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Moving home - top tips
Moving house is both exciting and daunting. But if you plan your move in advance, you'll cut back on the stress involved.
We’ve divided moving times up into when you find a home and your offer is accepted, and then the weeks and days immediately preceding your move.
Once your offer is accepted
- As soon as your offer for a property is accepted - and, if you're selling, once you've accepted an offer - you need to get a solicitor to do your conveyancing.
- You're then likely to have two to three months before you actually move in: The legal searches take a while, the money has to be forwarded by the mortgage lenders involved, and everyone in the chain has to be ready to complete on the same day.
- Once you've exchanged contracts, then completion could take place within a couple of days and certainly within a couple of weeks.
- Make an appointment with the estate agent responsible for the property you're buying.
- You'll want to visit your soon-to-be new home to work out where you're going to put your possessions, so take a measuring tape and pen and paper so you can make floor plans.
- Also double check what's being left by the vendors, such as curtains and appliances.
Three weeks before moving house
- Start looking into removal options. Get quotes from several companies and don't necessarily pick the cheapest.
- You'll pay more if you want the removal men to pack your stuff, but it's often worth it if you have a lot of possessions.
- If you're doing your own removal, arrange a van hire and get packaging materials together.
- You'll need to transfer your phone, broadband and utilities to your new home. If you're not moving around the corner, you might have to find the new supplier: The details supplied by the vendors should tell you who their suppliers are.
- Remember that with water and sewerage, you have to go with the company or companies supplying the area your new home is in: There's no shopping around here.
- Contact your council and tell them your moving date. And contact your new council too: You've got to pay them council tax.
- If you have children who will be swapping schools, tell their current school they are moving and make sure their new school knows when to expect them.
Two weeks before moving house
- Exchange of contracts should be about to happen: So you know you're finally moving!
- Once contracts have been exchanged, if you back out you'll have to pay your vendor 10%: As a result, very few deals fail after exchange and indeed, only a few collapse on the days leading up to exchange.
- As you've now got a moving date, tell your removal company.
- Arrange mail re-direction, so your post will arrive at your new home.
- However, do also try to tell companies before you go. Write a standard letter and just fill in the company details and any customer number you have.
- You can then tell all your banks, TV licensing, HM Revenue & Customs, DVLA, credit card companies and others of your new home.
- Many will demand you put this in writing, but some will accept an email detailing your new address.
- Also register your change of address to enable you to vote.
- You'll need to insure your new home and stop the insurance on your current home. Contact your insurer now - and look around for a good deal on cover for your new home.
- Double check the final moving date. Remember completion days can slip a few days, but by the time exchange of contracts is imminent - which it should be by now - you should have a set date.
One week before moving house
- Make final checks: Have you told everyone you should about the move?
- Remind the removal company about the removal date. You will usually have to have paid them by now.
- Check with your estate agents what will happen about collecting keys for your new home and handing over the keys on your old home.
The day before you move house
- Defrost your fridge if you're taking it with you.
- Pack a box of essential items for the move: Overnight clothes, toys for the children, identification documents and so on. Remember to put the kettle, mugs and pint of milk in there in the morning!
The day you move
- Read your gas, electricity and water meters and phone readings into your suppliers.
- Once your removal men have cleared the house, check nothing has been forgotten, then lock the house up and do whatever's been arranged with the key.
- You now need to wait for your solicitor to tell you that your sale has gone through - and that the money for your purchase has been forwarded to your vendor's solicitor.
- That's called completion and once that's happened, you can pick up the keys for your new home.
- When you are in your new home, ring through meter readings to your new water, gas and electricity suppliers.
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