Ex­pert ad­vice to make mov­ing house as pain­less as pos­si­ble

There’s lots to trip you up when you’re sell­ing and mov­ing to a new home. Here are some key things to con­sider for a smooth move

Inside Out (Australia) - - Contents - WORDS RACHEL SMITH

1| The pre-set­tle­ment in­spec­tion can be shock­ing. Es­pe­cially if the house was pro­fes­sion­ally staged and you see it with no fur­ni­ture, patchy walls and pic­ture-hook holes – or rub­bish in the back­yard! “The seller is sim­ply re­quired to get their stuffff out and not dam­age the place,” says prop­erty lawyer Katie Richards from Vir­tual Le­gal (vir­tu­al­le­gal.com.au). “Some con­tracts in­clude pro­vi­sions that if some­thing is dam­aged, the seller has to rec­tify any is­sues. You might re­tain a small por­tion of funds on set­tle­ment if the seller didn’t have enough time to fix it. If a seller leaves things, they be­come the prop­erty of the buyer. And if they leave rub­bish and you need to hire a skip, you could then in­voice the seller for the cost of re­moval.”

2| Mis­takes can cost you! Your prop­erty lawyer should make sure ev­ery­thing is in or­der on the con­tract and the set­tle­ment cheques. “If you have a typo on a cheque or a slightly difff­fer­ent amount than what you’re meant to have, it can de­lay set­tle­ment, which can de­lay your move,” says Katie. “In some states, if the other per­son was ready, will­ing and able to set­tle and you de­lay, they can ter­mi­nate and sue you for dam­ages, so there is a risk to it.”

3| You don’t need to be there for set­tle­ment. It’s some­thing agents can han­dle, as long as you’ve handed over the cheque. “Set­tle­ment takes min­utes,” says Katie. “Then a call is made to the lawyers and the agent to say set­tle­ment has oc­curred, the de­posit is re­leased and the agent can hand over the keys to the buyer.”

4| Si­mul­ta­ne­ous trans­ac­tions are trick­ier. But if you can’t avoid sell­ing and pur­chas­ing on the same day, have some­one in place who knows what they’re do­ing, says Katie. “Ar­rang­ing to have the funds from your sale flow through to your pur­chase can be a bit stress­ful, as is try­ing to get the difff­fer­ent sell­ers on ei­ther side and ev­ery­one to meet up for the right set­tle­ment. Also, with si­mul­ta­ne­ous trans­ac­tions, the sec­ond con­tract has to be sub­ject to the sale of the first con­tract, and some­times peo­ple for­get to do that, so you can have a sit­u­a­tion where they’ve moved out of their house but can’t move into the new prop­erty for a few days, so they have to put stuffff into stor­age and stay in a ho­tel.” 5| Get in­surance be­fore set­tle­ment. “Al­though it de­pends on which state you’re in, you may need in­surance if the risk of the con­tract passes to the buyer the day af­ter the con­tract date,” says Katie. “You can gen­er­ally get a cover note from an in­surance com­pany a cou­ple of weeks be­fore set­tle­ment and in the worst-case sce­nario, like if some­thing hor­ri­ble hap­pened to the seller and you still wanted to pro­ceed with the prop­erty, you would be cov­ered.” 6| Or­gan­ise re­moval­ists at least 4-6 weeks be­fore mov­ing. If there’s a gap be­tween mov­ing out and tak­ing pos­ses­sion of your new home, check if the re­moval­ists can store your be­long­ings in the in­terim. Also, get re­moval­ist rec­om­men­da­tions from friends and fam­ily to avoid shonky op­er­a­tors, says Ali Vildos from Aunty Ali Res­cue (0416 120 434), a home ser­vice that offf­fers ev­ery­thing from de­clut­ter­ing to mov­ing help. “You want some­one who’ll care for your be­long­ings and go the ex­tra mile on the day, such as as­sem­bling beds and con­nect­ing ap­pli­ances. Thurs­days and Fri­days are par­tic­u­larly busy days for re­moval­ists, as are the weeks lead­ing up to Christ­mas.” 7|

Get your in­ven­tory right. “If you have a home li­brary, tell your re­moval­ists – you may need a big­ger truck. If you have a wine col­lec­tion that needs spe­cial care, let them know. The job may take hours longer if you un­der­es­ti­mate it,” says Ali. 8| De­clut­ter and save! “Re­moval­ists get paid for how much they move, so less to move equals sav­ings for you,” says Ali. “Start early, start small and fo­cus on culling the easy stuffff – if you last used your tent 10 years ago and you only use your pop­corn maker bi-an­nu­ally, you won’t miss these things if they’re gone.” 9| Pack sev­eral weeks in ad­vance. And start with rarely-used items first, says Ali. “La­bel boxes for the room they’re go­ing to in the new house or where the con­tents have come from, like ‘sec­ond drawer of fil­ing cabi­net’. It makes it much eas­ier when your mind can visu­alise where things used to be. Don’t for­get to tape loose parts like screws and bolts from fur­ni­ture in plas­tic bags to the fur­ni­ture they be­long to, or put them in a spare parts box.” If you can’t face pack­ing and have the bud­get for pro­fes­sional pack­ers, they can usu­ally knock it over in a day.

10| Do a clean your­self. “Buy­ers do ex­pect a pro­fes­sional clean but if you’ve gone through the open-house process, your home is prob­a­bly pretty clean any­way,” says Ali. “You might have to scrub marks offff the walls with sugar soap once the fur­ni­ture is gone. If pos­si­ble, ask the own­ers of the prop­erty you’ve bought if they’re get­ting in a cleaner so you don’t dou­ble up.”

11| Don’t for­get util­i­ties. En­ergy Aus­tralia sug­gests get­ting in touch at least four days be­fore mov­ing to en­sure your new home will have elec­tric­ity and gas on when you get there. Do the same with your wa­ter, phone, in­ter­net and pay TV. “It’s a good time to hunt out a new deal on util­i­ties, too,” says Ali. 12| Book a lock­smith and handy­man prior to mov­ing. It’s worth get­ting any re­pairs out of the way as soon as you ar­rive at the new house – and hav­ing new keys will pro­vide peace of mind, says Ali. “Some lock­smiths will even re-key your locks rather than re­place all the ex­pen­sive hard­ware, which is a much cheaper and faster al­ter­na­tive.” 13| Leave a list of help­ful info for the new own­ers. “In­clude a wel­com­ing note with things like bin night, in­struc­tion man­u­als for the oven, names of neigh­bours and your favourite take­away,” says Ali. “And don’t for­get your de­tails and new ad­dress so they can for­ward any mail that slips through.” 14| Be or­gan­ised on mov­ing day. “Farm the kids and pets out overnight if you can swing it,” says Ali. “Re­serve park­ing for the re­moval­ists, make sure you have a toolkit with Allen keys, screw­drivers and a Stan­ley knife. Load up a wash­ing bas­ket with key items, in­clud­ing ex­ten­sion leads, power­boards, snacks and a small first-aid kit.”

“On mov­ing day, make sure you have a tool kit with Allen keys, screw­drivers and a Stan­ley knife” ALI VILDOS, AUNTY ALI RES­CUE

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