Moving house checklist – for a stress free home change over

Take a look at this 10-point guide for a smooth and stress-free house-moving experience
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  • The stress around moving home is often the worst part of the house buying process. From decluttering and packing, to notifying the various different companies of your new address, the moving house checklist can seem endless and often causes unnecessary anxiety and worry.

    ‘Don’t put too much pressure on yourself by setting unrealistic expectations, such as packing up and cleaning the whole of the upstairs in one day,’ says Brian Murphy, Head of Lending Head at Mortgage Advice Bureau. ‘From buying a house to moving in, break things down into manageable tasks.’

    Follow our moving house checklist

    Although moving house is a lengthy process, we’ve split the job into 10 achievable steps full of top tips to help make the transition smoother.

    Future PLC / Heather Hobhouse

     1. Confirm the date of your move

    You’re ready to exchange, which means a completion date/ move-in date will need to be agreed between the buyer and seller, as well as any other buyers in the chain.

    Kate Windleton Relocations Manager at Strong Move advises choosing a date that best suits you. ‘Check in advance that you can take leave from work,’ she says. ‘Fridays tend to be popular because you then have the extra time at the weekend to unpack at your new place. Be mentally prepared for a change in plans, as not everything will always pan out the way you imagine.’

    2. Start decluttering and clearing out

    There’s no point in bringing things you no longer want or need with you into your new home. Not only will unwanted items end up gathering dust in your new property, but you’ll be paying to move them unnecessarily.

    ‘Set some time aside to look through all of your things and think about what you don’t really use or need,’ says Thomas Goodman, Property Expert at MyJobQuote. ‘Anything that you don’t want, you can sell to make some extra cash. Alternatively, you can give these away to people you know, recycle them, or donate them to charity.’

     3. Get quotes and book a removal firm

    It’s advisable to get quotes from at least three different removal companies to ensure you’re paying a fair price. Each firm will visit your home to assess your belongings and make a note of the big-ticket items which may require more attention when moving.

    ‘A good moving company will provide a quote with explanations, and will advise on how you can lower the costs,’ says Thomas. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, read on-line reviews and make sure the company is insured, too. Once a decision has been made, book them in at least three-to-four weeks before your move-in date.

    removal van with boxes for moving house

    Image credit:Getty Images/ Robert Daly

    4. Contact your utility suppliers

    It varies between different suppliers, but most allow you to notify them up to 28 days in advance that you’re moving home either by telephone or online. You’ll need to provide them with your new address and moving date so they know where to forward final bills to and a final meter reading taken on moving day.

    Take a photo of the gas and electricity readings on your phone (and water if you have a meter), so you have a record of the reading, and the day and time it was taken. Moving house is also a good time to change suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best deals.

    5. Pack and label boxes

    Carefully wrap breakables in bubble wrap or newspapers and don’t overload the packing boxes. ‘They need to be manageable for both you and your movers,’ says Gemma Caufield, Residential Branch Manager and Senior Valuer at Bramleys.

    Also, label everything clearly, not limited to just what room that they need to go in in your new home. ‘Add details such as the appliances that are in the boxes, the type and season of the clothes packed away and whether there are perishable items,’ says Gemma. ‘This will help you prioritise unpacking.’ She also advises packing a separate first-night box. ‘Pop essentials such as a kettle and cleaning supplies and bring the box in the car with you so it doesn’t get lost in the rush.’

    6. Let people know you are moving

    Create a moving house check list and notify everyone on it that you are moving as soon as your completion date has been agreed. This will avoid missed bills, service lapses, or potentially identity fraud. This list, although not exhaustive, should be a good starting point: GP, Dental surgery, schools, work place, banks, insurance companies, pension and credit card companies, the council, electoral roll, TV licensing, DVLA, National Insurance, subscription services such as the gym and Netflix, as well as friends and family.

    It’s also advisable to set up Royal Mail redirection service. Costing from £33.99, it takes a minimum five working days to process and you can apply to redirect your mail six months before or after your moving date and, you can redirect your post for up to 12 months.

    Boxes packed fo moving house

    Image credit: Getty/Catherine Falls Commercial

    7. Find out where all the vital bits are in your new property

    As soon as you move in, write down and/or take a photo of the gas and electricity readings and water (if there is a meter), and then set up accounts if you’re changing providers, or notify your existing providers with the new readings. This will ensure you don’t end up paying for the previous owners’ usage.

    You’ll also want to find out where the stopcock is – usually under the kitchen sink or sometimes outside the front of the house – look for a metal plate in the floor with the words “water” on it. Hopefully, the previous owners will have left instructions for all appliances, otherwise search for them on the manufacturers’ website. Locate the fuse box, too, and ensure everything is in working order.

    8. Deep clean your new home

    It’s advisable to clean before settling in and unpacking. If you have the funds available, book professional cleaners to arrive ahead of your removal company, so they can make a head start before all the boxes and furniture arrive. If you’re doing it yourself, try not to become overwhelmed by the task at hand.

    ‘Cleaning is a necessity when moving home. The key to deep cleaning your house is to plan early, break it down room by room and give yourself enough time to finish the job,’ says Dave Sayce, Founder and Director at Compare My Move.

    Image credit: Future/ Mark Scott

    9. Unpack room by room

    Hopefully, if you labelled up the boxes correctly, they should have been put in the correct rooms by your removal company. As soon as the room has been deep cleaned, you can then unpack. Bathrooms should be an easy place to start, as the furniture is usually already installed.

    For bedrooms, Kate suggests being ready with a plan of how your furniture should be arranged and, ‘if you are having trouble freeing up space, stack the cardboard boxes on top of each other.’ For the kitchen, decide where table-top appliances will go first, and then, in a logical format, decide where everything else will go. For example, you’ll want your mugs and tea caddy within easy reach of the kettle.

    grey living rooom with window shutters colourful rug and grey sofa and armchairs around coffee table

    Image credit: Future/ Robert Sanderson

    10. Order essentials for your new home

    Although the fun part, this task should be kept to the bottom of your moving house check list. It’s advisable to buy big ticket items for your new home after you have moved in. You’ll want to get a feel for the size and flow of each room and you’ll need to measure up before you order to ensure everything fits through doors, as well as in the room itself.

    However, there may be some things that you can’t do without – a bed for a good night’s sleep or curtains to block out the sunlight and provide privacy. If you do end up ordering in advance, make sure you have the items delivered straight to your new home on or after your completion date to avoid paying for delivery twice.

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