Moving home doesn’t just require physical stamina – it puts a huge amount of pressure on you emotionally and mentally and that’s why it can feel so stressful.
“Moving house is proven to be one of the most stressful times of your life,” says Martin & Co’s Managing Director Ellie Hall.
“But with careful planning and preparation you can manage your move better.”
In this guide, we’re providing some great tips to ease the stress of moving house, alongside a detailed moving house checklist to help you keep on top of things and enjoy a less stressful move.
The house moving process
As soon as you’re offer is accepted, the process of moving begins.
One great way to reduce the stress that comes with buying a house is knowing what to expect, when to expect it and how long it’ll take:
1. Pre-contract: 4 – 12 weeks
Once you’re offer is accepted, your solicitor will start drafting your contract alongside your seller’s solicitor.
At this stage of the process, you’ll also:
- Finalise your mortgage offer
- See your solicitor carry out searches
- Have a survey done on your new home
2. Exchange of contracts: 24 hours
As soon as your mortgage offer is in place, searches and your survey are completed, your solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller’s side.
At this point, you’ll pay your deposit into your solicitor’s account, agree a completion date, and your purchase will be legally binding.
Your solicitor will also draw funds from your mortgage lender ready for completion.
Once you’ve exchanged contracts, you should:
- Get a building insurance policy in place for your new home
- Sign any remaining documents for your solicitor
3. Completion: 1 – 2 weeks
Your completion and moving day will usually be a week or two after you exchange contracts, although this can vary depending on yours and your seller’s needs.
On completion day, your solicitor will:
- Transfer all funds to the seller’s side
- Redeem your mortgage if you’re also selling your existing home
Once all money is where it needs to be, the seller’s estate agent will hand you the keys to your new home.
4. Post completion: 1 – 2 weeks
Although you’ll now be settling into your new property, your solicitor’s work isn’t quite finished.
After completion, they will:
- Pay any stamp duty you owe
- Register your ownership with the Land Registry
- Obtain your title deeds and send these to you and your mortgage lender
9 tips for a stress-free move
1. Have a post-offer viewing
A lot of moving home stress is caused by unknowns.
Having a further viewing after your offer has been accepted means you can get important answers to things that can cause stress later in the process.
When on your post-offer viewing, you should:
- Find out where the water, gas and electricity meters are, so you can easily take readings on moving-in day
- Find out where the fuse box and stopcock are, so you can deal with any potential electricity or water issues when you move in
- Ask the agent or seller how the boiler works and find out how kitchen appliances that are remaining in the property function, so you know how to use them on moving day
- Find out what day the bins are collected as it’s likely you’ll have lots of boxes and other rubbish to dispose of quickly once you’ve moved in
2. Weigh up the pros and cons of removals companies
While using a removals company costs additional money, it’s often the best way to ease the physical burden of moving home.
But if your budget for moving is tight, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of hiring a removals team against hiring a van and moving your own things.
As well as doing the heavy lifting, they can provide a packing service
Hiring a firm to move your possessions will almost certainly cost more than doing it yourself
They are experts in moving large items, often through tight spaces
There is little flexibility with busy companies, 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 save you money
Moving your own belongings is physically hard and can be stressful
You can complete the move at your own pace and in your own time
You'll need to be confident driving a large van
3. Arrange your finances as early as possible
One of the most stressful aspects of moving is the amount of money involved.
Whether it’s your deposit, your mortgage or all the other expenses involved, the financial aspect of moving home can take its toll mentally.
By arranging your finances early, however, you can take the pressure off.
- Understand and budget for all the small costs in advance, such as mortgage fees and conveyancing disbursements
- Transfer your deposit to your solicitor well in advance of exchanging contracts, so any issues can be dealt with before the day of exchange
4. Write a list of people who need to know your new address
The number of companies, authorities, and people you’ll need to inform of your new address can be vast.
So, spend some time writing up a list of everyone who’ll need to know about your move.
That could include:
- Your doctor and dental surgeries
- Your children’s school(s)
- Your employer(s)
- Your bank
- Insurance companies
- Credit lenders or pension companies
- The local council
- The DVLA
- TV Licensing
- Any subscription services you have
- All your friends and family
If you’re worried you may have forgotten someone, it can pay to set up a mail redirection service, so any post is diverted to your new address before it reaches your previous home.
5. Pack a moving day survival kit
Make sure you pack a bag or box of essentials that travel with you on your moving day rather than in a removals van with your other belongings.
After a long day moving, being unable to find something you really need can be extremely stressful.
“Remember to always have a box handy for a toilet roll, scissors, washing up liquid, kettle, mug and tea bags and anything else you may need straight away when you arrive at your new home,” advises says Martin & Co’s Managing Director Ellie Hall.
Your moving day survival kit could also include:
- Bottled water
- Phone charger
- A small set of tools
- Bin bags
- A hand-held vacuum cleaner
- Floor and surface wipes
- A meter key
- A radiator bleed key
Your checklist for moving house
The list of things you need to do before moving can seem daunting.
But by breaking it down into weekly tasks, you’ll be able to make it more manageable and certainly less stressful.
Eight weeks before
With your solicitor taking care of all your pre-contract work, you can start preparing for your move:
- Get quotes from removals companies or van hire firms
- Insure valuable items ahead of your move
- De-clutter your home and either sell or donate things you no longer want
- Pack up essential items like your passport, birth certificates, financial documents, and anything else important
- Give your landlord notice if you’re renting and are able to do so under the terms of your tenancy
Six weeks before
Packing up your things ahead of your move is often the most daunting and stressful aspect of moving – but it’s never too early to start
Make a packing list for moving by:
- Drawing a line down a piece of paper
- G around your home room by room
- Write down items in the left-hand column that you’ll sell or donate
- Write items in the right-hand column that you’ll take with you
“Don’t overwhelm yourself packing everything at once and take it step-by-step and room-by-room,” advises says Martin & Co’s Managing Director Ellie Hall.
As well as preparing for packing, six weeks before your move you should also:
- Start looking for buildings insurance quotes for your new home
- Begin shopping around for any new items of furniture you’ll need
- Shop around for storage if you need it and get some quotes
- Think about who’ll look after your pets or children on moving day
Four weeks before
You should now be getting close to exchanging contracts with your seller if you haven’t done so already.
Exchange is the point your purchase becomes legally binding, and your mortgage lender will almost certainly require you to have your buildings insurance policy in place on your new home.
Four weeks before you move you should also:
- Make sure you have enough boxes and protective wrap to safely pack your belongings
- Start packing items you rarely use and aren’t likely to need before you move
- If you’ve exchanged contracts, you should have a moving date in place, so finalise arrangements with your removals company
Two weeks before
The most common timeframe between exchange of contracts and completion is one or two weeks and this will be the busiest time for you before you move.
If you’ve exchanged contracts, you should:
- Inform your bank of your forthcoming move and alter any direct debits or standing orders relating to your old home
- Inform your doctor and dentist of your move and new address
- Set up mail redirection if you need it
- Register with the electoral roll under your new address
- Pack any remaining non-essential items to ease the pressure in your final week
One week before
With one week to go until your move, you’ll have exchanged contracts.
This can be a huge relief, but there will still be lots to do to prepare for your moving day, including:
- Packing all your remaining belongings – remember to be organised when packing and ensure all boxes are labelled
- Making sure you have all keys for your current home, either to give to your estate agent or your landlord
- Defrosting your freezer
- Cleaning your current home so it’s ready for new people
- Doing a sweep of your home and any outbuildings to make sure you have everything packed
- Packing your moving day survival kit of essentials
On the day of your move, you should have everything arranged and packed away and should also:
- Take your final meter readings for gas, electricity, and water and give these to your suppliers
- Make sure your property is clean
- Do one final sweep of your home to ensure you haven’t left anything behind
- Ensure all windows and doors are locked when you leave
- Drop your keys off to your estate agent or landlord
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