Your house-moving checklist

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the different things you need to sort out when moving to a new house or flat.

There’s not only a whole lot of admin to deal with, but every stage of moving comes with its own unique costs. It’s important to know what to expect and plan well in advance so you don’t get caught out by any unexpected expenses at the last minute.

Here’s a simple checklist of some of the main things you should be aware of and the costs you’re likely to face. We’ve split it into a few sections: the costs you’ll incur before you move into your home, who you need to tell that you’re moving, moving day itself, and then the things you’ll need to think about once you’re in your new home.

1. Know the initial costs

Before you even start looking for a property to buy or rent, it’s worth sitting down and crunching some numbers so that you know exactly what sort of costs you’ll face to secure your new home. Here’s a quick reminder of some of these.

If you’re buying your new home:

  • You’ll need to put down a deposit if you’re taking out a mortgage to purchase a property. This will typically be between 5-20% of the value of the property you’re buying, but may be more if you have a decent chunk of savings available. The bigger the deposit you can afford to put down, the wider the choice of mortgage options you’ll have available to you at competitive rates

  • Mortgage fees will usually apply, such as an arrangement fee for setting up the mortgage, plus a mortgage valuation fee for the lender’s valuation of the property

  • Your lender will require you to take out buildings insurance on your new home to cover it for damages from fires, floods and so on. You might also want to take out a contents insurance policy to protect your belongings. You can find out more about home insurance in our article Your essential guide to home insurance

  • If you hire a conveyancer, also known as a conveyancing solicitor, to help with the legal side of homebuying, then you will have to pay them for their services. Fees can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand depending on the value of the property you’re purchasing and how complicated the transaction is, so it’s worth getting a few quotes before proceeding to make sure you’ve found the best possible deal

  • It’s a good idea to pay for a survey on your new home by a professional surveyor. The type of survey you will need will depend on the size, type and age of the property, and range from a basic Homebuyer survey to a more comprehensive buildings survey. Be prepared to budget anything from around £250 up to £1,000 depending on the type of survey you choose

  • If you’re buying property in England or Northern Ireland then you may have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Stamp Duty has been waived on property purchases up to £500,000 until 30 June, and from the 1st of July will be tapered so that it applies to any property worth £250,000 or more (except for first-time buyers, who don’t have to pay Stamp Duty if buying a property costing up to £500,000 indefinitely). From the 1st of October, this threshold will be lowered to properties costing £125,000 or more. Find out more about how Stamp Duty works in our guide Stamp duty explained

If you’re renting your new home:

If you are renting a property, you’ll need to put down a tenancy deposit, which is usually equivalent to around one month’s rent (though it may be more or less than this). You may also have to pay a holding deposit of about a week’s rent, in order to reserve the property.

Some landlords may also ask that you pay one or two months’ rent in advance before moving in. This means that you’ll often be paying rent for months in advance after you move in.

2. Who do I need to tell that I’m moving?

You’ll probably already have told your friends and family about your move, but remember there are plenty of companies and organisations that you’ll need to notify as well. 

You’ll have to let all of your utility providers know you’re moving and cancel your current services so that you don’t continue to be billed for services you’re not using. These include:

  • Water
  • Gas and/ or electricity
  • Landline (let your mobile company know you’re moving too, though you won’t have to cancel anything)
  • Internet
  • TV license

Make sure that your GP surgery knows that you’re moving, and remember to register with your new local GP as soon as possible once you’re in your new home. If you have a prescription that needs to be refilled often, make sure that you have enough of your medication for the move. You’ll also need to inform your dentist, optician, vet and any other medical specialists you see regularly.

You’ll also need to let your bank know, as well as any other companies you’re involved with financially. These may include:

  • Your employer
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance providers
  • Private pensions
  • HMRC (for tax, benefits, and so on)
  • Additional savings accounts
  • Building societies
  • Student Loans Company

If you receive any regular subscription services then remember to change your address with them too. We’ll talk a bit more about how to redirect your post with the Royal Mail in the next section.

You should make sure to inform any schools, colleges or universities that you or anyone else in your household are currently attending, and give them your new address. Even if you’re only moving locally and your children won’t need to switch schools, they should still have your updated address on record.

Let the electoral register know, and don’t forget to register to vote from your new address.

You’ll also need to let the DVLA know in order to update your driving license. You can find out how to do this at GOV.UK.

3. What costs will I have to pay on moving day?

The actual process of moving all your possessions from one home to another comes with its own costs that are easy to overlook, especially if you haven’t moved for several years.

For example, you’ll have to pay removal costs if you plan to hire professional movers to safely take your belongings from A to B. It’s worth getting quotes from multiple companies and checking reviews online to find movers who you can rely on. The British Association of Removers (BAR) approves and helps regulate particular companies that they consider trustworthy, and is a good place to get price estimates.

Make sure you check that any removal firm you’re considering using is insured. If not, or you’re moving your belongings yourself, then it’s a good idea to consider removal insurance, which can cover the cost of any belongings that get stolen or damaged during the moving process.

Think about whether you’ll need to pay storage costs too, if it’s a drawn-out move and you can’t move straight into your new home from your old one. As with removal firms, it’s a good idea to compare prices and security arrangements, and figure out how long you’ll need storage for (as this will affect the cost).

If you’re moving out of a rented property then you’ll be expected to leave it clean (check your contract if you’re unsure). If it’s a large property, or you simply expect to be too busy to clean it yourself, then it could be worth hiring a professional cleaner to make sure the property is left in a suitable state (if not, then your landlord may be able to charge you for cleaning costs, which may well be more expensive). If you are bringing your fridge and freezer to your new house, make sure to empty and defrost them so that they are completely dry for the move.

If you need to redirect mail to your new address then you can do so with the Royal Mail Redirection service for periods of 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. Even if you let everyone know your new address and change it on your relevant accounts, there’ll usually be a few companies or people you receive post from that slip through the cracks. Setting up a redirection can ensure that anything that does will be automatically sent to your new place.

Finally, walk yourself through the moving day or days in your head and think about any other costs that could add up. For example, do you have pets that you might need to pay to have looked after while you move? Will you want to make a big grocery shop (or if you won’t have the time straight away, will you need to order takeaways for a day or two)? Keep all these things in mind, as they can soon mount up.

What else do I need to remember for moving day?

With the number of things to keep track of leading up to moving day, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller stuff. Don’t forget to:

  • Label your boxes with what’s inside them, and what room they need to go in in your new property so you know where they need to go

  • Keep important documents together somewhere easily accessible, like a clearly-marked folder

  • Bring lightbulbs, toilet paper and anything else that you might need shortly after settling in

  • Similarly, it can be a good idea to prepare a box of things you can use to easily relax for a bit once you’ve arrived in your new property. For example, you could have a box especially for your kettle, cups, tea and biscuits

  • If you made spare keys to give to friends or neighbours, make sure you’ve gathered these before moving so you can give them to the people moving into your old property

  • On the day, do a final meter reading so that your last bills for that property will be as fair as possible. Additionally, make sure your old providers have your new address so they know where to send the last bills

  • Before leaving, do a final sweep to make sure that all the rooms are empty and everything is switched off

4. Get to grips with your new budget and bills

Once you’re all moved in then there are still a few important things to sort out. Your monthly outgoings are likely to change after moving home, especially if you’ve upsized or downsized, so it’s important to get a sense of your new living costs as soon as possible so you can budget effectively.

Most obviously you will have your rent or mortgage payments to cover each month. If these are higher than the amount you’ve been paying previously, you’ll need to work out whether you might need to make cutbacks elsewhere. Our guide How to save money – 17 money saving tips has lots of suggestions which may help.

You’ll also have new household bills. Remember that you don’t need to stick with the suppliers the previous occupant used – this is your chance to shop around a bit and see if you can find better deals. You can compare energy deals using this energy comparison tool, whilst this broadband and TV comparison tool can help you compare broadband packages.

If your survey happened to pick up any issues that you need to address, and these weren’t resolved prior to exchange of contracts, then you will have to factor in maintenance costs for dealing with these.

Then of course there’s your Council Tax, which will depend on the value of your home, what your local council charges and whether you are eligible for any discounts (such as if you live alone or are on low income).

Though it’s not financial, it’s also a good idea to find out when bins are collected from your new property as soon as possible, as you may well have a lot of rubbish left over from the move.

Finally…

Moving home is rarely without stress, but good foresight and planning can make a world of difference, and mean you won’t face any unexpected surprises along the way. The more you can budget for in advance, the less you’ll have to worry when those costs arise. For a detailed breakdown of some of these expenses, check out our article How much does it cost to move house?

Or, if you’re still on the hunt and could use some house-hunting tips, check out our guide on 11 common mistakes homebuyers make (and how to avoid them).

Do you have any moving day tips that you wouldn’t mind sharing? If so, we’d be interested in hearing from you. You can join the money conversation on the Rest Less community or leave a comment below.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

See deals from the whole of the market to find out what you could save. Or, if you’d like to talk to someone, you can get high quality, fee-free mortgage advice from Fluent – our experienced broker partner. Call 01204 899582 or request a callback below.

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