I'm Moving – Simple Steps to Follow

There is a vast list of organisations that you need to inform. It therefore makes sense to send them a standard letter with a gap for you to add relevant reference and account details.

As well as all the organisations and people listed opposite, tell the post office so that mail will be redirected. You'll need a form available by phone or from a post office branch. It takes up to ten days to come into effect. Prepare change of address cards for friends and family.

If you are changing your phone number, you can also arrange for your telephone company to inform callers of your new number for few weeks following the switch-over date.

Transferring services

Ten days ahead of your projected move, make sure all utility services, such as water, gas and electricity, are informed that you will be moving. Ask them to arrange to read the meters on the move day. Ring to check this will happen. If they can not, ask a qualified electrician to do a reading so that you have an independent record or take a date-stamper digital photograph of your meter reading. Moving house is a good time to review your arrangements with utilities. You can transfer your landline phone number to your new address for a charge.

Most companies will have a special telephone number to call to advise that you are moving or you can contact them in writing and, more frequently, by the internet. Make sure you have a receipt or record of them being notified by you as the utility companies can make mistakes and if they do, you are still liable for the bill unless you can prove you notified them and they have received it.

Information for the new owner

It is very helpful if you prepare a briefing sheet for the new owner. This should include how to operate the boiler and alarm, the location of the meters, fuse box and stopcock, and any other useful information. You could either label all keys or leave them in the lock that they operate. Do not forget shed and garage keys, or those for the window locks.

And do not forget to ask – or have it as part of your purchase agreement – that the person you are buying from does the same.

On the day

If you can take it, have a big breakfast as mealtimes are likely to be disrupted today. Put down sheets to protect the floor as people traipse in and out. The removals men are likely to turn up early and they work very fast, so if you are dismantling furniture or disconnecting appliances, do it before they arrive. Check the foreman knows the brief, get his mobile phone number in case of emergencies, because you will be travelling separately.

Strip the beds. Get the electricity and gas meters read, set aside the vacuum cleaner and cleaning equipment for your last-minute clear up.

If you have young children, take them to whoever is caring for them until you move. Do the same with any pets. If you know where you are in the chain, you will have some ideas of when you are likely to hear you have completed, as it will work up from the bottom. So if you are a first-time buyer at the end of the chain, you should be able to move as early as 12 noon. And if you are selling to first-time buyers, be out by by then! The poor people further along the line will have to wait.

As soon as the house is empty, zoom around it for a last-minute clean up Do not leave the house until your legal firm advises you to, and drop off the keys with the agent.

It will help your whole family to settle in if the new place feels like home. One way to help with this is to set aside a small stock of pictures, other familiar objects and, if possible, curtains. Take these in your car as you are likely to arrive before the removals lorry. When you get into the new property, put them in places as soon as you can: the surroundings will feel more like your home, which can lift everyone's spirits at a time when you are most likely feeling tired and drained.

Your new home

When you get in, label or colour code each room so the removals men know what will go where. Be clear about where you want any heavy furniture put. Do not expect to unpack anything but the bare essentials: bedding and a meal, you might prefer a takeaway. You may realise you need to clean items such as kitchen cupboards or shelves before stacking anything in them. Take readings of any gas and electricity meters as a record in case of any dispute with the supplier. As with leaving your sold property, if possible, photograph the figures, or write them down and get someone to witness your writing.

Your removals team will expect a tip, and you will most likely feel they've earned it. If there is a problem their work, tell the foreman. You may be asked to sign to confirm the job is completed and if you have not yet inspected your belongings, note that they are unexamined. This will help if there is a dispute later.

Be prepared to feel tired and maybe a bit let down: you probably have not seen the property empty or noticed blemishes on walls that were hidden behind furniture. Try to stay positive and remember what it is that attracted you to the property in the first place.