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A complete guide to moving house

  • 20, Oct 2020
  • Read time: 15 mins

So, you’re about to move house and you’ve got so many things to think about, you don’t know where to begin. We’ve all been there, and that’s why we've created this comprehensive list of things to remember before the big day.

The trick is to plan well ahead in order to make the whole moving house process as stress-free as possible. A good place to start is with a checklist.

Young couple moving into home.

Last minute questions to ask sellers

In your rush to make a list of things to do when moving home, don’t forget that this may also be your last chance to ask questions of the property’s sellers or previous inhabitants.

Make a list of the information you’ll need and remember to leave the same instructions for whoever is moving into your old place.

Here are some questions you may need to ask the seller before you move home:

  • Where is the water stopcock?
  • When are the bins collected?
  • Which companies supplied the utilities?
  • How old are the appliances and heating systems?
  • Is there anything they’d like to leave?
  • How old is the roof?
  • Have they made any insurance claims to repair any damage caused to the structure of the property?
  • Are there any warranties, receipts or instruction manuals that need to be left behind?
  • Where are the utility meters situated?
  • Where is the thermostat located?
  • Is there a neighbourhood watch?

Start creating a budget

Knowledge is power, as they say. Nothing gives a person more confidence as being aware of their finances. So, creating a budget is highly recommended when preparing to move home.

Download a simple income/expenditure form form from the web to understand how your finances will be in the month you intend to move.

For example, this will help you plan a move on or around your payday rather than towards the end of your pay period when money is tight.

Also, you may want to hire a cleaning company, for example. Having worked through your budget you will know how much you’re able to afford, or whether some jobs are best done yourself.

By cutting back on a few luxuries now, you may find you can make room for services that you’ll need when moving. A good budget plan will make this crystal clear.

The type of things you need to consider adding to your budget are:

  • Conveyance fees
  • Estate agent fees
  • Stamp duty tax
  • Valuation fee
  • Surveyor's fee
  • Removal costs

These funds can add up to a considerable amount. You could set up a separate bank account solely to hold the funds for your removal day.

That way you can compare the balance with your budget sheet. Plus, any sales or extra money you make beforehand can be added to the pot to increase your budget.

Agree your moving date

Once you’ve exchanged contracts you can agree a moving date (completion date) with the seller.

Some solicitors agree to exchange contracts and move on the same day but this could be risky if you run into any legal issues; you and your removals van turn up to find you can’t get into your new home.

Allowing a few weeks grace between exchange and completion might be less stress-inducing.

Your moving in date will then allow you create a moving house roadmap and detail all the tasks that need to be achieved within the time frame.

Booking a removal company

If you’re going from one furnished property to another, you may want to enlist the help of a removal company.

Websites like reallymoving.com let you compare quotes from companies online. For added reassurance, check that they belong to a reputable organisation like the British Association of Removers.

As well as carrying out most of the heavy lifting, the removal company may offer its own insurance. However, check that your own contents insurance provider covers you in the event of loss or breakages.

Upcycle and recycle 

Only move what you actually need to. Look through what you own beforehand and recycle anything you no longer use as a first step on your moving house checklist.

You may not need those items but someone else may treasure them, so make sure you’re aware of local up-cycling schemes.

Label your boxes!

Label all boxes with which room they are heading to and a description of what’s inside. Any screws and bolts for furniture, place in a taped-up freezer bag and attach it to the item.

Ideally, you want to get your furniture into the new house first, otherwise you’ll be moving boxes around to rearrange it. Take spare cardboard with you and lay it down on the floor to protect it, as heavy items are moved in and out.

Create an inventory

Go from room to room listing all the items in every nook and cranny, including lampshades and curtains, crockery and power tools, and note whether you wish to take certain items with you, or you wish to recycle or sell others.

If you’re using a removal company, you really won’t want to be paying for stuff you don’t want to be moved into your new house. An inventory will show you what’s for keeps and what’s for a garage sale.

Do this right and you could make a pretty penny to add to your moving day fund.

Arrange transport for yourself

Your need for transport will depend on the distance you will have to travel to your new home. Doubtless you would prefer to pack your transport with the most valuable small items from your home, including any pets.

Try to aim to travel in relative comfort, particularly if you’re travelling long distances with loved ones. You don’t want to be squashed up against cardboard boxes as you drive miles across the country.

Little details like these will help to make moving day a relaxing and joyous time.

Decluttering your belongings

The process of decluttering is essential and should begin the moment you agree to move home, and preferably months before you move.

Give yourself plenty of time to declutter too. Many people are averse to getting rid of stuff. It’s a personal journey that needs time and space to be fully effective.

Garage sales of unwanted items and placing ads in local papers and websites could bring in some extra cash to your budget. Every little bit will count towards a better moving experience.

This process takes time and not all your items will sell, so combine your decluttering phase with your recycling strategy.

Pack as early as possible

Unless this move has come about suddenly, or you don’t have a great deal of things to move, think about beginning packing three months in advance of your move.

This means you can take your time, and start to identify and prioritise your possessions. Begin with the items you need least on a daily basis. As the removal day approaches, start to pack the items that are more essential day-to-day.

The earlier you start packing the sooner you will appreciate what you’re taking and what you’re leaving behind.

Start packing the least used rooms

It’s always good to begin packing rooms that are not in constant use. This means they can be done relatively quickly. Plus, once packed, this room can then be used as a storeroom for other items you’ve packed.

Arrange your utilities ahead of time

It wasn’t so long ago that we wouldn’t consider an internet connection as essential to our list of to-dos. Today, it’s critical. Ask yourself when the last time was that you used the landline to find a plumber or an electrician? Or when the last time your thirteen-year-old read an actual book.

Exactly. We live in a digital world. So many of our daily lives are governed by the internet so try to get your broadband set up as soon as possible.

Use quality packing materials

Ahead of your move you’ll need to ensure you have packing materials at hand. There’s endless packing to take care of, and then the effort to transport everything safely. Once in your new home you’ve got to unpack it all again. Having the right materials at hand will make this process so much easier to organise.

Use biodegradable materials for easy recycling.

    • Boxes – you can buy these or pick them up from your local shops well ahead of your move
    • Bubble wrap, or better still, use biodegradable loose-fill packing chips
    • Labels. Lots and lots of labels
    • Biodegradable packing paper to wrap crockery and ornaments
    • Old newspapers come in handy. Particularly those Sunday papers you usually recycle.

Pack a survival box

You arrive at your new home to find an essential service such as heating or cooking facilities are not turned on. You’ve no heat, no lights and no food. How would you cope?

So, just in case the day doesn’t go to plan, pack a few essential in a sturdy bag that you can get access to at any time.

These include:

  • Medicines
  • Spare clothes and warm layers
  • Toiletries
  • Phone/electronic chargers
  • Candles and torches
  • A hamper of great food to eat should services not be connected
  • A blanket
  • Anything else you think might come in handy.

Thinking and planning ahead will help to ensure that you’re the calm head in the middle of a crisis.

    Take photos

    Smartphones are really useful gadgets. One way they excel is recording items, such as where everything belongs in your new home.

    A well taken digital photograph will serve as a reminder of how to set up things the way you had them in your old home.

    Take the photos well before moving day for ease of reference during the move and unpacking phase.

    Good photos will show how TV or PC cables were set up, or how items were usually kept on a mantelpiece. If you do this room by room you will have a complete record stored for moving and set-up day.

    Take a moment to visit your new neighbourhood

    Take time to research your new neighbourhood. Where’s the nearest supermarket, GP surgery or DIY centre? What restaurants and takeaways are available locally?

    Do a Google Map search of the local area, spotting corner shops and chemists, and other essential services that you’ll need the first few days of your move. And children will need to know where the park is.

    Pay all bills

    Some service providers may adjust how much they charge you in relation to your new abode. Your council tax, for example, may rise or fall depending on the size of the property and where it is.

    And remember, you’ll need a TV licence if you watch or stream live TV, but you can update your address details online. It’s like your TV licence moving home with you.

    If you’re moving in with somebody who already has a licence, use the same website to cancel yours and get a refund: you only need one per household.

    Move in 

    When the door finally closes on you and your new home, celebrate your achievements. This has taken months to achieve and you have done brilliantly. Treat yourself. You deserve it!

    Relax and enjoy your new home. For more insight on the everyday things surrounding your new home browse our home guides. They’re really very useful – especially when you’ve just moved home!

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