Step one: Get ready to move home

As a homeowner already, we don’t need to tell you how much is involved in moving house, but we can help you make the move go as smoothly as possible.

If it’s been a while since you last moved some things may have changed or there may be some things you haven’t considered, so grab a cuppa and take a look at our guide to moving home.

Get your finances in order

If you are unsure how much you can borrow our mortgage calculator can help. Fill in the details to get an idea of how much can borrow and what your monthly repayments will be. Our calculator isn’t a guarantee of whether we’ll lend and if so, how much, but it’s a good starting point for your property search.

If you are selling your current home, get it valued so you have an idea of how much it is worth and if there is any equity that can be used towards your move.

Your credit report gives you and mortgage providers an overview of your finances and helps them decide if you’re likely to repay the money you borrow. Before you apply for a mortgage or a mortgage transfer it’s important that you check your score and if necessary, correct any errors. We have a handy guide to credit scores that has more details.

Before you apply for your next mortgage or for a mortgage transfer it's important that you check you are on the electoral roll. Mortgage providers use this to check your identity, so it can help make your application go a little more smoothly. Being on the electoral roll may also improve your credit score - so it’s good to tick that one off as early as possible.

Your local electoral registration office can tell you if you’re on the list if you're not sure.

Your next step is getting a decision in principle (DIP). This will let you know how much we are likely to lend you. We’ll do a ‘soft’ credit check on you and ask you about your finances to see if you’re eligible.

A decision in principle isn’t a guarantee of a mortgage but it does give you a good idea of the amount you can borrow and the budget you have for your next home. It also shows estate agents and sellers you’re serious about your search. You would still need to make a full mortgage application and the amount agreed in your decision in principle could change.

Want to apply for a decision in principle? Speak to our team on 0345 111 8010* to get one, don’t worry you’re not committing to anything, it will just help you plan your search better. We can save your details for when you are ready to move on to the next step.

On the market

If you’ve made the decision to move and are selling your current home, we’ve got some helpful hints to make everything from valuations to viewings go swimmingly.

Once you are ready to sell, it’s time to give yourself the best chance of getting the right price and the right buyer by thinking about all your options.

When it comes to pricing your property it’s important that it goes on the market and attracts the kind of buyer you are looking for. Price it too low and you risk not getting the amount you need, but price it too high and you may not get many viewings.

It’s good practice to get several local estate agents to value your property to get an idea of what it could sell for. You can also check what other properties in your area are selling for, which might be a good indicator of what your place will go for.

Your next step is picking the right agent. Think about their valuation, if they have good knowledge of the local area, what they charge for a sale and what service you get. Your choice shouldn’t necessarily be driven entirely by the price.

You should also consider who would do the best job selling your house and which agents sold properties in your area recently.

Your estate agent is likely to want to see some of the paperwork for your house, so they can pass reassuring information onto potential buyers.

Providing things like gas and electrical certificates and building regulations certificates will reassure buyers the property is safe. It can be useful to supply bills, such as water, energy and council tax so estate agents can provide potential buyers with an estimate of running costs.

Also, think about what you want to include in the sale. Are the curtains staying? Will you leave the oven? And what light fittings are included? This lets potential buyers know what they’re getting.

Selling in Scotland? Before you can sell your property, you also have to obtain a Home Report, which your estate agent will be able to arrange for you.

Help your home stand out

It goes without saying that when selling your home, you want it to attract admirers. When it comes to viewings, there are a lot of things you can do to help potential buyers fall in love with the place.

Try to look at your home as if it’s the first time you’re seeing it. You may have to be prepared to put in a bit of work to bring a few things up to scratch to ensure your home has the X factor.

  • Does the property look smart?
  • Does the garden or path need tidying up?
  • Are the gutters intact?
  • Could the windows do with a clean?
  • Does the front door need a lick of paint?
  • Declutter. Get rid of anything you don't want so people can see the space.
  • Keep it clean. A dirty house could put off potential buyers.
  • Fix it. If it's broken, get rid or fix it so people don't just see work to do.
  • Go neutral. Give it a fresh lick of paint in neutral colours to appeal to more people.
  • Make it comfy. If it's cold, put the heating on or better still get the fire going. If it's warm, open the windows or back door and show off your garden.
  • Go easy on the nose. Smells can put people off straight away. Get rid of things that may not appeal to everyone like pet and smoke smells – maybe even brew some coffee or bake some bread to give it a real homely scent.
  • Add the finishing touches. Mirrors can make it feel more spacious. And flowers, candles and cushions can really brighten the place up.

Getting offers on your home

If the price is right and potential buyers can see themselves living in your home, you will start to receive offers. Knowing which one to go for can be tricky, but here are some things to consider.

If you receive an offer, it may take a bit of negotiating to get the amount you are willing to accept. Your estate agent will assist you with this.

It’s important to find out as much as you can about the buyers’ situation to help you consider the pros and cons of selling to them. You want to be sure that your buyer isn’t going to slow the sale of your house down. Think about things such as:

  • Have they sold their property?
  • Are they in a chain?
  • Can they move when you want to move?
  • Are they a cash buyer?
  • Have they got their finances in order?

Once you're happy with the offer and you want to go ahead, your estate agent will let the buyers know you've accepted. Then it's up to you to get your solicitor or conveyancer to take care of the legal ins and outs of the sale.

Let the house hunt begin

Figure out what you want before you start looking for your next home. Where you want to live and where you can afford to live may be two very different things, so do your research and find out what your budget gets you in different areas. Also, think about what’s important, do you need to be near good schools or transport links?

Understanding what you want can help you narrow your search and save you looking around houses that aren’t suitable. Create a list of must-haves, for example:

  • What do you want? A flat, a house or a bungalow? Semi-detached or detached? New build or older property? Garden?
  • What size property do you want? Can you afford the size you want?
  • Where do you want to live? Near family and friends? Close to work? Vibrant local area or somewhere more peaceful?

Keep an eye on all the online property sites to help you find your next home, you can even set up alerts to receive details of properties that meet your criteria.

Use your local estate agents too, they can also send you property updates if you ask them and can also give you useful information about local areas and house prices.

  • Meet with them to chat about what you want and your position.
  • Keep in touch with them about what they’ve got on their books and maybe get a heads up on what's coming on soon.
  • Be realistic with them when discussing your budget, so they can help you get the right place for you.

When you’ve found somewhere you want to view, consider the following:

  • Take a friend or family member with you - they might spot something you miss.
  • Don’t be worried about asking questions - have a look at our What to ask form (PDF, 100KB).
  • Take your time, it’s a big decision and one that shouldn’t be rushed.
  • Explore the area and imagine yourself living there.

Step two: Apply for a new mortgage

Found your next home? Now it’s time to see if you can get the mortgage you need or if you can move your mortgage to your new home. We've put together some information to help you get ready for applying for a mortgage with Sainsbury’s Bank.

We’ll ask you questions about finances to make sure you can afford the mortgage and we are lending responsibly. Getting everything we need ready can help speed things up.

We need to know:

  • Details of your deposit.
  • Your address for the last three years.
  • Details about your job.
  • Your yearly income including any bonuses and overtime.
  • What you spend every month (like any loan and credit card payments).
  • What your household spends every month (on things like food, energy, water and travel).
  • Details of the property you want to buy.

When you apply, we'll ask to see things like:

  • Your payslips to evidence any income you receive
  • If you are looking to include any bonuses, commission or overtime, we’ll also need to see a recent P60
  • Bank statements for your current account so that we can assess your affordability
  • Proof of your name and address – like your passport, driving licence or utility bills
  • Proof that any deposit which was a gift does not need to be paid back. This could be a letter from the person who gave it to you confirming this.

During your mortgage application, we’ll let you know exactly what we need in order to complete this. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when running through your application so it’s helpful to have this information to hand. Check out our Income and ID guide for more information on what we might ask for.

As well as the relevant things from the list above, you’ll also need to show us at least one of the following:

  • Certified accounts signed off by a suitably qualified accountant
  • Self-Assessment Tax Calculation Forms (SA302) accompanied by Tax Year Overviews
  • Accountant’s certificates signed off by a suitable qualified accountant

Accountants signing and verifying your financial statements or accountant's certificates must be a member of a suitable professional body i.e.:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants, CA, ACA or FCA
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, ICAS, ACAS, FCAS
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, ICAI
  • Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, ACCA or FCCA
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation, ATII or FTII
  • Association of Authorised Public Accounts, AAPA or FAPA
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, CIMA, ACMA or FCMA
  • Association of Accounting Technicians, MAAT or FMAAT
  • Association of International Accountants, AAIA or FAIA

During your mortgage application, we’ll let you know exactly what we need in order to complete this. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when running through your application so it’s helpful to have this information to hand. Check out our Income and ID guide for more information on what we might ask for.

As we all know, there are times when things don’t always go quite to plan, so it’s good to be prepared. And we’re on hand to help when you need us.

Here are a few things that could put a spanner in the works when you’re applying for a mortgage when moving home.

When you apply to transfer your mortgage or for a new mortgage we’ll do a credit check. Before you start your application, try to correct any errors on your credit report and see if there's anything else on there that could trip you up. Just one late payment could make all the difference – even if it was years ago.

Check out our handy guide to credit scores.

It's really important to get an accurate valuation of the property you want to buy. If you don't and the value is different when we value it, the size of the mortgage you can get and how much you pay every month could be affected.

Other surveys on the property might flag up damage you hadn't seen before which needs to be dealt with.

If this happens, you might need to renegotiate the price, so you can get the mortgage you need or afford to get any work done – if you still want to buy the property.

The buying process from start to finish in England, Northern Ireland and Wales

So, you’ve worked out what you can borrow, have a decision in principle and now you’ve found your dream home, what’s next?

Speak to your estate agent if you want to make an offer – they'll let you know how their process works.

It can be hard to pitch your offer at the right level. The asking price is a guide but that doesn't mean you can't get it for less

Here are a few things to help:

  • Squeeze your estate agent for information, like what price the seller is looking for and how much interest has been shown in the property. Remember they get a commission from the sale.
  • Look at similar properties in the area and what they've gone for recently.
  • Consider the seller's situation. Do they want to move quickly, or are they in a chain?

The most important thing is to decide what you can afford and how much you'd be happy to pay for the property. Your first offer might not be your best, but make sure you know what your ceiling is and stick to it.

Tip: Sell yourself. Make sure the seller knows:

  • You’re chain free
  • How flexible you can be on moving dates
  • Your finances are sorted
  • If you've found a buyer for your home

Once your offer has been accepted, you can choose your solicitor or conveyancer from our panel. They will handle the legal side for you. But before you go ahead, it’s worth comparing rates to make sure you know what you’re paying and when.

Your solicitor will start the searches on the property (gathering a wide variety of information) to make sure there are no problems. If you have any questions about the property, they can get answers for you.

Your solicitor will also find out what's included in the sale with a fixtures and fittings form, which is included in the contract you sign later.

Speak to one of our qualified mortgage advisers on 0345 111 8010*. When you get an appointment with one of our advisers, it can take up to two hours to go through everything. You'll also need to have all your documents (PDF, 172KB) ready.

They'll give you advice and run through your options over the phone and help you decide which is the right mortgage for you. Then they'll take you through the application if still want to go ahead.

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a mortgage offer. Your solicitor will check this offer and once they have confirmed that everything is in order, we'll get the money ready for you to complete the purchased. We'll then send your welcome letter when everything is done and dusted.

Other mortgage companies will have a similar process, but double check so you know exactly what you need to do.

We’ll value the property to confirm what it's worth and make sure there are no major defects that affect the price. This helps us decide what to lend you.

It’s also worth getting a detailed survey done on the property too. If the surveyor spots any problems, get a specialist to quote for the work. The seller may accept a lower amount to allow for any work that you need to do on the property.

When your solicitor or conveyancer has everything they need and everyone in your chain is ready, you can exchange contracts.

You'll then pay your deposit to your conveyancer or solicitor and they will handle it getting transferred.

You may need to take out buildings insurance in case anything happens to the property before you move in. Your solicitor or conveyancer will let you know.

The next step is to sign the contracts and set a date to complete on your sale and your purchase. Once all the contracts are signed, you've legally agreed to buy the property you want and sell yours. Make sure you're 100% happy to go ahead before you sign, as there’s no turning back from here.

When you've exchanged contracts, your solicitor or conveyancer will ask you to sign the mortgage deeds. That's so they can transfer property to you.

They'll arrange for the money from Sainsbury's Bank to be ready on the day you complete. They'll also ask you for the rest of the balance if you're paying any more in cash and the money to pay the Stamp Duty.

On the day of completion, once all the money has changed hands, they'll let you know when you're the proud owner of your new home and you can collect the keys.

Finally, once you’ve got the keys to your new house, you can start moving in and make it really feel like your own home.

The buying process from start to finish in Scotland

Buying in Scotland? Once you’ve worked out how much you can borrow, have a decision in principle and the home you want to move to, here’s what happens.

We have a panel of solicitors for you to choose from. It's a good idea to compare rates and make sure you know what you're paying and when, before going ahead.

Once you've chosen who to go with, they'll handle the legal side of things for you. From putting in your offer and doing searches on the property; to checking the contracts and transferring the money.

When you've found a property you like, your solicitor will either put in an offer or put in a note of interest with the seller's agent.

A note of interest makes sure you are kept in the loop about any changes and when the closing date is for making an offer.

Check the Home Report for the property you want to buy carefully. You'll also need to get a Home Report done for the property you're selling.

Later on, you might also want to think about getting your own independent survey done on the property you want to buy. The surveyors for Home Reports have a duty of care (responsibility) to both the buyer and the seller. It's entirely up to you if you want to rely on their findings or also get an independent valuation done as well.

You may have to pay for an independent valuation arranged by Sainsbury’s Bank. So, you may want to wait to see if you get the property before you commit to one. You can always make your offer subject to survey.

If you want to make an offer, the most important thing is to decide what you can afford and what you'd be happy paying for the property. But you also need to think about:

  • How much similar properties are going for in the area
  • How many people are making offers on the property
  • Anything else you want to include in the sale, like fixtures and fittings

You may want to make your offer subject to the results of the survey if you're going to arrange your own survey on the property. You solicitor should be able to advise you on this though.

Your solicitor will submit your offer in a formal letter. If there are lots of other bids, the seller's solicitor will look at them all on the closing date and ring your solicitor to let you know if you've got it.

Tip: Sell yourself. Make sure the seller knows:

  • How flexible you can be on moving dates.
  • That your finances are sorted.
  • If you've found a buyer for your home.

If your offer is accepted, the seller's solicitor will send all the relevant paperwork to yours.

This includes the title deeds and property searches. The seller's solicitor will also send either a written acceptance or more likely a written qualified acceptance, which means the property is yours if everyone can agree on the details of the sale.

The two solicitors will also arrange a date to complete the sale or the date of entry. If you want to do your own survey, it's a good idea to do it now. Then make sure you're happy with the findings.

Speak to one of our qualified mortgage advisers on 0345 111 8010* and let them know you want to proceed.

The appointment can take up to two hours to go through everything, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Make sure you have all your documents (PDF, 172KB) to hand.

They'll give you advice and run through all your mortgage options over the phone and help pick the right one for you. Then they'll take you through the application if you're ready.

We’ll then arrange a valuation of the property you want to buy. If we’re happy to lend you the money based on the valuation, you’ll receive a mortgage offer from us.

Your solicitor will check the mortgage offer and once they have confirmed that everything's in order, we'll get the money ready for the date of entry. We'll then send your welcome letter when everything is done and dusted.

Other mortgage companies will have a similar process, but double check so you know exactly what you need to do.

Once you're happy with the details of the contract, your solicitor will send a letter concluding the deal. This is called the conclusion of missives.

After that, there's no turning back. You are legally committed to buying the property and selling yours. You may have to pay a holding deposit to secure the property but that's quite rare.

You also need to get buildings insurance for your new property, and go through the conditions of the title deeds. These detail conditions such as putting the bins out correctly or how you can use or change the property.

Your solicitor will ask the mortgage company for the money so it’s ready for the day of entry. If you're paying any more in cash, you need to give it to your solicitor now so they can pay it for you. You'll also need to give them the money for the Land and Buildings transaction tax.

On the day, once all the money has changed hands, your solicitor will let you know when you're the proud owner of your new home.

Then it’s the fun part, getting settled in to your new place and making it your home.

Step three: Preparing for moving day

When you've got your completion date in the diary, you can start to plan for a stress-free moving day.

Before you move

There are a few things you can do to make the big day go as smooth as possible.

You'd be surprised at the number of people and companies you need to tell. Tick them off as you go with our handy moving checklist (PDF, 100KB).

There's usually a pile at the back of the cupboard for the charity shop. Maybe even enough for a car boot sale. If there is, it's best to get rid of it all before you move. You won't have to move it to the new pad and you might make a few pounds in the process.

If you're going to buy any new furniture, you might want to consider ordering now and arranging for it to arrive at the new address just after you've moved in. Remember to check measurements.

You might be able to rope in your family and friends to help you move. But if you've got a lot of big furniture, it might be worth paying for help with the move – this could be someone with a van who will help you transport your stuff or professional movers. Here are some things to think about when looking for the right movers:

  • Get a few quotes to compare so you can go for the best price.
  • Lots of people move at the weekend. So if you can move during the week instead, you could save money.
  • Make sure your movers include insurance for your belongings in transit – or see if you can get your own.
  • Give the movers a plan of where you want the boxes and furniture to go when they get to your new home. It'll save you shifting the bed yourself when it's time for your first night in the new place.
  • Collect any spare keys from family, friends or neighbours and give them to your estate agents.
  • Start packing the non-essentials early such as books, DVDs and the travel souvenirs – the type of items you can live without for a few weeks.
  • Don't over-pack your boxes. Someone's got to lift them and you don’t want any box-splitting accidents.
  • Label your boxes so you know which room they go in when you get to your new place.
  • Arrange a babysitter if you've got kids. Or see if they can go to their friends' or grandparents' for the move – it'll be easier on everyone.

On the day

Put the things you're likely to need first – kettle, mugs and tea, even a takeout menu – in a separate bag or box so you can get to them easily.

Jot down the readings just before you leave your old place and when you get to your new home. Then your energy company can give you accurate bills from the start.

Start as you mean to go on. For a dust-free start in your new home, clean it from top to bottom before you move your things in.

More useful information for your house move

From a property viewing checklist to a handy budget planner, we’ve put loads of useful tips, facts and information together to help you make the process as easy as possible.

View all of our mortgage guides >

The mortgage is secured on your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Lending subject to status.

For further questions

  • Call 0345 111 8010**
  • Helpful phone numbers
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