Regardless of how far you are moving, relocating your personal belongings is on your “to do” list. It’s an invaluable part of the whole chain of events.

In this advice piece, we’ll take you through the whole process ensuring you have suitable information and examples to help you make the right decisions. Many research pieces have stated moving property is one of the most stressful experiences of our lives, our advice will move you seamlessly through your move.

Things to consider before moving furniture

Happiness is the emotion you want to feel when you move into your new property
When it’s time to consider your removal needs, there are some questions you need to ask:

• DIY. Hire a Van (usually charged by the day). Make sure you get a ‘Luton’ bodied van so it comes with a lift. Handy when lifting all those heavy items of furniture! Suitable for small sized properties.
• Man and van. Like the above but you’re hiring the man and his van. Suitable for small sized properties.
• Local, multivan/lorry businesses. Will provide all your packing requirements (boxes, tape) at an extra charge. These organisations rely on local recommendations. Suitable for small-medium sized property moves.
• Big national companies with widely known brands are capable of the entire moving experience. Capable of moving huge properties and multi-faceted requirements. So, you’re boxed up and ready to go. How do you get to your new des-res?

Do you really need a removal company when moving into a new home?
In our opinion, you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to pack boxes, move out of your property and to the chosen location (new property or simply into storage). Never underestimate the amount of physical and mental organisation it takes to move the contents of your home to a new one – it always takes longer than you think! Naturally, the more items to move, the more likely you are to turn to a removals business, but if you are just moving into your first or second properties, really give it some thought. Do you have the time, friends and a van to do it yourself?

How to choose the right removal company when moving house

Word of mouth – get a recommendation
So you’ve decided to use a removals company – where to start?
Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Ask family, friends, colleagues, people in your social networks for removals firms used in the recent past. This is a great footing to start on.

The removal firm of choice
Make sure that you get several (we suggest three) professional quotes from B.A.R. (The British Association of Removers) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (N.G.R.S) certified firms in advance of moving day. Our advice is to start contacting removals firms the day you have an offer accepted on the property you are moving too. In this digital age, an indicative price will be given online, but do follow the quote up by calling the removals firm and arranging to meet them, at the property you’ve sold.

Whilst most of our lives are moving online, you can’t substitute the mantra: “people buy from people”. You should meet the representative of the business and form your own opinion. After all, these people are handling your material possessions. In fact, get everything in writing and ensure the removals people you want to use come to your property to really understand the scope of your move.

Also, by meeting each representative this gives you an opportunity to negotiate on the cost and also discuss valued extras – packaging materials free of charge or take advantage of the packing solutions provided by the removal company. Yes, the option is for someone else to carefully wrap, box and transport your possessions.

By developing a relationship with the removals firm, you can understand how price variations might be attained. By understanding cheaper days to move, other than the standard day for moving – Friday – you can try and fit your needs in with your chosen business. It could also make your budget go a lot further. Remember, removals are just one of the costs you have to factor, so shop around.

Accreditations are very important
The British Association of Movers (B.A.R) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (N.G.R.S) accreditation shouldn’t be overlooked. Such an accredited organisation will provide reassurance to movers by abiding by a specific, dedicated code of conduct that provides peace-of-mind before, during and after the moving process.

If your choice of removers isn’t accredited, it shouldn’t worry you but beware that the extra layer protection an industry body provides the buyer.

Questions a buyer should ask removals firms when negotiating handling your possessions:

• Ask about the insurance cover the removal company has in place for your move
• Ask about and see images of previous moves by the removals company you are meeting
• Request testimonials from satisfied clients
• Ask to know the names and experience of the team handling your move
• Agree to conduct a home survey wherever possible or take a detailed description of the requirements of your move.
• Provide a transparent, easy to understand quotation with no hidden charges. Ensure VAT, waiting time, the dismantling of furniture, all costs are included in the quote are clearly itemised.
• As about before, during and after the moving process – what should I expect?
• Do you provide packing materials – boxes, tape, labels etc – free of charge?
• Can you pack my house up and unpack at my new property? What is the cost for this?
• Will you place all my furniture in my allocated rooms?
• Do you have storage facilities – in case I do not want items immediately? Is this insured?
• Can I have a named point of contact and direct telephone number – before, during and after my move?
• Are you accredited by The British Association of Movers (B.A.R) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (N.G.R.S)?
• Ascertain their approach customer care
• Request a timeline of how the move will unfold.

Cost can often be a big factor in how a person selects a removal company to carry out their house move but ultimately you want a trusted company that looks after you and your belongings throughout the moving process. Yet, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Whether it’s a recognisable branded removals business or a smaller, local firm, don’t be afraid to ask if there are discounts/reductions to be made that meet your budget.

Before the move – to pack or leave to someone else?
Packing your personal possessions up is an arduous task and takes longer than it looks. Another benefit of using a professional removals firm is that they can offer a packing service.

Leave it to someone else
For an additional charge, your remover will send in some of their employees to help professionally and carefully pack your home. Usually, all the packing materials (bubble wrap, boxes, packing tape and markers) will be included in this charge. On the face of it, paying someone else to do a job you can do for nothing is slightly insulting. However, there is a huge time-saving element here. If you are busy with work, children, life etc. then this a superb way of packing up your home. It is definitely worth considering.

If you select this option, your account manager/contact at the removers will manage the entire process.  Packing can be efficiently and cost effectively handled by your removal firm of choice

Pack it yourself
If you choose not to take advantage of the packing option from your removers, then the company you choose can give you a steer on how long it will take you to pack your house yourself. Your remover of choice has a world of experience, so don’t be afraid to ask their opinion.

Follow these tips if you are packing up yourself:
• Set a timetable; you won’t be able to pack in one day. Little and often is best.
• Pack and box room by room. Once you have filled a box, seal it with parcel tape and then move carefully into the corner of that room. It adds to the order and feeling of fulfillment.
• Consider a packing party. Get some friends and family around to help. A few glasses of wine makes a boring job fun and enjoyable.
• Don’t overpack your boxes. Remember the boxes of books you have carefully packed do need to be moved after you’ve sealed the box. Don’t cause you or anyone else an injury!
• Likewise, with china and other breakable objects – wrap them with bubble wrap and place in a box with care. Also, another tip is once it’s wrapped in bubble wrap, wrap that item with newspaper. The more valuable the possession, the more layers you should use.
• Pets (Children, husbands etc) should not be packed in boxes.
• Keep your packing materials – boxes, marker pens, parcel tape, bubble wrap, old newspaper – handy because you’ll need them throughout the moving process.

On moving day…..
When it comes round to the day you move, we’ve got a few tips to help it run as seamlessly as possible.

• Think about the team who are undertaking your move. Keep the kettle handy – you’ll need it, everyone welcomes a brew now and again!
• Don’t pack children and pets! Can they go to friends or relatives whilst the move is in progress?
• Clear (vacuum, clean the kitchen) your house afterward. No one other than you is responsible for this. It’s good etiquette when handing over your new home to the new owners.
• Also, keep a bag of essentials that you’ll need as soon as you move in. This bag should contain a change of clothes/overnight bag and essential foodstuffs (and the kettle) to get you through the early yet chaotic hours of being in your new property. If you carefully pack these items into a number of boxes and then load it into the van/lorry, it could take hours to find again. Honestly.
• Keep a file of all documentation related to the move – this could be from the removals firm, but also your solicitors and mortgage company (if you’re using one).
• Don’t start arranging all your possessions as soon as you move in. Leave the respective items i.e. sofa in your front room but once everyone has left, this is time to start moving items around. Friends and family can help you move this. That said, your removals firm will move all your items into the designated rooms. Make sure the item e.g. sofa, dresser, table are labelled for the room they are going in.
• Your removals firm should locate the larger bulkier items to areas you have requested – this is often achieved by writing clearly on the outer of the box of possessions (there will be many!).
• If you can, enjoy it! It’s part of moving to your new home!

After the move
• In the immediate days after your move, your time will be taken up by emptying boxes and flattening them to return to your removals company. Usually, your removals firm will give you 2 weeks to return the boxes. This should be ample time to empty your belongings.
• If you have put some items into storage (through your removals firm or privately), don’t forget them! Storage can be expensive, especially if only agreed for a short time.

Children and pets need to be managed during your move. If you’re moving, how can you do it all yourself?

There are huge amounts of benefits to using a removal company overdoing it yourself or using a man and van:
• A removal company – nationwide or local – will pride themselves on delivering your goods to your new property.
• They specialise in providing a stress-free experience. Moving is stressful – one of the biggest stresses in your life – let a professional, highly recommended firm take the strain.
• They are insured to cover all your items; doing it yourself/man and van will not be.
• A removal company wants your trust and, therefore, is more reliable than leaning on a man with his transit. You might save a few pennies using a man and van, yet what price or peace of mind?
• Your removals firm will provide a vast array of value-added services, including packing services, storage, one-stop shop for your packing requirements, a brand you’ll be proud to lean on and (hopefully) recommend
• Using a removals organisation that is registered with either The British Association of Removers (BAR) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) will give you added peace of mind, security and reassurance.

A professional removal firm will ensure your possessions arrive in one piece. They’ll be insured too.

This guide was produced by Michael Anthony, estate agents in Aylesbury, drawing on decades of experience in helping people find, purchase and move into their dream homes in Aylesbury.