Moving house stress... even the thought of it brings most people out in a cold sweat. Anyone who tells you that moving is a walk in the park probably hasn't done it for a number of years. Or ever!
It can mean blood, sweat and tears, but there are ways to ease the pain. Not to mention some genuine advantages like sparking that clear-out you've been meaning to do for the past two years!
HOW STRESSFUL IS MOVING HOUSE?
A Which? survey at the start of 2016 revealed adults considered moving house more stressful than having children, changing jobs or getting married. A huge 70% of the 1,990 people surveyed by the consumer website cited moving home stress as their top worry - pipped only by divorce as the biggest cause of anxiety and tension.
There's little to suggest much has changed in 2018. Follow this guide to a stress-free move, though, and you'll be relaxing in your new home wondering what all the fuss was about in no time!
1 THE IMPORTANCE OF A POST-OFFER VIEWING
It's human nature to let our hearts rule our heads when searching for a new home. But that should be reserved for the first viewing.
Making the most of a further viewing after your offer has been accepted is one way you can answer a whole host of questions early in the process.
* Find out where the water, gas and electricity meters are. The last thing you want when surrounded by boxes is to be scratching around trying to find the meters.
* As well as the meters, ask the vendor or agent where the fuse box and water stopcock are. Many new homeowners can encounter a nasty surprise shortly after moving in and if it involves electrics or water, you'll want to know how to shut those things off!
* Ask how the boiler works and get the lowdown on kitchen appliances that are remaining in the property. It sounds minor, but knowing how to operate a washing machine without having to scan the internet for a manual will be a huge help 24 hours after you've moved in.
* What days are the bins collected? Find this out. Chances are you will have a multitude of boxes and other rubbish to dispose of and missing 'bin day' will be a huge source of frustration as the boxes remain stacked up in the corner of the living room for another week...
2 REMOVALS OR GO DIY?
A big decision. While removals cost money, they are also in place to ease the burden and stress of doing everything yourself. This could be money well spent.
However, if you are on a tight budget or simply prefer to take control of your possessions, get a van booked early and try to rope in family or friends to help.
Alternatively, if you are undecided, take a look at the pros and cons of removals below...
* As well as doing the heavy lifting, they can provide a packing service
* They are experts in moving large items, so that sofa that really doesn't look like it will go through the lounge door, probably will once the removals team have a go
* Hiring a firm to move your possessions will almost certainly cost more than doing it yourself
* There is little flexibility on timings and you will need to have everything ready for a set time
* If you need to keep your costs down then hiring a van and some family or friends for the day could be for you
* You can complete the move at your own pace and in your own time
* It's hard labour. Be prepared to be sore the day after.
* You'll need to be confident driving a large van
3 SORT YOUR FINANCES EARLYA vast number of property sales are held-up while solicitors wait for funding. If you have your deposit ready to go, transfer it to your solicitor the week before your completion day and ask your solicitor to request that all other people in the chain do the same.
4 MAKE AN 'ADDRESS CHANGE' LIST
It pays to draw up a list of companies / people you need to inform of your change of address. However, you'll almost certainly forget one or two so we would always recommend you engage post redirection with Royal Mail for at least six months.
That way, when the letter from the Building Society with whom you have an ISA that you never use turns up, you can inform them of your new address at that later date.
5 BE ORGANISED AND STRATEGIC WITH PACKING
Arrange your boxes or storage well in advance of moving day. Place them in the appropriate rooms and label them clearly.
Once you have exchanged contracts, start packing. While you are doing so, think about how much you really need each item.
Moving home can be a great opportunity to rid yourself of things you never use. Place items you no longer want in their own box and either take it to the charity shop in advance of completion day or try selling things online through sites like Gumtree or Facebook.
If you are using a removals company, make sure each box is clearly labelled by room so they know where to put it - the last thing you want is a pile of boxes in the living room that should have been put upstairs.
6 USE SEALABLE PLASTIC BAGS FOR NUTS AND BOLTS
Some people tape fittings to things like table legs and then recoil in frustration when they are missing that crucial bolt for the dining room table.
Place all your screws, nuts, washers, brackets and bolts in resealable plastic food bags and then label them appropriately. Then place them in the box appropriate to the room. Cables for TVs and internet hubs should be taped up and, again, placed in the correct boxes.
7 YOUR MOVING DAY SOS KIT
Chances are, you'll need a screwdriver or drill on the day. We can almost guarantee it.
So if all of your tools are at the far end of the removal van, finding them will be a needle in a haystack scenario.
Here is a list of some crucial things you may need to put your hands on quickly on moving day. Put them in the car, rather than the van!
* Bottled water - lots of it!
* A screwdriver - if it's electric, make sure it's charged!
* Sandwiches and snacks - moving is hungry / thirsty work
* A hand towel - your hands will get sweaty and dirty
* Bleach, cloths and washing up liquid - even though they're in boxes, your mugs and plates will be dirty when they arrive at your new home
* Bin bags - you will need them! Trust us!
* Vacuum cleaner - all those feet trekking in and out of your new home will mean a dirty carpet
* Mop or floor wipes - like the carpets, heavy moving day traffic on tiles and laminate flooring will leave them needing a wipe
* A meter key - you'll need to take readings to start your accounts
8 TAKE THE METER READINGS
Remember that meter key in the bullet point above? Now you'll be pleased you kept it on your person!
Before the excitement strikes and you hurtle around planning colour schemes and loft conversions, take your meter readings and photograph them on your smartphone.
First thing in the morning, give the utility companies a call and go online to change your TV licence over to the new address.
9 RESEARCH TAKEAWAYS
The last thing you'll want to be doing after a full day of moving is cooking in a kitchen stacked to the ceiling with boxes.
Equally, you won't want to spend hours looking through your phone at potential takeaway restaurants.
Have a look online a few days before you move and pick out a tasty Chinese, Indian or Thai takeaway venue... and don't forget to tell them you have moved into the area - you might get a discount as a welcome gift!