As much as we’d like to say otherwise, buying and selling homes doesn’t always come without its stresses and strains. Even once the sale has been completed, you aren’t quite out of the woods just yet.
Moving day is often cited as one of life’s most stressful events. Moving from your old property to a new one should be a positive, life-enhancing, exciting occasion, but for many people it can turn out to be a bit of a headache.
Luckily, we have Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search on hand to offer some top tips for a (relatively) stress-free house move, helping to keep those anxiety and stress levels under control.
Friday is often seen as the ideal day to move, giving people the weekend to get properly settled in their new home. Sara Ransom, however, recommends a Tuesday, especially for those movers who have young children. “Take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work, giving you Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get ready; move on Tuesday; then Wednesday to straighten things up while the children are at school.”
This way, the weekend is then not far away for that final push, refining and putting those finishing touches to your house move. What’s more, it’s generally cheaper to move on a weekday, with removals firms likely to charge less on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Peak days, such as Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or busy times of the year, are likely to be much more expensive.
Calling in favours, to get rid of the children and pets during the house moving process, will also help to keep you focused and your stress levels to a minimum. “Spend several months pre-move having your children’s friends to stay, so you can call in all sleepover favours over your moving period. Farm out children, pets, or any other member of your family who won’t be a positive asset to the process,” Ransom advises.
She also wards against packing the contents of your home yourself. This is, she argues, something that the professionals can do on your behalf. “Look at the removal costs as part of the big picture and get the pros to do as much as possible,” she recommends.
Decluttering should already have taken place by this point. Before moving day, anything that is old, useless, in disrepair or broken, should be dispensed with. Those items that have been stashed away in the loft, spare room or garage should, depending on their condition, be binned, given to the charity shops or sold online via sites such as eBay.
As Sara Ransom puts it: “If you find you are moving a box that hasn’t been opened since your last move – now is the time to get rid of it!”
She adds: “Use your pre-move time productively by obsessively labelling boxes with their contents AND which room the box should go into on arrival in its new home. Use as much colour coding, labelling, post-it noting and organisational brilliance as you can muster.”
If you are downsizing from a larger home to a smaller one, it’s a sensible measure to factor in as much time as possible between exchange and completion to ensure you can get rid of those possessions that your new home will no longer have space for. Decluttering is, for obvious reasons, doubly important when you are a downsizer.
When it comes to removal companies, Ransom advises that not all firms are the same (and neither do they charge the same). Word-of-mouth and personal recommendation generally works best – if they’ve carried out a good job for someone you know well, it stands to reason they will do a good job for you too. The modern world, though, brings new ways of sourcing the best around. “Social media is extremely helpful for finding the best suppliers of this kind of service. Get quotes, and meet, three companies before you make a final choice,” Ransom says.
It is advisable, too, to find a removal firm that is local to your new home rather than your existing one. This covers both bases. You will be able to advise them about local access and parking space at your current home, while they will know the logistical situation at the home you are moving into. These are things that you may not give much thought to – easy access and ample parking spaces – but they are vitally important to ensure moving day goes as smoothly as possible.
“If you’re moving out of London, bear in mind that London removal companies charge like angry rhinos as soon as they see a postcode outside the M25,” Ransom continues. “And if you’re moving down the road, don’t be tempted to do it yourself – it’s no easier to move 300 metres than 300 miles, so grit your teeth and get over it!”
Make sure you know how accessible your home is. Of course, several smaller vans will be more flexible than one big one, but this is also likely to cost more. If you can’t fit a large removal van down your road or outside your new home, you will have to seek other alternatives. These are things that will need to be planned beforehand to ensure there are no issues or hiccups on the day.
We’ll leave the final word on how to stay calm on a house move to Sara Ransom. “Stay calm, and try to see the funny side if things don’t go according to plan. The chances are you will be gaining anecdotal entertainment on which you will be able to dine out.”