Top 10 Tips for Moving Day

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Katy Owen, Associate of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, ACILEX | 23rd May 2022

Moving home is notorious for being one of the stressful experiences that we go through, especially if you are moving house for the first time. However, proper planning and these helpful tips will hopefully make the process go as smoothly as it can.

1. Removals

We strongly advise that you do not make firm arrangements until a completion date has been agreed and contracts have been exchanged. You should check with your solicitor before booking and paying for removals. Once a completion date has been proposed, you should confirm with your preferred removal company (or van hire company) that they have availability for that day. Once the completion date has been agreed, you can then make the confirmed booking with the removal firm. Please also note that the removal van should be big enough to hold all your possessions in a single trip as you will not be able to return to the property for multiple trips in your van after you have completed.

2. Children & Pets

The moving day can be very hectic, and there may also be periods of time where you might have to wait around to gain access to your new home so it might be a good idea to ask friends or family to look after any small children or pets on the day that you are moving. This will allow you to focus on packing and unpacking your belongings. Both children and pets can find the moving process anxiety inducing so ensuring they are being looked after during the move will hopefully reduce this, and also reduce the stress to the adults on the day!

3. Meter Readings & stopcock

It is a good idea to take a final meter reading for your gas and electric meters, both when you leave the old property for the final time, and when you arrive in your new home. This will allow you to provide these figures to the utility companies and ensure you are being billed for the correct amount. You should also make sure you know the location of the gas safety shut-off valve and the water stopcock in the new property in the event you need to turn this off in an emergency

4. Packing & labelling & furniture

When you are packing your belongings in the run up to the moving day, it is usually easiest to pack room-by-room, making sure that you clearly label the boxes with the intended location (eg. Bathroom, Office) etc. It may also be helpful to label the boxes with a brief summary of what is inside (e.g. Kitchen – Plates & Cups). This saves time when you are unpacking the boxes when you are moving into the new home. If you are not planning on taking large pieces of furniture with you, but they are still in good condition, try selling them on social media market groups or arrange for a charity to collect them before completion.

5. Clean & Tidy

During the process of the sale, the seller of a property will likely sign a Property Information Form, which forms part of the agreement between the seller and the buyer. This forms states that “all rubbish will be removed from the property (including from the loft, garden, outbuildings, garages and sheds) and that the property will be left in a clean and tidy condition”. If you are selling a property, it is a good idea to leave enough time to ensure you can give the property a good clean before you leave for the final time, and check that you haven’t accidentally left any belongings behind in the attic or shed etc.

6. Box of first day / first night essentials

When packing, make sure to have prepared a first day and first night box. Occasionally, the keys for your new house may not be available for you to collect until late in the afternoon, and unloading all of your belongings often takes longer than expected. It is a good idea to have a box with you in your car that contains all the essentially that you might need for your first 24 hours in the property.
Some packing suggestions include:

  • Kettle, mugs, tea & coffee
  • Snacks & cold drinks
  • Cash money for tipping the removal company & for a takeaway for your first night in the property 
  • Phone chargers
  • Any important documents such as passports etc
  • Medications
  • Toiletries for the first night including toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet rolls, shower gel
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Baby and pet supplies (if needed)
  • Pyjamas and a change of clothes for the following day

7. Dropping off and Collecting the Keys

If selling:

The Contract for sale will usually state that you will leave the property no later than 2pm on the day of completion. Please check with your conveyancer the correct time in your specific case. The purchaser’s solicitor will send us the full balance for the property on the completion date.

Once we receive this money we will notify you the sale is complete and you will need to drop the keys off to the estate agents for your buyers to collect. You can leave the property at any time up until the time specified in the contract. Most people load their van early in the morning and leave the property clean and tidy for the new owners by lunchtime. If you don’t vacate by the agreed completion time, you will be in breach of contract and may possibly face further financial penalty.

If buying:

Once we have all of the money to buy your property, on the day of completion we will send the money to your sellers’ solicitors to purchase the property for you. There may be an interim period to wait while the money is being sent between the banks. Your sellers do not have to vacate until the vendor’s solicitors have received the completion funds and the vendors have vacated the property. The vendors only have to vacate by the agreed completion time (again, this is usually 2pm but please check with your conveyancer). There may be a period of time when you have to wait for access to your new property and you may have a moment to rest and have some refreshments.

Once the other side solicitors confirm they have received the monies we have sent, they will then also release the keys to the estate agents which you will then be able to collect and enter your new property. We will then call you and advise you may collect the keys.

8. Changing address

In the run up to your move, make a list of all the parties who will need to know your new address, such as your bank or building society, mobile phone company, employer, GP, dentist, local council, HMRC, children’s schools, vets etc. Once you have moved in, make sure to contact everyone on your list and get them to update your details.

9. Old post and redirecting post

You can use the Royal Mail’s postal redirection service to ensure that any bills or other mail you’ve not changed your address for still reaches you. You can choose to get post redirected for three, six or 12 months, costing from £33.99.

If you receive any post at your new address which was intended for the old occupier, you must not open it. If the mail has your address, but not your name, put a cross through the address and write ‘Not known at this address’ or ‘No longer lives here’ and put it back in a postbox.

10. Protect against property fraud in the future

Once you have completed your move and are settled in your home, the last thing you would want is to fall victim to property fraud. Property fraud is where fraudsters try to “steal” your property, most commonly by pretending to be you and selling or mortgaging your property without your knowledge.

The Land Registry offer a Property Alert service, whereby if you sign up to receive alerts about your property, you will receive an email each time there is significant activity on the property you are monitoring, such as if a new mortgage is taken out against it.

You can sign up via the government website here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert

The alert will tell you the type of activity (such as an application to change the register or a notification that an application may be due), who the applicant is and the date and time it has been received. Signing up to Property Alert won’t automatically stop fraud from happening. You will need to decide if the activity on the property is potentially fraudulent. The alert email will tell you who to contact if you suspect someone is trying to commit property fraud.

To find out more about our Residential & New Homes departments, please contact a member of our team.