Moving house is something that most of us don’t have to experience all that often. Many people will only move once or twice in their adult life. So for most people, there’s plenty of time between moves to forget all the lessons you may have learnt last time around. And of course, if this is your first move – there was no ‘last time’!
To help anyone who’s already committed to moving and wants the process to go as smoothly as possible, we’ve written this comprehensive list of things to do when moving house.
From the very early preparations, through how to pack for moving house, to the essential tasks to complete once you’ve arrived, we’ve tried to include as many tips for moving house as possible. Some of it will be obvious, but a lot here is easy to miss at such a busy time.
And if you don’t want to miss anything, here’s a Reliable moving house checklist PDF – a version of this article that will form a handy printable checklist for moving house that you can tick off as you go along.
First things first
We’ll assume that whether you’re buying or renting, you have your move date set or an idea of when you might get the keys. We’ll need to kick off our house moving checklist with a bit of admin and due diligence:
- Set up a ‘moving file’ to keep your paperwork and important contacts together. Get yourself down to the stationers and get a file with plenty of capacity. It’s tempting to keep everything on electronic devices, but you never know when they might let you down or if you might need to present some physical documentation.
- Appoint a conveyancing solicitor. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to get some legal support in place to handle the exchange and completion of contracts and transfer of property deeds.
- Arrange a valuation survey through your lender. This is a valuation on the new property. The mortgage provider must know that their collateral is worth all the money they will be lending.
- Appoint a RICS survey through your lender. A survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, will assure you and your lender that the new property is safe and sound.
- Inform your landlord or letting agent of your intention to move out – if you’re in rented accommodation.
6 weeks before you move
Your move date might feel like a lifetime away, but this final month and a half will fly by. Simply by taking some small action every day to help you prepare will keep the issue at the top of your priority list. Here are the things you should be considering at this point:
- List your possessions – not every last teaspoon, but the big stuff. This will help you to get your head around the task ahead, and it will also make it easier to get your removals quote.
- From your list of items, try to determine which you’ll take with you, which you might wish to sell and which you might be saying ‘goodbye’ to. If there’s any furniture you don’t plan on taking with you, why not call a local charity and see whether they can use anything you no longer need?
- Also working from your list, try to identify valuable items that will require specialised insurance to cover them during your move. Your removal company can advise here.
- Start to clear out your storage areas: cupboards; loft; shed; garage and be brutal – this is a good opportunity to lighten your load and cut your removal cost, especially when it comes to items you haven’t used in over a year.
- Think about gathering packing materials and packing up some seldom used items such as books and seasonal items.
- Find your local Reliable British Association of Removers Company. Checking that a removal firm is BAR registered is a good minimum requirement, but check for British Standard ISO9001 and positive scores on Trustatrader and Which? too (subtle hint: Reliable Moving & Storage meet these criteria!)
- Get quotes for your removal. While it’s important to shop around for a sample of quotes, ultimately, your decision should boil down to the quality of service on offer. After all, loss or damage to a prized possession will stay with you far longer than the £50 you might save by going with a cheaper service.
- Confirm parking restrictions and access for removal vehicles.
1 month before you move
As you head into the final month in your old home, it’s time to get firmly on top of the admin side. Keep up communication with all of your professionals and service providers to make sure your arrangements are progressing as they should. Reliable’s invaluable “Change Of Address Checklist” can help you to make sure you notify everyone that needs to know about your new circumstances.
- Notify your utility providers: some companies require a 30-day notice period. Remember to consider services such as TV and broadband as well as gas, water and electricity.
- …and now is a good time to compare. Your new home will present a clean slate when it comes to your relationships with utility providers and a fantastic opportunity to secure the best deals on the market.
- Regular solicitor updates for news of exchange if you’re selling.
- Review the survey of the new property and take any action that might be required.
- Accept a removal quote and check availability.
- Once you have a removals firm on board, discuss the departure and arrival sites with them – they may need to make special arrangements for parking, schedule the most appropriate vehicle from their fleet or apply for council permits ahead of time.
- Need storage? Ask your mover! Reliable offers a storage service where we pick up and re-deliver your items, perfect for decluttering your old home before the move and retrieving items at your convenience.
- Get boxes and continue to pack non-essentials. Maybe aim to complete clearing storage areas such as lofts and sheds.
- Notify insurance providers of your upcoming change of address. Failure to do this could invalidate your policy at the worst possible time.
- Consider whether you wish to arrange to have the new property professionally cleaned before moving in while it’s vacant. If it’s a rented property, it is advised to increase the likelihood of your deposit being returned. You should also take pictures on your move day to have a record and proof should any disputes arise.
2 weeks before you move
It’s time to finalise arrangements. Times and dates need to be confirmed, relationships with service providers resolved and arrangements made to leave your current property in a safe and welcoming state.
- Confirm your date with your removal company. If dates slip it’s important to inform them straight away to allow them to reschedule.
- Cancel any services such as window cleaning and milk or newspaper delivery, ensuring any outstanding payments are taken care of.
- Book any additional trades or services you might need such as a plumber to deal with appliances or a service to dismantle furniture, if you haven’t arranged for your removals firm to look after these jobs for you.
- Plan childcare / petcare for moving day. Even if you are planning to rely on friends or family, make sure it’s in the diary to avoid any nasty surprises. Check out our “If You Have Kids” section at the bottom of the page for further advice about moving with little ones.
- Run down your freezer food and dispose of old paint and flammables. Don’t leave this until moving day, or you might find yourself with a lot of this stuff on your hands, and your removals firm will not be able to help dispose of it!
- Put aside medication and keep important documents in a safe place. Take a look at our section on ”Your Essentials Kit” for tips about which essential items to keep to one side.
- Book overnight accommodation if your journey is a long one.
1 week before your move
Things are starting to get seriously hands-on now, as the reality of the physical side of the move grows near. Everything needs to be brought into a state of readiness for when the removal crew ring your doorbell next week, because leaving these steps to the last minute can lead to mistakes and delays.
- Pack and label your boxes: a good removal company can do this for you, but make sure you have discussed it with them fully so everyone’s clear on the services that are to be provided. If you’re doing it yourself, we’d recommend putting all the essentials you’ll need for the first night in a separate box ( see ‘Your Essentials Kit’), for example bedding, utensils, and toiletries. You don’t want to end up on a frantic hunt for the toothbrushes at 7am the next morning!
- Collate all important documents. As well as the important paperwork that needs to come with you, make sure you have to hand any documents you may need to present during the moving process.
- Pack an overnight bag for your first night in your new home.
- Gather and label the keys for the current house.
- Re-direct your post to your new home.
- Establish with your removals firm who is responsible for disconnecting appliances and dismantling furniture.
1 day before you move
You may be in a reflective mood at this point, but it’s no time to get sentimental… While a comprehensive, end-to-end service such as the one Reliable offers will take much of the stress out of the final stretch, there is still a to-do list when moving house that only you can complete!
- Take a tour of your home and ensure that you are entirely ready for the arrival of your removal crew.
- Get all your valuables and essentials in a safe place.
- Charge your phone!
- If you haven’t done so already, pay for your removal.
- If you’ve bought, contact your solicitor and discuss the moving day agenda. It may sound silly, but if you overlook an agreement that states you receive the keys at 2pm and arrive at your new home at 9am, you (and the removal crew whose time you have paid for) may be left out in the cold!
- Speak to your neighbours and reserve parking for the removal truck.
- Drop a set of keys to your estate agent.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer.
- Change your PayPal address and any other frequently visited sites (such as online groceries and Amazon) to prevent ecommerce purchases being delivered to your old address.
- It’s finally here! Emotions may run high, so take a deep breath and trust the professionals you have appointed. After all, they do this everyday.
- Strip the beds and pack bedding and curtains from your old home.
- Identify fragile items and areas of concern to the removal crew leader.
- Record meter readings for water, electric and gas. A quick snap with the camera on your smartphone will do.
- Keep track of your Essentials Kit (see ‘Your Essentials Kit’)!
- Keep takeaway menus and a bottle of bubbly handy!
- Establish a safe-haven room where you can take breaks and the kids can stay safe.
- Get up and running with hot water, central heating and essential appliances.
- Make up the beds for your first night’s sleep in your new home!
Your Essentials Kit
When you’re packing up to go, it’s worth giving some thought to which bare essentials you are going to want to be able to put your hands to in those crucial first hours in your new home. Creating a “Essentials Kit” will help you make sure all those bits are all in one convenient place. So assemble your essentials, mark up that box, and don’t let it out of your sight!
You may find it convenient to have an overnight bag in addition to your Essentials Kit containing some of these items too. A secure box is also a great idea for jewellery, passports and other important documents and treasured items.
Items we recommend that you keep handy include:
If you have kids…
Moving with kids can present a couple of challenges: how to keep them occupied on moving day; how to help them feel settled in the new property and the admin involved if they are changing schools.
When you come to move, if you are lucky you may be able to rely upon someone to look after the kids for the day. If not, it can be a good idea to keep handy:
Once you get to your new home, it can help your kids feel settled if they are involved in establishing their own space in their new home, maybe making their mark through personalising their new bedrooms.
If a change of school is involved, you’ll also need to arrange for the kids’ school records to be transferred.
Moving home is not the most relaxing thing you’ll ever experience, and it’s certainly not something you’d want to do everyday. But because we actually do it everyday, Reliable can take a lot of the stress off your hands. During our consultation and on-site visit, we can discuss with you how involved you’d like us to become with your move – and even tick a lot of those tasks off without you having to lift a finger!
Get a free online quote here, or call us on 0800 093 1990