How to become a sleek mover
Rosalind Russell continues her series on finding a new home
Saturday 02 November 1996
Many removal companies work to a "domestic removals seasonal planner", which really means they charge more to move you at a time you find convenient. For instance, during school holidays, on a Friday (when you could have the weekend to unpack before returning to work) or when the weather is sunny and your belongings won't get sodden between van and house. The difference could be as much as 20 per cent of the removal cost.
Some lenders give a spiteful twist to the equation by charging a redemption fee on your mortgage to the end of the month. Move in the middle of the month, and you've lost two weeks' redemption money.
It is, of course, impossible to predict exactly when your property will sell - and your buyer may be less enthusiastic about a winter move than you are - but solicitors can be chivvied to avoid landing you with a Friday completion.
Although 90 per cent of moves are within a 10-mile radius, according to the National Association of Estate Agents the cost can easily run into several thousand pounds. Solicitors dealing with "virgin" buyers find it easy to prolong the procedure - and hike up their fee - by sending frivolous letters asking the vendors if they intend to leave the dustbins behind. Cheeky estate agents sometimes demand a deposit of a couple of hundred pounds from the buyer, over and above the deposit lodged with a solicitor, "to show serious intent".
By the time you have paid an agent up to 3 per cent to sell your home, and handed over Stamp Duty of 1 per cent on the purchase price (above pounds 60,000), money seems to be haemorrhaging faster than in a scene from Cardiac Arrest.
The Halifax will run off a quick quotation for customers, showing what likely costs will be on a given mortgage figure (for illustrative purposes only; a firm offer depends on a detailed interview). A pounds 100,000 repayment mortgage over 25 years, for instance, will attract a conveyancer's mortgage charge, a bit of flannel which translates as more cash for solicitors for dealing with the deeds (pounds 148.05); mortgage indemnity if more than 80 per cent of the purchase price is borrowed (pounds 259.40); initial interest (pounds 305.57); and the survey and valuation fee, often around pounds 400.
Having change of address cards printed usually costs about pounds 40 and asking the Royal Mail to redirect the post for three months will relieve you of another pounds 13. Children changing schools? New school uniforms to buy. New carpets, new curtains... By the time you think about booking a removal company, the instinct is to keep a firm grip on what money you have left.
A DIY removal should be considered only if you have hardly any possessions, are totally broke and have a hefty friend with free use of a van. Cheap deals with removal companies can be negotiated if the customer packs, but then the removal firm won't cover breakages. Given that a recent Which? report revealed that in 25 per cent of all household moves something is lost, stolen or damaged, it's worth finding a reliable remover who is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR), and even more important if you are shipping goods overseas. Shark shippers will take your belongings, take your money and then go bust, leaving your container bobbing about in some foreign port - or, worse, running up dock charges.
Removal costs will depend on the cubic capacity of your household goods (including the contents of the shed and garage); whether you have difficult items such as antiques or pianos, which may involve a sub contractor; and ease of access. If you have unwanted china, glass, pictures and clothes, prepare to shed them now: Oxfam, in partnership with BAR, will supply you with Oxboxx cartons and sacks to fill with items not wanted on the voyage, which can be sold to raise funds.
Some firms, such as East Anglia-based Abels - who have moved the interior designer Nina Campbell - can provide upmarket extras such as a maid service. Until recently they owned a team of heavy horses which pulled a Victorian pantechnicon and appeared at country shows.
"The horses also worked," says Abels' Andrew Hoyle. "One customer had moved into his house 60 years ago, using our horse-drawn pantechnicon. When he moved out he used it again."
These days, says Mr Hoyle, you should be asking your removal firm whether their vehicles have air-ride suspension, which reduces the risk of damage due to vibration.
"Ask if the same team will work on your move from start to finish. Some firms cut costs by swapping crews half-way through a job, especially if the move is outside the `footprint' of a particular branch. This increases the risk to furniture if the team that wrapped isn't the same one doing the unwrapping. Check they are not casual part-time staff, and that they carry identity."
No removal firms will be quoted on an average house move price, but you would be lucky to pay less than pounds 600 on the contents of a two-bedroom flat, moving 20 miles. If the firm is a BAR member, try to negotiate free cover under the Careline scheme as part of the quote. It provides assistance if your car breaks down on the way to your new house, help in a domestic emergency, accommodation if you are stranded and can't move in as planned, and general drama-solving. Or you can forget the whole idea and stay where you are.
PS: 31 January 1997 is a Friday, and so is 28 February.
04 March 2015 03:00 PM
The company was found to have unacceptably long call waiting times
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 12:01 AM
The NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of approximately £1.5bn treating cold-related illnesses every winter
26 February 2015 04:17 PM
Hundreds of thousands of people's policies were hit when the mutual insurer almost collapsed at the turn of the century
27 February 2015 12:01 AM
The Department for Work and Pensions has been slammed after a series of cock-ups left an elderly pensioner £26,000 worse off.
24 February 2015 08:57 AM
A 20-month investigation concluded that a lack of price competition between lenders has led to higher costs for borrowers
23 February 2015 04:02 PM
The Financial Conduct Authority said the industry needs to start thinking about solutions to these challenges
20 February 2015 08:00 PM
In 1999 stock markets quickly tumbled, losing many a fortune in the process
20 February 2015 08:00 PM
13 February 2015 08:00 PM
13 February 2015 08:00 PM
06 February 2015 09:00 PM
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
iJobs Money & Business
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...
£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads