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Moving House Checklist

We’ve put together a comprehensive moving house checklist to help make your move a little easier. Don’t worry, we won’t let you forget a thing! Please bear in mind the processes in this checklist do not apply to buying a home in Scotland.

Things to do when moving house

We’ve created the Moving Home Checklist to help you keep track of all the important steps along the way to moving home.

This list covers all the important tasks you need to complete your move, from hiring a conveyancer all the way up to your house warming party.

You can download a copy of this list, or sign up for our emails to get them in bite-sized chunks as you go through each stage of the process.

Happy moving!

1. Research your move

If you’ve found your new home and your offer has been accepted, it’s time to start your moving house checklist! With no complications, a straightforward move can take around 8 weeks to go through. It’s essential to get the legal side in place early on to ensure a smooth transaction of your property sale or purchase.

  • Do some research and get yourself a Conveyancing Solicitor - you can read our articles on what a conveyancing solicitor does, how much conveyancing costs and how to choose a great solicitor.
  • Find out what to consider when choosing a mortgage, and then arrange your mortgage
  • If you're looking to sell your property, compare estate agents at netanagent
  • Research your new area for information about local news and facilities
  • If you have kids, transfer their school records and order new uniforms
  • If you are currently renting, confirm your moving date with your landlord or estate agent
  • Get valuable possessions assessed for insurance and check if your insurance policy will cover your move. If not, your removals company should be able to provide cover – get it early to avoid any complications
  • Purchase a journal or file to keep documents and notes on your move – include to-do lists, important numbers, dates and details of conversations. You could also get a USB on your keyring to ensure you always have the necessary documents with you and back up everything to the cloud.

2. Arrange your home survey

With a little over a month until your moving day, you may want to start clearing out anything you don’t want to be moved to your new home. Having a good clear out will save you money on your removals, and make unpacking easier! You can start planning your move, even if you haven’t got a firm date yet. Have a look at what to consider when choosing a removals firm so you can know what questions to ask.

  • Figure out which survey you need and how to choose a surveyor
  • Compare costs on a RICS surveyor for your home survey
  • Make a full inventory of your possessions
  • Decide what to take to your new home and where you’ll put them – a floor plan of your new home may help; your seller or estate agent should have one
  • Find out the best ways to purge your unwanted possessions. Remember, removal companies quote on volume so the less you have to move, the cheaper your move will be
  • Look at How to choose a removal company and then get removals quotes
  • Collect packaging materials – your removal company may be able to supply you with them or you could get some through Bar Services
  • If you’re relocating due to a job move, find out what costs your employer will cover
  • Check the parking restrictions for large removals vehicles at your current home and at your new home.  Your removals firm may need to apply to the Council for permits

3. Finalise contracts and pack

With 1 month left before you move, you will probably have had a Chartered Surveyor inspect your new property and inform you of its structural condition. If there are issues, you may want to renegotiate your offer. You’ll now be able to talk to your solicitor about exchanging contracts and finalising your moving date so you can appoint your selected removal company and organise parking arrangements and permits for the removals vehicles at both addresses. It’s getting close!

  • Speak to your solicitor about exchanging contracts and finalise your moving date
  • If you haven't confirmed a date with your removals company, check their availability. If you've already got quotes for your move but haven't chosen a company, check their feedback through reallymoving.com.
  • As removals companies may charge a premium during busy times like bank holidays, Fridays and in the summer, see if you can be flexible.
  • Work out a route for your moving day - consider the route for the removals truck and if there are any low bridges or weight restricted areas
  • If you need storage facilities your removals company may be able to offer or recommend them. You can have a look at our guide on how to pick the right storage unit.
  • Organise to have your new house cleaned in between the old owners moving out and you moving in
  • You can order furnishings ready for arrival at your new home and book carpet fitters if any carpets need replacing. If you are having blinds or anything else fitted, and aren’t moving far, visit the property to check measurements in person. Otherwise use plans.
  • Start packing non-essential items and least used rooms – for information on when to pack which items check out our moving home guide
  • Clear out the loft, shed, and other storage and outside spaces - clean any gardening equipment you want the removals company to transport.
  • Notify relevant utilities companies and switch home insurance to your new home
  • Check that everything you are taking with you in the car fits
  • Book overnight hotel accommodation if the journey is a long one - many hotel chains offer regular promotions where rooms in less popular locations can be booked relatively cheaply

4. Get ready to move home

At this stage in your move it’s all about confirming important details in preparation for your move. If your removal company cannot provide additional services such as un-plumbing washing machines, disassembling/reassembling furniture and packing, it would be a good time to organise these too. On your moving day, you may want children or pets to stay with family members, meaning you can focus on getting everything moved efficiently.

  • Finalise details with the removals company – confirm times, emergency numbers, parking and directions
  • If relevant, check you have enough medication for the moving period
  • Arrange child and pet care for your moving day – give friends and family enough notice if you need help
  • Book people to carry out services if your removal company is not providing them e.g. house cleaning, dismantling of flat pack furniture, plumber for the dishwasher and washing machines
  • Safely dispose of all flammable materials and liquids that require specialist treatment – your removal company cannot move dangerous liquids
  • Cancel local services you receive and settle outstanding bills. Remember to consider any subscription boxes or magazines, along with newspapers, gardeners, cleaners, window cleaners or oil deliveries
  • Run down freezer foods and other perishables that won’t transport well

5. Update your address and get organised

It’s your final week at your old address before moving into your new home, and during this week the priority is organising, finishing packing and getting ready to go!

  • Keep all important documents together in a safe, but accessible, place.
  • Prepare a Moving Day Survival Kit containing everything you need to get you through the day feeling relaxed, calm and in control
  • Finish as much of your packing as possible so you have everything ready to go – make sure you do this systematically and don’t forget about outdoor toys and equipment
  • Cross-reference boxes to rooms – check out our advice on colour labelling boxes to make organisation easier on the day
  • Gather together keys for your current property and don't forget spares given to neighbours or friends
  • Give the post office your new address and arrange a mail redirection service
  • Defrost the fridge and freezer – ensure they are completely dry before moving
  • Return any borrowed items you might have forgotten about, like tools or books
  • Give away plants and flowers you won’t be taking with you – it is not easy for removal companies to move potted plants. If you are eager to take your plants have a look at our guide on transporting plants.
  • Wash and dry all linen and clothing – box up and label so it’s ready to be unpacked at your new house
  • Make arrangements to pay for your move and ensure you have sufficient cash assets in the bank for emergencies
  • Send out change of address cards to friends and relatives - for a full list of who to notify when moving house take a look at our Change of Address Checklist
  • Book a time to collect keys to your new home from the Estate Agent

6. Prepare to leave your old house

It’s your last 24 hours at your old address - it’s time for a final check and walk round the property to ensure nothing is forgotten. An overnight bag will help you settle into your new home and have a good night’s sleep. Make sure that this is separate from the items going with the removal lorry.

  • Walk around your house for a final, thorough check – take your time doing this to ensure you leave nothing behind
  • Pack a night bag for the family so you have your toothbrush, pyjamas, washbag and towels handy
  • Put together a mini-toolkit including a sharp knife for opening boxes on arrival
  • Ensure you have the keys to your new house, or have arranged to collect them in advance and gather together keys for all locks from your old home
  • Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged (and you’ve got your charger handy on the day)
  • If you are arranging help from family and friends on moving day, confirm the details with them and that they have your new address if they need it

7. Lock up and move out

On a day where emotions can run high, you can feel calm and in control with a plan, meaning you’ll know what you need to do in your final morning at the property. Be ready for when your removal company arrives so they can begin promptly. Identify whether any boxes need special care or are not to be taken by them. Make sure you take the meter readings for you to give to your providers and leave the keys for the new owner. It’s now time to move to your new home!

  • Record all utility meter readings for water, electricity and gas. We recommend taking a photo of the meters with your mobile phone. It may also be worth comparing providers to get a better deal.
  • Strip the beds and pack your bedding and curtains
  • Identify fragile boxes and items going with you in the car, so your removals team doesn't pack them
  • Ensure one person stays until your movers have finished packing to check the packing inventory – make sure you are happy everything is accounted for as you will have to sign as confirmation
  • Leave all the sets of keys as arranged for the new owners
  • Check all windows are secure and utilities are switched off
  • Make sure your movers have contact details for you, and confirm the address of the new property
  • Keep copies of contact details for your conveyancer, estate agent and removal company

8. Check your new property

When you arrive at your new home it’s important to make your removal company aware of any special instructions and that they know which room the boxes are headed to. Make sure you are happy that everything on your inventory is accounted for before your moving company leaves. But first things first – find your kettle!

  • Get the kettle, cups and supplies from your Moving Day Survival Kit. You can set up a coffee and tea station with water and snacks for when you need a break.
  • Confirm what is going where and any special instructions to your removal company. Make sure you have one person ready and available at the new property to guide them around the house. If you colour code the rooms on the floor plan to correspond with boxes this will make it easier for them. You could also stick a coloured piece of paper on each door to make it easier.
  • Account for each item on your inventory and check for any damaged or missing items. Only sign it when you’re happy
  • Unpack your Moving Day Survival Kit to ensure you’ve got everything you need to feel comfortable.
  • Place moving and other important documents in a safe place where you can easily find them in a sea of boxes – it sounds strange, but in the bath is a good option!
  • Read utility meters in your new home – take photos on your phone to keep them safe
  • Check that all the keys for the property work. If you’ve hired a locksmith to put new locks in, keep new keys separate from old ones.
  • Inspect the garden – make sure it is child/pet-proof if applicable (check for hidden ponds, broken fencing or access points that need securing)
  • Sweep for items – if the previous owners have left anything put it in a box and arrange for them to collect it later

9. Relax in your new home

After months of preparation and planning, you and your family are in your new home! After a busy moving day, don’t try to unpack everything at once. Make up the beds and then spend the evening relaxing with loved ones and a celebratory takeaway, and congratulate yourself on making it through the day.

  • Do a quick clean and tidy, then make the beds so you can fall straight into them after a busy day. We’re sure you’ll be eager for sleep.
  • Plug in your telephones, mobile phones and larger appliances such as fridges and freezers
  • Use the boiler and heating – ensure you know how to use it so you can have a hot shower and a warm house
  • Settle younger children in a room with some toys and treats
  • If possible, keep pets away until you’re settled in
  • Make a note of emergency contact numbers e.g. out of hours doctors, taxi numbers, vets, local hospitals etc
  • Don’t expect everything to be done immediately – order dinner and leave the unpacking for tomorrow. If you’re ordering a takeaway through an app or online be sure to update your delivery address!

Here are some things you may wish to do:

  • Let older children organise their own rooms – you may want to rearrange things in the future but it will help them feel at home
  • Rearrange deliveries - if you had milk, newspapers or subscriptions set up to your old address, you may want to start them again at your new property.
  • Compare energy prices to find a good deal on utilities.
  • Your neighbours may introduce themselves, but if they don’t, take the opportunity to say hello. They’ll likely have great tips about the area
  • Sort your bedroom – making your room a little more like yours with photos and personal items can make a big difference to comfort levels
  • After you've bought your home, considering drafting a new will. Whether you've had one before, or it's your first time making one, owning your home is an asset.
  • Leave feedback reviews for your solicitor, surveyor and removal company on reallymoving.com – you could win £100 of Amazon Vouchers!