Buying a home: how to avoid 'moving day' shocks

Buying a home: how to avoid 'moving day' shocks

A lot can go wrong after you’ve had your offer accepted, warns Homeowners Alliance director Paula Higgins.

loveMONEY Expert Panel

Mortgages and Home

loveMONEY Expert Panel
Updated on 19 October 2018

You’ve found the house, made the offer and had it accepted. It’s smooth sailing from here on in, right?

Wrong, unfortunately.

A lot can go wrong between having your offer agreed and actually moving in, not least the moving day.

Indeed, recent figures from a study this week which the HomeOwners Alliance conducted with Shieldpay, reveals a massive 115,000 home moves are delayed each year because funds don't arrive on time and sellers take longer to vacate properties.

What’s more, a shocking 20,500 moves had to be cancelled altogether because of funds not arriving in time.

And if you think the inconvenience that causes is annoying, how about the costs?

Our figures found 26% of those affected incurred costs of, on average, £509, while one in seven (14%) lost over £1,000.

Typical costs include hourly waiting charges from removal companies, storage fees, removal company cancellation charges, accommodation costs and late completion charges.

And it’s not just complications with the funds that can cause delays on the day of the move.

So what can you do to avoid moving day nightmares? Here are my top tips.

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Avoid Fridays

I know what you’re thinking. Friday is a great day to move house because you’ve then got the whole weekend to settle in and unpack before getting back to work.

The problem is, pretty much everyone else is thinking the same thing.

And as a result, removal firms tend to charge a premium on Fridays given its popularity.

Avoid peak time and you could save a decent amount.

What’s more if anything goes wrong with the move, whether it be related to the transfer of funds or a burst pipe in the new property, wouldn’t you like to know that the professionals (your solicitor, mortgage broker, tradesman) are in work and available the next day (and not at a premium cost)?

Track your cash

When appointing a conveyancer ask how your funds are protected and what technology they use to speed up the process.

Lots of firms are using new online solutions to enable both parties to complete on transactions in real time.

The more consumers ask for these solutions the more we should see conveyancers adopting them.

Make sure your belongings are insured

Make sure your possessions are insured for the move itself.

Most removals companies provide insurance, but check what this covers and whether there are any exclusions (some companies will only insure items that they pack and not anything you pack yourself).

If you’re planning to move any precious items yourself, check these are covered when in transit by your contents insurance

Avoid surprises

It really can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have your removals firm survey your house before the move.

The last thing you want is to have them turn up on the day with a van that is far too small because they didn’t take into account the stuff in your loft or the furniture in your basement conversion.

Have the company come round to your house so you can show them exactly what needs to be moved, find out how many members of staff will be there on moving day and ask for a written moving schedule.

Use a firm that is a member of the industry’s trade body – the British Association of Removers – and always read reviews of the firm beforehand.

Read the testimonials on the company’s website and look at their ‘about us’ section for trading history and longevity.

Outsmart your technology

If you have ever tried hooking up your TV and satellite you’ll know how many wires are involved.

Make it easy on yourself by taking a photo of the back of all of your electrical devices before you pack up so you know exactly how to put them back together.

Pack an essentials box

There are the obvious things you’re going to need on moving day – the kettle, teabags, milk (the essentials! ) – but there are a few other items you should make sure you have to hand in case of emergencies – a torch, for example, and a first aid kit.

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If you have a financial question or issue you’d like us to put to our expert panel, please do get in touch. It can be about any area of finance: whether it’s an energy bill or housing complaint that needs sorting, our team will do their best to help out.

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