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Essential paperwork for moving house: Answering your FAQs

When you’re buying a house the list of paperwork can seem like it goes on forever. But each piece of documentation is equally important and required to make the process as smooth as possible.

Whether you want to understand what’s required for your mortgage application, what you should do when you sell, or simply who to tell when you move house here we answer your most important paperwork FAQs.

Buying a house

As a first-time buyer you’re bound to have a few paperwork specific questions.

What is a decision in principle?
A decision in principle will be provided by a mortgage lender and will give you an idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow, guiding you on the type of property you can afford.

It may also reassure the seller when you make an offer. It isn’t a guarantee of a mortgage however.

What documents do I need for the mortgage application?
When you apply for a mortgage you’ll be asked to provide the following:

  • Proof of identity (passport or driving licence)
  • House The last three months’ payslips
  • bank Bank statements for three to six months
  • Utility bills
  • Proof of benefits received
  • Statement of two to three years accounts if self-employed
  • Tax return form SA302 if self-employed or earning from more than one source

How truthful should I be when filling out my mortgage application?
Always be 100% truthful as any information you provide will be validated by the mortgage provider. For example, don’t round up your annual salary as this will be required to correspond to the payslips provided.

Why do mortgage providers check bank statements?
A mortgage lender will review your bank statements to understand:

  • Your monthly income and outgoings
  • If there are any bounced direct debits or standing orders
  • Whether you regularly use your overdraft
  • The magnitude of your debt and existing credit agreements
  • Any other financial commitments such as student loans or maintenance fees
  • The existence of any large regular credits that aren’t related to your job

Should I keep my mortgage offer once it’s received?
Keep all paperwork relating to the purchase of the property. You may need to refer to your mortgage offer in future and will require it if you decide to re-mortgage.

What happens when we exchange contracts?
When you exchange contracts with the seller, you both enter into a legal agreement over the sale. If you pull out after this stage, you may lose your deposit.

How long does it take to exchange contracts?
Due to the number of people usually involved in a chain, it usually takes between eight and ten weeks after you’ve had an offer accepted for contracts to be exchanged.  

 

What has to be in place for exchange of contracts to happen?
Make sure the following is in place before you exchange contracts.

  • An agreed offer
  • Mortgage valuation
  • Mortgage offer in writing
  • Funds for the deposit
  • Searches conducted by the solicitor
  • Buildings insurance
  • A date for completion

Selling your house

When you sell your house, the onus is on you to make sure the right paperwork is completed.

What forms do I need to fill out when selling my home?
There are two specific forms you have a responsibility to complete when selling your property – the TA6 and TA10 – which are explained below in more detail.

What is the difference between the TA6 and TA10 and should I have both?
Yes, you require both forms. The TA6 is in the form of specific questions relating to all aspects of the property, including:

  • Boundaries
  • Warranties & guarantees
  • Any disputes
  • Environmental issues
  • Insurance irregularities
  • Parking services
  • Proposals and notices

The TA10 details exactly what’s included in the sale on a room by room basis. If you agreed to include specific items such as a fridge, include them all.

Do I have to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An EPC from a government accredited energy assessor must be in place when you sell your property. These do last for 10 years, so if you’ve owned the property for less than that it’s likely you’ll have one in place already.

However, if you have made improvements to the property (i.e. upgraded the boiler or installed double glazing) then your EPC rating may have improved and it could be worth having a new one done.

Moving to a new house

When the time comes to move the paperwork doesn’t end.

Who to tell when I move to a new house?

When you move into a new property you must tell several different agencies about your address change. They include:

  • The DVLA to amend your driving licence and car ownership certificate – you can do this online on the GOV.UK website or at the post office
  • All banks you have accounts with
  • The TV Licensing Agency
  • Digital TV and broadband providers
  • All insurance providers
  • Existing utility companies
  • The Post Office (you should re-direct your post for a few months as you might have forgotten to tell certain people about your change of address)

Should I have insurance in place for my new home?
It will have been a condition of your mortgage offer to have buildings insurance in place from the date of exchange of contracts, but it’s also worthwhile thinking about contents insurance too.

Do I need to update my details on the electoral roll?
Yes, you do, to make sure you can vote in national and local elections after the move. You can do this by updating your details on Gov.uk – it only takes five minutes.

How do I change utility companies?

When you leave your previous property make sure you inform the utility providers, so they can close your account and settle the bill – always remember to take final meter readings when you move. At your new property, if it is not a new build, the previous owners will have done the same and informed their existing suppliers. If so, you’ll be placed on a standard tariff with these companies and may not get the best deal so it’s worth shopping around and switching energy providers as soon as possible.

The whole process can seem daunting and like you’re drowning in paperwork, but you’ll get there if you stay on top of it at each stage of the process.

This guide to saving for a mortgage was produced in collaboration with MHM, largest cultural strategy and research agency in the UK

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