Organise your move
Last Update July 26th, 2016.
* Check solicitors and estate agents will be around on completion date and have back-up details.
* Move in a day or two after completion where possible
* Get professional cleaners in first
* Send kids elsewhere if they are not old enough to help
* Have accomodation options (a local hotel) and furniture storage options in case of delay
* Allow plenty of time – expect delays
* Reserve residents parking in advance for the removals van and obtain a permit
Your completion and moving date are important to you and you only. As much as your solicitor and the Estate Agent may act friendly, they are providing a service for a fee, so they won’t be overly considerate towards you, as a friend would. What we are getting at here is that you need to chase them up and check they will be around for completion date.
If not, you must get a back up name and phone number of a colleague (perhaps ask for this anyway). If you know they will be absent, impress on them the importance of their colleagues knowing all the details and being available for you. People covering for colleagues are rarely as diligent as the actual person you have a relationship with.
Move in Late if you can
Typically with UK property, the majority of property buyers were in a ‘chain’ where they would sell the property they owned and buy a new property at the same time. Exchange of contracts and Completion would be timed to the same day as funds from the sale are needed to buy the new property. This also means a frantic completion day where both sides are awaiting the money to be transferred and final sign off from the solicitors before the Estate Agent can ‘release the keys.’
Standing outside your new home, with the removal men and a truck full of furniture, calling your solicitor every 5 minutes to find out when you can get in, is not fun, but is the reality if you are part of a chain. That chain could involve several buyers (who are also selling) so the co-ordination can feel epic. Be patient and our best tip is to ensure you have an option of alternative accomodation for the night (a local hotel, friends or relatives). Also check your removal company can store your items overnight if need be, without too much extra cost.
Clean Up Time
Wherever possible then, it’s best to move in a day or two after completion, if you have that option. It allows you to go in a day after completion and clean up first (sellers rarely leave the property in pristine condition). Professional cleaners dealing in house moves are best if you can afford it (they are cheaper than you would think) as they will send several people to clean up. If you want your furniture cleaned after being moved, have them start in the morning, then get the removals men to turn up at midday and they will be able to clean the house then your goods.
You can also assess decoration works that need doing (when pictures and televisions come off walls, curtains are removed and wardrobes taken away, you’d be susprised at the dust, dirt and discoloured walls left behind). If you move furniture in straight away it’s harder to step back and take note of all the work you may want to do.
Time to get rid of Kids and Pets!
Peace of mind on ‘moving day’ means being able to focus. If you can, send babies and children off to family or friends for the day and first night if possible (getting a home into ‘sleeping condition’ for kids is a challenge on day 1). Only children that are old enough to help and not complain (teenagers) should stick around. Pets should also be housed elsewhere, from the night before the move until a day after the move, if possible.
Be patient. Everything on completion day tends to get delayed and if you are moving in on the same day it’s guaranteed you will run late. Just be patient and make sure your removal team don’t have another job they have to rush off to, after your move.
Ensure you check availability of removal companies when you are moving towards Exchange. If you leave it until Exchange you may find everyone is booked for a few weeks (especially in Spring/ Summer). You can always reserve a removal slot and tell them you will confirm on Exchange day.
Parking. Should you be moving to a flat or a central London location without off street parking, it’s likely that to park right outside the property the removal truck will need a permit. First find out how big the vehicle will be, then contact the Boroough Council (e.g. Westminster). Tell them you are moving and request a permit for the delivery truck or van and ask if you can ‘suspend parking’ in the bays outside the property. This will allow easier access when all that furniture needs to be moved. If it saves the movers time, it may reduce your removal bill. If not, it at least gets you in quicker, avoids overtime charges and reduces the risk of your furniture being damaged – especially if it’s raining.
Contents insurance is your responsibility – will you have a higher value of belongings in your new place? Get a higher limit up front otherwise you will have to keep paying administration charges to increase your cover (my company charges £20 a time). Tell your insurers if you are increasing coverage in anticipation of buying extra furniture, televisions and pictures. Ask if this is the right way to go about it as different companies have varying rules on ‘over insuring’ yourself.
If you haven’t had contents cover before make sure it is in place by completion day. Everyone should check if their insurer has any requirements such as certain type of locks. Usually minimum standards apply – such as five-lever mortice locks on the main doors that meet British Standards. It is very important you check this or just get new locks if in doubt, otherwise your insurance will be voided. Double check if you will be storing bikes in a different place than your old home – this also makes a difference that can stop a claim being paid.
Make a Contents Inventory – we rarely have a true inventory of our belongings. Use your move as a perfect time to list everything and it’s value. As insurance companies generally pay replacement value you can just search the internet for prices of items you are not sure of, or if you think the price of something may have risen. Take pictures of all your expensive items – they are great evidence.
Digital contents. These days we have such high value stored in digital format – huge song collections from iTunes, downloaded movies, programs and lots of expensive software uploaded onto PC’s, laptops and Apple everything. Have you included the value of these on your contents insurance?
You must inform the car insurance company of your address change before you move, and if you will be parking in a different way (e.g. on the street instead of in a driveway). Should moving mean you will now be commuting by car, make sure you add this to your policy. using the car just once to travel to work will leave you uninsured on that journey if you haven’t asked your insurance to cover you for commuting.
Naturally, if you will no longer be commuting using your car (that includes not driving to the station car park to catch a train); if you now have a driveway or garage for your car or if you’ve moved to a ‘safer’ area, then try and get some money off your insurance, even if it’s only at your next renewal time.
As noted in our Exchange of Contracts guide you must have buildings insurance in place for the Exchange date – not the Completion day. Trust us on this, if the house burns down between exchange and completion you will be liable to buy it at full price and then pay out of your own pocket for the rebuild. With flats, this cover is usually taken out for the whole building by the management company and paid for as part of the service charge – double check, or ask your solicitor to confirm this. For houses buildings insurance is broken down into ‘land value’ and ‘cost of rebuild.’ For a£750,000 house, the cost of rebuild is likely only £300,000. Ask your surveyor for estimated rebuild cost and land value as you will need this to get a policy.
Backup Everything Digital
Special Tip: backup computers, laptops, even iPads and tablets if you can before you move. Moving subjects everything to the possibility of being damaged or lost. If the hard drive on your computer was damaged on the move from being jostled around, would all those pictures, songs, worksheets, notes and spreadsheets be backed up elsewhere? Do it in advance, close to your move so everything is upto date. Then store the backups at work or somewhere safe (away from the home). If you can backup to a Cloud system, this should be even safer.