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How to save money when moving home

By Lucy James

Published: 30th May 2019 Last updated: 13th June 2019
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Hailed as the second most stressful thing to go through after a family bereavement – it’s no surprise moving home can send anxiety levels soaring. From the sale to the new property search, paperwork, estate agents and solicitors - it’s a lot to juggle on top of other daily commitments, and that’s without the worry of added financial implications.

Last year, figures showed the average cost of moving home had topped £12,000 for the first time, according to Lloyds Bank. The increased average cost for moving included stamp duty, surveyors' costs, home removal services, conveyancing and estate agency fees, which increased by 4pc from £11,624 to £12,110.

Faced with statistics like these, it’s no wonder we’re all tearing our hair out at the mere thought of it. Our aim is to help simplify things with a guide featuring top tips and ways to save money to help remove some of the stress associated with house moves.

Planning Ahead

Save time and money when moving home by planning ahead. Consider every detail and look at all the costs involved. This will give you time to research, compare quotes and explore different services on offer. Meaning you’re less likely to splurge on last minute decisions with something you’ve forgotten to factor in.

Create a checklist so you have something to work through and ensure nothing gets missed. Factor in everything from:

  1. Finding important documents to complete paperwork
  2. Packing
  3. Removals
  4. Time off work
  5. New schools
  6. Setting up utilities
  7. Change of address

Avoid Unexpected Solicitor’s Charges

If you opt to instruct a solicitor, obtain a minimum of three quotes before making your selection. If they provide a quote as an all-in-one fee, check what is included. Does it cover Land Registry, searches, bank fees, letters, postage, and VAT? Don’t be afraid to make them outline costs and ask what the charges would be if the sale falls through.

Removals

Do you really need a removal company? Think carefully and be realistic about the volume of furniture and goods you have to move. Assess the situation and weigh up the scenario to work out what will work best for you.

The professionals have bags of experience and tricks up their sleeves to deal with bulky items and quirky properties. Plus, if there are lots of steps to contend with, a full-on day shifting heavy furniture can be even more exhausting and stressful – especially with kids and/or pets in tow.

However, if you have enough help and are organised, packed and decluttered in advance – it could be just as easy to do it yourself.

Compare professional removal quotes with DIY options – don’t forget to factor in:

  • Van rental costs
  • Time to collect and return the van
  • Multiple trips
  • Fuel costs
  • Packing materials
  • Helpers/volunteers

Comparison websites can be a good way to find the best price of professional removal companies and could save you time comparing several in one go. Most sites will only work with trusted, verified and fully insured companies which also gives you peace of mind when moving to a new house.

Do You Qualify for a Discount?

Some removals firms will offer discounts for OAPs, students, key workers or armed forces. Do your homework and check websites or ask about discounts if you fit into one of these categories.

What’s the Best Day to Move?

A survey carried out by comparison service Compare My Move with 66,500 UK movers found Sunday to be the cheapest day to move house, with a three-bedroom property move costing around £683, a saving of 21pc against the average across the week.

Sunday has proven to be the most unpopular day for house moves, with only 5% of movers choosing the day. Which would explain the cheaper rate, as companies are keen to offer discounts in an attempt to book in moves on quiet days.

If you need a midweek move, the second cheapest option is Tuesday at £755, more than 20% cheaper than the weekly overall average cost.

Source Free Materials

Don’t spend money on something you’ll have to discard when you arrive at your new home. If boxes and packaging aren’t included in the removals service, or you’re opting to go DIY – then try sourcing these yourself.

Ask neighbours who have recently moved if you can use their boxes. Try contacting your local furniture or department store, supermarkets and electrical goods shops which are a great way to find different-sized large, sturdy boxes for free.

Freecycle is another great place to find sturdy cardboard removal boxes, to get rid of unwanted furniture or to source things for the new place. Lots of areas have a dedicated list (usually a Yahoo email group), so join the one for your new locality a few weeks beforehand to scout for things you need.

Save newspapers for padding and utilise old cloths, towels and bedsheets to fill in gaps and pad around furniture to protect in transportation.

Declutter

Whether you’re downsizing or moving on to pastures new. Moving home is a great opportunity to declutter ready for a fresh start. Think about the space you’re moving into, measure and plan out rooms. Don’t transport junk or hoard items you don’t really need or want to keep. Be ruthless!

  • Make a List - Write a list of things you definitely want to take and visualise key pieces in each room. This way you can mentally detach and declutter long before the big day arrives.
  • Give it Away - Bag up anything you don’t need or use and donate it to a local charity shop which they can sell on - CDs, records, clothes, books or old toys will be welcome.
  • Don’t Forget - Don’t forget to venture into your loft or garage – these spaces can often be overlooked and left until the last minute.
  • Sell It - You could even raise some cash for the move by selling the stuff you don’t want to take with you, look for local car boot sales or go online via Facebook groups/gumtree or eBay.

Save Money on Storage

If there’s an unavoidable gap between leaving your existing home and moving into your new home, you could save money on storage costs by asking friends and family if anyone has space in a loft, garage or basement where you can store your belongings for a short while.

If there’s no other choice but to pay for storage, look around and compare prices. Work out the time needed to store your belongings, as quotes will depend on this.

Redirect Mail

To save money this can be done by you. You’ll need to set aside a considerable amount of time updating contacts either by phone, letter or email to notify organisations with your change of address.

This could include car insurer, electoral role, local authority, insurance providers, banks and financial firms, energy suppliers, water company, TV Licensing, employer, doctor and dentist etc.

If you don’t have the time, you can choose to set up a redirect with Royal Mail to make sure your post arrives safely at your new property, but this service can be costly depending on your circumstances and who’ll be moving and redirecting to the new property.

You can choose to redirect your post for one, three, nine or 12 months and can extend the redirection later on if you choose to.

How to save money while moving house - Redirect mail

Save on Insurance

Don’t pay out for removal insurance before checking. Many home insurance policies cover house moves if you are using a professional removals firm.

If you’re doing it yourself, it’s up to you to make sure you are properly insured. Compare quotes in advance to secure the best price.

You can also save money by shopping around before committing to buildings and contents cover.  Don’t automatically sign up if your lender offers to sell you buildings cover with your mortgage. You are not obliged to buy this, and chances are, you should be able to get a better deal elsewhere.

Meter Readings

Be diligent and don’t forget to take meter readings when you move. Get a set of readings from your old property and take one when you arrive at your new home, this will make sure you don’t get billed for the new owners or previous owner’s usage.

Save Money on Energy Bills

This is the perfect time to shake things up. You don’t have to stick with the previous owner’s supplier – or feel loyalty to an old one. You could stand to save yourself hundreds of pounds a year by switching.

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