Moving house

I have lived in Bracknell over half my life (so far), so moving house is a bit of a distant memory.

But I believe some people were confused by my previous blog, so worth just clarifying:-

  • I live in Bracknell now - nice house, some customisation (electric locks, etc).
  • I am purchasing a place in Wales, hopefully all sorted by end of this year.
  • Then I will be selling my house in Bracknell, after decorator comes in :-)

I can do this partly due to things like mortgage reserve accounts (if you have one, keep it, do not let the bank try and sneak it away as they tried with me, and with friends of mine). Also I am pretty sure that if you are buying a house in Wales you are officially allowed to just put it on your Amex card (basically downsizing in price by a good chunk). You'd think this would help.

I am amazed at the time scales, really. There are "searches". OK, but have you seen how fast google can do a search. This is not the 18th century!

  • Why is this not all on-line with all councils, etc?
  • Why, if they are all different, is there not a nationwide aggregator that makes it simple?
  • Why is it that, apparently, solicitors tend to do one search after the other, and not all at once?
  • Why is anything time consuming not done as part of putting the house on the market?

Whilst joking about my Amex card (no, I don't have a limit this high), if you have the money ready and sat in an account why does it have to even take "all day" to buy a house. If it was a mandatory two week cooling off period, I could understand, but it sounds like it is just bad management of the process at every level somehow.

So yes, expect more exasperated blogs on the matter.

Also, how is it that technology knows? I have some ES8000 locks - very nice - very reliable. Both of them started playing up and one has given up the ghost, the very day I get confirmation we are moving and that their days are numbered. This is too fluky for reason. Was fun taking one apart though.


  1. We have this crazy system where everyone interested in a house has to get a separate search, get all the documents separately, at considerable cost.. which is lost if they decide not to get the house (or they're gazumped, which is still entirely legal).

    It took 3 months to buy my house. No chain, the sellers were desparate to sell as they already had a new house and had moved out.. but 3 months waiting for solicitors to fax each other documents. It's crazy.

  2. Replies
    1. Damn, I have chased twice today, am I doing it wrong? :-)

    2. Yes, I chased them too much and they tried to charge me extra due to how much time it had taken up!

  3. Took me a month or two IIRC, main problem for me was the sellers were moving to a new build, and then suddenly said "well, we've lived here for years and need more time to pack stuff up" to which they were told to get on with it and we weren't going to accept any delays!

    (I was a cash buyer, so no mortgage or chain)

    1. There are companies that will "pack" and move for you :-)
      [We may engage one ourselves]

    2. Due to short timescales we got Pickfords to pack and move us. They were great and all the boxes were labelled but unloading everything into a smaller number of rooms was interesting and finding some things afterwards was challenging. Do the clear out first!

    3. My thoughts are that I pack a few key things and then pay someone to pack and move everything else. But before we start, we have a skip for shit we are getting rid of :-)

  4. I'm buying at the moment, an all my searches came back in less than a week.

  5. Remember under the EU distance selling regulations, if you authorise your solicitor to complete over the phone you've got 14 days after that to give the house back.

    That's when the removals companies really make the big bucks, they need to dig the whole place up after all...

    (I may have been reading too much https://twitter.com/BadLegalTakes today)

    I recently moved, most of the place was packed already because the decorators had been in while I was still there, but it was really useful having them do the kitchen and such. All the fragile stuff made it here perfectly.

    Took me 4 months from accepted offer to completion, mostly due to mortgage :(

    I've heard the Scottish system is rather better, a lot more happens up front by the seller, and is presented as one pack.

  6. Home Information Packs were supposed to eliminate a lot of this. They didn't. All parties still want their own searches so that they trust the result. You can't trust a PDF handed over by someone you've never met before.

    Not sure if current searches pick up on this: make sure the house you are buying does not have a Green Deal. The buyer ends up paying for a large debt/loan taken out by the previous owner. I have no clue how this was ever legal, but it seems to be.

    1. That does, indeed, sound like it should not be legal!
      As for home info packs, surely simpler would be search at the relevant body (e.g. council) prepared by seller but obtained *from* that body quickly by buyer, and hence can be trusted? Seller just hand over the relevant references to the searches already done? Simples

    2. Sounds like it would have specifically been drafted that way in the legislation. You can see why some civil servant thought it made sense - the debt is against the house, the improvement is to the house, surely both should go to the new owner. And no doubt the financing companies think it makes life easier for them. But it would have made more sense for it to be paid off with the purchase price like all other financial encumbrances to the property, when you buy it. This way the purchase price is effectively higher than listed.

  7. If - like lawyers - you are paid by the hour, why on earth would you want to hurry?
    There seems little incentive for the legal profession to enter the 20th century let alone the 21st!

    1. Who pays their conveyancing solicitor by the hour, rather than on a fixed fee basis, at least for the common, predictable, parts of conveyancing?!

  8. Croeso i Gymru!! Congrats on making a super - wise decision - there is a welcome for you here.

    Now - moving house. Did it myself last year [selling] and then again this year [buying].
    Some solicitors do searches sequentially to save the prospective buyer cash if something comes back that jeopardises the sale. Local authorties are cash-strapped to the extreme - tech can't replace humans entirely with this part of house buying. And there ain't enough humans in local councils.
    And on your earlier post, ask the EAs for their take on what you need to do, if anything, to normalise the place you're selling. I was amazed that features we thought were real selling points with the last place weren't of much interest in the end - but boy, do prospective buyers love Farrow+Ball colours and wooden floors.

  9. Great decision to move to Wales! You won't regret it!
    We moved across the border last year after 27 years in our previous house.
    Took us 4 months to buy our present home, as the seller's solicitors didn't like using e-mail and didn't possess a scanner, so all docs were sent hardcopy or by fax!

    The best bit was when the draft transfer documents arrived and we realised that the seller's solicitors had only included half the property on the transfer (the garden was created from a field, and is on a separate title at the Land Registry).
    A lot of huffing and puffing before a revised document finally appeared showing the house AND the garden too. But no apology...

    BTW, we used a legal firm who employ specialist conveyancers - they seem more clued up on property transfers than your average solicitor who may be doing a bit of conveyancing alongside wills, divorces, accident claims.... You get the idea.

    Good luck with the move.

    PS: 150/30 FTTP from A&A works well here!

    1. Yes but also watch out for "specialist conveyancers" who aren't actually solicitors. The whole operation of, say 20 conveyancers, may be overseen by perhaps only one solicitor who won't even look at your file.

  10. When I purchased in Scotland I think the searches were all done by the seller, was outsourced to a company which does nothing but searches (https://www.propertysearchesscotland.co.uk/) looked to me like they put a fair bit of effort into automating the process


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