successful resolution. When viewing a property, make it clear you want to move before Christmas and see how the seller responds. The last day you can complete and move house before Christmas is Friday 20 December 2019.
3. Choose your removal company wisely
Moving house without a removal company may be cheaper, but it can be more stressful (and tiring). If you’re DIYing it, start boxing up items you are not using at least two weeks before moving. Donate items you don’t need/never use to charity. Label the boxes with the contents and room to make unpacking easier. A good removals company can supply you with purpose-built boxes and packing materials, and might offer the option of packing for you.
- Don't miss our house moving checklist so that your move goes to plan
4. Tie up loose ends
Inform utility companies that you’re moving and have all mail forwarded to your new address once you have exchanged contracts. Write Christmas cards and post with your new address pre-printed inside to save spending extra time/money on change of address cards/messages.
5. Look after small family members
Young children and pets can find moving house very stressful. Keep animals secure in a room separate to the removals and packing/unpacking. Ask if family or friends can look after children for the day so they don’t get anxious about leaving their old house; this way they won’t feel unsettled and can enjoy the excitement of arriving at their new home. Pet trackers can help keep an eye on where cats go after you've moved, too, just in case they head back to your old home.
- How to sell a house or flat: an expert guide