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Your Complete Moving House Checklist

Estimated reading time 25 minutes

Moving house is one of those life events that provides an awful lot of stress, a huge amount of excitement, and just a little bit of fear that something could go wrong. It’s perhaps that concern that sees many turn to a cash house buyer so that a property sale is guaranteed.

It’s understandable that you may have concerns over moving house. You may have spent many months trying to sell your house and find your new, perfect forever home and now it is here. The big move.

To make things run as smoothly as possible in the run-up to the day you get the keys, we have created this thorough checklist that gives you all you need to know and all you need to do to ensure that everything is just how it needs to be. We even have a free downloadable moving house checklist for you to download at this end of our helpful guide.

Exchanging contracts for your house move

With contracts exchanged, there is no turning back. The house is yours, and your old home is soon to be someone else’s. The legal documents needed to sell your home are signed as are those for your new home. The countdown is on.

At this stage, it is just a matter of time before you can move into your new home. If you were to have cold feet at this stage, you can’t legally back out. All the paperwork is signed, meaning you will become the homeowners of this new property.

Checklist for moving house: 2 months before the big day

Approximately two months before you get the keys, you will have a few small tasks to work through that will benefit you significantly when it comes to moving day.

If you are living in a rental property, you must serve a notice period to your landlord or letting agent. In most cases, this will be just one month, but it doesn’t hurt to notify them as early as possible. It maintains a good relationship with them and gives you one less job to worry about closer to moving day.

This could also be a good time to learn more about the neighbourhood you are moving into. Researching where the local shops, petrol stations, supermarkets and other amenities are located. It may sound trivial but that first night in the new house is easily the one where you will be frantically doing a panic buy of items you have forgotten.

You should also check things such as internet providers and mobile phone coverage. If you are nearing the end of your contract on either of these and the area you are moving to isn’t the best for signal, it could be worth looking at switchingsuppliers. Gathering information at this stage is going to be a huge benefit further down the timeline.

Now with these basics out of the way it is time to get moving, although not quite in the literal sense. You’ve still got a few weeks to go until you can set foot in the new home. So instead read on to discover what you need to do in the run-up to moving day.

Moving house checklist: one month before you get the keys

This month is likely to be a little frantic but nothing too stressful. Just manage your time well and you will see just how easy it is to make a move run smoothly.

Confirm the date of your house move

This should already be firmly planted in your diary but with property, there can often be hiccups along the way. Speak to your estate agent and confirm the moving date. It doesn’t hurt to be persistent and check more than once, especially if there have been any problems during the process of buying the house.

This also helps if you are renting. As we mentioned earlier, you will need to serve notice to your landlord but if the house move date has changed, you could find yourself homeless. So get a confirmed moving date and inform the landlord, even if you have served notice. This acts as not only a secondary confirmation, but should it be before the end of the actual tenancy agreement, the landlord now has additional time for viewings or even any refurbishment. If you have opted not to serve notice yet, you may be in a position to negotiate an extra week or more of rent should there be a delay in moving.

Moving house checklist timeline: Plan to do this a month before your scheduled move date.

Contact house moving companies and source boxes for moving house

Getting quotes from removal companies would be the next thing to do. Prices can vary dramatically across the industry so checking costs and availability early will be vital.

Never rule out the power of friends though. If you are moving to a small property and have a relatively modest amount of belongings, hiring a van and borrowing your friends and family can be hugely cost-effective.

Should the move require a little more manpower though, speak to the removals experts and find an affordable, reliable, provider to help get your items moved from one property to another. You should also ask them about packing materials. Some firms provide these for an additional charge whilst others do not provide them at all. If it is not a service they provide, use this time to start ordering packing materials such as boxes, tapes, padding, and so on.

Whilst there are levels of insurance and protection in removals, it would be advised that if there are specific items of value, be it monetary or sentimental, that you keep them with you if possible. This also extends to documents that may contain data you do not wish to be seen elsewhere.

Check if the current insurance you have covers your move. In many cases it will, but if you leave it too late and find it does not you could find it a complicated process.

Moving house checklist timeline: Start this process approximately a month before you move house.

Create a house move checklist inventory

Carrying out what is fundamentally a stock take of all your belongings is an easy way to make sure you keep note of your property. Note not only what you have but the condition they are in. Especially if they are going inside the removal van. It would also be advisable to take photos so you can spot any damage when it comes to setting up the items in your new home.

This also allows you a great opportunity to discover items you may no longer need, or that you had forgotten about and can now disregard. A charity shop donation is always welcome so consider this with those no longer needed items. A key tip here is to remember the more commonly unused rooms or spaces. Sheds and garages can be a storage haven but when it comes to moving house, they can become a nightmare to navigate. So, work through these places first so you can find items you no longer need and disregard them or donate them.

This all helps with your removals quote too. The fewer items you have, the cheaper it will cost to move the items you do want to keep.

Moving house checklist timeline: Begin listing items about a month before your moving date.

Consider booking a storage facility

With your inventory now complete, you will have a detailed listing of all your belongings. Some will be essential for the first day of moving in, some you may not yet have plans for, and others can wait until you have been in the home for a few days. If there are a lot of items you want but won’t need right away, consider hiring a storage unit. This way you can safely and securely have items kept for as long as you need without interfering with your move. It also means that come moving day, your removal team won’t have as many items to load onto the van, or as many items to navigate their way around when moving things from place to place.

Moving house checklist timeline: Book storage if needed well in advance, units can fill fast.

Check you have booked time off work to move house

You may have done this the moment you were given a moving date but if not, we suggest you get onto this straight away. You may not know what the leave calendar is like at work and could find a request turned down if too many other people are on holiday. Submit your request at least a month before the date and consider booking 2 to 3 days to ensure you can get as much done as possible without the interruption of your work life getting in the way. In some cases, if the workload for moving seems high, especially if you live by yourself, look at booking a week off instead.

Moving house checklist timeline: Get your leave request in one month before you move or earlier if possible.

House moving checklist: 2 weeks to go

With all the above completed, time will surely have flown by, especially with work and family life in the mix. So now you are at the stage when things will start to move much faster. Missing just one element could lead to problems so check and double-check you haven’t missed anything from the following few steps.

Who to notify when moving house checklist

In some cases, you will be able to take your utility suppliers with you, in others you won't. Either way, you will need to inform them of your house-moving plans.  This is an important part of your checklist for moving house. Without informing your utility suppliers of a house move, you could find yourself paying for gas, electricity, or water that someone else is using.

The terms per supplier vary but, in most circumstances, 2 weeks is more than adequate. With smart meters in many properties, you may not be required to give a meter reading, but we would always advise you do, just to make sure your final bill is accurate.

You should also contact your broadband supplier, timelines on this switch can vary, so the earlier you contact them the better. In some cases, you may find yourself without internet for the first few days in your home so should there be any important documents or files you may require in the interim, download them before you move just to be safe.

Next up, contact the council. Your council tax is associated with the property but the account is yours. Therefore, reach out to them and notify them of your move date and the address you are moving into. This will allow for a bill to be created for the end of your time in the old property and a new bill to be created for when you move into the new one.

In addition, you should also be contacting the following people to inform them of your move:

  • Your bank, pension, and insurance companies
  • Your GP and dentist
  • The DVLA
  • Your workplace

You can also contact HMRC but in many cases, your employer will do this through payroll. Double-check if this is the case though just to be safe.

This could also be a great time to update addresses on any online retailers or other places you hold some type of account. Amazon, Deliveroo, Tesco, or Very for example could all end up sending packages to the wrong property if you don’t change your default address in time.

Moving house checklist timeline: Inform the above people approximately 2 weeks before you are due to move, if not earlier.

Book a professional house clean

You may think you are an amazing housekeeper who never lets a speck of dust, or a scratch, adorn any surface in your home. Whilst it is not an obligation, hiring a cleaner can be a godsend, especially with all the stress you are likely going through ensuring your move is running to plan.

They will keep the property looking at its best whilst you focus on your move. This is typically part of your contract if you are a renter. Landlords can often be tough on deposit returns but leaving them with a property in pristine condition will go some way to seeing a speedier return of your funds. Decide whether you want the cleaner a few days before the move or just for the day before. Much will depend on how you plan to spend those last days in the property.

Moving house checklist timeline: With a date secured for your move, book a cleaner and any additional services about 2 weeks in advance of your move.

What if you are moving house with a pet?

Cats, dogs, or any other animal could well get in the way come moving day, plus it can be stressful for them. It is worth looking into the options of a pet care service or seeing if any friends or family can look after them for a few days either side of the move.

What if you are moving house with children?

Similar to your pets, your kids might just get in the way come moving day. Chances are, they will be at school or nursery, but it might be worth looking at options that can help you with the school run or even sleepovers. Children won’t fully understand everything that is happening so will likely want to offer help, which could in fact become a hindrance as you complete your move.

Moving house checklist timeline: Look to book pet care and childcare services at least two weeks before you move.

Contact your landlord and complete any maintenance

If you have rented your property, you will be required to leave it in a decent condition before getting your deposit back. Of course, a cleaner has already been booked, but this will not cover any random scratches, chips, or nail holes so it is best to repair these yourself. In some cases, landlords handle any kind of repairs no matter how minor, but you would need to check your tenancy agreement to see if this is the case. Whilst deductions do not get made for general wear and tear, definitions of what is classed as fair could vary substantially from landlord to landlord. Therefore, filling nail holes, and repairing scratches can go some way to ensuring the full deposit is returned to you.

Moving house checklist timeline: In many cases, damage like this is minor and will only take a short time to fix. To stop it from getting in the way of other tasks, begin this 2 weeks before you move but check again a week before you leave.

House moving checklist: One week to go

If you have completed every part of what we have mentioned above, much of what is left shouldn’t take you too long to complete.

Which is lucky, as by our checklist, you have just 7 days left until you get the keys. At this stage, there is likely a heightened level of stress but rest assured, your move is all going to be fine. Simply follow each of our steps and you’ll be settled in in no time.

Ask for full details of your new home

It never matters where anything is until you need it. So, before moving, ask for information on the location of key parts of the building. When the electricity cuts out, the radiator bursts, or you sense a gas leak, the location of meters, stopcocks and fuse boxes is vital.

Have the current owners provide you with where the following are:

  • Stopcock
  • Electricity meter
  • Gas meter
  • Fuse box(es)
  • Thermostat
  • Any appliance instructions

Moving house checklist timeline: It will be a busy time for those selling their house to you too so reach out to your solicitor or agent about a week before you move to get this information provided.

Start packing to move house

Start packing items you aren’t likely to need over the next seven days. Preparation is so important at this stage so packing your belongings ahead of time will make the moving day so much easier. Label each box or container with what is in it and store them safely ready for collection on moving day.

As well as packing clothing, furniture, and other household items, remember to pack important documents such as IDs. This can include passports, insurance policies, and so on. Pack them safely and securely so that you know where they are at a moment's notice. The last thing you want is them hidden at the bottom of a box that is likely not to be opened for quite some time after you move in.

Refrain from packing any flammable materials. These should be safely disposed of. Your removal firm will not transport such items.

Moving house checklist timeline: Begin packing your items about a week before you are due to move. Ensuring nothing you are likely to need again is stored at the bottom of a box.

Create a moving house essentials pack

Whilst packing, you will no doubt be filling lots of boxes with various bits and pieces. Then come moving day when you start to unpack, you can only find one mug, a random blanket, and a few knives, but no forks. Of course, many of us may be extremely thorough packers listing each and every item and knowing exactly what is where, but sometimes, mistakes happen. So, make yourself a moving day essentials box. Include the items you are most likely to need for that first day or two of getting settled. Store the following in it and you’ll feel much more relaxed on that first night in your new home:

  • Tea, coffee, drinks for the kids, milk, sugar, kettle and mugs
  • Some cleaning products and bin bags
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Bedding for all for the first night
  • Basic toiletries
  • A TV or radio
  • Mobile phone and charger

Moving house checklist timeline: Create this moving day essentials box up to a week before you are due to move.

Defrost your freezer and fridge and disassemble any furniture

This sounds like common sense to many of us but there are a huge number of people that think turning them off makes them ready to go right away. Defrosting can take a long time so this needs to be done a few days before you move. Make sure the items are fully dry before they move into the removal van.

You should also note that once in your property, these appliances will need some time to stand before being used again. Check the manuals for the appliances to see what the specific requirements are.

If you have any furniture that can be disassembled, now would be the time to do it. Not only does this make loading so much easier but you’ll have additional space in the removal van.

Moving house checklist timeline: You will still need some of these items in the run-up to the move so begin this process a week before you move.

Double-check your finances for your house moving

Funds will be transferred on moving day and must be in the account in advance. Double-check that all the relevant funds are ready. In many cases, a simple bank transfer will take place but should you be moving money from one account to another it may be worth starting this process early. Especially if your account has daily transfer or withdrawal limits.

Moving house checklist timeline: You don’t want to be caught out with insufficient funds in your account come moving day. Check your finances at least one week in advance of moving.

Pack the final items ready for moving day

With the move just days away the level of packing should be somewhat reduced now, leaving just some core items for you to box up and label.

This also includes clothing, so consider washing and drying anything you have left in the wash baskets. This way you can pack them too and have just some clothes left for the day you move and a spare set for the day after.

Now would also be a good time to start protecting the items that will be loaded onto the removal fan. Some services offer this themselves, but it certainly doesn’t harm anyone for you to add an additional layer of protection. It will make things move much smoother on the day.

Moving house checklist timeline: Packing should have started earlier in the week, now as you get close, you may want to finish up these last few bits. Aim to start this in the week before you move.

Start cleaning your home

Whether you have opted for a cleaner or not, cleaning as you go will help as the move comes into its final stages. If certain goods are staying in the property due to them belonging to the landlord, an oven for example, give them a thorough clean. Likewise, the bath, toilet, and surfaces. Even with a cleaner booked, putting in some groundwork will make the cleaners job easier, quicker, and potentially less expensive for you.

Moving house checklist: 2 - 3 days before moving in

With removals booked, cleaners scheduled, child and pet care organised, and your belongings packed, there really are just a few steps left to ensure you are ready to move into your new home.

These next few days contain just a few vital tasks that you need to complete.

Collect all the copies of keys for the property

Across the household, there are no doubt various keys for the property, and you will need to hand them all over on the day you move out.

Contact those who may hold spares. Friends and family for example. Then importantly, get those from the people that live with you. Check them off against the list you have from when you moved in to make sure everything has been returned. Label the keys too. Then the new owners know exactly what they are for.

Disconnect any appliances

You will have already defrosted both the fridge and freezer, but other items may also need to be disconnected so they can be transported to your new home. Check washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers, dishwashers etc. Disconnect them and safely wrap the cables so they don’t present trip hazards.

It can often be beneficial to take photos of the rear of any appliances or electrical goods, just so you know what should be connected where.

Transport items to storage

If you have booked storage for some items, now would be a good time to start taking them over to the storage facility. This will keep your house as clear as possible for when the removal team arrive and allow you to only have the items to hand that you need on the day you move in.

Have a toolkit to hand

When you arrive at your new property there will not only be boxes to open but there may also be things to tighten, loosen, put together and so on. Keep a tool kit on hand, perhaps stored in your car so that when you move in, you are ready to put your home together the way you want it to be.

Contact the estate agent for key collection

Your date for moving will have already been confirmed but it would not be too beneficial to turn up at your new home in the morning with a removal team only to find you can't gain access until 3pm. Ask your estate agent if they have an estimated time and whether you should be collecting the keys from their office or at the property itself.

Moving house checklist timeline: All of the above are best carried out 2 - 3 days before you move into your new home.

Moving house checklist: 1 day before you get the keys

Everything is booked, some items are in storage and your estate agent is confident you will have the keys at a suitable time. You have touched up any scuffs and scratches and the pets, as well as the kids, are off your hands for a day or two while you complete the final steps of moving house.

Verify that you have packed everything, and check lofts, cupboards, and any other area you will have used for storage.

Once done, ensure you have kept your moving day essentials box on hand. You can load this into the car and leave it until tomorrow. Although, with the hard work and stress you have endured, you may want tea or coffee so you might decide to keep it in the house for a little longer.

Now get an early night, tomorrow will be busy.

Moving house checklist: Moving day

Now the day is finally here, there are still just a few small things you need to do to make sure your move runs smoothly.

Don’t stress

This will be a huge day, not just for you but also for the people moving into your home and the people moving out of the one you are moving into. Just remain calm and don’t panic about any delays.

Take meter readings

You have already given notice to your suppliers and with smart meters they may have already obtained meter readings but still take some yourself. Take photos of them as well as submit them to the supplier. This will help should there be any queries with the final bills.

Strip down the beds

That last night in bed may have been a restless one, especially if you were feeling nervous. Strip the beds and bag up any bedding. You could also remove the curtains if you are taking them with you.

Lay down some protective sheets

When the removal team arrive, they will work with care to ensure your items are safely moved but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to stop any additional scuffs or scratches by laying down sheets to protect the flooring.

Direct the removal team where necessary

Some of your items may be fragile, if you prefer to take these, inform the removals team that anything marked fragile will be taken by yourself. They will then load up everything else as you direct them.

One person should stay at the property

As the removal team moves items to their van, one of you should stay at home to make sure everything that appears on your inventory is packed. Once you are confident that everything has been packed, you can sign the removal firm's paperwork to confirm you are happy.

Give the property one final clean

If you have booked a cleaner, they should now be on site to complete their role. If you haven’t now would be the best time for final sweeps, vacuuming, and polishing - especially if leaving a rental property.

Close all windows and lock them

Secure your windows and if any keys are needed for them, leave them in the locks so people know which key works with which window.

Turn off all utilities

Before leaving your keys, or dropping them off at the estate agent, ensure all of the utilities are switched off. This is especially important if nobody is moving in for a few days. Once your keys are handed over, there is no turning back.

Take photos of the property before leaving

If you have rented a property, it would be in your best interest to take photos of all the rooms showing the condition you left them in. This way should there be any queries regarding the return of the deposit, you can show some evidence from your side of how the property was left.

You should also consider doing this even if selling. It simply helps safeguard you from any concerns and questions.

Moving into your new home

Now everything should be in place. You have handed the keys over, the solicitor has confirmed funds are transferred, and your removal team are on the way to your new home.

Take it easy from here on in. It’s been a busy few weeks. Perhaps consider unpacking tomorrow, just get your essentials box from your car, and discover the local takeaway. Put your feet up and relax for a while. Tomorrow you can start unboxing and discover more about the new area you live in.

As we said at the opening of this guide, selling a house can be stressful and at times full of worry. With Bettermove, all of that is removed. We offer a comprehensive and fully managed sell house fast service that not only sees a sale with no fees but also a sale within 30 days. Much faster than the current market average. Our comprehensive network of pre-approved cash buyers means that once you approach us and we provide you with a valuation, your home can be sold extremely quickly. We contact each buyer, showcasing your property. Once we find one that is keen to purchase, we manage the entire process so you can sit back and let everything fall into place. Equally, if you need an expedited sale, we can buy your home directly from you with our own funds. No stress, no worry, just a fast and efficient house sale from a leading online estate agent. Contact us and get and free valuation for your home today!

Your free moving house checklist PDF

Download or print off our free moving house checklist. Tick off the different tasks as you go to stay organised in the lead up to your move.