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Moving house checklist: What to do when you move into a new home

By this point, you've probably navigated most of the maze of admin that comes with buying a house.

You've saved for your deposit, you've compared your mortgage options (if not, we've got more info on comparing mortgages) and you've exchanged contracts.

And even after the chaos and confusion of buying and selling a house, you still need to pack up and move. But moving house doesn’t need to be a headache.

When you move house, those small things such as remembering to change the address on your TV licence should make the move go a lot smoother.


Young house-moving couple checking their list on a clipboard while packing


Things to do when moving house

1. Work and schools

When you’re in the early stages of planning your home move, say 2 months ahead, you should book sufficient time off work on both sides of moving day.

If you have children and you’re moving to a new area, you also need to apply for a new school. Make sure you check that all the paperwork is in order for this.

You should let the old school know that your child is leaving too.

If your children attend a private school and they’re moving somewhere else, you usually need to give a term’s notice. If you don’t, you may have to pay for the following term as well, even if they’re no longer attending.

2. Declutter

Don’t be too sentimental – the more you can get rid of now, the less you have to sort out when you reach your new home.

You can take old clothes, toys and general bric-a-brac to the charity shop.

Certain charity shops even take bigger items such as furniture or electrical goods. What they’re not interested in can go to your local recycling centre.

But there’s also the possibility of selling your second-hand items through online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or Vinted..

You might be pleasantly surprised with the offers you get.

It’s a good idea to start decluttering in the early planning stages of your move.

3. Book a removals company

Ideally you want to try to book the removal firm and order some packing boxes between 6 and 8 weeks prior to your move.

Removal firms can usually be relatively flexible if you need to change the exact moving date later.

If you need to look into self storage, it’s also worth starting to do this about 2 months prior to the move.

4. Confirm your moving dates

The earlier you can confirm your moving dates the better.

If you’re buying or selling a house you may need to start off with an approximate date and plan around that.

If you’re buying a property, then completion day is typically between 7 and 28 days after your solicitor exchanges contracts. This is when you get your hands on the keys to your new home.

5. If you’re renting give appropriate notice to your landlord

If you’re renting you should ideally have your moving date confirmed before you give the usual 4 weeks’ notice to your landlord or letting agent. This depends on the wording of your rental agreement.

Is the move-in date delayed or do you need to stay a little longer? You can explain this to the landlord in writing and give them the new date when you expect to leave.

6. Make sure you have the right level of home insurance before you move house

Contents insurance is designed to insure the contents of your home against loss, damage and theft.

You should have protection if there’s a break-in as well as if your property is damaged due to fire, flood and water leaks.

If you’re buying a property, you also need buildings insurance so the property itself is covered against any such events.

Homeowners can choose home insurance policies that combine both contents and buildings cover.

You should make sure your new house is covered by your home insurance policy from the day you move in.

If you’re buying a property and want to be extra cautious, you can set the policy to start from the day you exchange contracts.

It’s worth comparing home insurance quotes for your new home so you get a good deal. Once you’ve moved out of your old house, don’t forget to cancel the home insurance policy on that property.

Compare home insurance quotes

7. Pack everything and label the boxes

Removal firms should give you the option of whether you want them to do all the packing, to include all your clothing and kitchen utensils for instance.

Most people opt to do this sort of packing themselves. In any case, removal firms should normally supply as many flat cardboard boxes as you need along with the packing tape to make the boxes up.

Once you’ve sealed them, label them with the room you want them to be in and a brief description of the contents.

It makes things much easier for you if the removal team can take each box to the right room in your new home on removal day.

Make note of any boxes that are heavy, fragile or contain any high value items.

You may also want to get quick access to certain items once you’ve arrived at the new house – you don’t want to have to open 8 different boxes before you find the TV controller.

8. Keep important documents safe

You should think about keeping documents safe as your move approaches.

The last thing you want is for critical paperwork to get lost or perhaps mistakenly thrown away in the move.

It could be well worth getting a lockbox – a container with a built-in-lock –to keep all your important documents and ID safe.

This could include things such as birth certificates, contracts of employment, pension records and passports.


Who to notify when moving house checklist

1. Royal Mail

This is right at the top of our change-of-address checklist.

Forgetting to take out the Royal Mail redirection service could mean you miss important mail.

You should try to change as many addresses as possible quickly, but if you forget any then the Royal Mail redirection is your safety net.

It’s a temporary service, so you still need to make all the address changes in the end.

You can choose between a 6 and 12-month redirection service and even redirect mail overseas.

2. Banks and insurers

It’s important to change your address details with banks, building societies, insurers and pension providers.

You need to get a list together of all the accounts, credit cards, loans, pensions and insurance policies linked to your household.

You also have to change the address on your:

Changing the address on your car insurance policy is a top priority as the terms of the policy itself are partly determined by your address.

Where you live and where you keep your car at night are among the things that can determine the price you pay.

3. Driving licence and car ownership

Updating the address on your driving licence and car ownership certificate (V5c) held by the DVLA is relatively straightforward to do online.

But you could be fined up to £1,000 if you don't tell the DVLA when you change address.

4. TV licence

You can change the address on your TV licence through the TV licensing website.

Remember, only 1 licence is needed per household.

If you’re moving in with someone, one of you might be able to cancel an existing licence.

5. GP and health

Don’t wait to register with a new GP until you need one. You can find out where to go through the NHS portal.

Once you’ve registered, the new GP can get your records transferred over from your old one.

If you’ve moved into a different area, you should also register with a new dentist and if applicable, an optician. Don't forget the local vet either.

6. Council tax and electoral roll

You need to register for council tax at the new house and deregister with the local authority that covered the old address.

Your previous council should generate a bill and send it to your new address should there be anything left to pay.

If you’re moving into a newly built house, it’s a good idea to notify the new council a good few weeks in advance.

They should deliver the various bins that you need for recycling and rubbish collection at the new address.

You must make sure that you and all members of your household over 18 are entered onto the electoral roll under the new address.

7. Employers, accountants and solicitors

You’re usually meant to inform your employer of an address change, or you might not get your payslips.

Tell your accountant or solicitor about your new address or important/confidential information could land at the old one instead.


Moving-house checklist for utilities

Make a list of all your subscriptions.

It’s worth spending some time on this as it’s so easy to overlook one.

There are a variety of subscriptions to remember, including local clubs and gyms. You may need to cancel some outright if you’re moving out of the local area and won’t be using them any more.

For others, such as magazine subscriptions, you can update with your new address.

You may also have online subscriptions where the address needs to change.

But the most important things to address are your utilities.

1. Gas, electricity and water

Get on top of all the utilities so you don’t end up out of pocket – you don’t want to pay for someone else’s energy or water usage.

You must carry out meter readings for water, electricity and gas for both your old and new addresses – it’s worth taking photos to record the meter readings.

You should also compare gas and electricity prices and consider switching suppliers.

Doing this could make a big difference to your household running costs in the long run.

2. Broadband, phone and TV

There’s also your mobile phone, broadband and TV services to consider.

You need to get those address details updated, but now is a good time to consider switching providers.

Most broadband providers should allow you to move your connection to another property. Some might require you to sign up to a new 12, 18, or 24 month contract.

You could save money by comparing broadband prices – it may also work out cheaper to take out a bundle that includes broadband, mobile phone and/or TV under a single contract.


Moving house checklist for the first night

Before you say goodbye to your old home, you should think about your first night at the new property.

Make sure any essentials are easy to get to. Some essential things should travel with you in your car rather than in the removal lorry.

If there is anything especially valuable or fragile, it’s also a good idea to take this in your car too.

Along with your toothbrushes, some small kitchen items should go on the essentials list as well.

Like a kettle and some mugs as well as cutlery and plates – not to forget that bottle opener.

You probably won’t want to cook the first night, so you might need to look up the local takeaway options.


Moving into your new home

  • Before you set off, have a final walk around your old house and triple- check that everything is packed.
  • Make sure you’ve arranged to collect the keys for the new house if you don’t already have them.
  • Once you arrive at the new house, you should take a good look around and check if everything is in order.
  • If it’s a rental property you should check everything against the inventory and take photos of any defects you notice and notify the landlord or the letting agent. You don’t want to be held liable for any existing defects when you eventually move out.
  • If you’ve bought the property, you should still have a good look around. If the previous owner has left anything in the property that they shouldn’t have, like such as an old washing machine, you may be able to get them to remove it.
  • Should the new house not have new door locks, it’s a good idea to change them.

You can now breathe, put the kettle on – or pour the champagne – and give yourself a celebratory fist pump.

You could also introduce yourself to your new neighbours...


Things to buy for a new house

There are a number of things you’d do well to have from day 1 in your new property. That’s whether you’re moving from your existing home or moving in somewhere for the first time.

Many other things can be added over the coming days. But here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the things you might like to have with you on your first night.

  • Lightbulbs
  • Bin bags
  • Bed, mattress and bedding
  • Towels
  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Kettle
  • Can openers
  • Soap
  • Loo roll
  • Smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Soap
  • Plates and bowls
  • Pots and pans
  • Knives and forks
  • Glasses and mugs
  • Television
  • Drying-up cloths
  • Sofa and chairs