“We weren’t thinking of moving before I got pregnant. It was a few months in and we just thought, do we really want to move?” - Linda, Settled customer.
Starting a family is one of the triggers for moving home, many of us wait until we’re expecting before we get that For Sale sign up. Linda and her husband, a couple from London, decided to do the same. When moving takes an average of 19 unpredictable weeks and you’re expecting your first child at the same time - you’ll end up feeling like you don’t have control over the situation, which to be honest, you don’t. Growing families are faced with asking themselves, ‘should we move at all?’
The idea of a new family home is exciting. Scrolling through listings and pinning to your Pinterest boards. It’s dreamlike, really. But, the reality of when you get past this initial stage is more nightmarish. As Linda’s due date was edging closer, her house sale was still going on and the expiry time on her mortgage offer was almost up. It’s no surprise that the Google search results of ‘moving home whilst pregnant’ produce advice like, ‘get help’ and ‘keep a hospital bag handy’. So, did the new baby or the new home arrive first? Did she end up moving at all? Linda revealed all to us over a steaming hot mug of her homemade (yes, homemade) matcha soy latte.
Out of the handful of people that viewed their home, Linda and her husband received offers from all of them. Now that's a seriously good start. They found a buyer in July and with the baby due in October, Linda felt that timing-wise, they’d nailed it. That feeling didn’t last long.
“I wanted to have it wrapped up by October when the baby was due. But, the buyer’s solicitor caused major delays - I’m not sure what they were doing, to be honest. It was very stressful.”
Within two months the familiar home-selling struggle brought Linda stress and frustration. She wasn’t alone. According to the government’s buying and selling survey in 2017, 58% of sellers blamed the buyer’s solicitors for their delay to completion. Linda shared with us specifically that after being told the searches would take one week, it got to week four and they hadn’t even started. The Financial Times describes many other areas that we can blame for the usual slow pace we experience, including mortgages, local authorities and the discovery of unknown facts in searches.
With her baby’s arrival fast-approaching, Linda was in turmoil. It was beginning to look unlikely she would be able to complete and move before her due date. Any shred of hope she had left was fading when other flaws in the process began to crop up too, like the forms, an overwhelming part of selling a home. Even as an experienced seller, Linda described them as a memory game she used to play as a kid. How many things can you remember from when you first bought your home? Now prove it with paperwork. Her advice:
“Keep everything. When selling my place I had to go back and search through a long list of things that I got when I bought the home - you don’t get told to keep this stuff for the future!”
In that same article, the FT says that by ‘digitising property-related records’ we can not only eliminate this uncertainty but speed up the entire moving process - solicitors and all. We couldn’t agree more. It’s exactly why we’ve just introduced Buyer-Ready homes to the market, to streamline clunky parts of the current process. We’ve digitised major forms for sellers. But, why stop there? The Settled Home Companion connects the seller to their potential buyers. Linda was a big fan.
“Having the ability to book my own viewings, show them around and get direct feedback was great. It’s your home, so you’re the best person to sell it. Everyone who viewed our home made an offer.”
“We didn’t complete until the end of January. With just 10 days before our mortgage offer was due to expire. If we had completed before October then I could have got everything done ahead of the baby arriving which would have been good. We were obviously so relieved in the end though.”
So, the baby won the race and came into Linda’s life before her new home did. It reminds us that the chances of a sale collapsing are all too real and if it doesn’t you still have a long, anxious wait ahead of you. The FT asks in their article whether a seamless, stress-free home-buying experience is destined to remain a fantasy. Our answer is no. 100% no.
“I relied on Alix, my Settled guide, to keep things moving and chase the buyer’s solicitors. I think she was also in contact with the buyer too which really helped.”
With a more collaborative approach to real estate and Buyer-Ready homes, we’re putting more control into people’s hands. We accept that parts of the journey are out of our grasp and we can’t account for every hurdle. But, just like with Linda, we can help move as many out of the way as possible so that completion is met with much more certainty and in most cases, sooner. So, hopefully, needing to keep a hospital bag handy won’t be necessary from now on.