5 Tips to help you when searching for a new home after divorce or separation

Originally published on 30th August 2022 at 1:23 PM
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A new start often means a new home

Going through a separation presents a unique set of challenges that very few of us are prepared for.

Not only you are facing the re-organisation of your life (and your family’s), but you also must go through the legal and emotional process of the divorce (challenging for most) as well as thinking about your next home and where you will be living.

It’s an emotionally charged time for all involved and often leaves you feeling lost, alone, and asking ‘where do I start?’.

Separating from your partner and leaving the family home can produce a wide range of emotions. It will be heartbreaking for some but can provide a sense of relief for others.

In any case, choosing your new nest, a place where you feel at home and comfortable, is essential to turn the page and rebuild your life.

However, searching for properties is very time and energy-consuming. It is also important to remember that estate agents work for and represent the interests of their ‘client’ (the seller), not yours.

Their role is to make sure that their client sells well, leaving you the buyer, very exposed. So, make sure to get proper advice surrounding your property purchase. As buying advisors and property search experts, we’ve pulled together our tips to successfully secure your next home.

1. Decide what you need

The very first step of the process is to work out a detailed list of ‘requirements’ for your new home and be clear on the type of property you are looking for.

This brief will be the foundation of your house search, so it’s important to spend some time on it and have it as detailed as possible.

It should factor in/ include:

  • The location you want to live in
  • Children's education (location of schools etc.)
  • Your work (location and commute)
  • Proximity to other family members
  • Specifications of your new home (size, layout, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, outdoor space, interior design, etc.)

A separation is a great opportunity to reconsider your lifestyle and how you want to live in the future. It can also be a chance for positivity and creativity after an emotionally draining period you’ve had to navigate.

Once you’ve created your brief, you will be ready for your house search.

2. The search for a new home

At this stage, you can use property tools such as Rightmove or Zoopla. However, remember that those portals are very limited and only a small percentage of properties are advertised there.

The most efficient way to identify the best properties matching your criteria is to engage with all (or at least a majority) of the estate agents operating within your search area.

Try to identify the top 20 agents (as a minimum) and send them your brief. If you only engage with three or four agents, you will limit your market access and might miss out on that dream house. It is a very time-consuming exercise but worth the effort. It is your new home after all .

3. Conducting viewings

The agents should send you the options they have.

From those, create a shortlist of your top ten properties and organise viewings. It’s usually recommended that you take someone you trust and who knows about property, so you can properly ‘appraise’ the property and spot any potential issues.

4. Making an offer

Once you have chosen your favourite property, you will need to make the first offer.

Always remember that the estate agents represent their client’s interests (not yours), and their prime objective is to sell the property at the highest possible price.

Don’t be scared of negotiating: every £ saved from the asking price will be one more £ to rebuild your life. Efficient negotiation requires market knowledge, so try to get advice on the property value from someone you trust before starting the negotiation.

From a budget perspective, you will also have to pay SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) on top of the buying price. This will vary according to the property value but assume it will be around 10% of the buying price.

5. Having the right team in place

Finding the right home at the right price is only one aspect of the process.

You’ll probably also need:

  • A conveyancing lawyer
  • A surveyor
  • Removals company
  • An interior designer
  • Contractors

Planning and preparation will be essential throughout the process. Your legal team can help with recommendations. Having the right professionals by your side will give you peace of mind that all aspects are being looked after, letting you focus on the exciting task of planning your post-divorce life.

If the idea of going through that process is daunting, Galleon Property Search are here to help. With years of experience as property buying agents and advisors supporting many clients who were either approaching a separation, or reaching settlement on their divorce, we understand how emotionally draining the process can be.

Finding your new home is only one aspect of it, but that aspect doesn’t need to be a source of additional stress and anxiety. We’re here to help you achieve this, support you and make this new home journey as enjoyable as possible, while saving you time and stress. If you need advice or simply want to have a chat about your plans, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team.

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