Moving House Checklist: 10 Things to Remember

Moving home can feel overwhelming with lots to do before you can get settled. From booking a removal firm to move-in day itself, our checklist rounds up 10 ways to make the moving process simpler and smoother.

John Ellmore, Brean Horne Published on 03 September 2020. Last updated on 20 October 2021.
Moving House Checklist: 10 Things to Remember

Whether you’re about to move into a new home or you’re a first-time buyer, there is a long to-do list of essential tasks you’ll need to tick off before you can move in.

You might have exchanged contracts already and think the hard work is over, but there are still some jobs to do to ensure the transition to your new home is as painless as possible.

Get prepared now and leave some room for creating good memories as you move into your new home.

Here’s our complete list of what to do when moving house.

Moving to a new home is exciting but there are a lot of steps that can make it feel overwhelming at times.

Making sure that you are prepared can help the process run more smoothly, while starting to plan your move early can help you get settled into your new home more quickly.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, moving up the property ladder or renting, we’ve listed 10 ways to make your move run smoothly.

Confirm your moving date

Before you buy a property, you’ll need to have an agreed move-in date which has been approved by both the seller and conveyancers.

If you are part of a long property chain, confirming your move-in date can take quite a while and may be likely to change. Trying to arrange this quickly is really important because it gives you a bit of wiggle room if you find out that the chain is taking longer to resolve than expected.

If you are renting, you may have a bit more flexibility as you could move things into your new home over a number of days or weeks if the rental period on your previous property isn’t up until after your move-in date. This can remove a lot of moving day stress and means you can make home improvements to your new property and unpack properly before you fully move in.

» COMPARE: First-time buyer mortgage

Book a removal company

Before you book a removals company, try to get a few quotes from local firms to get an idea of how much it’s likely to cost.

If you don’t have a lot of personal belongings, or you have friends and family who are willing to help, you could transport your possessions in cars and hire a van to carry the bulkier items.

Most movers opt for a professional moving service. The British Association of Removers (BAR) is a good place to look for quotes from reliable movers. Its members are monitored by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, and BAR also offers a free dispute resolution service if you have a falling-out with one of its member firms.

Any money you have paid in advance will be protected should your removal firm get into financial difficulties ahead of your move. A professional firm will also have insurance in case of damages.

If you choose to move your own belongings, then there is no cover if they are damaged or broken in transit.

» MORE: What you should know about house removal

Give notice to your landlord

If you’re a renter, you’ll need to let your landlord know that you’re planning on moving out so that they can arrange to have new tenants move in.

Try to arrange your move-in date as close to the end of your tenancy as possible, to avoid paying rent on two properties, or rent and a mortgage, at the same time.

» MORE: Should I rent or buy a house?

Redirect your mail

One of the most important things to do when moving house is to redirect your mail. You can redirect your mail to any UK or overseas address for up to 12 months for a fee at the Post Office, or online.

Making sure your post is diverted to your new address will give you more time to change your address with your bank, as well as other companies you need to inform. It can also help keep important documents safe and protect you against identity fraud.

Inform utility companies and other organisations

Before moving home, you’ll need to let the utility companies such as your energy and water providers know that you’re changing address. This helps settle any outstanding balances on your bills and avoids getting charged for utilities that you haven’t used. Be sure to take meter readings for gas, electricity and water on the day you move out and also from your new property when you move in.

If you’re moving your broadband and phone deal across to your new property, give your suppliers as much notice as possible to ensure the service is up and running on moving day.

And just in case there are delays to getting the internet set up at your new property, make sure you have all the information you need to hand for when you’ve moved in, including details on local services and instructions on how to set up your appliances.

Other companies you will need to notify about your move include:

  • your bank and credit card companies
  • your employer
  • insurance companies
  • DVLA
  • TV licensing
  • electoral roll
  • local council (for your council tax payments)

Making sure your address is updated across your accounts can help manage your credit score. Out of date details can negatively affect your credit score because they make it harder for lenders to confirm your identity. This can increase the chance of your application for new credit being rejected.

» MORE: 15 ways to improve your credit score

Book time off work

You’ll need at least a few days to make a start on unpacking your many boxes. Book this time off work about a month in advance to give your employer enough notice in case they need to cover for your absence. It’ll also help ensure you get the time off even if it is a busy period.

Declutter your house

Moving to a new place is a great opportunity to declutter your home. Take some time to look through your belongings and decide how much you really need to take with you.

You might even be able to make a bit of money by selling stuff online. This could help you raise funds to cover other moving expenses, such as removals or arranging home insurance, for your new place.

Allow time to pack

Once you’ve decided what you’re taking to your new home, it’s time to get packing. Writing a checklist can help make sure you don’t forget anything. When you’re decluttering, it’s a good time to make an action plan for packing up your home.

Try to start packing non-essentials two weeks ahead. If you’ve had time to declutter, you’ll have an idea of what these items are. It also helps to start packing belongings that are stored outside your property first. For example, if you have a garden or garage, start packing up the items there before packing up your possessions from the rooms in your home. When you’re a week from moving, you can begin packing the essentials. It is also a good idea to label the boxes as you pack, so you know the contents of each container when you get to your new place.

Move

Try to keep all of your boxes well labelled and organised to help make moving them to your new home as easy as possible. This will also help you find your essential items quickly, once you’re settled in.

You’ll want to be able to find the following easily:

  • duvet, bedding and pillows
  • dishes and cutlery for food and drink
  • tea, coffee and mugs
  • computers and electronic devices – don’t forget chargers!
  • soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush
  • household cleaning products

Be sure to have all of your important documents to hand, such as your passport and mortgage paperwork or tenancy agreement, or where you can find them easily.

After the move

Try to clean the floors, carpets and kitchen tiles before you start unpacking as it’ll be the easiest time to do a big clean.

When you’re ready to start unpacking, begin in the bedrooms and kitchen so you have somewhere to sleep and prepare food.

Soon after moving in, you should check your property is secure and that you have all the keys for the doors and windows, as well as confirming that there are no problems with your utilities.

It is also useful to familiarise yourself with how the boiler works and where the stopcock is, so you aren't caught out if you encounter a problem later on.

Finally, breathe a sigh of relief! Most of the hard work is over and you can now start to enjoy your new home.

» COMPARE: Mortgage deals

About the authors:

John Ellmore is a director of NerdWallet UK and is a company spokesperson for consumer finance issues. John is committed to providing clear, accurate and transparent financial information. Read more

Brean is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. She covers a range of financial topics and has written for consumer titles including Which?, Moneywise and The Motley Fool. Read more

Looking for a better mortgage deal? Compare mortgages now

If you have any feedback on this article please contact us at [email protected]