Back to Our Thinking

Moving House? Follow These Steps to Reduce Stress

Co-Head of Residential Real Estate, Howard Freeman, gives his expert advice on how to remain stress-free whilst moving house.

Moving house is meant to be one of the most stressful life events someone can go through. According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, a scale that evaluates a person’s susceptibility to a stress-induced health breakdown, a “major change in living condition” such as moving house is the 28th most stressful life event, after others such as marital separation and death of a spouse. 

What can be done to manage the stress of moving house? 

From a Seller’s point of view, there are a number of steps one can take to help the process and alleviate the stress.

1. Collate all relevant paperwork. 

You will want to consult your solicitor just before you put your house on the market, as they can make sure you have all the necessary paperwork. For example, if you have carried out any works to the property but don’t have a copy of the planning permission or sign off from Building Control, your solicitor can tell you how to obtain the documents. We see many transactions delayed because a Purchaser has rightly insisted that the Local Authority Building Control reinspect and sign off works done multiple years ago.

2. Always check whether an early repayment charge applies. 

Sometimes during the transaction, a Seller realises that they want to delay completion to avoid the ERC. This will hold up the entire selling process and can have many consequences for the other parties in the chain.

3. As a Purchaser, keep in mind the length of the chain.

If you are purchasing a property, make sure the chain is complete when giving details to the Estate Agents, so they are aware of the length of the chain. Agents will often contact their counterparts throughout a transaction to ensure the appropriate steps are being taken by all parties.

4. Allow time for vacant possession.

If you are not involved in a related purchase, ensure that there is enough time between exchange and completion for you to provide “vacant possession” on completion.

Likewise, from a Purchaser’s point of view, there are a number of steps one can take to help the process and alleviate the stress.

1. Carry out the survey ASAP.

Make sure you have a survey carried out (as opposed to a simple valuation) as early as possible. Often a purchaser forgets to contact a Surveyor until the transaction is about to exchange. This can delay the entire chain until the survey is carried out, and any recommendations are implemented or carried out. 

Further, the survey may reveal items that need to be investigated (e.g. damp) or confirm that all documents in respect of the extension are available from the Seller.

Any price negotiations can also be flushed out and dealt with at the early stages. If that means a revised price cannot be agreed, the parties can both move on, with the Seller remarketing and the Purchaser searching for an alternative property.

2. First, sort out your finances.

Arrange your finances before you even start to look at properties. This includes not only your own savings and proceeds from any proposed sale, but also confirmation from the broker that you can obtain a mortgage for the sum required.

3. Give your solicitor the facts.

If you would like your solicitor to consider any specific requirements or anomalies of the property, such as a private road or a loft conversion, inform them from the outset. If your solicitor is not informed from the beginning, they cannot do a thorough check and the process will be delayed. 

4. Remember the deposit.

Be aware that you will have to pay 10% of the purchase price as a deposit on exchange of contracts. Therefore, if your money is not readily available (e.g. notice must be given to obtain the funds), make sure you tell your solicitor from the outset. This will allow them to advise on when to start the process to ensure the 10% deposit is available for exchange.

This short but not exhaustive guide will to help ensure the conveyancing process moves forward with less stress, on both the Seller’s and Purchaser’s side.

If you have any questions regarding residential property sales or purchases, please get in contact with Seddons partner Howard Freeman at or 020 7725 8051.

Share this article

What to read next

More articles from Seddons