Moving house is a major upheaval and few people would say they actually enjoy it, but with preparation and advanced warning of possible obstacles you can keep your stress levels to a minimum.
There are loads of things to do when moving house, and the sheer amount you need to remember can be overwhelming. So we’ve put together some moving house tips to help things go smoothly, and you can *download* our moving house checklist for free to see at a glance who to notify and what needs to be done at different stages of your move.
Before you even begin……
If you’re buying, check out how much money you can actually borrow by getting an ‘in principle’ agreement from your mortgage lender. Hidden credit problems might surface and are better dealt with now than after you’ve put an offer in and got your heart set on a particular property. Also, ask for details of how your monthly payment would change if there were an increase in the interest rates of anything up to, say, 5% and be sure that you can actually afford the repayments on your mortgage offer.
If you’re renting, make sure you have enough capital to put down a deposit and first month’s rent on your new home. Bear in mind that your current landlord may not release your deposit promptly, so don’t rely on that source of funding for your new place just in case there’s a delay.
When you’ve found your ideal home at an affordable price, you can put an offer in. Once it’s accepted, you can expect your house move to take place in around 6-8 weeks depending on any chain and the results of your searches.
8 weeks before moving day…
✓ Sort out your money
If you’re buying your home, your solicitor will need to carry out searches and you’ll need a surveyor to check that the house is as sound as it looks. The amount your mortgage lender will lend you may depend on these searches, so be prepared to revise your offer (downwards) if work needs to be done to the property.
If you’re renting, you’ll need to give notice on your existing home (if you’re currently renting) to coincide with the start date of your new lease. Double-check the notice period your current lease requires you to give.
✓ Sort out schooling
If you have children, find a school that has a place for them in your new area by speaking to the Local Education Authority or visit the Schools Web Directory UK
. Inform your children’s existing school so they can help your children with the transition.
✓ Sort out insurance
Your home insurance might not cover your possessions during a move. The worst case scenario here would be for your removals van to be stolen or be involved in an accident whilst fully laden. Check the terms of your insurance now (there may be a fee for upgrading it) or ask your removals company about any insurance they offer.
6 weeks before moving day…
✓ Sort out your stuff
Now is a good time to de-clutter. Think about the floor space available in your new home and decide what to keep and what to give to charity, sell or throw away. Anything in your loft, garage, sheds etc that you want to keep could be safely moved into self storage at this time to save time and energy later on.
✓ Book the removals company
Once you have a date for exchange and intended completion, you can provisionally book your removals company. Get some quotes and check that the company you select are reputable and insured; preferably opt for a member of the National Guild of Removers and Storers. If you’ve already stored some of your items, you should get a lower price because there’ll be fewer journeys to make and loading/unloading to be done on the day.
4 weeks before moving day…
✓ Think about your new home
If your surveyor recommended that any work be carried out by the sellers (rather than reduce your offer price), check that this has been done or arranged for a set date.
Consider arranging cleaners to do a ‘builders clean’ of your new property after it has been vacated and before you move in so that you can start afresh without having to clean around all your belongings when you’re exhausted after moving day. Consider storing all of your belongings for a few days (and only taking the bare essentials with you at first) to allow that to happen and to give you time and space to decorate, fit new carpets and so on.
✓ Check in with your solicitors
All search results should be available now and you should be in a position to finalise a date for exchange and completion - if it’s changed for any reason, double check that your removals firm can do the new date. Bear in mind that midweek moves are cheaper than weekends, but also bear in mind that moving on a weekend will give you more time to get organised and settled if you’re not at work.
✓ Start packing
As you start to plan what to pack, you’ll realise that a lot of furniture and other belongings (like books, pictures, out-of-season clothes, photo albums) won’t be needed in the next few weeks, and they could be damaged during a full move. Consider moving those items into self storage alongside other items you’ve already stored to keep them safe until you’ve settled into your new home. If you have a Safestore unit, you can increase the size of your unit at any time.
✓ Notify people and companies
This is the time to tell everyone you’re moving. For a full list of who to notify of a change of address, use our *moving house checklist* for UK moves.
✓ Prepare for your journey
Make a list of things you’ll need to pack for your car - things you’ll need when you arrive in your new home. Our moving checklist will help! If you’re moving a long way away and need to stop off overnight, book a hotel room early to take advantage of cheaper rates.
✓ Be prepared…
Don’t forget to have enough of any regular medication before your move - it might be difficult to arrange a repeat prescription in your new home because you’ll need to be registered with a local GP.
2 weeks before moving day…
✓ Plan ahead for little ones
Children and pets can be rather a hindrance on moving day. Ask friends or family to look after your children for the day, and/or arrange boarding facilities for your pets - 2 weeks’ notice should be sufficient.
Additional Reading: How to keep your children safe on moving day
If your children are moving school, now is a good time to buy their new school uniforms.
✓ Fine-tune moving arrangements
Confirm what time your removals company will arrive. Make sure you know where all the keys are so that you can hand them over on completion day.
If you use a local gardener, window cleaner, milkman or newspaper delivery service, make sure you let them know when you’re leaving and settle up any outstanding bills with them.
Eat out of the freezer so you can defrost it next week.
1 week before moving day…
✓ Organise your boxes
Your removals company may be able to sell cardboard boxes and packaging materials, or you can order them from us
. Start at the top of your house and work down. Label your boxes with which room they’ll be put in your new house and pack accordingly. Clearly mark any boxes that contain fragile items so that these are packed last or at the top of the pile by the removers.
✓ Pack some essentials
Get a box together for all your documents - insurance, passports, driving licences, wills - and another for items of significant value such as jewellery, computers and electronics. These can travel in the car with you for safe keeping.
Pack a suitcase for each family member with enough clothes to last the week and pack the rest, leaving just enough clothes in your wardrobe to wear between now and moving day. Make sure you have toiletries and towels in a separate bag to take with you, too.
The only other thing you’ll need to take in your car is a box with items that you’ll really want to unpack first when you arrive at your new home - things like your kettle, tea, coffee, a set of crockery and utensils, pet food and your essentials like phone chargers, alarm clocks.
✓ Other bits to remember
Consider making a note for the new owners so that they know things like where the stopcock and fuse box is and what day the bins need to be put out.
Sort out redirection for your post by contacting the Post Office.
1 day before moving day…
Double-check that everything is packed, including anything kept in the loft, garage, sheds and garden. Pop everything you’re taking in the car by the front door ready to load up in the morning. Charge up your phone and try to get some sleep!
✓ Before you leave
Make a note of all your utility readings (take photos to be on the safe side) and then pack up your car. One of you will need to stay to lock up and make sure that all of your belongings are taken out of the house.
Show the removals people the labels on your boxes and make sure they know which rooms to put the boxes in on arrival.
Say goodbye to your old home!
✓ When you arrive
In your new house, check all of your boxes for signs of any damage before you sign to say that you’re happy with everything. Read the meters in your new home and photograph them in case of a dispute later on.
Check that the house is truly empty - if you find anything that seems to have been left behind by mistake, let your solicitors know and arrangements can be made for the previous owners to collect their belongings. If there’s anything missing from the house - if items have been removed that you were expecting to remain - phone your solicitors immediately so that this can be resolved. You should check the garden for the same reason - it has been known for people to take all their plants and even bulbs with them when leaving and unless that has been specifically agreed upon in your contract you may be entitled to compensation for breach of contract.
✓ First-day basics
Beds will need to be sorted out, and your sofa - anything else can wait until tomorrow. If you’re redecorating or laying new carpet, don’t unpack until this has been done so that your belongings can remain clean and safe.
Additional Reading: Why you should wait to unpack after you move
Check that your boiler is working and set it so that you’ll be warm at night and have enough hot water for everyone to shower or bath. Make sure you know what to do in an emergency - which utility suppliers to contact, where the stopcock and fuse box are, and your nearest doctor/hospital/dentist.
Additional reading: 5 things every new homeowner should know
Soon after moving day…
There are a few people you’ll need to get in touch with. Register with a GP and dentist, let the council know who lives with you (for council tax purposes) and register to vote. Give your new address to the DVLA, HMRC, your bank, phone/broadband company, insurance companies and TV Licensing Authority.
Pop round to meet your neighbours and introduce yourself - it can be lonely in a new place, and you never know when you’ll need them to keep an eye on your property whilst you’re away!
Check that you have buildings and/or contents insurance in place for your new home. If your pets are microchipped, make sure you update their details via your local vet. For extra peace of mind, consider changing your locks so that you can be sure that you are the only person with keys to your property.
Finally, retrieve anything you’ve saved in storage once you know where it’s all going to fit. If it’s been with us, it will be clean and dry whenever you’re ready to take it into your new home.
Make moving easy with Safestore
Check out our infographics on hints and tips in the run up to the big move
and how to successfully pack your possessions
If you need further help with your house move, you can download the following for use:
House moving checklist - top tips including utility bills, removal companies and redirecting mail
First night essentials checklist - a list of what to have handy on moving day
‘We have moved’ cards - let family and friends know your new address when you’ve moved
Packing labels - get organised and use these to help label your boxes for the big move
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