Ready to go?
Since you first started the search for your new property, a lot of the jobs have been out of your control and handled by estate agents, mortgage lenders and your conveyancer. Now you’ve completed, all that changes. From here on in you’re in full control, and the following guide aims to help you stay calm and confident as you take charge of the final stages of your move.
Lightening the load
Unless you’re travelling light, you’ll be looking to enlist the help of a removal firm to get your belongings from A to B on the big day.
If you have a full house-load to shift, or valuable items and hard-to-carry things like antique furniture, we’d recommend hiring a professional removal firm. On the other hand, you may just want to throw a few items like your sofa and a TV into the back of a van to make your new home your own.
Whether you need a man and van or a fleet of pantechnicons, the rules for choosing your removal firm are pretty much the same. Box these off and you should get the big move wrapped up with minimal worries.
Choosing a firm
First off, as you would when choosing any professional tradespeople, do some research and read reviews online. Even better, ask around and try and get a word of mouth recommendation. A good place to check is the BAR (British Association of Removers). If the company is a member, they’ll be vetted for quality of service.
When you’ve chosen two or three companies that you like the look of, make sure you get quotes as soon as possible. Good firms get booked up months in advance, so get in early if you can.
When quoting, ensure the firm visits to assess the job properly and see just what’s to be moved. They should also check vehicle access and ensure no items are missed that may affect the price you pay on move day. When discussing the quote, try and get a definitive figure in writing, plus a moving schedule if possible.
Always check that your property will be insured against loss or breakages when it’s in the hands of the movers. Ask about details like item limits and total amounts covered to ensure valuable items will still be insured.
Many companies offer packing services to take a weight off your mind on the days running up to the move. This can be a real help if your budget stretches to it as you’ll have a million and one other things to do pre-move.
If you’re packing yourself, box clever with these tips:
- Put heavy items like books in small boxes and lighter items in larger ones – even professional movers have to watch their backs!
- Loading up the van or lorry yourself? Keep things balanced by putting heavier boxes toward the front.
- Try and fill in spaces with packing material to avoid items moving in transit.
- Label each box with the room it’s going in. Don’t put items from different rooms in the same box.
- Moving pictures? If they’re framed behind glass, strengthen the glass by criss-crossing with a masking tape ‘X’. Wrap pictures in bubble wrap with a piece of cardboard between each framed piece for protection.
- Wrap dishes individually in packing paper, then four or five together in more paper. Don’t pack dishes flat, but on their sides and make sure gaps between them are well filled with packing paper.
Connect with utilities
It’s essential to organise getting connected to power, communications and other utilities before you move. With many suppliers to choose from, it’s a good idea to shop around at leisure and make sure you choose the right tariffs and bundles. You could be stuck with your choice for years depending on the type of contract you go for, so try not to make a snap decision if you want to get the best deal.
Gas and electricity
Before comparing gas and electricity suppliers, find out who supplies your property and what the current average monthly bill is. The seller should have told you this in the information pack they provided. This will be very useful for comparison purposes.
Bear in mind that choosing an online plan and paying by direct debit will save you money, with the average saving made by moving from a standard plan (paying by cash or cheque) to an online plan working out at around £224.
Rather than just looking for the biggest saving, you should also weigh up the difference between fixed price and variable tariffs – you’ll be locked in to the contract for a set period of time on the former and though you may save in the short term, will lose out if energy prices fall.
Broadband, phone and TV
When it comes to choosing a broadband and phone package, don’t forget to factor download allowances and contract length alongside speed and cost. Take a look at what kind of web user you are, how many people in your new property will be streaming movies or gaming online to help you choose the right package.
And to make sure you can keep up with all your favourite shows and not miss a second of the sport you love, don’t forget to let your cable or satellite provider know that you’re changing address.
Choosing home insurance is another important thing to get sorted out before you move. If you’ve exchanged contracts, you should have basic buildings insurance in place. Now’s the time to look around for full insurance that also covers contents. Things to consider are the amount of contents to cover (many people underestimate this) and how much the actual cost of rebuilding your home would be. Also, look a little deeper into a policy to ensure the cover suits your precise requirements and add extras like bike insurance or cover for shed contents if necessary.
Let people know you’re on the move
There are more organisations and companies to tell about your change of address than you probably think. What’s more, many of them will need to be informed in writing to update their systems. So now’s a good time to get typing and let the following people know about your move:
- Government organisations such as the DWP, HMRC and VAT office
- Financial institutions like your bank, credit card and store card companies and pension providers.
- Insurance companies for home and car
- Energy and utility suppliers
- Health services such as doctors, dentist and optician
- Your employer
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