Read our blog post for our advice on moving home - everything you need to know.
Our tips and advice for moving home
Successful house moves don't just happen; they are the result of painstaking research and planning. We'll show you how.
The secret is to arrange as much as you can as early as you can, leaving as little as possible to the last minute.
While the legal aspects of your property transaction(s) are progressing, here are some things you should be getting on with.
You can choose to hire a van and do your removal yourself, employ a specialist company, or, as a halfway house, opt for a ‘man with a van'. Your choice will depend on such factors as your budget, the items (and amount) you have to move, and how far you are travelling.
Professional removers may seem expensive, but consider their experience and speed, and the time and trouble they will save you. For an extra charge, they can arrange to pack some or all of your belongings for you.
Should you decide to use professionals, get several estimates, but do not necessarily go for the lowest. Choose a company that belongs to a recognised trade organisation, such as the British Association of Removers. Ask for a fixed quotation, and check that it includes insurance and VAT. Once you know your likely completion date, make a provisional booking, and confirm it in writing as soon as possible.
If you choose either the DIY or ‘man with a van' approach, bear in mind that it will require hard physical work on your part and plenty of enthusiastic - and strong - helpers. Obtain estimates and, if possible, recommendations, and check the insurance situation carefully. If you yourself are planning to drive, ensure that your licence covers the relevant size of vehicle and load.
Have a clearout
It's never too soon to start decluttering. Go through your loft, cupboards, shed and garage, and decide what you are going to dispose of. Then, be resolute: sell things, give them away, or take them to the tip. Recycle anything you can.
If you are doing your own packing, the earlier you start, the easier it will be. Don't forget to pack only non-essentials (such as books and CDs) at this stage, leaving the essentials until nearer the removal.
Make a plan
Well in advance of the move, draw up a plan of your new home, showing where each piece of furniture is to go. This will be invaluable, both for planning purposes and on moving day.
Prepare your pets
Ideally, arrange for someone to look after your pets during the removal. If possible, have them collected the night before, so you don't have to worry about them on the big day.
If you have unusual pets, such as reptiles or fish, ask your vet or pet shop to advise on the best methods and conditions for transporting them.
Plan change of address notifications
The Change of address checklist at the end of this article details some of the individuals and organisations you may need to inform about your move. Start assembling contact details as early as possible, but don't send out notifications until you have a completion date.
Countdown to moving day
A month before
- Arrange redirection of your post (www.royalmail.com)
- Book electricity, gas and water meter readings at your present home
- Organise for utility and phone services to cease at your old address and begin at your new address
- Contact any tradesmen you will need on moving day - to disconnect your gas cooker, for instance
A week before
- Confirm details of when and where your buyers (or landlord) will collect the keys
- Phone your removal firm or van hire company to check that all arrangements are in order
- Contact your local council to arrange for any parking restrictions to be suspended during your move
- Pay local bills (for example, newspapers, milk), and arrange deliveries to your new address
- Remove items that are not included in the sale
- Clean the property thoroughly, as far as is practical at this stage. Some things will obviously have to be left until nearer the move.
- Put together a box of essentials, including washing-up liquid, soap, towels, cleaning agents, dusters/rags, dustpan and brush, bucket, scissors, string, sticky tape, lightbulbs, screwdriver, toilet paper, and a first aid kit
The day before
- Pack valuables and important documents securely. You will probably wish to transport these yourself.
- Defrost your fridge/freezer
- Assemble a box of refreshments. Include sandwiches and easy-to-eat energy-boosters, tea and coffee, longlife milk and soft drinks. Use disposable cups, so you don't have to wash up.
- Don't forget the kettle!
- Lay out comfortable clothing and shoes
- Pack everything necessary for your first night and morning in your new home, such as nightwear, washing requisites, a change of clothing, breakfast foods, and crockery/cutlery. A takeaway is probably the best option for your evening meal on moving day
Do any final cleaning, taking down of curtain rails, etc
On moving day
- See to the inevitable last-minute packing
- Check drawers, cupboards, garages, sheds, and so on, to ensure that nothing is left behind that shouldn't be
- Turn off the electricity, central heating, water, immersion heater, etc
- Make sure that the meters have been read. Keep a note of the readings, in case of query
- Ensure you have left operating instructions for the central heating, etc
- Lock doors and windows
- Leave the keys for collection by the purchaser (or landlord), as previously arranged
- Have to hand: the phone numbers of your removers, your solicitor and your new property your chequebook, credit card or cash, for paying the removal company and meeting any other expenses and your removal quotation, in case of any disagreement over the charge
- Once you have access to your new property, check that everything the previous owners agreed to leave has been left, and that nothing has been left that should not have been. Notify your solicitor of any discrepancies
- If anything is damaged during the move, make a note of it and ask the foreman to sign the note. As soon as possible, write to the removal company, detailing the damage and requesting an appropriate deduction from your bill
Once you've moved in, it's tempting to get everything unpacked and sorted out as quickly as possible. However, this urge is best resisted; by now, you're likely to be pretty shattered, and there'll be plenty of time later. With your first couple of meals arranged and your overnight bag at the ready, you should be able to relax a little before returning to the fray.
**Change of address checklist
Landlord (if you are renting)
Clubs and associations
Theatre, cinema and/or other mailing lists
Accountant, solicitor, financial adviser, etc
Professional bodies, trades unions, etc
Schools, colleges, etc
Credit card, charge card and store card providers
Loan/hire purchase companies
Local authority (for Council Tax)
Investment policy providers
Royal Mail (for redirection)
Telephone service provider (if not BT)
Internet service provider (ISP)
Mobile phone company
Cable or satellite provider
Vehicle breakdown service
With thanks to BuyAssociation.