The Essential Moving House Checklist
Congratulations, you’re moving into a new home!
While there’s plenty to celebrate, there’s also plenty to do before and after the big move. In order for your home move to run as smoothly as possible, it’s best to be prepared well in advance.
Which is why we’ve created this handy guide that provides step-by-step instructions on what to do and when you should do them.
We’ve broken everything down into a handy timescale for your convenience:
Our comprehensive checklist is jam packed with everything you need to think about (and do!) both before, during and after you move into your new property.
⏰ Things to do now (8 weeks before)
Double-check your mortgage status
If you’ve had an agreement in principle (AIP) or even a mortgage offer, you’re not yet tied to the mortgage and can choose to opt-out if you wish.
You’re only contractually tied once you’ve exchanged contracts and completed on your offer.
If you need a reminder of the terms mentioned above, they are:
- Agreement in principle (AIP): How much a mortgage lender could potentially give you before you submit a mortgage offer. You can take this to estate agents to show that you’re serious about buying. It will typically last between 60-90 days.
- Mortgage offer: An official confirmation from a mortgage lender that they will provide you with a mortgage, although at this stage you can still back out.
- Mortgage offer complete: This is where you have formally accepted your mortgage offer and exchanged contracts, and you are now tied into the mortgage.
Find the right solicitor or conveyancer
Solicitors and conveyancers both specialise in property legal work or property law by handling all legal aspects, whether you’re buying or selling a property.
Conveyancers and solicitors offer very similar services; however, solicitors are trained to cover a variety of different legal fields and can choose to specialise in a particular area.
Solicitors can provide you with an extra advantage if you have a more complex situation, such as negotiating the deal of the freehold with the landlords of the property you wish to buy.
Conveyancers, on the other hand, focus exclusively on property law.
Once you’ve got a mortgage offer, the next step is to get a survey of the property you wish to move into. While a survey is not a legal requirement, you may want to get one to check for any issues, especially if you’re purchasing an older property.
There are three types of reports to choose from:
- Condition Report: This is the most basic survey you can get. This is a good option for a property that is not too expensive or too old (but not less than 10 years).
- HomeBuyer Report: This mid-range survey will expand on the Condition report.
- Building Survey: This fully comprehensive report will evaluate the entire property and is recommended for older and/or non-standard constructions.
The cost of your evaluation and the time it takes will depend on which type of report you’ve chosen, how large the property is, and the company you’ve chosen.
Most companies will report back their findings within a reasonable timescale – some can even report back in a couple of hours.
Transfer schools and buy uniform
If you have children, start researching schools in your new area (if you’re moving further afield) and apply for a transfer if you’re all set to move. However, keep your child(ren) in their current school(s) in case anything happens.
Also look at buying their school uniform in advance, as shops will sometimes have to order direct from their stockists.
Create a space where you can record every transaction, conversation or task that is related to your mortgage. Having everything organised and to-hand could save you a lot of time and stress in the future.
How you choose to sort everything is down to your preferences. You could set up a Google Drive account or other similar cloud storage device where you can access your information at all times. It also may be wise to take photos or scans of important documents and save them here, too.
⏰ 5-6 weeks before moving day
Choosing a removal company
Packing your possessions into boxes and moving them from one house to another… how hard can it be?
Don’t underestimate the time, energy and effort involved in this process.
That’s why so many professional removal companies operate. If you’re living in a small flat then it’s probably not worthwhile calling in a removal service, but for anyone with a large family, lots of stuff and some valuable or fragile items it’s worth considering.
Removals companies will want to know how much stuff you have so they can assign the right van and number of people to aid your move.
Once you’ve made a decision provide your contact with a clear brief of your expectations for removal day.
Things to think about and discuss could range from whether you plan to take your carpets and blinds, or if white goods are coming with you.
If you require the removal company to dismantle and reassemble large items then make sure this is clear, and tell them what you plan to remove yourself so there’s no confusion.
It may also be helpful to provide a floor plan of the new property and clearly mark the boxes for each room so they can follow this and ensure all boxes end up in the right places – this kind of organisation will save a lot of time in the long run.
Apps such as ‘magicplan’ will let you do this quickly and easily on your phone.
You may also want to enquire about insurance, especially if you have any high-value possessions.
Establish what time limit there is on making a claim – you might leave some boxes unopened for a couple of weeks. Some policies have a max limit per item so check this too.
To save on cost you may choose to pack items beforehand yourself.
This is a common approach and whilst it’s a good cost-saving idea, the removal company’s insurance won’t cover items that they haven’t packed so consider leaving fragile and valuable items for them to manage.
Give your landlord notice
If you’re moving out of a rented property, it’s time to let your landlord or estate agency know you’re moving out. They will need to know the exact date, although if you are unsure at this stage, you can get back in touch with them once you have more information.
Depending on the terms and length of your contract, you may have to pay an early exit fee. If you’re close to the end of your tenancy and you give them enough notice, they may agree to release you from your contract.
⏰ 4-5 weeks before moving day
Manage your energy providers
There’s a lot to think about when moving home and managing your energy provider – both for your existing property and new one – is one of them.
Contact your water, electricity and gas suppliers and give them notice of your move. At this stage, you can choose to transfer the providers to your new address or cancel altogether. You may have to pay an early exit fee, and the amount of notice you will need to give will vary between providers, so it’s best to this as soon as possible.
Following this guidance will help ensure you avoid being stung by any unnecessary overcharges from your provider.
Once you have moved into your home take a meter reading (ideally on the first day) and share details with the existing suppliers the new property.
Providers will also need to know your move-in date and personal details to create an account for you and ensure you are only charged for the days you have lived there.
This is especially helpful if the house was vacant for some time before you moved in as energy may still have been used but no previous occupier will have shared a reading.
At this point it’s recommended that you enquire about your tariff too.
As a new owner, most providers will revert the tariff to a standard one and it’s likely you’ll be paying more than you need to – and if it’s not right then shop around.
This is a good time to weigh up whether a smart meter installation suits you. These are a good way to monitor your energy consumption but beware that these do not work in areas of poor signal.
If your new property is installed with a prepayment meter then be sure to organise a new top up key or arrange for card to be delivered in time with your move in date.
Organise your broadband, TV & phone
Keeping the same landline when you move home can be tricky. Unless the dialing code falls within the same telephone exchange area you will have to change this.
First, check to see which broadband, tv and landline providers cover your new area. At least one of the ‘big three’ (Sky, Virgin and BT) should be available in your new area, so if you’re looking to transfer your existing broadband to your new home, you may be able to do so.
Requesting a move: They have an in-depth section which breaks everything down for you.
Notice period: 2 weeks’ minimum notice. Cost to transfer: Free for Sky VIP customers.
Requesting a move: Check availability first before proceeding with your request
Notice period: 2 weeks’ minimum notice.
Cost to transfer: £20 Movers Fee to transfer your services to your new address.
New customers: View Virgin’s bundles and check availability.
Requesting a move: BT has an easy-to-use portal for requesting a new home move.
Notice period: BT will need at least a month’s notice to get everything set up.
Cost to transfer: Charges apply for new line or upgrades.
New customers: View BT’s deals and check availability.
⏰ 3-4 weeks before moving day
Purchase packaging supplies
Boxes, bags, labels and tape – all the essential ingredients you need for smart, organised packing can be found in one place at Packing Boxes. There’s free delivery for over £50, with standard delivery between 2-5 working days as well as next day delivery available.
Prepare to pack
While you wait for your supplies, you can start to organise how you want to tackle your packing. The BBC has some helpful tips on how to approach packing for a house move.
Find a local doctor
While you don’t have to give your current doctor any notice, you may wish to find a surgery near your new home and check their availability.
⏰ 2-3 weeks before moving day
Update your TV license
While you can do this up to three months before you move, it shouldn’t take long to set up your TV license.
Set up mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI)
Mounting bills are the last thing you want to worry about if you find yourself unable to work.
With mortgage payment protection insurance (MPP), you could get cover for an agreed period if you’re unable to meet your mortgage payments. How much you could receive and the length of the cover while you’re unable to work varies depending on your circumstances, the term length and monthly payments.
⏰ 1-2 weeks before moving day
If you haven’t done so already, you can exchange contracts between 7-28 days before completion (move-in day). Your solicitor will hand over your deposit in the exchange.
Get home insurance
While you may already have home insurance for your previous property, you may be able to find a better deal elsewhere.
Give the property a thorough clean
Cleaning your house can be a time-consuming process, so make sure you don’t leave it to the last minute. You’ll have to give your old property a final clean after it’s been emptied, but there are steps you can take to make this process run smoothly, including:
- Have your essential cleaning equipment to-hand. Include kitchen, bathroom, glass and floor cleaners, as well as bleach, dusters, scrubbers and more.
- Make sure it’s not packed away with the removals van.
- Pack as much as you can, then try to clean around the boxes/storage.
- ‘Dry’ clean first (dust/vacuum/sweep), then proceed with ‘wet’ clean (bleach and sprays).
Find ways to offload your junk
Now that you’ve done a massive clear out for the move, it’s time to cash in.
There are ‘collection only’ options available so you don’t need to faff around with deliveries and Post Office runs, and your discarded belongings are going to new homes rather than landfill. That can only be a good thing.
Here’s some key tips to selling unwanted items when you move home, and getting them off your hand fast:
- Focus on items that are popular. That might be seasonal popularity or just items that are in high demand.
- Set a fair price. People want bargains and you want to offload your rubbish so try not to be greedy with your prices
- And negotiate.
- Be honest about your product. If there’s some wear, a scratch or a dent then make that clear in your words and pictures.
- Like selling a home, good photography is key so if you really want to get rid of your stuff make sure you get some good images and make it look more appealing to the buyer.
You don’t want to miss important letters or phone calls when you move home and you certainly don’t want any post falling into the wrong hands and becoming a victim of fraud.
Yes, it’s a drastic outcome – but it does happen!
Whether you’re moving down the road or emigrating to warmer climates, redirecting mail doesn’t have to be hard work and can be done in advance of moving to take the stress off in those final days – and one less thing to worry about is always welcomed.
How to redirect mail when you move home: All you need to do is contact Royal Mail with the full name and date of birth with everyone in the household that needs mail redirecting. There is a choice of 3, 6, or 12-month redirects available and you are charged per different surname.
Don’t forget your car is moving house too
If you move home and don’t inform your car insurer about a change of address, then proceed to make a claim on your vehicle they may refuse to payout.
Insurers work out the cost of your car insurance using a number of factors – including your address.
In fact, this is one of the most crucial parts of quoting accurately. There’s no harm in informing the insurer before you move so it’s one thing less to worry about after you’ve settled into your new property, but make sure it’s not forgotten.
Be aware that insurers usually charge a standard admin fee when you change details on your policy.
Costs vary according to insurer but usually start at around £25. They will always be set out in terms and conditions of your contract so read the small print.
Update your driving license
Once you move house you need to update your driving license and vehicle log book (V5C) through the DVLA. There is no fee to change your address on a driving license, but if you don’t do this and you are asked to produce your license by police and it contains incorrect personal details, it could cost you up to £1000. If you pay car tax by direct debit you’ll also need to inform DVLA when you change address for this too. Visit www.gov.uk for more information.
⏰ Moving day
Collect your keys and complete your move
You’re ready to collect your keys once the mortgage balance and other fees (including stamp duty) have been paid. You can pick the keys up from the estate agent or arrange an alternative method of delivery.
Take a meter reading
Take the meter readings of your old property and submit them to your supplier to avoid being overcharged. Make sure that they have your forwarding address.
Also, take the meter readings on the day you move in and provide these to your new suppliers.
Make sure to keep a record of both property readings – you can do this by taking photos.
⏰ After moving in
Once the removals van has gone and you’re left to unpack and organise your new home, you can start focusing on other important tasks.
Switch energy suppliers
Once you move into your new home, you’ll be placed on a ‘deemed contract’ from the energy suppliers that had previously been supplying the property before you moved in.
If you’ve researched beforehand, you can start the process of switching your existing gas, electricity and water suppliers to your new address, or arranging new suppliers.
Start the process of changing your address
You’ll have to notify certain companies and bodies of your change of address, some of which (but not all) including:
- Banks and building societies
- Loans and credit card providers
- Doctor, dentist and optician
- Your employer
- Pension provider
- Electoral roll
- Department of Work and Pensions (if you receive benefits)
- Vehicle breakdown cover
- Life insurance
Arrange tradesmen services
Whether you’re looking to replace the pink bathroom set, lay down a sparkling new floor or work on some structural issues, now’s the time to find a tradesperson for the job.
Visit Checkatrade to find services near you.
Get your will in order
Whether this is your first home or one of many, you should review your will to include your new property.
If you haven’t yet made a will, your estate may not go to the people you want if you pass away. For example, if you purchase a property with your partner and you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, your estate won’t transfer to them if you pass away.
Get in touch and we’ll match you with an expert to discuss your will options.
Once you’re settled in and notified your workplace pension provider of your change of address, you may be thinking about other ways of securing your finances for the future.
We work with expert pension providers who can offer free information about pensions that are tailored to your circumstances and financial goals. Make an enquiry and we’ll connect you with someone shortly.
Register to vote
Getting set up on the electoral register at your new home is easy one to overlook and yet it’s important for various reasons.
Firstly – it means you can vote in all elections and referendums, but it also helps with your credit rating. Without registering lenders struggle to verify your identity and getting credit can be harder.
To change your address on the electoral roll you need to re-register your new address. You will then be removed from the register at your old address.
All the necessary form filling can be completed here – www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
A final thought – Embrace technology
The digital age is a blessing when it comes to moving home. We can learn about the best-kept secrets in your new neighborhood – from restaurants to bars – at our fingertips.
Technology can also help us keep organized and on track of moving.
There’s nothing worse than avoiding your doorbell because you can’t be bothered to chat with your new neighbour only to find out you’ve actually missed an important parcel delivery.
You can monitor your doorstep from your phone with a video doorbell – that means checking who’s there without having to scuffle to the peephole in the hope you haven’t been spotted.
What’s more, it’s an extra layer of home security too. There’s an increasing number of video doorbell devices on the market so it’s worth doing research to find one that suits you and your budget.
The best apps for homeowners:
‘Around Me’: Besides showing where your nearest takeaway is, this free app provides the location of your nearest hospital, ATM and petrol station – basically all the essentials. Plus it highlights the best bars, restaurants and where the get good coffee in town.
‘Pro Moving Planner’: The clue is in the name. It’s a moving house checklist tool that organises almost everything to do with relocation – and all in great detail. It has listing capabilities and helps track all professional providers and contacts you to hire and gives the option of storing all information on emails for back up. Combine our step-by-step guide to house moving with this house moving checklist app and nothing will get forgotten.
‘Packing Pro’: This app provides everything you need to organise your packing. It includes from distribution lists and filters to import and export and even lets you take pictures and has functionality to link directly with a printer.