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When should you book removals?

Published: 04/02/2022 By Maddie Miller

There are many things to consider when moving house, but whether you are selling, letting, buying or renting, the physical move is undeniably critical! So, when is the right time to book and confirm your removals?

If you are moving abroad or relocating for work reasons, it is likely that you will have a specific start date for a new job or role, which makes it easier as you know you will be moving and therefore can make a plan regardless of the stage you are at in the marketing or sale/letting of your home. You may even be lucky enough that your company organise the whole move for you. What a dream!

Similarly, if you are a landlord-to-be, there may be a rough date you are planning to move or a month of the year, if you are flexible. The letting process for your home will normally be focused around this and removals could be booked even before a tenant is found.

When you are selling, or buying a home, it gets a little more complicated. I think we are the only country in the western world with a sales process which allows either party (buyer or seller) to withdraw from the transaction at any point before exchange of contracts without significant penalty, which makes it very difficult to plan a physical move! Of course, this degree of jeopardy and risk gives me an important job and my role is to manage the process, whilst also managing timescales and (usually) emotions! In an ideal world, there would be enough time between exchange (the point at which the transaction becomes legally binding) and completion (the date at which full payment for the property is made/received and vacant possession must be given) but this is not always realistic so plans must be made ahead of time.

Unless there is a reason to book removals early in the process (school term dates, job start dates), my overarching advice is to wait as long as possible to confirm your removals as many removals companies will require payment upfront upon confirmation. I would recommend booking appointments with two or three removal firms to meet and discuss your requirements for the move. Think about whether you would like them to pack the house as well as move you; do you need to take some items to a separate storage space? Many firms prefer to pack as well as move and often this involves packing one day and moving the next. Booking and carrying out these appointments can be done early so that you are prepared and there can be no nasty surprises.

After an initial appraisal, most removals firms will be happy to provisionally book a date for you, in return for a deposit. However, if you do pencil in a date, try not to allow this to become your primary focus as it will put unnecessary pressure on an already stressful process.

Many removals companies also offer a storage option; however, this can be costly so if you are on a budget, it is worth investigating alternative local storage facilities if you do need interim storage.

Another thing to consider with moving in London is parking - nobody wants to be the person blocking the road with their removal lorry on the day of completion! Comprehensive removals firms will often arrange a parking bay suspension for you as part of their package, but it is worth checking. Our local councils require a minimum of 5 working days to facilitate a bay suspension. Wandsworth and Merton Councils have lots of helpful information on their websites below:

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/parking/parking-bay-suspensions/

https://www.merton.gov.uk/streets-parking-transport/parking/suspensions

Deciding who to trust with your possessions is a big decision. Ask around - friends who have recently moved may be able to offer reliable personal recommendations, or at least tell you who to avoid!

Planning is key, but approach booking and confirming with caution as anything can change at any moment!