An essential house moving checklist

You'll need a house moving checklist if you're buying or selling. We can’t pack your boxes, but we will help you get organized with our comprehensive to-do list and expert advice.

(Image credit: Getty)

A house moving checklist is a must-have if you're buying or selling. After all, buying a new home or selling an old one is up there with life’s most stressful experiences, with an enormous number of things to arrange and consider. How to make sure you don’t forget a crucial task? Use our step-by-step guide to moving house and we’ll take you through what you need to do and consider so everything runs as smoothly as possible. 

Use our guide to reduce house moving stress to make the process smoother still. And, find more advice on our property pages for buying, selling and renting.

1. Count the cost of house moving

Aside from estate agent’s and solicitor’s fees, survey costs and stamp duty, you’ll need to factor in the additional costs of moving. This could include professional removals with or without a packing service, or van hire and packing materials if you do it yourself.

To help prevent identity fraud and ensure you don’t miss any important documents redirecting your post to the new address is also vital, and is a service for which you’ll pay.

2. Know the timeline for moving house

Get organized with our guide to what to sort and when. Then take a look at the sections below for the details of what you need to do.

8 weeks to go

  • Clear clutter so you don’t pay to move it.
  • Research removal firms and invite them to quote.
  • Check parking restrictions at your old and new homes in case permits are required.

4 weeks to go

  • Compare quotations and choose removal company.
  • Start changes of address.
  • Arrange cattery or kennel stays for cats and dogs if using these.
  • Get quotations for buildings insurance cover for new home to start from exchange of contracts.
  • Make arrangements for phone and broadband.

2 weeks to go

  • Start packing, if you’re doing this yourself.
  • Notify utility companies, etc.
  • Get mail redirection.
  • Use up food in freezer.
  • Cancel newspaper/milk deliveries.

1 week to go

  • Confirm arrangements with removal company.
  • Set aside documents or valuables you are going to take with you rather than get the removers to pack. These might include passports, official paperwork, laptops, jewellery, etc.
  • Clear loft and any other areas removers won’t be working in.

1 day to go

  • Prepare essentials you’ll need during the move and for the first night in the new house. Think kettle, mugs, coffee, tea and sugar, basic set of tableware and cutlery, soap and towels.
  • Pack overnight clothes.
  • Empty fridge and freezer.

On the day

  • Check all cupboards and rooms are empty.
  • Take readings from your energy meters.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are secure.

3. Book a removal

Get in touch with removal firms well in advance of your move. In the UK, The British Association of Removers recommends at least a month in advance. Generally, an estimator will visit you at home to discuss the details and what will be included in the quotation. It’s worth inviting a few so you can compare the service and price. 

Be honest if you don’t yet have a date, but once this is firm get in touch with the chosen firm immediately. It’s probably worth having a second choice remover in mind in case your first option is booked up by the time you confirm the date.

4. Do-it-yourself moving

If you’re hiring your own van and roping in burly family members and friends to help with the heavy lifting, you’ll also need to arm yourself with packing materials. Heavy duty cardboard boxes, protective bubble wrap, packing, furniture covers and tape are available from specialist online suppliers and DIY stores. 

Don’t overload boxes – books should go into small boxes or they’ll be too heavy, whereas linens can go into large boxes that accommodate bulky but light items.

5. Change your address

As well as redirecting post, it’s also important to send notifications out. Use our list as a basis:

  • Bank(s)
  • Building society(ies)
  • Other savings and investments
  • Credit card(s)
  • Pension(s) 
  • Insurance(s) (life, health, dental, pet, mobile)
  • Finance agreement(s)
  • Loyalty cards
  • DWP
  • Employer
  • HMRC
  • TV licence
  • Home insurance (see below)
  • DVLA (driving licence)
  • DVLA (vehicle log book)
  • Car insurance
  • Car breakdown organisation(s)
  • Electoral roll
  • Professional organisation(s)
  • Union
  • School(s)
  • Subscriptions
  • Clubs
  • Charities you support
  • Pet microchip database(s)
  • Friends and relatives

6. House insurance

Don’t forget to arrange the house insurance for your new home. If you’re buying a freehold property, the buildings insurance must start from exchange of contracts rather than completion. This ensures you are covered if the house is damaged by events such as floods, storms or fire during the period between exchange and completion.

Be aware, though, that as a seller you need to retain the insurance for your existing home until completion.

You will also need to investigate renovations insurance if you're moving into rental accommodation while your new home is being revamped.

7. Sort out council tax

Contact your council to let them know you’re going in advance of the move. Have your new address to hand as well as details like your account number. You may be due a refund, although if you’re moving to the same area this might be applied as a credit to the new address.

8. Utilities and meter readings

Notify your utility suppliers in advance of the move. Check individual sites to find out the notice they require, but plan to be in touch at least two days in advance to let them know when you’re moving. You’ll need to read the meters on your last day and give each supplier the reading. Don’t forget the water as well as gas and electricity if yours is metered. Using your mobile to take a snap of the meter reading is a good idea.

9. Phone and broadband

Get in touch with the provider of your landline and broadband at least 14 days in advance, but arrange earlier if you can. If the minimum term of your contract has expired, you may want to check if it’s cheaper to swap providers at this point. 

You might have to change services if, for example, fibre broadband isn’t available where you’re moving to. 

If you’re currently with Virgin Media, it is possible that its services aren’t on offer where you’re moving and you’ll have to cancel and get an alternative provider.

Swapping between Virgin Media and Sky? You’ll need to notify both companies to make the swap. 

If you’re going from Virgin Media to Sky, book the Sky installation, then cancel with Virgin Media, letting it know the Sky activation date so the end of its services coincide as closely as possible with Sky’s start. 

Going from Sky to Virgin Media? Arrange the Virgin Media service, then arrange the Sky disconnection for the same day or just after.

10. Health

Order any repeat prescriptions before your move so you won’t run out before registering with and meeting a new GP. You should, though, register with a doctor and dentist as soon as you can if you’ve moved outside the area covered by your current practices. Your medical records will be transferred to the new GP’s practice.

11. Moving with pets

You may want to book your cat into a cattery for the duration of the move. If so, make sure his or her vaccinations are up to date. If you don’t do this, it’s best to keep your cat in a separate cleared room while packing and loading is going on. You’ll need to get the cat used to this before moving day. Cats Protection has a detailed guide to moving with a cat.

Dog owner? You could ask friends to have your dog or put him/her in a boarding kennel beforehand, then collect him or her once you’re unpacked. As with a cat, if the dog is moving with you, use a separate closed room during the removals process to reduce stress. Find out more from the Blue Cross, or speak to your vet.

More essential house-moving info:

Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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