Things to think about when you are moving house

Buying and selling a house can be complex and stressful. Everyone has an opinion and advice they will love to share with you, whether it’s your parents or your mate down the pub.

It might be more helpful to talk to a professional. Harrison Clarke is a leading firm of chartered surveyors in the Hampshire area, and every day we are looking after people moving house. 

We have used our experience to set out this helpful guide for you, which focuses on a few key areas that are important for you to think about – namely, how to choose your mortgage adviser, solicitor, estate agent and surveyor, as well as planning your removals.

Key Points

  • Comfort and trust important in choosing an adviser.
  • Prefer third-party mortgage brokers with wide market access.
  • Banks may not offer most suitable mortgage products.
  •  Seek word-of-mouth recommendations for conveyancers.
  • Personal preference on firm size and style.
  • Importance of alignment with your goals and preferences.
  • Limited choice with property purchase agents.
  • Consider individual agent’s track record and approach.
  • Rely on experienced surveyors, not just mortgage valuations.
  • Beware of very cheap options; quality might be compromised.
  • Evaluate stress vs. hiring an insured moving company.
  • Packing options: self-pack or have removers do it.

How to choose your mortgage adviser

Your mortgage adviser will be asking you lots of in-depth and very personal questions about your finances, so you will need to appoint someone that you feel comfortable talking about these issues with, and someone who instils trust that they are acting in your best interests, not those of their own company. 

We would always advocate that you use a third party mortgage broker, particularly one that has access to the whole mortgage market, rather than being tied to one particular lender or being restricted to only offering certain lenders’ products. 

While you might like dealing with your bank, and consider using them as your mortgage lender, they may not be able to offer you the most suitable and cost-effective mortgage product for your circumstances.

You should make sure that your mortgage adviser is well versed in dealing with people in your situation. For example, if you have poor credit, or if you are self-employed or a company owner, you will need to know that your broker has the expertise to place you with the right lender without damaging your credit rating in the process. 

How to choose your solicitor

There is a lot of choice in the conveyancing world. And, as with all professions, there are good conveyancers and bad ones. For this reason, it is important to seek word of mouth recommendations from people that have first-hand experience in how conveyancers work. 

You might also have a personal preference in dealing with large or small firms, so this can also make a difference regarding who you choose to work with.

For example, locally in the Hampshire area, we frequently work with Noel Roberts at Taylor Rose, who provides a personal service and is very responsive. Alternatively, you could look to a firm such as Biscoes, which has a much larger team and can provide much wider legal support should this be necessary, but they may end up choosing which conveyancer takes on your transaction.

Or, there are firms in the middle such as TMT Legal Services who are a really friendly, small but growing practice.

All of these companies can offer great advice and each have a different vibe; you should choose your solicitor depending on what is important to you and who you will feel most comfortable with. 

There are also really big legal firms, which can often feel like sausage machines where you may feel like little more than a number. While some people like the feeling of anonymity that this style of service provides, if something needs to be done quickly you might not be able to easily talk to the right person. Instead, you may need to rely on loading documents into an online portal. 

Your solicitor can make the whole process pleasingly simple and straightforward, or frustratingly slow and tedious. Make sure you carefully select your solicitor so that you are not the one holding up the moving chain. 

How to choose your estate agent

When you are buying a house, unless the property is listed with multiple agents you generally do not have a choice in which estate agent you will be dealing with, as estate agents are normally appointed by the seller. 

However, if you have a home to sell, there are several key considerations when choosing your estate agent. Don’t just focus on fees. Also consider the estate agent’s track record of in areas like speed to sale and price achieved. 

A lot depends on the individual agent dealing with you – it is better to have a great individual working for you rather than choosing based on their company’s brand and reputation alone. Try and speak to a few agents before you decide. 

As with solicitors, there are many different sizes of company. You might not even realise you are dealing with a huge company because they can often have multiple brands in the same high street. 

Consider whether your agent is looking to sell your home quickly, perhaps not at the absolute best price, or whether they are maximising the sale price, maybe at the detriment of speed. 

The important thing is to make sure that your estate agent’s goals are aligned with yours.

How to choose your surveyor

Don’t just rely on the mortgage company to complete your valuation. They often won’t even visit the property and they will be looking out for your lender, not you. Instead, choose a surveyor based on their experience and their knowledge. 

Online reviews and personal recommendations are a good place to start. If you go cheap, ask why they are cheap. Perhaps low fees mean you will get a slow turnaround, less experienced surveyors or less detailed/useful reports. 

Make sure that you are able to contact the surveyor that has visited your potential new home, in case you have questions after your survey has been completed. Also, make sure that this follow-up service is included in the fee you are already paying as, otherwise, surveyors’ fees can mount up quickly.

When you are comparing quotes, make sure you know whether VAT has been included, so that you are comparing quotes on a like for like basis. 

Tip: Whether a quote includes VAT, or not, is a consideration when you are choosing other advisers too. 

At Harrison Clarke, we can normally offer a quick turnaround of detailed reports, completed by experienced surveyors, including a follow-up service, and our Level Two and Level Three survey fees are always presented to include VAT. The price you see is the price you pay. 

What about removals?

Think about whether you want the stress of doing this yourself with a hired or borrowed van, or whether it might be helpful and more practical to have an insured company assisting with your move. 

You can choose to pack your own boxes or have the removers do it for you. If you decide to do this yourself, make sure you leave enough time to get everything done before your moving date. It always takes longer than you think it will!

A key consideration with removers is their availability. If you want to use a smaller firm, they might have less availability and less flexibility than a larger firm, but they can be more competitively priced. 

Flexibility is important as last minute delays can often creep into the moving process, causing moving dates to move – your removers need to adjust their schedule to suit yours if it becomes necessary to do so.

What else do I need to think about?

There is always so much to think about when you are moving home. Write a checklist of what is important to you. 

For example, you might need a good locksmith to change the locks to give you peace of mind that you are the only ones able to access your new home.

A move might be a good opportunity to replace that tatty old sofa you have been wanting to get rid of for ages, but furniture can often take months to deliver. So, don’t get rid of your old sofa until you know when your new one is arriving – you don’t want to end up sitting on the floor for who knows how long. 

My estate agent has recommended a…

If your estate agent has recommended a mortgage broker, solicitor, surveyor or removal firm, think about why the agent is recommending them. 

Are they really the best adviser for you? Or are they the firms who are giving the best referral fee to the estate agent? Ultimately, if it is the latter, you will be covering the cost of these referral fees by them being absorbed into the adviser’s fees and, anecdotally, these types of arrangements are not set up to offer you the best value or customer experience. 

Before instructing companies recommended by your estate agents or another party, look at online reviews to make sure that you are using a company verified by third parties as being good at what they do. 

How Harrison Clarke can help

The home buying process can feel overwhelming and reading this article may have got your mind racing and made you think of all sorts that you need to organise.

Sometimes, you need a helping hand from a professional who you can trust. 

Our experienced and helpful team of chartered building surveyors will be happy to help you navigate the process of buying a property and moving house, every step of the way.

If you need us to, we can help you to find the right advisers for you. We never accept referral fees so any recommendations we give you are completely impartial. 

We also have a range of blogs talking through various surveying services, and videos too. You can access them via our website or our YouTube channel

How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.

At the time of writing, we have a total of 71 reviews across Trustpilot and Google. We are proud to say that they are all 5 star ratings across the board.

Discover something you would like to know more about?

Tim Clarke, Director at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Tim Clarke


Tim set up Harrison Clarke Chartered Surveyors in July 2017 following a series of public and private sector surveying roles, having previously worked for the University of Cambridge, Rund Partnership, Goadsby, and CBRE. 

Tim has degrees in building surveying, construction project management, and business administration.