Moving house checklist
What are the final things to plan before you move? Read our countdown checklist.
Property market insight
In the countdown to moving into a new property, there are a million and one things to think about. So we’ve put together a checklist for moving home to help you plan those important, easy-to-forget tasks in the days before and after you collect the keys.
Let’s set the scene. You’ve had an offer accepted, you’ve instructed your solicitors, done the survey, and the exchange date is in sight. How do you get past the final furlong? Introducing our trusty house moving tips...
One month to go
The one-month countdown often coincides with the notice period for many essential services (and nice-to-haves). We’ll run through an exhaustive list later on, but at this stage, here are some of the main suppliers to notify of your change of address:
- TV subscription
- Broadband and landline.
Most of your final bills will only be raised once you’ve left the property, so remember to take one last set of meter readings on the day you depart. You can then notify your supplier and give them the forwarding address to send any final bills to.
Before you exchange, it’s time to start thinking about buildings insurance. In all likelihood, your lender will want you to have a policy in place which is valid from your exchange date — note, not the completion date. As soon as you exchange, the property will need to be insured under your name.
It’s also a good time to check with your broker or bank on the status of your mortgage application. If they require notice in order to transfer funds for your deposit, give them a heads-up.
By now, your surveyor should hopefully have produced their report, while your solicitors may have undertaken their searches (enquiries made to the local authority and other parties) on the property. You should agree your preferred exchange and completion date with them.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s also a good time to declutter your current home and sell or donate your unwanted items. You can’t go wrong with charity shops, car boot sales and eBay!
And of course, if you’re moving into a new neighbourhood, there’s nothing to stop you from moseying around and getting a feel for the area. Start looking into your nearest dentists, opticians and GP surgery if you need to register somewhere new (if you’re currently undergoing treatment, this last one’s a must).
Also, if you’re not hiring a van, make sure your car is roadworthy and research any parking restrictions in case you’re unable to unload any furniture near the property on the day. You may need to contact the council for clarification.
If you plan to use a removal company, now’s the time to research your options and compare quotes. While you may be tempted to take the cheapest offer, some companies offer a packing and/or unpacking service for a little extra, which will save you time (and stress) when you move in.
Two weeks to go
It’s the final fortnight, but hold fire on the celebrations just yet.
Now that you’ve exchanged, it’s time for the ‘change of address’ marathon: part two. You’ll have to redirect your mail from your soon-to-be empty nest — the Post Office operate a redirection service if you give them 5 days’ notice. Also, remember to cancel any regular deliveries; you don’t want the next owner eating your crunchy kale from Abel & Cole. Here are some of the other companies you’ll need to notify:
- Your bank or building society
- Your workplace
- Your pension provider
- Your GP
- Your dentist (and opticians)
- TV Licensing
- Insurance providers (car insurance, life insurance, pet insurance)
- Electoral roll
- Student Loans Company (if applicable)
- Organisations you support (such as charities, or your university alumni department).
One week to go
Right, just seven more sleeps!
Start packing, and make arrangements for any pets in case they’re disturbed by all the noise and activity. If you need a hand with moving and storing heavy appliances, your removal company may be able to assist.
If you’re taking your fridge-freezer with you, get defrosting! If not, you run the risk of a leak while it’s being transported with your other possessions.
Remember to contact your gas and electricity suppliers to double-check you’re set-up in the new place from day one. Find out which water company serves your new neighbourhood; regardless of whether it’s a new supplier or the same company, let them know your change of address.
Your internet may not be up and running straight away, so make sure you have hard copies of any essentials, like instructions on setting up appliances.
There’s also the little matter of your deposit, which you should transfer to your solicitors in advance of the completion. Most of your paperwork will already have been signed before the exchange date, though you may sign some documents closer to completion.
Once the seller’s solicitor has confirmed with the buyer’s solicitor that they have received the completion funds, the keys are released and bingo — the property’s yours! While your exchange date is a big milestone, technically anything can happen until the moment the funds are transferred.
Now for the exciting part — it’s time to agree a convenient time to collect the keys from the estate agent.
24 hours to go
You’re on the home stretch, but there are still a few odds and ends to tie up.
Before you leave, you should take a photo with the time and date of your meter readings just in case you need proof that you’re up to date. Remember to confirm with any tradespeople their time of arrival if you need any urgent work carried out in the new place.
Now’s the time to be a generous soul and write helpful instructions for the new owner. Leave a note with any useful information, such as how to work certain appliances, or where they can find the stopcock and other essentials like the fuse box. You should also label keys — not just house and door keys but sheds and garages too.
Also, there’s nothing worse than arriving into a dirty home, so there’s no harm in doing a quick session with the mop and bucket before you go. And if you’re feeling extra nice, why not leave them a welcome gift? Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but you’ll also be on good terms with the owner in case you ever need anything, like getting your mail forwarded.
By now, everything should be packed and ready to be transported to your new home. Make sure you’ve got a box with your valuables close to hand, as you don’t want those passports and birth certificates to go walkies. You’ll also want easy access to everyday items: phone chargers, laptops, loo roll, you name it!
On your last night-in, surrounded by boxes in a barren, empty living room, all that’s left to do is grab a takeaway, raise a glass and soak up the memories.
Finally, the big day has arrived. Woo-hoo! But while moving day is an exciting time, there’s a long to-do list the moment you walk through the door.
Now, there’s no strict order in which you must do everything. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the cardboard boxes, though if you’ve paid extra, your removal company may have unpacked for you. Depending on the cleanliness, you may want to pull on the rubber gloves and get scrubbing before you do anything else. You should also familiarise yourself with where the utilities are, including the stopcock for emergencies, and ensure you have all the keys you need.
If you’re doing the unpacking yourself, it’s best to follow a room-by-room approach. Start with the items you can’t do without, like cooking utensils, and focus on the kitchen first unless you’re happy to eat takeaways all week.
Some people like to start by assembling the bed, as you may be too tired to do this later, which leaves you with the good old mattress-on-the-floor. Next, move onto the bathroom so you have towels and toiletries available.
In the living room, you can unload the sofa so you’re not sitting on the floor for days, but save the shelves and TV installation for another day. It takes a while to feel comfortable in a new place, so take your time and eventually that cardboard castle in the living room will disappear.
If you have pets, you should ease them in slowly; cats, for example, are territorial animals and will need to explore one room at a time.
You may want to introduce yourself to the neighbours, and if you’ve got any renovations planned, now’s the time to mention any possible noise and disruption so you’re not in their bad books! Also, find out when the bins are collected, as you’ll probably have piles of rubbish bags with you.
When the dust settles, crack open a bottle of fizz and enjoy a well-earned chin-chin. At long last, you can safely say checkmate on your moving checklist.
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