Guide to moving home

Moving house can be a stressful process; there's the planning, the packing, the changing of address and much more to think about. Our guide aims to provide tips on how to make the move as smooth as possible, including a few hints to help keep your belongings safer in the process.

Top tips for before you move

In the weeks leading up to your move, there's things you can do to make the move go off without a hitch:

1. If you aren't using a removal company start collecting boxes as soon as possible. Ask local shops, check Freecycle or ask your family and friends to keep boxes for you. Once you've unpacked, you can put them back on Freecycle to be reused. Remember that your insurance cover may be affected if you choose to do the moving yourself.

2. Ditch the clutter. Be ruthless. Recycle. Donate books to charity. Sell unwanted clothes, furniture and electronics online or at a car boot sale. And don't forget about your garage, shed and garden.

3. Start packing as soon as you can. Start by packing things you rarely use such as things from the spare room or the shed and the Christmas decorations from the attic.

4. Don't get caught out by extra expenses, check whether the last owners are leaving appliances like washing machines and the fridge. Make sure anything you do take with you wasn't included in the sale of your house.

5. Order furniture, carpets and appliances; these can take a few weeks to arrive.

6. If you're going to be making improvements to your home, think about getting permissions and ordering a skip. Remember planning can take up to 8 weeks.

7. Create a welcome pack for the new owners. Include useful information like the alarm code, who to phone to service the boiler, bin collection days and your new address for mail forwarding. Not essential, but a nice thing to do.

8. Eat your freezer! Go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and have a feast, throw out all your out of date food sitting at the back of the cupboard. Then place an online food order to arrive at your new house when you move in.

9. Decide on a labeling system and label your boxes as you pack them. This will help with unpacking at the other end.

10. Make arrangements for your pets. Moving day can be stressful for everyone and a lost cat is the last thing you need.

Who needs to know?

There are lots of people you need to tell when you move house and keeping track of them all can be difficult. We've made a list to help to keep you on track:

What How When
Mail Via the Royal Mail's redirection service. Fill in the redirection form and take it your nearest Post Office. Redirection costs from £31.99 and you can redirect mail for up to a year The Royal Mail advises you to apply at least 3 weeks before you move. It takes 5 days to set up redirection from the date your form is received.
Utilities (gas and electric)
Let your suppliers know you are moving so they can generate your final bill and send it to your new address. At your new home you can either set up an account with your current energy supplier or switch. If you don't know who supplies your new home. Contact your local distribution company. The National Grid has a map. To find your gas supplier, contact the meter helpline on 0870 608 1524. On moving day take meter readings and pass these on to your suppliers. If possible, take a digital photo of the meter readings so they are date stamped.
Home Insurance If you have taken out a mortgage on your new home, you may have already set up your home and contents insurance. For more information, check out our guide to home insurance. Let insurance providers know as soon as you have confirmed your moving date. You should have insurance protection for your new home from the day you move in. Some insurers will also offer you cover for moving day although this may only be available if you are using a professional moving company.
Council Tax Notify your local council so they can generate a final bill. If you're moving within the same council area you'll need a new account for your new address. If you are moving to a new area, visit gov.uk to find your new local council Before you move. This will ensure you don't overpay at either your new or old address.
Electoral Register To register your new address, fill in the online form on gov.uk/register-to-vote If you wish to vote in an upcoming election you need to be on the register 12 working days before. If you wish to apply for credit at your new address, credit referencing agencies may check whether the address you give matches the one on the electoral register.
Car and driving licence To change address on your driving licence contact the DVLA via gov.uk. To change the address of a registered vehicle, you will need to fill out section 6 of your registration document (V5C) with your new address and post this to the DVLA. Contact your insurer and breakdown providers too. Apply for a new licence and V5C after you move. If you apply online your licence will take about a week to arrive. A new V5C will take around 4 weeks.
Phone, TV and Broadband Contact TV Licencing to let them know your new address. If you subscribe to telephone, broadband, or satellite services check whether they cover your new address. Ofcom have a coverage checker for mobile phones You can change the address on your TV licence up to 3 months before you move. Contact your provider as soon as possible as it may take up to 3 weeks to transfer your service.
Banking, Credit Cards, and other financial matters Contact each bank or building society that you hold crds, loans and bank accounts with. Don't forget the kids accounts too. Even if you have told your employer your new address and pay tax through PAYE it is important to update HMRC. This will update your Income Tax, Tax Credits, Child Benefits, Child Trust Fund, National Insurance Contributions and student loan repayments. You can do this via email or post or via the secure portal at gov.uk Before you move. Prevent important financial information going to your old address as this could compromise your financial security. Let HMRC know before you have moved, you can advise them of the date you will be contactable at your new address.
Health If you need a new GP or dentist in England the NHS has advice on how to register with a GP and how to find your nearest GP. In Scotland, contact NHS24 and the NHS in Wales for a list of local surgeries. Before you move. It will take time for your records to transfer to your new surgery. Remember to request repeat prescriptions before moving day.

How to move

You may want to consider using a company registered with The British Association of Removers (BAR). BAR members follow a code of practice., and if something does go wrong, members have procedures to follow to allow complaints to be resolved.

Use BAR's online estimation tool to get quotes from local firms signed up with BAR. You will need to tell the removal company:

  • Where you are moving from and to
  • The distance involved
  • Details of the two properties
  • Whether there are any large or initial appliances or items of furniture
  • If you have items in lofts, garages and sheds

Ask whether the quote includes VAT and insurance against breakages and security if your items are stored overnight in a lorry or warehouse.

Ask for references

Decide if you want to do the packing yourself. Most removal companies offer a range of packing services, from supplying crates or boxes, protecting fragile items to packing your whole house. If you pack yourself, check whether you are covered by the company's insurance.

Discuss how the move will happen, how long will the move take, how many removal men will there be?

Be flexible with your moving date. If possible, avoid bank holidays and weekends as these will be more expensive.

On the day of the move

After taking your final meter readings and making sure any appliances left in the house are turned off, it might be worth putting together a small kit of essentials to tide you and the family over until you've unpacked all of your possessions. This kit could include:

  • Mugs, crockery and cutlery
  • Toiletries
  • Bed linen
  • Cleaning items
  • Coffee/tea, bread and milk
  • Your children's favourite toys

Finally, have a look around the house before leaving to make sure you've left nothing important behind. All that's left to do after that is move into your home, get unpacked and enjoy your new surroundings.