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Moving Home: the Checklist

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We all know moving house is no small feat. At Bird & Co, it’s our job to take the legal process of a house transaction through to a successful completion. There’s a lot of work to do, which does take time.

But aside from all that, there are myriad practical things that need to be taken care of, and it’s best to get started as soon as possible. That’s why we’ve compiled a checklist of some of the most important practical things you need to address, in a rough order of when you need to do it, to help ensure that when the time finally comes your moving day isn’t more stressful than it has to be.

First steps

  • Sort out your finances – If you’re buying your home, you’ll need to arrange for a mortgage to be put in place. Remember to seek advice at this stage and browse the market, or you may not get yourself the best deal. At this stage, it’s a good idea to do some financial planning for the entire transaction, setting out how much you will need overall so you don’t find yourself moving in with nothing left to spend on furniture.
  • Get a solicitor – it’s really important to get a legal professional involved as soon as possible so that there is plenty of time to carry out all the necessary work. They will be a key part of the process so be sure to choose carefully!
  • Notify your landlord – This only applies if you’re renting, of course. Make sure you inform your landlord that you are purchasing a property and find out exactly how much notice you need to give. It is best to inform your instructed solicitor or conveyancer that you’re currently renting so that they can account for this during the course of your transaction and eventual completion. Be sure to check your tenancy agreement to ensure that the conditions of your contract are met. Please note that we would not recommend that you formally serve notice that you are about to vacate on your Landlord until we have exchanged contracts. It is not until exchange of contracts that the transaction becomes binding on all parties
  • Instruct a Chartered Surveyor. It’s important to get a survey done of any new property. This means any potential issues are made known to you before you move in and you can deal with them appropriately.

Four to six weeks before the move

  • Get some quotes for a removal company  – it’s also good to check the reviews to ensure you’re using a reliable company.  Once you’ve found a removal company it’s best to enquire whether they would be available around the time you might be moving. Be cautious about booking anything at this stage, though. No party is committed to the transaction until Exchange of Contracts and you do not want to be stuck with a charge for removals if the date for completion alters slightly before Exchange.
  • Book some time off work. You might need extra time to get everything in order around the moving date.
  • Start sorting through your things. It’s never too early to start going through your belongings. A good first step is to figure out what things you need to get rid of and clear out anything you don’t want to take with you.

Two weeks to go

  • Packing – Make sure the packing process is underway by this point. It really helps to write the contents and the room it belongs in on every box you pack.
  • Hire some professionals if necessary. Does your removal company offer additional services such as un-plumbing appliances? Disassembling and reassembling furniture? If not, you will need to hire the relevant services.
  • Change your addresses – The most important addresses to change are your bank, credit cards, your insurance, your vehicle registration and your pension or other investments. Remember to also update your address on any subscriptions you have.
  • Update your utilities – It’s a good idea to check whether you can save money by switching suppliers, as moving home provides a good opportunity to make the change. If you choose to stay with your current supplier, they will need to know your new address and the moving in date so that they can arrange the switchover. The same goes for your phone, TV and Internet providers.
  • Register to pay council tax. This can be organised easily by contacting the local authority.

One week to go

  • Get the keys for your new place. This will happen once contracts have been exchanged and you’re all ready to move in. Your solicitor will arrange for you to collect the keys either from their office or outside the property itself.
  • Clean the new property. If it’s possible, go in to clean the property before you move in – chances are the place will be dusty from the move and it will be easier to clean before it’s full of boxes and furniture.
  • Ensure you pack a ‘survival kit’. This means making sure the possessions you will need during your first few nights are easily within reach. Pack a few changes of clothes, toiletries, and whatever you might need whilst you are organising everything else.
  • Redirect your post. It’s inevitable that some things will still make their way to your old address. You can easily set up a redirect online with the Post Office.

The day before

  • Make sure all packing is finished. You definitely don’t want to have any packing left to do on moving day, as you will be busy enough with the removal process!
  • Double check everything is accounted for. Go around the house thoroughly and check that nothing has been forgotten.

Moving day

  • Be available when the removers arrive, so that you can show them around and get the process started promptly.
  • Take a meter reading. This goes for your old property and the new. Taking a meter reading could help you avoid being overcharged by suppliers.
  • Have a final sweep of the house. Make sure nothing has been left behind, and all the windows and doors are locked

Once you’re in the new home

  • Change the locks, if this has not been done already.
  • Register to vote in your new area. This can be easily done online via the government website, or by contacting the local Electoral Registration Office.
  • Sit back , relax and order a takeaway! It’s time to celebrate, and you don’t need to unpack everything all at once. Spend the first few days unpacking the essentials and getting settled in.

The intention of this list is to be a rough guide to help get you in order for your eventual move day. There is a lot to consider in any move and there are tons of things for you to remember. We appreciate that you might want to do things in your own order, but it’s important to remember that your completion date won’t be confirmed until Exchange of Contracts.  Until Exchange neither party is committed to a specific date and there may be certain elements during the course of the conveyancing that can hinder any anticipated dates. You should seriously consider this before putting any cash down for removals, new furniture, etc.

 At Bird and Co, we will do our best to execute your Sale or Purchase to suit you and your requirements where possible, and we have many ways to keep you informed of the process. If you seek further advice on any of the above please contact us.