Shed the load

Storage could help until you get the keys to the door.
Storage could help until you get the keys to the door.
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Storage and self-storage can help take the stress out of buying and selling homes. Sharon Dale reports

Moving house is one of the most stressful life events and much of the anxiety lies in the waiting and in wondering whether you will actually make it to the finishing line.

According to a recent Which? Report, almost a third of people have experienced a property purchase falling through. The reasons typically involved problems with “the chain” with one in five buyers pulling out because their own sale had fallen through. Over a third of deals collapsed because the buyer pulled out, while 13 per cent of transactions failed to complete because the seller decided the process was taking too long.

A scuppered sale can be devastating and it is almost always expensive. The average amount lost in such a situation is almost £3,000.

One way of minimising the stresses of buying and selling is to make yourself the end of the chain.

Mike McCarthy, who owns McCarthy’s Removals and Storage, which has self-storage centres in Leeds, Harrogate and Wakefield, says: “To avoid some of the potential problems is for people to sell their home and temporarily move in with family or into rented accommodation.

“Many choose furnished accommodation so they don’t have to move everything they own twice in quick succession. We often get people moving all their goods into storage in those circumstances so they can just keep what they need to hand while everything else is kept safely packed ready for when they complete on a purchase.

“We’ve been in business for over 40 years and we’re seeing this happen more and more, whatever the market conditions. If the property market is booming it helps buyers be in a position to make a quick offer. If it’s slow it means they are guaranteed a sale before they fall in love with a new home.”

Even if the chain goes to plan, there can often be circumstances where the dates can’t tie up.

Mike says: “Sometimes there can be a day or two gap in the dates everyone is working towards. We will frequently do a removals job and put everything straight into storage containers, which are loaded by forklift truck into our lorries, taken to our secure storage facilities and left sealed for the period of time needed. When the owners get the key to their new home we just load the containers back on to a removal van so for the homeowner it’s like everything has stayed safely on the van the whole time and the goods are only handled twice rather than four times.”

Newly-built properties can also create issues. Although there is no upwards chain, many new homes are bought off-plan and the completion date can be delayed.

If you are packing up your home and looking to store your belongings, here are some tips from the experts at McCarthy’s.

*Consider what you need your storage to provide. Are you happy for your belongings to be taken away and kept safely until you need them? Or would you like to have ready access to them? If you don’t need access, use a BAR approved removals firm who can keep your belongings safely in storage for as long as you need them and make sure the firm can be flexible if dates need to change. Ask them to seal the storage containers in your presence when they pack up your home and then there is no need for them to be reopened until you get the keys to your new place.

*If you require access to your belongings in between the moves then opt for a self-storage solution that suits your needs. Do you need 24-hour access? Do you want to be able to drive directly up to your unit? Ask lots of questions about security. Are there entry pin codes to gain access to the storage building and plenty of cameras? How does your unit lock? Can members of staff access your belongings?

*Size matters. There’s no point paying for more than you need or finding you have run out of space. Storage providers should be able to accurately predict what you need if briefed properly.

*Self-storage providers should be members of the SSA (Self Storage Association).

*If you’re using self-storage, make the most of the space you hire. Pack items up to the ceiling and put sofas and mattresses on end and remember to label things clearly.