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When you’re moving home, there’s so much to think about and organise. To help make the process a little simpler, why not check out our quick checklist of utility reminders.
- Post:Those final bills, magazine subscriptions or the store card vouchers you’ve been saving up may still be addressed to your previous home. To give you time to change your address on everything, you can set up post redirection through the Post Office (though be aware you will have to pay a fee).
- Internet:Agh what will I do without Netflix?! Speak to your current provider about your contract terms as sometimes you’ll be able to transfer it over to your new house or it could be a chance to shop around if you’re finishing your contract. You’ll need to book a date for installation though and that could take several weeks so try and plan ahead if possible.
- Gas & Electric:Let your current energy supplier know you’ll be moving at least 2 days before you move and take your final meter readings to pass on so that you get an accurate bill. When you move home you can stay with the provider or change to a new one, and make sure you take the new meter readings when you move in.
- Banks:Inform your bank and any credit and store cards of your new address as soon as possible, to make sure all of your communications are coming through to the right property and that you have the correct billing address set up.
- TV license:If you’ve paid your TV licence annually up front, you just need to change your address with them and the contract will carry on as usual. If you’re moving in with someone then you will only need one licence per household.
- Council Tax:Get in touch with your local council to finalise your current bill, and get set up with your new council as soon as possible as you need to pay from the date you move in. Council Tax differs in amount per area, per property type and even by the amount of people in the property.
- Doctors & Dentists:There may be a waiting list for good doctor and dentist surgeries in your new local area so sign up with your new address as soon as possible – you never know when you may need them.
- Water:As with your energy suppliers, your water supplier also needs to be notified and you need to have your details changed with them. Your new area’s water supplier will contact you once you’ve moved in to work out a payment plan with them.
- Insurance:Do you have your buildings and contents insurance planned? If you’re renting, find out which you’re covered on (usually building insurance will have been sorted by your landlord). If you’re buying, be aware that you need to have building insurance from the point of exchange, not on completion – so make sure you remember to sign up.
Moving home is a busy and stressful experience at the best of times, with a great deal of organisation required to make everything run smoothly. Unfortunately, there’s now something else you need to add to the list: checking broadband speed. Thankfully this one is fairly simple, though internet access can have a surprising impact for home buyers, renters, landlords and sellers so it’s something everyone should consider.
Broadband and homes
Broadband is becoming increasingly important, to the point it can potentially impact sale and letting prices. A recent survey carried out by Broadband Genie found that 78% would be put off renting or buying a property if it had slow broadband, and 28% would be willing to pay more for a home with fast internet. Despite this, only 30% of respondents said they research broadband prior to renting or purchasing their current home.
Other studies have also found that broadband can have a surprising effect on home purchases, rentals and sales. A report by the London School of Economics examined 15 years of data and found that house prices increased by an average of 3% when broadband speed doubled. It’s especially concerning for landlords and sellers in the countryside, as a study from Savills highlighted that 70% of landlords said that slow broadband speeds were limiting their ability to let properties in rural areas.
What this all means is that whether you’re selling a home, looking for somewhere to buy or rent or are a landlord considering a rental opportunity, broadband is something you must take into consideration.
Checking broadband speeds
Checking potential broadband performance is easy (and free) but there are a few things you should know in order to get the most accurate information.
First off, any ISP can check broadband coverage. This can be done via the web site or by calling up the support or sales line. However an ISP is only going be interested in telling you about the services they provide. That’s fine if your intention was to stick with the same ISP, but it can be a good idea to get a broader, unbiased overview.
Finally, when you sign up for a new broadband deal your ISP should always provide an accurate speed estimate, usually as a range showing the potential lowest and highest speed. Keep a record of this. Any provider that’s signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice must investigate complaints about speed as a technical support issue. If they are unable to fix the problem, you are permitted to switch to a cheaper deal or cancel the contract without charge.
You can check the broadband speed of property on Rightmove via the property listing or by clicking here.
You may have heard various reports about changes to Help to Buy schemes and the ISA over the past few months. Below, get the lowdown on whether any of them could help you if you’re looking to get on the housing ladder.
The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will be finishing at the end of 2016. This scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a property up to the value of £600,000 within the UK. Buyers need a 5% deposit and they have to occupy the property once purchased, as their only property.
What are my other options?
The Equity Loan Scheme will still be available after the end of this year. This scheme differs to the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme as it is open to first-time buyers and existing homeowners with a minimum of 5% deposit, and the government lets you borrow 20% more, so you only need a mortgage for 75%. This scheme is only available on new build homes up to the value of £600,000 and only if the developer advertises it and if you don’t own any other properties when you buy using this scheme. You won’t accumulate any interest on the 20% loan for the first five years.
The Welsh Equity Loan Scheme is the same at the English one, except that it is on new builds up to the value of £300,000.
The Scottish Equity Loan Scheme is slightly different. Available on affiliated new builds up to £250,000, first-time buyers and existing homeowners need a minimum deposit of 5%. The Scottish Government will then add an equity stake of between 10% and 20% of the property’s value if you are eligible.
Not planning to buy a property for several years yet? You could utilise the Help to Buy ISA Scheme from the government, in which you are allowed to add up to £200 a month into the account, which the government matches at £50 for every £200. They will continue to add this ratio, up to a maximum of £3,000 on their part. There are rules and regulations around the use of the ISA so make sure you read up here.