Time to make your mark

Your sale has gone through successfully, you’ve paid for all your legal services and you’re now the proud owner of your new home.

This is the time to get any work sorted out that’s been identified by the survey, or start to add your own touches to your property. The level of work required will depend on its condition (remember the survey), your requirements and also your interior design tastes.

Many people want to start stripping wallpaper and tearing down walls as soon as they move in. But tempting though it is to mark your new territory as your own straightaway, this approach can create more work in the long run.

Like most things that will help make your move run smoothly, home improvements require a lot of planning to get things done quickly, economically and with minimum disruption.

Before move or after?

Some jobs are best carried out when there’s no one living there – like fitting a new bathroom suite or replacing the kitchen. That’s because they’re noisy, messy and disruptive. Fancy living in a house with no toilet or shower for days? Probably not. So if you can arrange for bigger work like this to be carried out before you move in, great.

Likewise with messy tasks such as plastering. If you can get the rooms you need to use as a base done before you move, you’ll have a sanctuary from the dust and disruption and a HQ for overseeing the rest of the renovations.

Finding the right tradespeople for the job

Unless you know reputable tradespeople to do the jobs you need professionals to handle, finding the right people to hire can be a giant leap into the unknown. Cowboys still roam freely in the building and home improvement trades and can be difficult to spot as they don’t all wear Stetson hats and ride horses.

It’s still a very good idea to do your homework to help you draw up a shortlist of vetted members of trade organisations and registered where necessary. Here are the some of the skills you’re most likely to need to call on when you’ve bought a new property, with useful links to help you find the right one fast:

Electrical

For those electrical jobs you’ll need doing around the property, whether it’s a new socket or a complete rewire, stay switched on for the sake of your safety: make sure you choose a registered electrician who not only works to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671), but will also give you a safety certificate to confirm that their work has been designed, inspected and tested in line with that standard. Get more tips on choosing a local plumber you can trust here or find out more at Electrical Safety First.

Plumbing

Plumbers are top of the list when it comes to searching for a trusty tradesman and it;s often difficult to know you’ll get a good value, competent job done, particularly if you’re new to an area. Find out more about just how to choose a good local plumber here.

Gas

Using an unregistered engineer for any work to your gas supply or gas central heating boiler isn’t just dangerous. It’s also illegal. Make sure yours is on the Gas Safe Register and you can be sure that they are competent, fully trained and won’t put you or your home at risk. Find your local gas professional here.

Decorators

If you’re looking for a decorator, Smoove Move is here to find you the perfect match across the UK. Get advice on how to choose the right person for the job and here.

Roofers

Whether you need a repair, a new roof, or are replacing an existing roof, you’ll want to use a competent local roofer to carry out the work and give you extra peace of mind. However, knowing what to ask can save you hassle in the long run so read our quick roofer tips on choosing a local roofer here.

Brickwork

Brickies work with the building blocks of the building trade and can turn their hand to anything from repairing your garden wall to building your new extension. Get on the level with them and finn a good local one here.

Get a trusted recommendation

Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find someone to do the job right. Though if you’re new to the area, you may not know enough people to ask. You could get to know your neighbours fast. Or you could check out one of the following ways to find a trusted local expert:

Trading Standards

The Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network (LAATSN) links schemes run by 18 local authority trading standards services. LAATSN requires businesses to comply with all trading standards legislation and civil law obligations. Your local authority trading standards service may also operate a Builders’ Register, with lists of tradespeople who have been vetted and are monitored by them to ensure high standards.

TrustMark

TrustMark is a not-for-profit government-backed scheme supported by trade bodies, local trading standards and consumer groups. It provides a massive database of accredited tradespeople in the UK with just over 18,000 licensed traders spanning 25 trades. Everyone on the database has been independently checked and the scheme also carries out on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and trading practices. What’s more, members’ technical skills, quality of work and financial status have all been checked and you can rely on the fact that insurance, health and safety and good customer service are part of their service.

Don’t forget to always build in:

  • Getting at least three quotes
  • A detailed, clear brief when requesting quotes
  • Detailed, written quotations with start and finish times and agreed payment terms.
  • Asking for references and speaking to previous customers…and seeing previous jobs if you can
  • Only paying for work that has been done and not by advance payments (unless it’s a fair amount for materials)
  • A written contract – it offers you protection if anything does go wrong.

Next step: Moving Day

Previous step: Getting Ready to Move