Moving house guide

Published on
1 January 2021

My offer has been accepted on a house - what do I need to do next?

You'll fill out a few different bits of paperwork, and further down the line you'll sign a contract. On this contract there will be a completion date – that’s normally the date when you can pick the keys up from the estate agent and move in.

This can be any time after the contracts are exchanged, and it is mutually agreed by all parties – it can even be the same day - but two weeks is the most common time period to have to wait.

It is important to remember that you will need time to pack up your belongings, acquire essential furniture you may be missing, and arrange transport for the big day – so give yourself enough time before the completion date. The seller will also need time to move out and clean up.

Before moving day arrives, there is lots to be done:

  • Contact your mover
    Now that you have a confirmed date to move, you should organise a removal firm as soon as possible – it is unlikely they can make themselves available at the last minute. Also let any friends and family know so they can give you a helping hand.
  • Getting connected
    As soon as you know your completion date, you should notify your utility companies or get set up with a new one. You don't want to spend the first days and weeks in your home having to deal with forms and phone calls – that's something else you'll need to do in advance; setting up a phone line! If you're planning on having broadband, you'll most likely need a landline, so check that the new house is ready to receive that. Some companies may take up to a month to complete the setting-up process.
  • Informing of your new address
    Anyone you regularly receive post from is generally worth informing of your move, but the key people to update are your doctors, dentists and opticians, who can simply update their systems or help you transfer to a practice in your new area. You must inform the DVLA of your new address so they can send you a new licence – this can be done at most Post Offices or online via the DVLA. Your local council will need to know about your move so they can set you up with council tax. Also, if you're fond of ordering items online, remember to change the default delivery addresses on your favourite sites!
  • Packing up
    When you are packing up your belongings, bear in mind how they will be stored in transit, and what will happen when you move in. Anything prone to damage should be wrapped and padded, while it also makes sense to pack in an organised fashion rather than throwing everything into a box and spending days looking for things when you start to unpack in your new home.
  • Moving day
    It is normal practice for you to get the keys for your new property after lunchtime on the day of completion (in Scotland date of entry), to enable the people you are buying from to have time to move out and clean before they leave. On the morning of completion day, your solicitor/conveyancer will receive the money from us and transfer the balance to the seller’s solicitor/ conveyancer. This will complete the legal process.