Sometimes it’s good to start afresh
What started as a night where I couldn’t sleep and decided to browse online for houses… I didn’t expect to find a house I fell in love with and move in by 2 weeks! But I needed the change – I had been in my house for 5 years and I had outgrown it. I loved it, and I still do as my first independent place, but I wanted something bigger and spacious. Plus I wanted a clean slate – no history or emotional baggage that I would trip up over. So I’m glad I took the plunge and decided to move.
Now I’m unpacked (aside from the spare room of doom…) I thought I would share my moving experience with you – of course, in true Pin Picker style, I relied on Pinterest on a lot of tips of moving house, but I also came up with some handy tips myself. Time to give myself a pat on the back for thinking logically! Now, I haven’t bought the property and just renting, but the tips can help with general moving and viewing houses – on the legal side, I have no idea about solicitors etc. so it’s best you stick with the professionals!
It’s so easy to sign up for multiple house viewings and then forget where you’re actually going. Plus when you apply online to view houses, they don’t always tell you the house number so you can end up roaming the streets looking for your potential house. Plus, when you get into the house – you might have fallen in love with the open fireplace and then realise that you’re lazy (that was me…). So here’s some tips for you;
Make a spreadsheet of potential houses
I created a spreadsheet that even Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S would be proud of – this included;
- Full address of the house.
- Date and time of viewing.
- The estate agency you’re going on the viewing with and their contact details.
- Link of where you found the house so you can refer back to it.
- Potential fees and deposits – if you’re unsure, ask the agent when you’re on the viewing and update as you go along.
- Potential bills – Zoopla are great with estimated monthly costs for around the area for energy bills, council tax and internet.
Prepare a list of questions
Don’t be afraid to interrogate the agent at the viewing – it’s better to know what you’re potentially going into rather than finding that there’s a secret basement which has seen things even horror films couldn’t portray. Some prompts could include;
- Is the metres on a pay as you go system or general? Would the landlord be willing to change this?
- Do you know the current suppliers of the house?
- What are the rules on decorating the house?
- Has the previous tenant (if they’ve moved out) left a forwarding address or diverted their mail?
- When was the boiler installed/serviced?
- How long did the last tenant stay for? (Might sound personal, but I like to know whether it was a quick stay or long term!)
- Do you have information about the alarm system (speaking from experience, this is a big one – unless you want to call your mum down the line asking how to switch the alarm off when you don’t have a code!)
- What is the application process? How do you get references? What’s the time frame?
- When can I move in? (If you found the house of your dreams!)
- What is your deposit scheme?
Check the house out and add any additional queries to the list of questions
A house could look amazing on pictures but when you get there, you find it’s a dive! I found this on a couple of houses I potentially really liked but was shocked at the viewing of how different it really was!
- Check whether the door and windows are secure.
- Look for damp stains and check there’s no damp!
- Check for cosmetic wear and tear – there’s nothing worse then going in and finding scuffed walls which hasn’t been sorted by the landlord.
- Check your fireplace and whether there’s a working alarm for smoke and carbon monoxide. Ask whether the fireplace is useable and when it was last serviced (again… from experience.)
- Check the bathroom out – does it have everything you need in it?
- Check the space out and think whether realistically where you can store things.
- How much natural light comes into the house? (especially the garden!)
- If you have a rubbish memory like me – take photos or videos!
Have an open mind… and think things through before making a decision
The estate agent may get a sense of what you’re looking for, and make suggestions which you may or may not like. You could follow them around like a dog with a bone, or be really offended. But it’s important to have an open mind – if I hadn’t have kept my mind open, I wouldn’t be in the house I’m in now. Though on the same page, don’t feel pressured to give a response straight away. The house might be in high demand, but do you want to move into a house and find you don’t like it?!
On the morning of my viewing, the estate agent called and asked if we could swap one of the viewings for another property I was due to visit a few days later. In addition to this, he also suggested two additional houses near the one I had expressed interest to so I went along. The first house the estate agent took me to (which wasn’t on my list) happened to be this house I’m in now, and I fell in love with it. But rather than cancelling the other viewings, I thought I’d check them out as there might be something else… thankfully every house failed my check list in some way – damp, too dark, bathroom was downstairs, too small etc. It wasn’t just the state of the house I had to think about, it was also costs and whether I could afford it.
“You’ve been approved… when do you want to move?”
Once you’ve got the thumbs up from the application and you have an idea of when you’re moving into the property, the real work starts!
Notify the change of address and when you’re moving
It’s so important to notify everyone you either pay or receive post to say you’re moving. Firstly, write them down (or add them on your spreadsheet) so you don’t loose track. Here’s a list of potential services to give the heads up;
- Your current landlord – they need to know when you’re leaving so they can do an inspection of the property!
- Energy supplier (check if they already supply to the new house and see if they can do a switch – or change!)
- Council – just make sure you a.) register to vote and b.) get a reference number to confirm change of address and the old property will be vacant… otherwise you end up paying for two houses!
- Internet (same as the energy supplier, check whether they can provide at your new house)
- TV Licensing
- Bank and credit cards
- Doctors, Dentists, Opticians etc.
- Online services or subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
- Work/Place of study/Union
- Post office (it’s worth paying for a redirection of post to your new place – whether it’s for 6 months to a year, you won’t loose anything you may have forgotten about!)
Cost everything up!
This is a headache – but it’s better to know how much you’re left with rather than being really skint! Make a note of whether you’ll pay on credit card, finance or debit and keep track of them. Especially if you’re unlucky like me and have missing parcels so you need a refund back!
Microsoft Excel have a template which works out your balance (with a formula!): Budget Calculator
Now is the time to get ruthless with everything you own – just ask yourself these questions;
- Does it really work?
- Do you really use it?
- Do you really need it?
- Do you really wear it?!
If any of the answers above is no – then get rid! Take it to charity shop, sell it (for extra pennies) or bin it. You don’t want to bring any rubbish to the new place, to only do the clear out again!
Pack things you need, but don’t use on a regular basis, away
By chipping away with packing, you’re not going to be in a situation the day before where you’re panic packing and throwing everything in any box that’s next to you. Keep the items that you use on a regular basis out and do those as the last pack.
Prepare a box just for the first couple of days
The last thing you need when you do move is searching through every box trying to find your straighteners or toothbrush. So prepare a box, or bag, where you have you essentials in;
- Laptop stocked up with films – especially if you don’t have the internet.
- Clothes for the next two days. (don’t forget the pants!)
- Any cosmetics/glasses/health products.
- Purse and documents you may need.
- Phone/Watch charger.
- Your cuddly soft toy you can’t sleep without (that might just be me though…)
If you’re ordering furniture – either make sure they arrive before the move in date or on the day
Even consider ordering items to be delivered the day after you move in. Think what is a priority for day one of being in your new home.
Though I will warn you – prepare for plan b if anything really messes up. I ordered a bed online which the slats of it arrived on the day before the big move – missing the actual bed frame! The mattress also didn’t turn up on the day I moved! So the first night I was on the sofa… and then I had a nightmare with chasing this missing bed for nearly a week.
Book a van and make a schedule of the day
Make sure you’ve got some wiggle room for any delays (breakdowns, more runs than expected because you have SO much, etc.) – and label clearly what you’re taking and where it should be in the new house. Unless your friends and family want to play a game with you and hide the plates in the bathroom… thanks guys.
If you’re prepared and packed in advance – then it should be a breeze. Admittedly, I still had some stressful moments where I only cried once (better than crying constantly!) but with everyone’s help I got moved in one day. Phew!!
Some top tips for the day of moving;
- Clean, or schedule a day to come back to the old house to clean. Take photos of the house and send them to your outgoing landlord/estate agent so they have it on record.
- Get vouchers for lunch… and actually use them – not leave them in the living room!
- If possible, unpack as you go along. Makes the next few days easier – maybe even task someone to unpack (unless you have a particular preference!)
- Keep your phone charged should anything happen and you need to ring anyone!
- Make sure on the first night, you relax. We were actually celebrating my friend’s new job and as deliveries were still coming to my house on the day, we ended up having pizzas at mine. Once they left, had a quick shower and went to bed – no wait… sofa… I slept on the sofa.
You’re in, chipping away at the unpacking with a cup of tea in one hand, and music playing. But not everything is finished!
- If you need to go back to the old house, double – wait – TRIPLE check everything. Is there anything you’ve left by accident? Any rubbish? Is everything clean and fixed up? Have you written the meter readings?
- Hand the old keys in.
- Check when your bin collections are.
- Make contact with your new landlord – my landlord actually contacted me and ended up popping over one night for a cup of tea and a quick chat. If you have any questions – ask him/her and they’ll be able to help.
- Double check any switches have come through – and take the readings for them.
- See if anyone else needs cardboard if they’re planning to move house – you’ll have plenty to share!
- Make it your own home! Add decorative items around and make it to how YOU want it.
- Plan a homewarming party (be prepared for the big clear up the next day!)
So with the sun shining in my garden and I’m sat on the bench writing this blog post, I can truly say I’ve got the fresh start I really needed. Time to start some new, positive, memories in this house!
Here’s the template I used with everything to do with the move – it was my bible! You can download and feel free to edit/share: Template_House
Have you got some tips on moving? Why not share them on the comments below. In the meantime, you can have a look on my Home Board on Pinterest for some more tips!
Until next time,