Annette Cole, Sales and Marketing Director at Crest Nicholson Eastern, offers her top tips for moving house in the New Year.

As the New Year kicks in, so do the inevitable New Years’ resolutions! Some are hoping that 2016 is the year they get healthier, learn a new hobby or embark on a new adventure abroad. For others, the New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start and how better to do this than by moving house!

In the first instance, my advice to anyone thinking of moving to a new home in the New Year is to ensure you have done your research. Moving house is a big transition, particularly if moving to another town or city, or indeed a more rural location, and it’s important to cover off all bases before you begin the process of securing your dream home. 

When initially searching I would recommend starting off by looking at property web portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove to get a feel for what is available to you within your budget. These websites also share data on the number of listings for sale, and properties sold in the area over given time frames, which can give you a feel for the local market.

It’s also important to research your desired location thoroughly, as there are many things to consider, including:

-          The availability of local amenities – are there shops close by? Are you within easy reach of a doctors’ surgery or hospital?

-          Road and rail connections – is the property within close proximity to a train station or motorway? If you drive, is there sufficient parking?

-          For growing families or those planning to have children, it is also worth looking at schooling in the area, particularly for those hoping to be within specific catchment areas.

After location, another important factor which prospective buyers look for is the physical characteristics of the property ‘the kerb appeal’. Some prefer pre-owned homes, perhaps a listed property with quirky fittings and an interesting history, whilst others look for new builds which are more energy efficient and come equipped with contemporary interiors and all mod-cons.  

One thing to consider when looking for your new home is the sustainability and efficiency of the property you are looking to buy. New homes are generally more efficient than second hand properties and can be much more cost effective to run. They also come with a 10 year National House Building Council (NHBC) warranty and 2 year customer care warranty from the developer so you have peace of mind and know that there won’t be any major unbudgeted costs such as a roof or boiler that needs to be replaced.

What’s more, many of these properties are effectively a blank canvas with up-to-date high quality fixtures and fittings, whereas a dated second hand property could cost thousands of pounds to modernise. Thankfully, most new homes already come prepared with sustainable features installed benefitting the planet as well as your pocket!

If seeking a new build property, make an effort to visit show homes as they are great way to compare quality, and gather those all-important interior design ideas.

Finally, something which may not be as exciting but crucial nonetheless – costs. Moving home involves a range of fees, from solicitors’ costs, to legal fees and disbursements, mortgage survey fees and stamp duty. Allow adequate time to research the costs involved with your move and ensure you have a realistic budget in place.

For prospective first time buyers, and those moving up to their next home, why not look into the government launched Help To Buy scheme which enables you to buy a property with a deposit as low as 5%? This is a fantastic way to get your foot on the property ladder or work your way up to the next rung.

Arranging a meeting with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA), rather than just consulting your own bank or building society, is another great way to establish your affordability. There are many different mortgage products available and an IFA will seek the most competitive rate and the product most suitable for your needs from the whole market.