If you’re determined that 2024 will be the year you finally move house, you could well be on to a good thing.

After all, there’s been more movement in the market than you may have realised, despite some gloom-laden mutterings in the media. It’s also a great time of year to be making this decision, since you can make moving a New Year’s resolution, and adopt the ‘new year, new home’ mantra. Equally, now that Christmas is done, you may find the quieter month of January the perfect time to prepare to up sticks.

However, so that moving doesn’t go the same way as countless other seasonal resolutions, you’ll need to be clear on what you want and start preparing. Here’s how you can get the ball rolling.

Decide what you want

If your home has been at the heart of your and your household’s lives for years or even decades, leaving it can feel a huge wrench. Indeed, this reluctance can be one of the biggest barriers of all to moving.

It will help if you’re clear on your reasons for moving. Ask yourself what your main motivation is, where you want to live, and what sort of property would best suit your needs. In short, what do you really want to get out of the process? Knowing what you want and setting some goals will help to focus your mind.

Work out your finances

Get your current property valued and find an estate agent with whom you feel comfortable. Look around for the best mortgage deals and be realistic rather than over-optimistic. Only when you have a clear idea of what you can afford can you start looking for your next home.

Get decluttering

Decluttering is always a worthwhile exercise. It can reduce stress and anxiety while improving sleep and boosting concentration and productivity.

But  if you’ve decided to move, clearing out your clutter is essential, especially if you’re downsizing. (What’s more, early January is a great time for it.) If you don’t love or use something, recycle or bin it. Or consider giving away items to family members before taking stuff to the charity shop.

Get help from a professional if you need to, or a friend or relative. It’s making a start, however modest, that’s key. Plus you can declutter in short, frequent bursts.

Get your admin in order

 It may motivate you to create a ‘house move’ folder. Collate all significant documents including those concerning your mortgage, plus anything to do with planning permission or building regulations. House or flat deeds, proof of service on things like boilers and any relevant purchase receipts are also important. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favour if you know where all key paperwork is.

Get your house in order

 Think about what needs doing inside and outside your current home and garden. Which of these things can you do yourself? Start making lists – and booking any tradespeople whose services you need; the best ones get booked up well ahead. Again, even if you don’t move immediately, getting these jobs sorted is no bad thing.

Do your schools research

Clearly, if you have a young family, schools or childcare facilities will be a priority. Ask around, go and visit some schools or attend an open day. You may well want to plan around this before identifying your dream home. You’ll probably need to think ahead and fit school term dates around your move, too.

Additionally, look at other infrastructure in the area you’re considering living in, including transport links, GPs shops etc. Will it have everything you need for a decent quality of life?

 Property predictions for 2024: Oakfield says

 No one has a crystal ball. So future house price shifts remain difficult to predict and forecasts vary considerably, with some confident they could fall by as little as 1%.

What is certain is that 2023 has had its challenges, with high inflation and rising interest rates. Nonetheless, demand from buyers has picked up, and the market fared better than initially expected. The crash that some feared hasn’t happened.

One online portal says the market is adjusting to more ‘normal’ levels of activity in the wake of the hectic aftermath of the pandemic. And a sector expert from the same website said: “The better-than-expected movement in the market this year shows that many buyers are getting on with satisfying their housing needs. The underlying level of demand at the right price makes it unlikely we’ll see a more significant drop in prices next year.

“Buyers coming to market in 2024 are in a strong position to negotiate on price and take more time to choose the home that’s right for them. Those who had to pause moving plans over the last year may decide that early 2024 is the right time to return.”

Three mortgage rate holds in a row from the Bank of England are also likely to give confidence, while many predict the base rate could start to drop in the second half of 2024, boosting sales further. Equally one of the UK’s biggest lenders, Halifax, predicts at least a ‘partial recovery’ in volumes of transactions.

Additionally, if you’re a landlord, the good news is that rents are set to rise further, potentially by up to 5%.

At Oakfield Estate Agents, having completed a brisk 2023, we’re looking forward to an equally busy 2024. Operating across Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill, we’re confident we can get you a swift turnover on your property or let, and will work closely with you to set an optimal yet realistic price from the outset.

Make 2024 the year you move – and have a chat with us about how we could help to make that happen. Finally, and most importantly, all of us here would like to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Check out our contact details here.