Finding your first home can be exciting, but actually buying your first home can be terrifying! It’s such a long and complex process that by the time you’ve exchanged contracts and completed the sale you’ll probably be worn out. After all the applications and surveys, insurance and mortgages, and of course the anxious waiting after making your offer, finally there will be the date that you can pick up your new keys and move in. But don’t relax yet, there’s still so much to do before you can call your house a home…
As soon as you can
Once you know when you will have your keys, you’ll have to plan your moving-in date. First things first – it will probably take more than a weekend to get everything the way you want, especially with friends and relatives dropping in to be nosy at your new home! So make sure you book a few days off work, and if you do manage to get sorted early, you’ll have some spare time to relax in your new home.
If you are currently renting, you’ll have to give your landlord adequate notice. It’s tempting to time it for the day you move in so you aren’t paying rent and mortgage, but give yourself a few days leeway to make sure you have time to clean your old home and check you have everything you need in your new one.
You’ll also need to inform your existing utility and telephone companies of your moving date ready to set up new accounts in your new home.
Once you have your moving date, it’s essential you contact:
- Gas, electricity, water and telephone companies
- Your local council to arrange new Council Tax payments
- The Post Office to set up a mail re-direct for post still going to your old home
There’s absolutely no need to cart around a load of rubbish that you don’t want or need, so have a clear out when you know moving day is approaching. Donate, recycle, gift and throw away anything you don’t need!
Finally, and most importantly, book a removals company to assist you on the big day. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can do it yourselves, the amount of car trips you’ll have to make will be exhausting and an experienced removals team can really relieve the stress – not to mention help with the heavy lifting! Just be sure to use a firm that is accredited by the British Association of Removers and make sure they have insurance to cover your belongings in transit.
A few days before
Confirm all the details with the removal company, check what time they will be coming, what services they are providing, e.g. a full packing service, packing materials or even specialist services for fragile belongings and check access restriction at your new and old properties. The day will run much more smoothly if you know exactly what will be happening and a decent company will be happy to put your mind at rest!
Begin to pack your belongings. Be methodical, do one room at a time and label each box with the contents and the destination room. Again a good removals company can provide this service for you, or if you would rather do it yourself, they can supply all the packing materials. Be sure to pack all your most valuable belongings and important documents somewhere safe so they don’t get lost. Maybe even put them into short term, secure storage until you have your new home ready.
Remember not to pack the things you will need in the next few days, and make an ‘essentials box’ that you will have easy access to on the day. This will include things you will need on moving day, such a kettle, enough mugs for everyone that will be helping, tea, coffee, milk (UHT might be best) and sugar, as well as loo roll, light bulbs, pens and sticky notes. It’s also a good idea to have some cleaning supplies available, like cleaning cloths, a vacuum and rubbish bags.
Set aside some time to ring around and everyone who may need to contact you at your new address and give them your new details. This includes:
- Bank, credit card and insurance companies
- The Inland Revenue and your employer
- The DSS office, DVLA and Council Tax office
- Your doctor and dentist
On moving day
So the day is finally here and hopefully your preparation will help everything move smoothly. Move your essential boxes first, and when you get to your new home make sure all utilities are connected, including electricity, water and phone and take your own meter readings. Record them with a time stamped photograph if possible to save disputes in the future.
Then it should just be a matter of overseeing your removals team, making sure each box is put in the right room, especially heavy furniture like your bed and wardrobe, sofas, dining table and appliances. Your removals company should take care of this.
Remember not to unpack everything at once. Be as methodical as you were when you packed them, and do one box and one room at a time. The most important room is your bedroom as you will want somewhere to sleep when after such a busy day!