Moving house: The ultimate checklist

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So you've found a new home as well as a buyer for your current property. Now the hard work begins – or so they'd have you believe.

Moving house is often said to be one of the most stressful things you can do, right up there with getting married and taking your driving test.

A rather worrying survey carried out by Which? Mortgage Advisers at the start of the year suggested the process of buying and selling a property is only slightly less stressful than going through a divorce. The good news is there's plenty you can do to reduce stress levels.

Following our ultimate checklist is the best place to start. Some of it will seem obvious now, but is easily forgotten when you’re up to your ears in boxes and parcel tape.

Plan ahead

Researching well and planning ahead is half the battle when it comes to moving house. Preparation can save you an awful lot of heartache, as can accepting there'll be setbacks along the way. It’s important to stay calm enough to be able to take these in your stride so you can arrive smiling at the finishing post.

Staying on top of your finances and knowing how much it will cost to move house is also an important factor if you're to remain relaxed and in control. We have a guide which covers the true costs of moving – take a look to help you budget.

Once you’ve exchanged contracts and got a completion date, it's time to start organising your move in earnest.

One month before

  • Select a moving day: Once you've confirmed the date of your move, typically a month after exchanging contracts, things will really start moving quickly. If possible, try to avoid picking a bank holiday or a Friday as your moving day as this is when removal firms will be harder to book and probably more expensive. Remember to take the day off work
  • Redirecting your post: To make sure you continue to receive your mail after moving home, you'll need Royal Mail's redirect service. You can apply up to three months before you move, informing Royal Mail of the actual date at least five days before
  • Choose your removals firm: It's time to call in the professionals. Get recommendations from friends and family members if possible, otherwise turn to the British Association of Removers to find reputable local companies to provide you with quotes. Arrange for an estimator or surveyor to visit your home so it's clear exactly what needs to be moved. Decide whether you're going to pack yourself or are willing to pay the removers to handle everything. Also make sure the removals company has sufficient insurance to cover your belongings while they're in transit
  • Arrange home insurance: You'll want to make sure you have buildings insurance and contents insurance in place from the day you move. Get a quote from Admiral today
  • Time for a clear out: Don't go to the trouble of moving items to your new home that you don't want. Be ruthless about getting rid of that exercise bike you never use or those clothes you haven’t worn for years. Now’s the time for that fresh start!
  • New carpets and furniture: If you're buying furnishings for the new house, be sure to order them in plenty of time and arrange for delivery to coincide with your moving date. Curtains and somewhere to sleep and sit should probably be top of the list

Two weeks to go    

 

  • Get packing: It's time to start getting those non-essential items safely packed away. Not only will this give you the feeling that you're making progress, it'll provide some much-needed space in the house
  • Inform utility suppliers: Phone your gas, electricity, phone, broadband and water suppliers to inform them you're leaving. You'll need to let other companies and institutions know too, including the DVLA, HMRC, Electoral Commission, the BBC's TV licensing department and any banks and finance providers
  • Children and pets: Make arrangements for young children and pets to be elsewhere on moving day. You'll have enough to contend with as it is and they could find the process rather stressful. Also remember to inform schools of your new address and change the details on pet tags and microchips
  • Start emptying the fridge and freezer: Having to deal with chilled and frozen items on moving day is too much hassle. Start running down your supplies or make arrangements for a friend or neighbour to help store them
  • Parking and access: Make sure your removal company will have access and the ability to park at your current property and new home. And if you have a car, check the permit situation and apply in advance if it turns out you need one
  • A fresh start: Consider employing the services of a professional cleaning company to give your new home a good going over before the furniture arrives

Last few days

  • Making a plan: Unpacking will go a lot smoother if you come up with a plan of your new home and let the removal company know exactly where you want individual boxes left. Use clear labelling or a colour scheme to cut down on errors
  • Disconnect appliances: Begin the process of defrosting your freezer and make sure that items such as the dishwasher are disconnected and ready to be moved
  • Keys and manuals: It'll be a great help to your buyer if you take the time to properly label all the property's keys. Don't forget any garage, shed and window locks if relevant. Pulling together manuals for the boiler and any appliances remaining in the home will be much appreciated

Moving day

  • Meter readings: Take final readings of your meters before leaving the property and ideally take photographic evidence that can be provided in the event of a disagreement. Do the same when you arrive at your new house, being sure to also check the gas, electricity and water are all working properly
  • Access to the property: The removal company will require access to the new house when they arrive with your belongings. Make arrangements for them to get inside and start unloading as soon as possible to avoid delays and additional charges

Hannah Clarke, Property Expert for online estate agent Purplebricks, says organisation is the key to efficient unpacking in your new home. She recommends getting started in the kitchen:

"Get the kitchen out of the way as this is where you will spend most time. From there, prioritise rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms. Time will be limited during the first few days in your new home, so plan meals in advance, especially if you have young children – it’s harder to prepare hot meals when everything is still in boxes,” she said.

“If you can, unpack items such as televisions and gaming consoles last. Having these electronic items set up first will only distract you from finishing the task at hand."

  • Secure your new home: Once you're in it's recommended you change the locks on the property. It's impossible to say whether there are spare keys to your home floating about, so in this instance it makes sense to be cautious. When working out what costs are involved in buying a house, it pays to take these kinds of expenses into account as everything adds up

If you’re interested in what other security gadgets are on the market, we’ve taken a look at some traditional and more innovative gadgets for home security.

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax: Anyone who purchases a residential property in England or Wales for more than £125,000 needs to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Usually handled on the buyer's behalf by a solicitor, it becomes due on the day of completion and must be paid within 30 days
  • Relax and enjoy: Now is the time to crack open a bottle of champagne, celebrate your achievement and begin to enjoy your new home

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