The Christmas holidays are an exciting time of the year, but they can also be quite stressful and expensive – even more so if you have to deal with moving house. Delaying the move until after New Year’s might seem like the easier option, but it does bring the risk of market falls and paying higher VAT on estate agents and conveyancing fees.
These factors are often why many across the UK will decide to move house over Christmas, despite the added complications. Compare My Move works alongside a variety of property and finance experts to create helpful and insightful guides that will aid you through the process of buying and selling a house. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you plan your Christmas house move whilst also staying in the festive spirit.
Tips For Moving House Over Christmas
1. Make a Clear Timeline
One of the biggest tips for moving house over Christmas is to make a clear and detailed plan in advance. Timescales can often get out of control when moving, especially if you’re in a large property chain. However, the sooner you get things done, the more organised you’ll be.
Keep a clear line of communication open with your estate agent, conveyancer and removals company. Ask as many questions as necessary and make sure you’re aware of which step in the process you’re at. If you find yourself waiting at a certain stage of the buying process, start making detailed task lists for yourself so you’ll be ready when you can move on.
2. Start Your Christmas Shopping Early
To avoid added stress and to ensure you don’t forget certain gifts, it would be wise to start your Christmas shopping earlier than you usually would. Make a list well in advance and try to do all your present buying as soon as possible. If you have the time, you could even wrap and distribute them before you begin packing.
If you’re moving house during the week of Christmas, don’t forget to also do your Christmas food shop early. If you order your food online a month in advance, you can have everything delivered to your new home just in time.
3. Organise Your Packing
Don’t underestimate the volume of stuff you have and definitely don’t leave the packing to the last minute. If you have large furniture that needs to be dismantled, start organising it approximately a week before your official moving date. Many people have more storage than they think, as well as lots of Christmas decorations. Emptying the loft and getting rid of clutter you don’t need will make packing much easier.
Remember to keep your Christmas decorations aside so they are packed last – when you move into your new home, it will be easier to find them and you can start decorating straight away. All important documents such as birth certificates, passports, photo albums and jewellery should be kept with you. Understandably, the packing process can often feel overwhelming – that is why we’ve compiled a list of moving house tips to help make these jobs much easier to manage.
4. Book a Removal Company
Moving over Christmas can sometimes be complicated due to the hazardous weather and the fact that many companies will have reduced staff. This is why it’s recommended you hire a removal company to help with your house move.
During this time of year, movers and packers can get booked up very quickly so it’s vital you compare removal quotes as early as possible to ensure you get the best date for you. After choosing the company, try to keep in contact with them as much as possible to ensure the removal plan goes as expected as issues such as winter weather warnings could arise.
You should also ask about the additional services they offer when comparing companies as packing or storage services can be a big help when moving over Christmas. If you have large presents, holiday decorations or furniture that is taking up extra space currently, you should consider renting self-storage during the house move to give yourself that much-needed extra space.
5. Prepare for Bad Weather
Winter is notorious for its bad weather, especially near Christmas. Whilst the prospect of a white Christmas is exciting for many, it can prove to be a bit more hazardous for those moving houses. Before moving, check the weather forecasts and plan ahead as much as possible. Speak to your chosen removal company and discuss their plans for potential weather-related issues.
If possible, try to obtain grit or salt and snow shovels to help the removals van get to your property. As winter means a lot more darkness, it would also be wise to keep a few torches at hand to ensure a safer journey. Keep a bundle of extra warm clothes close by and take extra care when moving with children, pets or even plants.
Tips For Moving House in the Snow
Whilst many people dream of a white Christmas, when it comes to moving house, snow can mean a very hazardous journey. If you’re considering moving over Christmas, you should check the weather forecasts as early as possible to help you prepare in advance.
If snow is predicted during your move, you should:
- Hire professional movers – Snow can make moving house fairly complicated and so it’s advised you let the experts handle the process. Not only will they have the appropriate packing materials and vehicles to ensure a safer journey, but they will also have the vital experience needed to carry out such a difficult task.
- Salt and grit the driveway – To help your chosen movers, grab a shovel and clear the path outside your home of snow. You should also try gritting the road or adding salt to help the removal vans before they arrive.
- Pack warm clothes – Keep a bundle of warm clothes nearby to ensure you’re completely covered up during the move. Christmas often means plummeting temperatures so it’s always good to have an extra coat or spare pair of gloves in the car ready.
- Protect your floors – Try to use cardboard or plastic sheeting to protect the floors in both properties, especially if you have carpet. There will be a lot of people walking in and out, meaning there will be a lot of snow brought in too. This added layer will help protect your flooring and make for an easier clean-up session.
- Check on your plants – If you’re moving plants, be extra cautious and make sure they have the necessary amount of sunlight during the journey. Be careful when unloading them as some plants won’t like the winter weather.
6. Make a Plan For Children and Pets
If you’re moving house with children, you should try to arrange childcare for the day of the move. Christmas is an exhilarating time and so they may become over-excited or even unsettled at the thought of also moving house. Organising childcare, possibly with friends or family, will ensure a safer environment so you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on them as they run around exploring the new home.
It would also be a good idea to organise care for your pets too, should you be moving house with pets over Christmas. Moving can make many animals stressed as they often crave routine and can become anxious when it’s disrupted. Consider sending them to someone you trust or even to a local cattery or kennel to provide more comfort.
7. Protect Your Valuables
A winter house move can result in some unexpected dangers such as the potential for snow and the increased amount of darkness. This means it is even more essential that you protect your valuables whilst moving.
During the run-up to the house move, make sure all family heirlooms, valuable or fragile items are locked up safe before you begin packing. This will ensure less panic on the day and less risk of something going missing.
It’s advised that you take advantage of your chosen removal company’s additional services and ask them for help when packing. If you’d prefer packing yourself, they could simply supply you with the right high-quality materials to ensure every valuable item is completely safe during transit.
Keep all important documents in the car with you also, to ensure they can be easily reached in an emergency. This also applies to Christmas presents as you will need to have them close at hand should you be moving the week of Christmas. You may want to have a festive Christmas box at the ready so that all gifts, decorations and toys can be easily found when unpacking at the new home.
8. Contact Your Utility Providers and Pay Bills
Before moving house, make sure you’ve done all your meter readings to get accurate bills. Contact all your utility providers a few weeks before the move and inform them of your new address. Make sure you give them plenty of notice as the last thing anyone wants over Christmas is to be without water or power.
9. Check Your Car the Night Before Moving
To ensure you’re completely prepared, take the time to quickly check over your car the night before your moving date. Make sure your car has enough fuel to get you to your new home. The cold weather can often cause issues with vehicles so this is even more vital when moving house over Christmas. You may also want to stock up on de-icer to ensure a more efficient morning.
If you’re taking public transport instead, make sure you check the website to see if any last-minute delays have occurred. Double-check the time you’re supposed to be leaving and make sure any tickets you’ve pre-ordered are still valid.
10. Inform People of Your Change of Address
Tell all the relevant people about your change of address and make sure you register with your new doctor, dentist and even vet. Don’t forget to also inform the Post Office so they can redirect your mail.
Do Removal Companies Work Over Christmas?
Many removal companies across the UK will continue working over Christmas, although they will typically have reduced staff and fewer dates available. Most companies will operate until Christmas Eve. After this date, they will typically resume business the following week or after the New Year.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos