Checklist for moving home

by Iain Mason

Published on 5th January 2024

Moving house can be stressful but also exciting. There is so much to do, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you have a handy checklist written down, that will help you get everything organised which makes the process smoother.

Below is the Optimum property law team’s comprehensive guide to ensure you’re on top of things when moving to a new home.

Preparing for the move

Create a timeline: Start planning as early as possible. Dates can change in the run-up to a move, but hopefully your exchange date will go ahead as planned. Once this has happened, it will be all systems go as you may only have a few weeks – sometimes a few days – between exchange and completion.

Declutter: Go through your belongings. Donate, sell, or discard items you no longer need. This reduces the load and makes packing easier. You can start this well ahead of time, as you may have a lot to sift through, particularly if it’s been some years since your last move.

Gather supplies: Stock up on moving essentials, like boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, markers, and labels. These will help you get organised when you start packing, and you will know exactly where everything needs to go once you are at your new home.

Change of address: Notify institutions such as banks of your change of address, as well as all your friends and family. It is a good idea to arrange a postal redirect with the Royal Mail too, as anything sent to your old address should be redirected to the new one.

Book movers: Ask around for recommendations for removal companies, seek out some quotes, and then provisionally book your preferred choice. Once exchange of contracts has taken place you can then confirm the date as definite.

Packing up

Room-by-room packing: Begin packing early, starting with items you use less frequently. Label each box according to its contents and the room it belongs to. Be fairly strict with yourself, and only leave out what you need to use until you are in your new home.

Essentials box: Pack a separate box containing everyday essentials like toiletries, a change of clothes, chargers, and important documents. Keep this box easily accessible.

Fragile items: Use extra padding for fragile items and label the boxes clearly as ‘fragile’. This is a reminder for your removal company as well as for you!

Pack strategically: Distribute weight evenly in boxes to make lifting and carrying easier and avoid overpacking large boxes. It can be tempting to cram them full, but you risk injury to yourself and your movers, plus the box might give way when it is being transported.

Managing utilities

Transfer services: Schedule the transfer or disconnection of utilities, such as electricity, gas, water and internet, from your old to new home once you have exchanged contracts. Remember to take final meter readings on the day you move and settle any outstanding bills with providers.

What to do on moving day

Confirm details: double-check the moving company’s schedule (if you are using one – not everyone does) and confirm the details a day before. Also, ensure pathways are clear for movers, reserve parking space if needed, and have cash on hand for tips or unexpected expenses.

Liaise with your conveyancers: at the point of completion, this is when the money changes hands, and goes via your legal team.

A word of caution here. Given the number of cases of email interception and fraudulent alterations to bank details, in particular those relating to law firms, make sure you do not rely on any bank details sent to you via email, even if they appear to come your lawyers. Make absolutely sure when you transfer your payment for your new home that you are doing so to the correct account.

Supervise removals: If possible, be present during the move to oversee the process and address any concerns. The removal people may have questions for you, so it is useful to be on hand or in touch with them.

Settling into your new home

Unpack methodically: Start unpacking room by room, focusing on essentials first. Take your time to organise and avoid rushing. One tip is to make up the beds first. That way, after a very long day of moving and unpacking, you don’t suddenly have to hunt around for sheets, quilt covers and pillowcases before you can fall into bed.

Utilities setup: Check that all utilities are functioning properly. Test water, heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Please note that all these things should be checked prior to exchange of contracts as if not carried out, and there is a fault, you will bear the cost.

Safety first: ensure smoke detectors are working and familiarise yourself with where the meters, trip switch and stopcock are.

After the move

Update records: update your address on official documents, licences, subscriptions, and with relevant authorities.

Dispose of packing materials: Recycle or dispose of packing materials responsibly.

Finally, meet the new neighbours. Pop next door to introduce yourself – it’s a great way to start feeling at home.

If you are currently house hunting, or about to move into a new home and have yet to engage a conveyancer, why not get in touch with the legal team here at Optimum. We help people buying and selling properties in and around Swindon, Wiltshire, Cheltenham, and Gloucestershire with all their property law needs.

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