Some say that the actual house move is one of the most stressful events of all, so be prepared for the whole process long before you begin.
Here is a comprehensive moving house checklist containing information to help you organise a smooth move from your old home to your new one with a minimum of fuss.
Where to begin
Decide on a moving date (usually the completion date) as soon as contracts have been exchanged. Try to avoid Fridays and bank holidays when removal firms are in high demand and may be stretched. For a less stressful move, opt for off-peak times such as mid-week. It’s more likely your chosen removal firm will be available for that day.
Call in the professionals. Ask friends or relatives who have moved recently to recommend removal firms. Failing that, the British Association of Removers (BAR) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) will be able to supply names of approved members in your area. They operate within the terms of a code of practice and offer an independent conciliation and arbitration service in case of complaint.
- Ensure your possessions are insured for transit. Most removal companies provide such insurance. Check what it covers and whether there are exclusions. Remember that anything you pack yourself may not be recovered by the removal firm’s insurance. If you are planning to transport any precious items yourself, check that these are covered when in transit by your contents insurance.
- Hire professional cleaners to give your new place a thorough going over before you move in. Some removal firms will arrange to do this. This will make the whole move a more comfortable process.
- Before the big day, have a clear out. Valuable items that are no longer needed can be auctioned or sold to a dealer in second-hand furniture. Other items can be donated to charity shops or recycled.
- Get someone to look after the children for the day. The same goes for pets - or book them into kennels or a cattery. Make sure they have identity tags with their new address.
- Compile a fact file for the people who are moving into your property, such as instruction leaflets and service information for the heating sysem and appliances you’re leaving, together with details of rubbish collection, milk deliveries, recycling schemes and so on.
- Round up the keys to your home, including those left with neighbours, nannies and relatives, and give them to your solicitor or Turtle Homes.
- If the move is going to be spread over a couple of days, arrange accommodation somewhere special, ideally a hotel - you’ll be too exhausted to socialise - and pack a bag for an overnight stop.
- Make a scale plan of each room in your new home to give to the removal team so, in theory, they know exactly where everything is to go. Colour-code packing boxes, cases and furniture in the hope that this will mean it ends up in the right rooms.
- Final preparations should include making a complete inventory of everything to be moved, advising the post office to redirect your mail and cancelling the milk and newspapers if you have them delivered. If you are moving to a different area, register with a new GP.
Hire a Removal Company
Resolve to book a removal firm as soon as you exchange contracts and the completion date is set. Get at least three estimates from different firms and don’t automatically accept the cheapest; you tend to get what you pay for. When comparing estimates, make sure you are comparing like with like. Are packing materials, boxes and crates and VAT all included?
A few weeks before the move, the removal firm should send someone to establish what the move will entail. Now is the time to point out anything that needs special care and attention, such as antiques, computers, pictures, etc. Highlight any large or awkward items of furniture, such as a piano - which may require a specialist handler and/or have to be winched in through a window.
Tell the removal company if access from your old property or to your new property is likely to be difficult. Parking space for the removal lorry will also need to be considered. Such problems can add to the cost of a move and should be considered in the estimate. Don’t accept an estimate over the phone. All quotations should be in writing and include pricing for packing, loading and unloading, storage (if required), special handling for breakables and valuables and any other special requests, such as curtain hanging and cleaning.
When you accept an estimate, insist that a written quotation is sent to you as soon as possible. Establish a written timetable with the removal firm and check the foreman has all the necessary details. Make sure the removal firm has a clear map showing how to find your new home.
Notify relevant parties of your new address
- Telephone and Internet providers.
- Notify TV licensing of your new address. Your TV license doesn’t automatically move with you when you move house. If you don’t notify TV licensing of you new address, you could end up being unlicensed in your new home, even if you paid for a licence at your old address. You can easily update you details on www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
- Bank, building society, pension provider and any company you have loans or investments with.
- Credit card and store card companies.
- Inland Revenue - see www.hmrc.gov.uk for a list of offices.
- Local council regarding council tax.
- Subscriptions to magazines, charities, etc.
- The schools your children attend.
- It is a legal requirement to notify DVLA - you will need to renew your driving license and vehicle registration document.
- Friends, family and colleagues.
Using Storage facilities
Storage companies will accept practically anything as long as it isn’t perishable (food, plants, etc), flammable (noxious chemicals), illegal (drugs, cash waiting to be laundered) or alive (pets, children). Expect to be charged for packing, delivery to and from your house, the amount of space required and the length of time items are to be stored.
Insurance can be arranged through the storage firm or through you household insurance. Make an inventory of everything in storage in case anything is missing when it is delivered to you home.