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Five questions to ask when you move into your first home

30th January 2020

You’ve done it! After the hard work of finding a property, sorting a mortgage, exchanging contracts and moving all your stuff, you’ve finally made it into your new dream home. Congratulations! Now you can settle into your new home at last. Except … there are just a few more things you need to know before you can fully relax and get on with living your best life. Until the decorating starts, anyway...    

1. Where are the utilities meters, fusebox, stopcock etc?

It sounds like a silly question but it’s not always immediately obvious where the utility meters, fusebox and stopcock are located, particularly in older properties, or blocks of flats. It’s a good idea to find out as soon as you move in so you can take readings, or in case of emergency.

Your estate agent should have all the information you need – if not, ask them to contact the vendor on your behalf to find out.

2. Where are the fire or carbon monoxide alarms located? And how do I know they work?

Once again, your estate agent should be able to let you know where any alarms are located and how to reset them. Carbon monoxide alarms are an essential – and also a legal requirement – for any home with gas appliances of any kind. It’s also a good idea to run a quick test on any alarms soon after you arrive in the property – but make sure you know how to reset them first, otherwise you could get off to a very noisy start with your new neighbours.

3. If there’s a gap between moving in and getting connected, will you still get gas, electricity and water in the meantime?

Yes. Your gas, electricity and water supply should still be switched on, but you will need to pay any outstanding charges you owe to the existing supplier for this interim period. You won’t need to pay any outstanding charges for the previous owners (this is why it’s always a good idea to take meter readings as soon as you’re in your new home).

If there are any pre-payment meters in your property requiring a key, card or token, and for whatever reason you don’t have one, you need to contact the existing supplier as soon as possible. They’ll direct you to a local Paypoint shop where you can pick up a replacement. You may also be able to make arrangements to change the prepayment meter for a regular meter.

4. What day is bin day?

Nobody wants to think about rubbish when you’re in your shiny, sparkling new home, but moving your entire life from one place to another almost inevitably involves a few breakages along the way – and what are you going to do with all those cardboard boxes and packing materials?

If you miss a bin collection day, it could be anything up to a month before it comes around again. First place to try is your local authority’s website, which will list details of collection days for all the different types of refuse. You could also call them. Or why not take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the neighbours and ask them?

5. How do I find out about any local parking restrictions?

This is another question for your local authority. Some councils issue special permits that must be displayed by local residents parking on streets. If you’re not able to get online to visit their website, give them a call. You could also try asking your neighbours but, even if they’ve lived in the area for some time, they might not be aware of the precise detail of local bylaws, and it’s safer to talk to your council direct.

You should also talk to your council about any special arrangements you might require, such as a designated disabled driver parking space in front of your house. 

Don’t get caught out with your house move. You could even start researching the answers for these questions – and many more – well before you actually move.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

This article is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal or financial advice from Leek United Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this article. We recommend that you seek independent legal and/or financial advice if you have any questions or queries.

Main references

https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/renting-a-home/rental-property-checklist-anc9x8p9hgrg

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/moving-house-checklist/       

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/mortgages/moving-home-checklist

https://www.money.co.uk/guides/12-things-to-do-before-you-move-house.htm

Image by Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com

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