Budgeting for your house move

Buying a new house is an exciting venture but it's also one of the most stressful life events you'll experience. And while you're busy getting a mortgage in place and financing the stamp duty, conveyancing and other legalities that go with home-buying, it's easy to forget about the moving budget itself.

house move budget

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There are options to suit all budgets when it comes to the heavy lifting, however, so check out our advice on the when, what and how will work best for you.

DIY moving
Perfect for those with little cash to spare (and many friends to help out) but definitely not for anyone hoping for a stress-free move. Obviously, moving house yourself is the cheapest option and, if you're moving into your first home and don't have a decade's worth of accumulated stuff to deal with, it's often the easiest.

Hiring a van might seem pricey, particularly when you factor in the cost of fuel, but it's nothing compared to what a removal company will charge. Rope in as many members of the family or friends to help with the move itself and the driving if you're nervous about manoeuvring a big vehicle, and you've not only got free removals, you've got a ready-made housewarming party when you arrive at your new home.

Just remember, when you do it yourself you will be liable for any breakages.

Man and a van
Once again, the local man and his van may not be suitable for a really big house move, but for smaller, local removals it can prove a relatively cost-effective option.

Of course, your man with a van will charge by the hour (usually around the £60 mark) so keeping the time to a minimum is the key to a cheap move. You will need to have everything packed and ready to go, and if you are on a tight budget, don't forget to factor in loading and unloading times.

Just as with a DIY move, it's a possibility that the service will not be insured so be aware of this - check to see whether your household contents insurance covers any breakages and be ultra-careful with any valuable items.

With both of the above options, don't forget to budget for packing boxes and materials.

Get the movers in
It won't be the cheapest but it could be the safest option. If you are moving from a reasonably-sized family home, the chances are you've accumulated a lot, some of which will be valuable or need extra care when handling.

A reputable removal company will (or should) have all the proper insurance in place so you can rest easy in the knowledge that broken or missing items will be covered. Always get quotes from at least three firms (in writing) and double check that difficult or fragile items have been noted during their first visit.

To get the best price, move on a weekday as weekends and bank holidays is when removal companies are at their busiest and that means charging a premium. Also bear in mind that difficult parking at your destination can mean adding extra staff, and that will undoubtedly be factored into the price.

To keep costs down, consider doing the packing yourself but do check whether your insurance is effected if you choose to do it this way. Alternatively, you can opt for the full kit and caboodle and have the removal firm do all the packing for you. The professionals are just that for a reason - they're generally quicker and more efficient.

Don't forget...
Amongst all the chaos, it's easy to forget small but very important things. Here's a quick checklist to help you keep all the small things on track.

A month before
Make sure you notify utility companies, including TV licensing, council tax and media suppliers of your moving date and your new address. Some will require a month's notice so don't delay.

A fortnight before
By this time your packing should be well underway so now's the time to get rid of those unwanted item of furniture, either at the tip, delivered to a friend or left with a charity.
If you require a mail redirection service, give Royal Mail a good two weeks to set it up and avoid losing important post when you arrive at your new home.
If you have hired a removal company, call to confirm dates and times.

One week before
Settle local bills such as the milkman and cancel their services. Confirm the details of who needs your house keys and where, and do the same with the vendor's estate agent.

On the day
Ensure that everything is packed and ready to go (if you are doing this yourself) and double check outbuildings, cupboards and lofts to make sure nothing has been left behind. Make a note of meter readings so that you can inform the utilities companies, and turn off the gas, electric and water if your buyers aren't moving in on the same day. Leave instructions on how to operate the central heating, where the stopcock is and other essential information for your buyers.

During the move itself, be sure to note any damages incurred by the removal team, and last but not least, pack a box of essentials to keep with you - you can almost guarantee you'll be gasping for a cuppa by the time you arrive in your dream home.

How did you keep your house move stress free? Leave your comments below...