Some say that the actual 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.
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.
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.
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.
Make sure the foreman has a layout of your new home so furniture is put in the correct room.
Ensure the removal firm has access to your new home and has arranged for permission to park outside the property if necessary. Have all paperwork and contact numbers relating to the move with you. Upon arrival, read the meters and check that the phone, security alarm, electricity, gas and central heating and water work.
Make sure all items that were included in the sale, such as carpets, curtains and light fittings, are there. If anything is missing, contact your solicitor. Alert your surveyor immediately to any serious faults in the building that were missed in the original survey.
Think about getting the locks changed on your new property - you never know who the previous owners may have given spare keys to in the past.
Even if everything is in order and has run smoothly, the chances are by the end of the day you’ll be too shattered to move, so collapse on the sofa, order a takeaway and crack open a bottle of champagne.
If you want someone else to handle the whole moving process for you, from hiring the removal firm, transferring utilities and organising change of address cards, consider appointing a moving specialist.
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