Because it's so much more than bricks and mortar

New Year, New Home

9 January 2024

New Year, New Home

If you’ve decided to make a house move in 2024 then who better to give advice than property guru, Fiona Penny.

Contrary to what the press would have us believe, the market in Kent is still moving along at a steady pace. So if buying a new home is on your 2024 wish-list, take heart – here’s Fiona’s 8 crucial preparation hacks that will help turn your dream into a reality:

1. Set your intentions

property removals moving house keys

Fiona says: ‘Heart versus Head can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. It can be very difficult to leave a home that has been centre stage for you and your family and so being clear and resolute on your reasons for moving is an important first step. Write down your goals – the motivation behind the move, what you want to get out of it and where you want to move to. This will focus the mind.’

2. Sort your admin

work space coffee pencil notepad life admin

Fiona says: ‘Get all your paperwork in order – ideally create a folder but at the very least know where to put your hands on things! Planning permissions, building regulations, deeds, service histories / proof of services (e.g boilers), purchase receipts and anything else you can find.’

3. Figure out your finances

piggy bank sunglasses finances

Fiona says: ‘Do your research – call estate agents to value your property and decide who you feel happy with to help sell your home. Hunt around for good mortgage deals. Make sure you are realistic rather than over optimistic in your planning.’

4. Declutter like a demon

Woman cleaning the house woman in rubber gloves cleaning
Woman cleaning the house

Fiona says: ‘General de-cluttering (you can always call in professional help if you need a hand!) but otherwise just make a start, however small, and be kind to yourself as you go. If downsizing, and especially if it has been a much lived in and loved family home, ask family members if there are any items they would personally like before you do that charity shop or tip run. Accept help if offered or even ask for it – it can be a huge support to have a friend or family member on your side, someone who may not be so emotionally involved.’

5. Prepare your house

property new house move couple painting home

Fiona says: ‘Start sifting through stuff – from the small, but important, things like all-important photo albums, pictures and keepsakes (you may have to be tough on yourself with this one and not pack absolutely everything) to the bigger stuff like, thinking about any repairs needed both inside and outside the house. Do-it-yourself if competent, but call in professional tradespeople if not – some get booked well in advance, so you need to get organised.’

6. Consider a property finder

fiona penny bespoke home finder property expert kent

Fiona says: ‘In so many of life’s important decisions we engage a professional to help. So it makes a lot of sense to do so when it comes to something as big as finding and buying a property that will be your home.’

‘For us the over-riding factor is working with those people we feel we can help who are looking for a family home in the Kent and East Sussex area. There are no hidden costs – all the fees are transparent and explained on their website. The service can save you time and money – and your sanity.’

7. Do your school searches

school children laughing running

Fiona says: ‘Got a young family? Think about schools and do your research. Check out the dates of imminent school Open Days or remember, many schools are always happy to accommodate an individual appointment.’

‘From a home buying perspective we would always recommend finding the right schools for your children before finding you your dream home – and this is just one of many areas where we can help. For us, advising on the property is just the start of it. We look at the best schools, commute, childcare, grammar catchment areas, local infrastructure, GPs, dentists, babysitters – you name it!’

8. Don’t believe the hype

work stress worry woman at computer

Fiona says: ‘Finally, remember, there’s a bit of a gap between perception and reality when it comes to the housing market. The way that property trends are portrayed in the press is not always helpful. To put it plainly – things are not as bad as they suggest.’

‘Kent is always a highly sought after area and although house prices have softened a little there is still demand for good homes. Demand is still outstripping supply and interest rates are slowly reducing. This November, our continued success as bespoke home finders, demonstrates that although the market quietens at this time of year there are always special houses to unearth. If it’s your dream – go for it!’