Tips on how
to make moving
house easier

Moving house can be one of life’s most exciting events, but also one of the more stressful. We have a few ideas to help make the process a little simpler for the whole family. If you’re house hunting, we have some great tips to help you choose the right home.

For those further down the line, why not go straight to our moving home checklist for some ideas to make things go a little smoother?

View checklist

What to look for when viewing a property

Finding a home you love is just the start. Researching the area is just as important, especially if you’re looking further afield. Besides checking the schools and their Ofsted reports, take a look at transport links, train times and frequency for commuting. And don’t forget to find out about the everyday things, like where the nearest supermarket or DIY store is.

Research the area’s crime rate

Another thing to check out is how safe the area is. Take note of the security on the neighbouring properties. Do they have alarm boxes, visible cameras and security lights?

On the homes you view, check the doors and windows are secure – if you decide to buy that could be your first home improvement job. Two thirds of burglars enter through a door* so make stronger locks a priority and consider reinforced glass if the door has window panels.

​Did you know? In an average month in the UK around 100,000 households will move.

Change the locks

Even if locks seem secure it’s still a good idea to change them when you’re moving into a new house because you simply don’t know who’s had keys for the property over the years. Check window locks too.

With a third of burglars entering through a window** it's an oversight you can’t afford to make. You can get an idea of an area’s crime rate and the type of crime using our own crime location tool - Crime In My Area. Remember, you can always ask the neighbours or the estate agent about the area too.

First-time buyers

Other buyers

40% of first-time buyers and 35% of other buyers rated a secure environment as being the most important feature of a new home.

Two thirds of home buyers haven’t considered the security of the local neighbourhood.

People living in a new home are almost twice as likely to be burgled than the average.

Around three quarters of home moves are within the UK - the rest are emigrating abroad.

​Did you know? Most people move eight times in their lifetime - with three to four of these moves between age 18 and 30.

Other things to consider when choosing a new home

A stunning riverside village may seem like an idyllic place to relocate, but it may be worth researching when it last flooded and if defences have been updated. It could affect flood insurance for the property, determining whether you actually want to go ahead with a purchase.

It’s also worth checking out any planning for the area, from new roads or housing developments being built close by to train station closures. Another important thing to ask is whether the property is freehold or leasehold and if it’s a short lease or not. That way you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Top tip Take meter readings when you move in and you won’t be billed for the previous owner’s use on gas and electricity.

Choosing a solicitor

If you’re still happy with everything and your offer’s been accepted, the next step is to appoint a solicitor and arrange a mortgage. A little bit of homework can go a long way to saving you time and money. You can search online for solicitors and see the best rated ones in your area. Remember, the cheapest isn’t always the best. The estate agent may suggest one, but don’t go with theirs just because it’s easy. Make sure you choose one that’s right for you.

A conveyancing solicitor will do the searches to determine whether your investment is located in a conservation area, or a smoke control zone, as well as confirming if it’s a listed building. They contact the local authority and Environment Agency to ensure there’s no problems with the property.

​Top tip Move furniture in first, then you’re not moving boxes around later on.

A survey and why you need one

Every mortgage lender will need a valuation from a qualified surveyor. This is an assessment to check the investment is sound enough to lend money against. There are different levels of inspection and some will alert you to potential future problems.

You can always highlight these to your estate agent and perhaps negotiate a better price for your new home. Even if you’re sticking to a budget, this is one essential you can’t do without.

Keeping costs down

Besides the actual price of the house, there are always other costs when making a move. When you add up things like conveyancing, mortgage valuation and surveyors fees, the average cost of buying a house in 2018 was £3,317. While the average cost of selling was £6,893. So, if you’re selling your home and buying a new property that's a hefty £10,210† on top of the purchase price. To avoid any surprises, it’s a good idea to make a list and consider where you can save money by doing things yourself.

You can't avoid things like:
Solicitor fees Survey Stamp duty

But you can think about hiring a van and moving yourself rather than booking a removal company. The professionals may relieve a lot of stress but costs depend on which day you move and how far you’re relocating.

The distance can increase costs, especially if the team has to work beyond 7pm, which is often charged as overtime. You can also ask the removals company for boxes which you can hire, to pack yourself. Or you can book them to do everything, so you don’t have to lift a finger. Try and obtain up to four local quotes, Reallymoving can help, and make sure the company belongs to the British Association of Removers.

Make packing stress free

If you decide to do your own packing, the sooner you start the better. Once your offer’s been accepted it’s a good time to make a start. Declutter first. Decide what you don’t need and choose whether to give it to charity, sell it or bin it. It’ll lighten the load and make your packing feel less overwhelming. Start with the rooms you use the least, like the loft, the garage and any spare rooms.

Tips for packing

When packing boxes, carefully fill empty spaces with newspaper so valuables or fragile items are secure. Write on the sides of the box as well as the top. Then when you stack them with the heavier boxes on the bottom and the lighter ones on the top, you can still identify what’s inside.

Label what’s in there and which room they came from. Then when you unload at your new home, you can place them in the right rooms ready for unpacking.

Keep essentials in a separate box

Relieve the stress by keeping tea, coffee and mugs handy. Pack a box with everything you need like a phone charger, a kettle, milk and biscuits. They’ll go a long way to reviving tired helpers. And don’t forget toilet roll, bin bags and even scissors to undo all the boxes at the other end.

To help make moving house easier, we've included a handy checklist below.

Top tip Dismantling furniture? Put screws and bolts in a freezer bag and tape it to the right piece of furniture so it doesn’t get lost.

Your moving house checklist

Let the right people know your new address

This is an important part of your preparations. Here’s a quick list to help you keep on top of the key organisations you need to inform of your new address:

  • Your bank, credit card and pension provider
  • Other financial providers - store cards, savings accounts, life insurance
  • The DVLA for your driving licence and vehicle registration
  • Your car insurance company
  • GP, dentist and optician
  • Car breakdown cover
  • Utility providers - electricity, gas and water
  • Your local council for council tax purposes
  • The electoral roll. Visit www.gov.uk to ensure you’re registered to vote
  • Your landline, broadband, pay TV and mobile phone company
  • Any charities you support
  • Online retailers who you buy from regularly, eBay, Amazon etc
  • Any subscriptions - gym membership, magazines, Netflix and so on
  • If you have a pet notify your vet, pet insurance company and microchip database
  • HMRC to update any benefits you may be receiving
  • Your employer, children’s school, your doctor and dentist.

Have your mail redirected

Remembering every person and every company you’ve dealt with over the years is almost impossible. But don’t worry, the Post Office can help. Their change-of-address service redirects any mail to your new place, giving you plenty of time to update them with your new details.

Get connected

Hit the ground running in your new home and get connected to the essentials like gas, electricity, water, phone and broadband. All the things every home needs to run smoothly. Letting your utility providers know you’ve moved will also ensure you stop paying for services to your previous property. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to shop around and find the best deals.

Ask important questions

There’s such a lot to think about when preparing to move house. Here are some of the most common questions you might need to ask the current occupants.

  • Where are the gas and electricity meters and water stopcock?
  • Where are the instruction manuals (and potential warranty documents) for any electrical appliances you’ve inherited?
  • What colours are the walls painted and are there any spare tins if they need touching up?
  • Who are the current utility suppliers if you need to contact them?
  • Where is the boiler, are there instructions and if not how does it work?
  • Has any structural work been done to the house?
  • Have the windows been replaced? If so, when was this work carried out and is there a guarantee?
  • Do any surfaces need special cleaning products - e.g. wooden floors?
  • Where is the thermostat?
  • Where did the kitchen cabinets come from?
  • Where did the bathroom and kitchen tiles come from?
  • What’s the burglar alarm number?
  • Which days are the bins collected?
  • Find out what they are leaving behind, from the garden shed to light fittings and bathroom mirrors.

Don’t forget buildings and contents insurance

It’s worth remembering that once you exchange contracts, you’re responsible for the new property in terms of buildings insurance. It’s good to have this in place before you sign any papers. You could even consider mortgage life insurance to protect your investment too.

It’s quite a lot to take in. But if you take it step by step and use our helpful guide on how to organise moving house, you’ll be in your new home and celebrating before you know it.

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