Practical Tips for Moving House

When you agree an offer on your sale and purchase properties

  • Start to sort through your attic or loft and get rid of anything you are not planning to take with you.
  • Instruct solicitors to act for you and help you through the purchase process.
  • Sort through the rest of your possessions and think about what you want to take with you when you move.
  • Look into schools in the area you are moving into, tell your children’s existing school they are leaving and ask for files to be transferred over to the new school when confirmation of the place has been received.
  • Look into the practicalities of living in the new area such as looking into the new Council, doctors and dentists.
  • If you are moving a long distance away, think about having your car serviced
  • Obtain quotes from the removal companies you may wish to handle the move and check available dates.  Friday is the most popular day for a move and often firms are booked up weeks in advance. Removal firms may charge more for removals on this day too.
  • Look into what cover you have on your home contents insurance for moving house. If you are not covered, your removals company may offer additional insurance.
  • Ask your removal company, friends or relatives for boxes, bubble wrap and other packing materials or buy some in plenty of time.
  • Once you hear from your solicitor that all enquiries and search results have come in and that these are satisfactory and you are happy to proceed having read the contract report, discuss and agree a final date for your move (“the completion day”)
  • Look into which utility firms offer the best deals for electricity and gas in your new property. The size of the property and its location can affect your fuel bills, so make sure you do your research properly.
  • Start to work your way through the contents of freezers and cupboards and throw away anything which is out of date.


Once contracts have been exchanged

  • Start to pack items you are not going to need before the move and make sure you label all boxes clearly to indicate what is inside and which room they are for (you may wish to start this earlier, however, please bear in mind that your sale/purchase could unexpectedly fall through right up to the point of exchange without penalty).
  • If necessary, arrange with the local Council in the area you are moving into to allow the removal van to park outside the property.  Removals companies can do this for you but will charge. 
  • If you are moving into a different area, tell your doctor, dentist and optician about your move and register with new providers close to your new property.
  • People to tell about the move:-
  • Tell your utility suppliers and broadband firm that you are moving and make sure you are not charged a penalty for closing an account with short notice.
  • Tell both your old and new local Councils about your new address.  As Council Tax is worked out on a daily basis, you could be in line for a refund.
  • Tell your bank and building society about your new address.
  • Tell TV Licensing about the move. Retain your current TV licence as it can be used at your new address until it expires. 
  • Contact your home landline provider and ask them to transfer your account to the new address. Ask them to cut off your phone as late as they can on the day you move.
  • Tell all insurance companies, credit card and other financial services companies about your new address.
  • Buy some “new address” cards to send to family and friends once you move.
  • Book space in the local kennel or cattery for your pets for the day of the move.
  • If you can, arrange for someone to look after your children on moving day. If this is impossible, organise a specific area of the house where they can pay with some toys.
  • Tell your satellite television or cable provider that you are moving. If you wish to continue with their service in your new property, ask whether this is possible. 
  • Register your new address with the local electoral registration office so you are eligible to vote.
  • Tell the DVLA about your new address. If you do not do this, you are committing an offence.
  • Tell your mobile phone provider about your change of address
  • Consider security in your new home. We usually recommend that you change all of the locks on the outside doors as you can never be sure about who exactly has had access to keys. 
  • Arrange with Royal Mail to have your post redirected
  • Make arrangements with your estate agent regarding what you should do with keys, and how you should pick up the keys to the new property. Label all spare keys and leave them in a safe place in the house 
  • Contact your water company about closing your existing account and opening a new one at your new address 
  • Don’t water any house plants in the week before you move
  • Pay any existing bills with your newsagent or milkman 
  • Put together a box containing essentials like light bulbs, candles, toilet roll, matches, cash and a note of important phone numbers to use in the new property. Store this box in your car.
  • Empty your freezer of any food you don’t want 
  • Disconnect your dishwasher and washing machine if you are taking them with you. Get special travel brackets to secure the drums while travelling


The day of the move:

  • Ensure the removal firm knows about anything you are not taking to your new property.
  • Remember to take final meter readings and first meter readings for your electricity, gas and water and keep these in a safe place.
  • Keep the tea, coffee and other drinks coming – moving can be hard work.
  • Put all bedding in one box and label it clearly as this will be one of the first boxes you want to unpack once you get to your new house.
  • Do a final sweep of the house once the van is loaded to make sure nothing has been left behind.


First day in your new property:

  • Give the final meter readings from your old property and the first meter readings for your new property to the gas, electricity and water companies. 
  • Send back any parking permits for your old address and apply for new ones if needed. 


This article by Tim Bishop of Solicitors Bonallack and Bishop who run the specialist and  property law websites.


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