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Essential checklist for moving as a first-time buyer

Always expect the unexpected – as maxims go, that's definitely the one to bear in mind when it comes to moving house. So what are the essential things you need to stay on top of before moving and what are the likely things that can go wrong?

Read on for Homeward Legal's offbeat guide to making sure your move is seamless.

If yours isn't a DIY move with a transit van and your brother's 5-a-side team roped in to help, get at least three quotes from removers. Some offer packing, some offer packaging. Negotiate the move that suits you and your budget best.

Whatever you do, start packing early. Seems a no-brainer, but you'll be surprised at how quickly moving day is upon you and you suddenly realise you haven't got enough boxes (or any) and you have no idea if your couch will even fit in your new living-room. Label each box with the room it's destined for and dismantle in advance any big items of furniture you're not using.

Pack an essentials box. Fill with a kettle, teabags, coffee, sugar, milk and mugs. And toilet roll. A couple of lightbulbs won't go amiss either. Honestly, you'll thank us later. Write ESSENTIALS in big block letters on it. Don't let it out of your sight on moving day.

Redirect your mail. It's essential and will save you any hassle if you get organised early. Also draft a letter telling everyone who needs to know your new address. You can post them once you've moved.

Run down your fridge and freezer in the week up to the move, then defrost the appliances before moving. Trust us, no-one wants to open up the freezer to discover soggy bits of scampi or limp pizza.

Clean your old place before you leave. Yes, it's no longer yours and it's one more blooming thing to do, but think of it as hygiene karma. If you leave your old place spotless for the new residents, the same delightful thing might just await you. Stick a spray cleaner and some kitchen roll in that essentials box in case karma has got lost.

Sort out buildings and contents insurance. A lender will insist on buildings insurance being in place beforehand, as you are responsible for the property's upkeep from the minute the deal is completed. But you might think contents insurance can wait because your stuff isn't worth that much. Now imagine you're hanging your flatscreen TV to the wall of your new living-room when the plaster falls off and the TV crashes to the floor ...

Take a reading of the gas, electric and water meters in your old home on the day you leave and call the utility companies with those final readings. You'll also have to give notice to your telephone and broadband service provider to switch off that service. You'll be too busy wrangling removers to be tweeting anyway.

Ask via your solicitor or the selling estate agent for the utility suppliers at your new place. You can switch before you move if you like, but it might be simpler in the short term to stick with the same ones. If you plan to Netflix and chill from day one in the new gaff, you'll need to ensure your broadband is up and running on moving day.

As soon as your key is in the lock of the new place, take a reading of the gas, electric and water meters. Use your phone to take a picture – you're unlikely to chuck that out the way you might a scrap of paper.

Walk through your new home and tick off any items that were included in the sale to ensure they’re still there. We're talking white goods, carpets, blinds. Give the bathroom a once-over. It's not unheard of for seller to have made off with the bath ... If anything is missing, call your solicitor pronto.

Finally, make a cuppa. Unpack. Enjoy your new home!

If you're a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal's comprehensive First-Time Buyers' Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.​

Free Guides for First Time Buyers

Homeward Legal has put together some handy guides to help you with your first property purchase. Let us know if there is anything we've missed, and as ever, feel free to call 0800 038 6699

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