Planning a home move is tough at the best of times. Even relocating a few streets away or hopping to the other side of town requires weeks of intensive preparation. But moving many – possibly even hundreds of – miles across the country is a whole different ballgame, presenting a handful of unique factors you’ll need to consider and challenges you’ll have to overcome. The good news is that, if you take the time to get prepared, your long-distance move really could run like clockwork. Here, we’ll help you understand some of the particular issues involved with a long-distance move, and how you can plan for them come the big day. And for further help, print out our moving house checklist so you can stay on top of your move at every step.
1. You’ll have to start planning (much) earlier
Usually when buying property, you’ll need to put down a percentage of the total purchase price as a deposit. The exception to this is a 0% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage, although these can be tough to get, especially as a first-time buyer. The more money you can put in as a deposit, the lower the LTV ratio. The lower the ratio, the better interest rate you can get on your mortgage. This is because you’re seen as less of a risk to a lender, as you’ll own more of the property from the start of your mortgage. This means the payments will be lower, and in turn you’re less likely to fail on them. It also means you’re less likely to fall into negative equity if the value of your home drops, which is where your loan is bigger than the value of your home.
There’s no denying that a long-distance move is more challenging, logistically, than when swapping neighbourhoods across your town or city.
It’s also important to consider that, if you’re going to use a removals company, they’ll probably require much more notice about a move that could end up taking a day or two than if they’d only need to spare two or three hours. You’ll want to consider booking in with a company as much as three months in advance. Even if your house purchase and/or sale falls through, it’s better to be safe than sorry – and you’re only likely to lose a small deposit if the worst does happen.
When searching for a removals company, remember to ask if they have much experience doing long-distance moves like yours. Don’t just jump at the best price you get – carefully consider each company’s level of experience, standard of customer service, flexibility, insurance policies and read any reviews you can find online.
2. Downsizing will be more important
Any home move is a great and natural opportunity to clear out your old, unwanted or faulty items. But when it comes to a long-distance move, cutting down your personal possessions becomes all the more vital, as the implications for your budget and resources are much bigger. You don’t want to waste time packing, then paying to transport, items that are of no use or purpose to you anymore. With a long distance move you may have to be a little more ruthless than you otherwise would, and if you have any doubts about whether you really want it, this should be taken as a clear sign you should say goodbye. It might help to think about your new property too. Sure, some items may look great in your current home – but can you see them fitting in at the new house? If you have big renovation plans at the new home and plan on introducing a different style of interior to what you had before, could you benefit from selling or giving away some of your items sooner rather than later?
3. You’ll need to be smarter with your packing
Once you’ve settled on what is and isn’t coming with you, it’s time to pack. It’s important to remember that, unlike with any shorter moves you may have made in the past, lots of back and forth trips aren’t really an option. You need to be confident that all your things will fit in the van on the day, and that they’ll be safe and secure for the journey.
If furniture will be coming with you, think about whether items could be partially deconstructed to make for a better use of space, such as removing legs from sofas and headboards from beds. Think about how you could use the volumes inside these items, such as filling your wardrobes with duvets and other soft furnishings. Boxes are the obvious option when it comes to stowing your things, and the fact you’ll be able to stack these should prove helpful. Once you’re packed, a good way to check there’ll be room in the van(s) for all your things is to move everything into the same room, and set out the van’s dimensions in masking tape on the floor. If you’ve any doubts, speak to your removals or van hire company before it’s too late.
Speaking of savings accounts, the government’s Help to Buy scheme includes an ISA aimed at boosting your savings for your deposit. You can kickstart your ISA with £1,200 in the first month, and then you can save up to £200 into it each month, up to a maximum of £12,000. When you’re ready to buy your first house, the government will give you a 25% bonus on the total amount you’ve saved. If you’ve saved the full £12,000, you’ll get a government bonus of £3,000 which is paid when you complete. It’s worth noting that the value of the property you’re buying mustn’t be more than £250,000, or £450,000 in London.
4. Make sure everyone knows
Accidentally sent your latest Amazon purchase to the old address? This isn’t much of a problem if you’re still living nearby, and can just pop round to pick it up along with an apology to the new owners, but getting parcels and mail sent over to the right place is a little more complex (and costly) if you now live hundreds of miles away. Make sure you update all of your billing addresses, and let your bank and any credit card companies know your moving date once contract are exchanged.
5. Plan for the journey
With a long-distance move in the UK, you may find yourself on the roads for several hours, with the potential for traffic jams to cause you even more of a headache. With that in mind, make sure you’re prepared for the journey ahead, and have plenty of food, supplies and entertainment to keep everyone happy – particularly any little ones who may become frustrated and restless. Remember to charge up those electronic devices the night before, and pack a travel bag with snacks and toys that you keep in your car or take on public transport with you, rather than being tempted to pack everything up in the van.
You’ll also want supplies to see you through your first night or two to hand, and it’ll be much easier if you pack these things in a hold-all that you keep in the car boot or carry with you, than in a box you have to rummage around the van to find.
And finally – after all that – you’re ready to sit back, relax and fall in love with your new home and corner of the country! For ideas on how to make your mark on your new property sooner rather than later, take a look at “Quick, Easy and Affordable Ways to Make Your Mark on a New Home”.
Disclaimer: The article above is only a rough guide on tips to help you plan a long distance move