Relocations are renowned as being one of life’s biggest cause of stresses, close behind divorce and bereavement. Yet 2016 looks set to be the year for house removals UK. “The total quantity of homes for sale is 44 per cent higher than this past year,” reports analyst Henry Prior who runs housingexpert.net. In the meantime, the Association of Residential Letting Agents reviews that rentals have reached an eight-year high, with demand significantly exceeding supply.
The good news is that if you plan ahead, the potential for things to go wrong is significantly reduced.
Who to tell
This is the most tedious part of moving, but a comprehensive checklist of people to notify helps – available online from websites including iplan2move.co.uk and bbc.co.uk/homes, as well as some estate agents.
Most important are banks, credit and store cards, pension and share providers, insurance companies, loan providers, council tax, employers, universities, your cable service provider, and your doctor. Remember to organise switching off your mobile phone range, internet connection and all your utilities, as well as arranging them to be connected at the other end. Shop around for best prices using websites such as uswitch .
Rob Hill, director of Greater London Properties, advises using the Royal Mail redirection service. “It’s vital with identity theft on the increase,” he says, adding that the quicker you inform the council, the quicker you’ll get a refunded council taxes.
Pressed for time? iammoving.com allows you to change your address details and notify over 1,500 organisations ranging from tool companies to membership cards for free. Meanwhile, auctions John D Real wood (johndwood.co.uk) provides a service for customers and sellers, that includes reading meters, closing or transferring utility accounts to the new property, valuation and auctioning of unwanted furniture and chattels, house clearance and locks changing. The service is free except for provider charges.
Get at least three written quotes from house movers, ideally using personal recommendations.
“Find out as much as you can about the firm,” says Martin Rose, spokesman for NGRS. “How long have they been in business? Will access to the new property allow for the size of their vans? Can they provide references? Most importantly, don’t believe cheapest is best. A lot of individuals do. They see house relocation as an unskilled job, but there’s a lot of risk involved. Also remember quotes may not be comparable. Does the quote include VAT? Can it cover insurance of your possessions in transit?”
If possible, get the packing done professionally. “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not expensive and there’s a chance insurance won’t cover anything you’ve packed yourself,” says a spokesman for Club. “Also, packing can be the most time consuming and irritating part of any move.”
Don’t take for granted that all of your furniture will automatically fit into your new property, says Andrew Scholey, founder of helpiammoving.com. “When you have any uncertainties, check the removal company can dismantle it.”
Ensure you get cancellation security in case the time is changed at the last second and label all containers, says Linda Jeffcoat, regional director of Stacks Property Search and Acquisition. “A practical belt-and-braces approach to this is colour-coding boxes and rooms.”
For DIY movements, hire a truck from a reputable hire car or vehicle company such as Thrifty, Organization or Europcar and always check across the truck before collection for any scuff marks or dents. A man with a truck is another option, but check they have a valid address rather than a PO box amount and a landline rather than simply a mobile. Don’t ignore insurance and if you need containers, helpineedboxes.co.uk and theboxstore.co.uk sell good quality ones, while eco-boxes.co.uk supply ones that may be collected afterwards.
Declutter and clean
There’s no better time for a clear-out than when moving home. Declutter one room at the same time, including all cupboards, cabinets and drawers – not forgetting the loft and garage – and remember William Morris’s dictum that “everything must either be useful or beautiful.” Can’t face it? Hire a professional clutterologist via housedoctor.co.uk, workingorder.co.uk or clutter- center.co.uk.
Delcuttering will save you money and time, insists Romaine Lowery, who runs the Clutter Clinic. “Get together ornaments, clothes, jewellery and furniture you could sell, then use the money to buy one thing you really dependence on the new house. You can simply sell items on eBay, at auction or on Gumtree.” And if you dispose of unneeded items before your removal quote, it will be less.
When you can afford it, employ an established cleaning company to clean the carpets in your new gaffe – it’s much easier than when your furniture is all in, although avoid a wet system, which needs more time to dry out.
Better still, give the whole place an once-over. Some companies such as servicemasterclean.co.uk do both. If money is tight, then consider a rug cleaning machine rental company, such as rugdoctor.co.uk.
Fact files, which include teaching service and leaflets information for the heating system and devices you’re leaving, are a godsend and can save you a great deal of “How do I?” phone calls. Compile one for the individuals who are moving into your home and ask for one to be put jointly for your brand-new property.
Reality data files also needs to include details of rubbish collection and recycling strategies, doctors, tradesmen and other useful services. Better still, detail paint brands an colours used on the walls, as well as useful information such as where the stopcock is located.
“Speak to the tenant or owner of your new home too if you can,” adds Rob Hill. “They have lived there, so will know all the pros and cons of the house from rubbish and recycling collection to the technique to unlocking that sticky aspect gate.”
If the new property has a burglar alarm, get the code. “We had a buyer move into a house where in fact the supplier got arranged their security alarm as they always did. None of us could turn it off and the vendor acquired shifted to Australia,” recalls Graham Lock, co-founder of housenetwork.co.uk.
On the day
Get someone to have your children and household pets and round up all the keys to your old home from neighbours, friends and relatives. Change the hair in your brand-new home too – you never know who has a set of tips. “On top of that, arrange a security assessment, says James Grillo, associate director of Chesterton Humberts’ country section. “Statistics show that you’re almost twice as likely to be burgled in the 12 months after moving house – 4.6 % compared with 2.5 per cent.”
If you’re using a removal solid, make sure they have the colour- coded layout of your new home. Arrange for permission for vans to park outside the property if necessary and if you’re renting, check the itinerary very carefully and always get your brand-new version countersigned by the agent or landlord. Even the smallest crack in the paintwork can become a big split during the time you live there and you also don’t want to lose your deposit.
“Give yourself a deadline of when all bins will be unpacked at your new home. Mine is three days,” says Romaine Lowery. If you can’t face unpacking, reallymoving.com provides information on trained workers to do it for you.
“Introduce yourself to neighbors when you can,” advises Lock. “It’s a nice way to start your brand-new life and they’ll be able to give you some advice about the area.”
Two (super-quick) men and a van
Sorting through, packaging and moving the assorted bits and bobs you acquire from several years of moving from rented flat to rented flat is a task you don’t look forward to – moving house is stressful. And when you work five-days-a-week you can multiply the stress rating by four. So whenever a friend suggested Green Man and Truck, a carbon-neutral removal company who come into your house, pack everything (they’ll even take your pictures off the wall), move it and then recycle the boxes and wrapping paper, I used to be as close to excited as you can be about such things. The first question though, was would it be too expensive? Surprisingly not. For £55 one hour you get two super-quick removal men who managed to wrap, pack, package and deliver a complete Transit van’s worthy of my stuff from western world to east London in little more than two hours. They came bang on time and even labelled the containers with the rooms they were taken from: cups in “kitchen” container; clothes in “bedroom”. And while a £110 isn’t an insignificant sum, when you considered they flipped a day’s work into half of a morning, it appears completely worth it.