Moving house checklist

8 weeks before moving house

Your offer has been accepted and moving day is on the horizon. Hurrah!

At this point, it’s time to make sure the legal side of things are covered so that when it comes to exchanging contracts and setting a moving date, everything goes smoothly.

Be sure to organise a chartered surveyor to inspect the property first for any issues before signing the final agreement and sealing the deal. There’s no set timescale when it comes to establishing a moving date.

Your moving date will depend on a number of things, including what stage of the mortgage journey the person you’re buying from is at, as well as the person you’re selling to. In mortgage-speak, this is often referred to as the ‘chain’.

At this stage, it’s a good idea to start researching (and possibly visiting) some of the facilities and amenities in your new local area to get a real feel for what it would be like to live there.

  • Arrange a solicitor/conveyancer and a survey for your new property.

  • Make sure you have buildings insurance as soon as you exchange contracts - this is a must. Opt for contents insurance too, if you want cover for your possessions.

  • Once you have a moving date, confirm it with your current landlord if you’re renting.

  • Check to see if your contents insurance will cover items during the move (your removals company might provide cover).

  • Book time off work for the move and arrange a school transfer if you have kids.

6 weeks before moving house

With just over a month until moving day, it’s time to start thinking about the items you want to keep and those you want to dispose of, as well as things like life insurance and parking permits.

  • Research removal companies to find the best quote and book ahead.

  • Make lists of the items you want to keep and those you want to sell or donate.

  • Review your buildings and contents insurance and consider taking out life insurance - this may well be a requirement of your mortgage anyway.

  • Check the parking regulations for large vehicles at your current and new home as there’s a chance you may need to arrange permits.

4 weeks before moving house

You’ll most likely have exchanged contracts at this point, had a thorough survey done, and finalised your moving date.

With all the legal bits done and dusted, it’s time to focus on the practicalities.

  • Start packing up large items you don’t need in the immediate future and confirm your transport plans for the big day.

  • Confirm your booking with the removals company.

  • Research TV, phone, and broadband deals for your home and find the most cost-effective energy tariffs.

  • Notify your current utility and internet companies of the move.

  • Locate storage facilities if you need them and consider giving away unwanted goods to free-cycle or charity.

  • Order important furnishings for your new home and start packing up non-essential belongings ready for the move.

2 weeks before moving house

  • Organise all your bills and notify your TV licence, bank, insurer, pension, investments, and any other organisation you can remember of your change of address.

  • Ask your removals company if they include additional services on the day such as dissembling furniture and unplumbing washing machines so you can prepare in advance if need be.

  • Finalise details with your removals company such as the pick-up time.

  • Organise house cleaning for when you leave.

  • Cancel or redirect regular subscriptions and services such as newspapers and window cleaning.

  • Raid the freezer and use up perishables that won’t last or can’t be taken with you on the day.

1 week before moving house

With just a week left to go, it’s time to plan your moving day ‘survival kit’. This should consist of a box file containing all of your important documents (financial, ID and personal), and everything you’ll need easy access to on moving day such as medication, keys, and a portable phone charger.

It’s worth thinking about what you’ll need on the first night in your new home as you’re unlikely to be able to locate everything when the time comes! To keep stress to a minimum, pack an overnight bag with the essentials. Pack as much as you can in advance to make moving day less stressful.

Other things you might want to do...

  • Register to pay Council Tax for your new property so it’s set up on time.

  • Make sure your boxes are labelled or colour coded according to what’s inside, e.g. books=blue, food=green, kitchenware=yellow.

  • Arrange a mail redirection service with the Post Office - after all, it’s near impossible to remember everyone you’ve given your address to over the years.

  • Organise a time to pick up the keys from the estate agent.

1 day before moving house

Tomorrow is the big day, which means it’s time to look in every nook and cranny and double check that everything’s packed up and ready to go.

Finish packing your overnight bag and make sure it contains everything you’ll need the following day and evening. It’s a good idea to include water, snacks, and something to open boxes with too.

  • Check every corner of your house or flat for missed items and unsealed boxes.

  • Check your overnight bag: does it contain everything you need?

  • Make sure you’ve got the keys to your new home; if you’re picking them up en route, call ahead to confirm.

  • Enlist the help of friends who are available to be ‘on call’ if extra assistance is required.

When everything’s ready, try to get a good night’s sleep so you’re fresh as a daisy for moving day.

Moving day

It’s time! Hopefully all of your prior planning and organisation will pay off and the day will go smoothly.

It’s important to make sure everything is accounted for before you leave and remember to make the removals company aware of any specific requirements when they arrive.

  • Make sure all the windows and doors are locked and the heating and lights are off.

  • Be there to guide the removals staff.

  • Take a note of all the meter readings and store them in a safe place (or take a picture on your phone).

  • Inspect your new home for any items left by the previous occupiers who might be picking them up at a later date.

  • Check for any hazards in the house and garden, especially if you have young children or pets.

  • Unpack your overnight bag and unwind in your new space.

After you’ve moved in

You’ve officially moved house - congratulations!

But before you can really start to make it feel like home, you’ll need to unpack. Remember, there’s no need to rush. If you’ve packed in an organised way by labelling your boxes, you’ll be able to find things easily.

Some people like to get everything done in one go, but don’t be afraid to allow yourself some time. Dedicate one or two hours per day to unpacking, and get some help from friends and family if you can.

After a hectic few days of moving your life, it’s time to take a break. Put the kettle on, put your feet up, and start arranging the housewarming party! (Cream carpets permitting...)

The top reasons for moving house

Space, space, space is the new location, location, location.

Across the UK, 1 in 7 people (15%) are thinking about moving house to somewhere with more space because of the coronavirus pandemic. That number rises to 28% among 18 to 34 year olds and 32% in London.

In June we asked 2,000 people around the country some questions about their priorities when moving house.

Overall, 65% of UK adults said they would prefer to live in an acceptable location with more space instead of a great location with less space.

Diving into the figures, 51% said they would move to a less optimal location if it had a big garden. 34% said that a spare room that could be turned into a home office would sway them towards a property in a less desirable location.

It seems the pandemic has significantly changed what people are looking for in their next property, too. Before coronavirus, 24% of UK adults said they would prioritise public transport links instead of a garden. Now, during the pandemic, that number has dropped to 12%.

Keep reading to find out the top reasons for moving to a bigger property for different age groups in the UK.

Top reasons for moving to a bigger house: 18 to 34 years old

We asked people aged 18 to 34 years what they would mainly look for when moving to a property with more space.

  1. A garden or bigger garden (49%)

  2. A spare room that could be an office (30%)

  3. A spare room that could be a playroom (28%)

  4. More rooms for relaxing/recreation (28%)

  5. A detached house (27%)

  6. A home gym (15%)

Top reasons for moving to a bigger house: 35 to 54 years old

We asked people aged 35 to 54 years what they would mainly look for when moving to a property with more space.

  1. A garden or bigger garden (55%)

  2. A detached house (38%)

  3. A spare room that could be an office (36%)

  4. More rooms for relaxing/recreation (36%)

  5. A spare room that could be a playroom (22%)

  6. A home gym (15%)

Top reasons for moving to a bigger house: 55+ years old

We asked people aged 55 years or more what they would mainly look for when moving to a property with more space.

  1. A detached house (55%)

  2. A spare room that could be an office (51%)

  3. A garden or bigger garden (36%)

  4. More rooms for relaxing/recreation (34%)

  5. A spare room that could be a playroom (7%)

  6. A home gym (3%)

The cost of moving house

If you’ve just bought a new house you’re moving into, then it’s likely you’ll have a lot of the same costs outlined in our Buying a house guide.

But here's a brief outline of some of the costs you should expect when moving house:

  • Legal fees

  • Stamp duty

  • Surveys and valuations

  • Insurance (buildings insurance, contents insurance and/or life insurance)

  • Removals (plus any extra services like the installation of large household electronics)

  • Storage

  • Redirecting mail

  • Home improvements (painting walls, new furniture etc.)

How long does it take to move house

It can take anywhere between 8 and 22 weeks to move house.¹ But this can vary widely from person to person, and depends on your individual circumstances.

For example, the length of time it takes to move house will depend on finding a property, the mortgage process, finalising the purchase of the property or even just aesthetically preparing the property before moving in.

Porting a mortgage

What is porting a mortgage?

When you port your mortgage, you move your current mortgage to your new home.

You'll stay with the same lender and your mortgage deal stays the same too.

If you’re buying a more expensive home, and need to borrow more, you could take out a separate mortgage for the extra borrowing. You’ll probably have to take out the additional loan with the same lender you’re porting your mortgage with.

Can porting save you money?

There are several ways you could save money by porting your mortgage.

You wouldn’t have to pay:

  • early repayment charges on your existing mortgage

  • fees for setting up a new mortgage

And if you’re on a great deal, you get to keep it.

When’s the right time to port?

Porting your mortgage could be a good move if you took out a fixed-rate mortgage when interest rates were much lower than they are now.

It’s also worth considering if you’ve got a fixed-rate mortgage and you’d have to pay early repayment charges to end it. The longer your mortgage has left to run, the more you’ll save by porting.

Do all lenders let you port your mortgage?

Unfortunately not.

Most lenders who do allow porting will want to reassess your ability to pay, effectively treating you as a new customer.

If your circumstances have changed - if you’ve just become a freelancer with a variable income, for example - you might find it harder to prove that you can still meet the repayments.

Likewise, if the new property is bigger, you may need to borrow more and be able to show your lender that you’ll keep up with the larger repayments.

Should I port my mortgage?

“In the right circumstances, porting is a great way to save money,” said Ahmed Choudhry, a Mortgage Adviser at Trussle.

“Moving is expensive so that extra money can make a big difference. It’s always worth asking your lender whether porting is possible, especially if you’re on a great deal.”

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