Stress free tips when moving home

Kya deLongchamps offers tips and tricks to getting a house move going in an (almost ) stress-free way.

The Sherry Fitzgerald Residential Market Report is always an interesting read, and it appears that for Cork county alone in the first quarter of this year, the volume of residential sales was up 56% on last year.

In Cork and Dublin, the profile of those seeking new housing stock is now largely owner/occupiers rather than investors (2015 Summer Review).

Clearly, we are reaching up the ladder again. While this is positive news for the economy, many families having secured or re-negotiated a mortgage are facing into the emotional upheaval of rolling up the tent and moving on.

A certain level of acceptance is crucial to ease the disruption of moving house — there are no real statistics on stress but it’s no surprise that moving house comes behind death and divorce in terms of emotional upheaval.

Yes — it’s going to feel chaotic and unsettling at times, but the more you manage the process, and the earlier you get started, the better. 

Once contracts are exchanged and the completion date is set, give yourself in the area of three weeks to pack up a standard family home.

Moving a single occupancy apartment, you may get away with about a week and many companies offer evening moves of three hours or less if you’re shifting within city limits. Choosing the right day for the move can save you money. 

Fridays, weekends and bank holidays will command a premium and these sorts of dates are harder to secure as families attempt to tailor their move around work and school demands.

If you are going off-grid and doing the move yourself, book the van at least three weeks ahead and ensure the cubic metres in cargo area suit your needs. 

If you’re not sure you will go ahead with a self-drive van, invest in the firm’s cancellation coverage (generally just a few euro a week).

Deciding on a firm to do the job should not simply come down to a price point — and a seriously low number should give pause for thought. 

In the past, dedicated removal companies would do a full walk-through survey of the house before presenting a quote, but today, there are online facilities such as AnyVan.ie, which will provide quotes from from not just one company but several fully insured, reputable firms.

I put out quotes, (in the interest of journalistic accuracy), for no-obligation estimates to move a three bedroom home from Cork city to Waterford on two umbrella sites, itemising my imagined belongings down to the last end table and throwing in a little more on the on-line inventory to ensure a realistic figure.

For a well insured man with a van (and specified helper), to shift boxes without packing came back in the area of €300-€500. A full packing service from a small but reputable removals firm averaged out around €1,800, with insurance in transit of €100,000.

There are increments offered by better firms, for instance, between full packing and DIY there may be a ‘Kitchen Packing Service’ offered — this is the area with the most bits n’ bobs and not being too personal a space, it’s a good one to hand over to the professionals. 

Plus, in a lot of instances, it means you’re ready to go when you arrive at the new house.

Location, contents and access will play havoc with any virtual quote. Any online survey must be followed up by a walk through to determine if there are pieces with extra challenges to nail the number down. 

If you can’t make a seriously accurate inventory, don’t enter into any formal agreement until there has been a physical walk-through. 

Some firms have useful deals including hourly rates for vehicles and drivers (you had better be ready!) and self-load trailers, taking the hassle of vehicle and driver hire out of the equation and lowering the cost compared to a straight lift and shift or packing service, (www.irishremovals.ie). 

Do ask about the insurance implications of your involvement in the packing process.

Whether you choose a home visit or start online, ensure the quote is inclusive of all insurance costs and packing materials. Will the firm take back any used materials and reimburse you for them? 

A single large box of 45x45x75cm can cost as much as €4.50, and a wardrobe box €12. Does the firm carry public and employee liability?

Don’t dismiss smaller firms, as having the owner closer to the business often means personal attention to detail.

If you decide to let the firm do the packing, allow two days for the guts of the move. Packing generally takes place on one day, followed by the actual removal on the following day. 

Going alone, try to be finished at least the day before the movers are due. You should hang onto a small domestic camp to get you through the last night — clinging onto microwave, or celebrating the moment with a treat meal is a very good idea. If you can board your pets — do it.

If you think this is upsetting for you, it’s utterly terrifying for most cats and dogs, and likely to prompt uncharacteristic behaviour such as fouling, aggression to the strangers tramping through their territory and simply taking off.

Keep in mind that there’s no better time to get you new house deep-cleaned than when it’s empty. If the carpets are staying — have them professionally steam cleaned, for example. 

Ask the previous owners to leave you instructions for the heating system and any ‘working parts’ of the house’s machinery and technologies — especially potential disaster areas like alarms.

Most people will go further and give you some precious networking within the local community and retail area of your new house and think about doing the same for your buyer, too. 

It’s worth considering changing the exterior locks and An Post’s Redirection Service will ensure your mail gets to your new address, but you will have to change the details eventually. 

It’s particularly important to transfer the utilities into your own name and settle your final waste charges. Take any final readings for water and power before you leave.

If you are stuck between two homes, with a waiting period before you can decant your life onward and upward, storage in a secured unit offers an ideal solution. Seamlessly managed, secure and very affordable, prices start at €10 a week for a small unit.

It’s important to pack the unit with well marked boxes to ensure you can access what you need easily and safely and most firms offer all the materials you need plus staffing weekdays and weekends.

Good luck with the sale and the move, if you plan to sell this season.



Breaking Stories

Wishlist: Colour Christmas gifts for the home

Live by the book or create your own wonderful outlook

Interiors are brought back to book

Significant winter auctions of Irish art are under way

More From The Irish Examiner