Checklist and tips for moving home

Moving into a brand-new home is exciting and hectic in equal measure. So how do you make the process of moving less stressful and more seamless? Whether you’re currently renting or moving out of a property you own, we’ve got a handy step-by-step checklist to help ease the strain.

Moving into a brand-new home is exciting and hectic in equal measure. So how do you make the process of moving less stressful and more seamless? Whether you’re currently renting or moving out of a property you own, we’ve got a handy step-by-step checklist to help ease the strain.

Chris King
From the Home team
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Posted 4 JUNE 2021

Start organising your move

If you’re in the final stages of buying a house or you’ve just signed a new rental agreement, you’ll no doubt be eager to get things moving.

Setting a timeline in the weeks beforehand can help to make sure things go smoothly and there won’t be any loose ends to tie up.

Use our handy checklist as a rough guide on what needs to be done in the weeks leading up to your move.

Four to six weeks before you move

Give notice to your landlord
If you’re leaving a rental property, check your tenancy agreement to find out exactly how much notice you need to give your landlord. The average notice period is one month, but contracts vary so it’s worth double checking. Ideally, you’d want to time the end of your lease with moving day. That way you can avoid paying two lots of rent, or rent on top of mortgage if you’re buying your next home.

Book a removals company
If you’re using a professional removals company, give yourself plenty of time to shop around and get at least three quotes. You should try and get this organised well in advance as companies can get booked up pretty quickly, especially during busy times like the run-up to Christmas.


If you’re doing it yourself and hiring a van, make sure you’ve got some helpers roped in early on. Just be aware that most insurance providers won’t cover your belongings during the move unless you use a professional removals company.

Get in touch with your gas, electricity and water suppliers
Contact utility suppliers at least a month before you move. Remember to take final meter readings for both your gas and electricity, and pass them on to your supplier on the day you leave. It’s a good idea to take a photo of the meters so you have absolute proof, should an old energy bill come back to haunt you.

Don’t forget to tell your water company you’re moving. Ideally, give at least five days’ notice if you’re on a water meter, to give the water company time to take a reading. And again, remember to take a picture of the meter on the day you leave in case of disputes later. Tell your supplier if you’re moving within their supply area, or are moving away altogether.

Get your phone and internet sorted
As well as your energy supplier, you’ll need to let your phone and broadband provider know you’re moving house. If you’re planning on moving your phone and broadband supply to your new home, contact your provider to notify them of the switch several weeks before you’re due to move in. Most broadband providers will let you move your existing package to your new home free of charge, as long as they offer the same service in your new area.

If your current provider doesn’t cover your new area, try and coincide your move with the end of your contract. Otherwise, you may have to continue paying the remaining months even if you can’t receive the service, or you may be charged an early termination fee. This could be the case if you’re upping sticks and moving to the country, as there are still a few rural areas where broadband options are limited. If so, it’s worth contacting your existing broadband provider to see if they might reduce the charges or remove them altogether.

Use our broadband availability tool to check your new postcode and see what deals are available in the area you’re moving to. Even if you stick with existing suppliers for the short term, you may want to see if you can find a better deal once you’re settled in.

Make sure your new home is insured
If you’re renting, you might want to consider taking out rental contents insurance. This protects your possessions against theft and damage due to fire, flood, storms, subsidence, burst pipes and water leaks.

If you’re buying a new home, in addition to contents insurance, you’ll need a minimum of buildings insurance for peace of mind. Shopping around is the best way to find a policy that meets your needs and budget – Compare the Market can help with that – and you can apply for home insurance up to 30 days before you move in.

Make sure you have buildings insurance in place when you exchange contracts, as that's when the property becomes your legal responsibility. Most mortgage providers also insist you have buildings insurance as part of the mortgage agreement.

Don’t forget your car insurance
What you pay for car insurance partly depends on where you live, so you’ll need to let your car insurance provider know your new address – your premium may need to be adjusted up or down.

It’s worth getting a quote in advance so you’ll be properly covered right from move-in day.

Have a big clear-out
It’s amazing how much stuff we can accumulate over the years. Avoid taking unnecessary clutter with you when you move by having a good clear-out ahead of time. Comb through all your belongings and sort them into three piles: keep, donate or throw away. Don’t forget to take back any library books you’ve borrowed before you move too.

Get mail re-direction set up
Getting your mail re-directed by Royal Mail will ensure that any important post that you’ve not yet transferred to your new address still reaches you. It could also help protect you against the risk of identity theft.

Royal Mail can redirect your post to any UK or overseas address for three, six or 12 months for a fee. It’s the safest way of making sure you get your post. You’ll need at least five working days to set up your Redirection, although Royal Mail recommends that you apply at least four weeks before you move.

Did you know?

It’s illegal to intentionally open someone else’s mail. If the previous owner/tenant hasn’t left a forwarding address, and their mail is piling up when you first move in, don’t just chuck it out. Put a cross through the address and write ‘not known at this address’ or ‘no longer lives here’. Then pop it back in the post – it won’t cost you anything. Royal Mail will return it to the sender, and hopefully they’ll be able to find the right address for any future mail.

Make arrangements for children and pets
If you need help with childcare or pet-sitting on moving day, give family or friends plenty of advance warning. If you can’t find anyone to look after your pets, it might be worth booking them into kennels or a cattery for a couple of days. This’ll give you time to settle in before introducing them to their new home.

Top tip

If you’re buying new furniture, try to time it so that delivery coincides with your moving date. Items like sofas and beds can often take several weeks to arrive. Give yourself plenty of time, or you might end up spending the first few days in your new home sleeping on the floor.

Two weeks before you move

Get packing
Don’t leave all your packing until the last minute. Non-essential items can be boxed up well before moving day. If you’re using a professional removals company, they should be able to supply you with packing boxes and materials in advance. Just be aware that any items you pack yourself might not be covered by the removal firm’s insurance.

If you’re moving yourself, have a look for packing box deals on second-hand websites. You could also try your luck at local supermarkets and DIY/home stores.

Empty your freezer
Finish using up the contents of your freezer, so it’s empty before you have to defrost it – trust us, defrosting is not a job you want to be doing at the last moment. Try to avoid buying groceries that won’t be used up immediately. You can start stocking up again once you’re in your new home.

Suss out your new property
How many of us don’t know where our fuse box or stopcock is until it’s too late? Don’t wait for an emergency to happen before you find out how to switch off the main water supply.

If possible, familiarise yourself with all the essentials a week or two before you move in. You could ask the previous homeowners or tenants, estate agent or landlord where important features are, including:

  • Gas and electricity meters
  • Stopcock for the water supply
  • Thermostat
  • Boiler
  • Fuse box
  • Instructions for any appliances and central heating system

Make sure you also find out the current energy supplier for the property. You can then decide whether to stick to the current tariff or switch to a better deal with a new supplier.

Last few days before you move

Disconnect appliances
Make sure the freezer is defrosted and dried out a few days before the move. Your washing machine should also be disconnected and drained a couple of days beforehand. Your washing machine will need to be fitted with transit bolts. These will keep the drum stable and protect it from damage during the move. If you can’t find the bolts that came with your washing machine, you can probably get some from the manufacturer or local home appliance store.

Pack a separate box of essentials
Moving day is bound to be hectic and you might not have time to start unpacking boxes until the following morning. Make life a little easier by packing a separate box of essentials that contains everything you’ll need for that first night. Toiletries, a few cups, plates and utensils, the kettle, tea/coffee, phone and laptop chargers, bedding, loo roll and pyjamas, etc.

Top tip

Once you’re in your new home, get the beds made up as soon as you can. That way, they’ll be ready for you to collapse into when you run out of energy.

Double-check your change of address checklist
Make sure that friends, family and work know when you’re moving, and update them with your new address.

It’s a good idea to make up a change-of-address checklist, so you can keep track of who’s been informed and who still needs to be informed. These can include your:

  • Bank or building society
  • Insurance providers
  • Utility suppliers
  • Mobile phone provider
  • HMRC
  • DVLA
  • Credit card companies
  • Store card providers
  • Pension services
  • Benefits office
  • TV licensing
  • Local council
  • Schools, colleges or university
  • GP, dentist and vets
  • Pet microchip database
  • Gym memberships
  • Library membership
  • Online retailer accounts like Amazon

You should be able to update your address online for most of these.

Moving day

If you’re moving out of a rental property, it’s likely your contract will stipulate that it must be professionally cleaned. If you’re booking a cleaning company, make sure you do this well in advance as it may be difficult to find someone last minute.

Leave a list for the new occupants
It’s a nice gesture to leave a useful list for the next residents including things like:

  • Where the stopcock, fuse box and meters are
  • Warranties and appliance instructions
  • Current utility suppliers
  • Local takeaways
  • If you’re really nice, recommended pubs and restaurants nearby
  • Which days the bins are collected

Take final meter readings
Don’t forget to take final meter readings, and even better, a photo in case of potential disagreements. Do the same when you arrive at your new home.

Urgent jobs once you’ve moved

You’re likely to need to register with a new GP, so make sure you sort that quickly.

When you move in, get yourself on the electoral register at your new address as soon as possible, to help protect your credit score and to make sure you can continue to vote. You’ll need to sort out your Council Tax too.

Top tips for a smoother move

Here are a few more tips for a smoother move:

• Label boxes on the tops and sides with a description of what’s inside and which rooms they’re for
• Put screws and bolts for beds and other furniture in separate freezer bags, then stick them to the relevant bit of furniture with packing tape
• Use flattened boxes or old sheets to protect your flooring
• Make sure you have lightbulbs for your new home – some people will take them with them when they move out
• If your broadband isn’t up and running yet, use your mobile phone as a temporary ‘hotspot’
• Pack a suitcase with fresh bedding and towels, so you’ve got them to hand as soon as you move in

Frequently asked questions

Can I still move house during the coronavirus pandemic?

You can still move house in the UK, even though there are ongoing coronavirus restrictions to be aware of, especially if you’re using a removals company:

The Government advises that:

  • You contact removals firms as soon as possible once you know your move date, as availability may be limited.
  • You try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. Some removals firms are no longer offering a full packing service during the COVID-19 pandemic, although they’ll still supply you with packing boxes and materials.
  • Where possible, you clean your belongings with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by removers.
  • While the removers are in your home, you should make sure any internal doors are open and try to minimise contact with the crew, keeping a distance of at least two metres where possible.
  • You can’t offer the crew tea, coffee or other refreshments, but you should make sure they have access to hand-washing facilities, using separate towels or disposable paper towels if possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible.

Under industry-body guidelines, it’s also recommended that you:

  • Give your home and belongings a deep clean in preparation for the move
  • Dismantle and re-assemble furniture wherever possible
  • Wear a facemask during the removals process
  • Keep windows open to maximise ventilation
  • Have a designated bathroom, if possible, just for the crew to use
  • Provide a kettle so that the crew can make their own tea/coffee using their own cups, teabags etc.
  • Try and make sure that children and pets are not at the property on moving day

Does my home insurance cover items in temporary storage?

Most home insurance providers offer ‘house removals’ as part of their standard cover. This usually includes up to seven days cover in temporary storage as long as you use a professional, licensed removals company.

If your move has been held up and is taking longer than planned, some providers offer up to 180 days of cover if your contents are stored with a recognised storage company or removals firm. Check your terms and conditions or talk to your insurance provider, so you know exactly what’s covered and for how long.

Where can I find home insurance?

From rental contents insurance to buildings insurance and all the little extras, Compare the Market can help you to compare a variety of different quotes from the UK’s most trusted insurance providers. Just give us a few details and we’ll take care of the rest in a matter of minutes.

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