Our tips for moving home
You’ve found your ideal home and you’re already daydreaming about how to decorate, family film nights and dinner parties with friends. But before you post the house warming invites, there’s just the small matter of the move itself.
There's so much to think about when moving home: the planning, the packing, the changing of address, the pets – oh and the cleaning. The cleaning!
Getting ready for the move
If you haven’t started your list yet – we’ve got enough to get you started and more. Here are some starter tips to make moving easy:
Packing tips for moving house
If you’re not using a professional removal company, you will need boxes to pack your belongings. There’s plenty of places to get boxes, including:
- Your local shops
- Check out Freecycle, the non-profit organisation that reduces landfill. You can also offer your boxes to someone else on Freecycle when you’ve unpacked
- Your family and friends
Decide on a way to categorise your belongings and label boxes as you pack them. You’ll thank yourself when it’s time to unpack.
Ditch the clutter
- Donate anything you’re not keeping to charity shops, or recycle it
- Sell unwanted clothes, furniture and electronics online or at a car boot sale
- Clear your garage and shed early as it takes longer than you think
Remember that your home insurance cover may be affected if you choose to do the moving yourself.
Start packing as soon as you can
If you’re doing the packing yourself, don’t leave it to the last minute. Own it. Start with the stuff you use least often, like spare room bedding, ornaments, books and Christmas decorations.
What’s yours and what isn’t?
- Don't get caught out by extra expenses, confirm if the previous owners are planning to leave the washing machine, fridge, light fittings or anything else
- Make sure you don’t take anything that you included in the sale of your current property
Order furniture well in advance
- Remember to check the delivery date before ordering new furniture or appliances
- Custom made furniture can take 12 weeks or longer to arrive, so make sure you place your order in good time
Leave a welcome pack
Why not leave a welcome pack for the new owners? You could include useful information like:
- A gift and a card
- Alarm codes
- Boiler service and repair details
- Bin collection days
- Information on the property and the area
- Your new address for mail forwarding
This is obviously not an essential part of your house move preparations, but a nice gesture.
Put together a move-in kit
Consider putting together a small kit of essentials to tide you over until you've unpacked in your new home. Essentials could include:
- Mugs, crockery and cutlery
- Bed linen
- Cleaning items
- Coffee, tea, bread and milk
- Pet food and toys
- Toys, books and stuff to keep kids entertained
Eat what’s in your freezer
- Go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and have a feast
- Use what you can and recycle any out-of-date food
- If you have unopened products in date that you don’t want to take with you, donate them to a local food bank
- Schedule an online food delivery for on or just after your move in date
Have you thought about your pets?
Moving day will be hectic enough without having to care for your pets. Make things a little easier for yourself and your pet by asking someone you know to look after them for the day - or book a sitter.
Telling people you’re moving house
An important part of planning your move is telling everyone who needs to know about your change of address. Bear in mind that you may have start well in advance. Our moving home checklist of things to do will help you keep on top of it all.
|Apply to redirect your mail on the Royal Mail website. Redirection for mail within the UK starts from £33.99. You can redirect your mail for 3, 6 or 12 months.
||The Royal Mail needs at least five working days’ notice to set up the redirection. But you can apply up to six months before the date of your move if you know your new address.
|Let your utility suppliers know you are moving in advance. Then pass on final meter readings to them so they can close your account and send you a final bill. You’ll also need to take meter readings in your new home and contact the suppliers there to let them know you’ve moved in. If you’re not sure who supplies gas and electricity at your new address, the Energy Network Association can help.
||Let the utility providers at the address you’re leaving know about the move at least 48 hours in advance. On the day of your move, take meter readings and pass them on to your suppliers. Make sure you take meter readings at your new home on the day you move in. Contact the suppliers at your new address with these readings as soon as possible.
|If your current home is insured, you may be able to transfer the policy to your new address. The move could be an opportunity to shop around for a better deal. A mortgage adviser might be able to help arrange a home insurance policy if you’ve bought your new home.
||You should let your home insurance provider know as soon as you have your moving date. Make sure your new home is covered from the day you move in. Some insurers offer cover for the actual move too, but this may only be available if you’re using a professional removal company.
|Let your local council know your moving out date, so they can send you a final bill. You’ll need to set up a new account for your new address. If you’re moving to a different area, find your new local council at gov.uk.
||It can take a while for the council to register your change of address, so get in touch with them as early as possible. This will help make sure you’re not charged more than you should be at your old or new address.
|If your details aren’t up to date on the Electoral Register, you won’t be able to vote in elections and referendums. You could also fail a credit check. You can update your home address at gov.uk.
||You need to register your address (or re-register a new address) at least 12 working days before an election if you want to vote.
|You’ll need to change the address on your driving licence. If you have a car, you’ll also need to update your address in the vehicle log book (V5C). Find out how to do both these things at gov.uk. Make sure you contact your car insurer with your new address as well.
||Apply for your new driving licence and V5C after you move. It usually takes a week for the new licence to arrive if you apply online. It can take up to six weeks to get your new V5C.
|It’s easy to change your TV Licence address online. If you have a broadband / cable TV subscription, you may be able to take it with you to your new home. Bear in mind that if your provider can’t service your new address, you could face an early disconnection fee. Remember to update your address with your mobile phone provider as well.
||You can move your TV Licence up to three months before you move. And it’s a good idea to contact your broadband provider as soon as possible. Some providers ask that you give them at least 30 days’ notice if you have specific dates in mind for your new install appointment.
|Contact each bank or building society that you have cards, loans and bank accounts with. Don't forget the kids’ accounts. It’s important to update HMRC, even if your employer has your new address and you pay tax through PAYE. Keeping HMRC informed will update your Income Tax, Tax Credits, Child Benefits, Child Trust Fund, National Insurance Contributions and student loan repayments. You can do this via the secure portal at gov.uk.
||You should do this before you move. Otherwise your bank could send important financial information to your old address (and that could leave you open to financial fraud if the wrong person knows your bank details). Tell HMRC before you move too - and let them know when they can contact you at your new address.
|Unless your new home is very close to your old address, you may need to register with a new GP. A quick search online for GPs near your new address will show your closest options.
||The sooner you register with a new surgery the better as it’ll take time for your records to be transferred. Try to find a suitable GP before you move. And remember to ask your current doctor for any repeat prescriptions you might need before moving day.
How to move house
Perhaps it’s time to call the professionals.
If you do decide to hire a removals company, consider picking one that’s registered with The British Association of Removers (BAR). By using a BAR member, you’ll be protected by their Advance Payment Guarantee, should something prevent them from carrying out the job.
The BAR also offers a free Dispute Resolution Service, that can help you sort out any issues or complaints that crop up.
You can use the search tool on the BAR website to find local member companies.
Things to discuss with your movers
To get an estimate from a removal company, you’ll typically need to tell them:
- How much needs to be moved – many have tools to help calculate costs
- If you want them to do the packing, or if you’ll be doing most of that yourself
- Where you are moving from and to – and the distance involved
- Details of the two properties, for example any access issues
- Whether there are any large appliances or big items of furniture
- If you have items in lofts, garages and sheds that you need a hand with
Remember to check if the quote includes VAT and insurance against breakages. If your items are going to be stored overnight in a lorry or warehouse, ask the company about security.
Have a look at any references listed on the removal company’s website or social media pages. You can also use the Which? Trusted Traders tool to check if a company has been assessed and endorsed.
Many removal companies offer a range of packing services, from supplying crates or boxes for fragile items to packing up your whole house. Doing the packing yourself? Check whether you’ll be covered by the company's insurance. If not, contents accidental damage insurance might cover your belongings during the move.
Moving date and logistics
Discuss how the move will happen, how long it will take, and how many removal people you’ll need. It’s a good idea to be flexible with your moving date if you can, as bank holidays and weekends will probably be more expensive.
A few final tips for moving day
- Remember to take your final meter readings
- Check that any lights and appliances you’re not taking with you are turned off
- Have a look around to make sure you haven’t left anything important behind
Time to focus on getting settled into your new home.