How to become a sleek mover

Rosalind Russell continues her series on finding a new home

The cheapest day to move house is a cold, blustery Tuesday in January. Preferably, make it the last day of the month - unless it's a Friday, in which case February would do. If this sounds like a silly conundrum, work out how much money it may save and it won't seem so ridiculous.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
News
Bill Cosby
peopleActor has firmly defended himself against all claims
Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd
filmsAlso much to look forward to for Thomas Hardy fans
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Sarah Bibby and Robert Allinson, with their children Charlotte and Ethan, confronted the ‘difficult’ questions’ posed by making a will

Simon Read: There may be trouble ahead for cohabiting couples who don’t make a will

Your children have it all, your partner gets nothing

Halfords is gearing up for Christmas

Bargain Hunter: Find the deals that have real value beneath the Black Friday hype

Halfords is gearing up for Christmas

Fields of dreams: venture capital trusts help young companies to grow, potentially delivering big returns for investors

Mark Dampier: You take a chance but VCTs have sorted the wheat from the chaff

Fields of dreams: venture capital trusts help young companies to grow, potentially delivering big returns for investors 

The FCA has imposed £1.1bn in fines on five banks over forex trading practices

Simon Read: Catch 22 for borrowers who are turned down by banks

There are many reasons for people to turn to high-cost credit, but being turned down by their banks for a loan is one

The battle between the banks to attract more current account customers moved up a level this week when Yorkshire Bank (and Clydesdale Bank) launched a market- leading £150 switching incentive.

Money Insider: Would £150 make you switch banks?

The £150 incentive from Yorkshire and Clydesdale runs from now until 28 February next year, but you must use the official Current Account Switching Service (CASS) and close your existing account to qualify

The short slope that takes women all the way down to living on the streets

For the rising number of homeless women, the struggle is compounded by health problems and by losing their children

If you’ve got a card in your wallet that charges a low standard interest rate, there’s less financial impact if you can’t repay your full statement balance.

Money Insider: Save money with the right credit card

Research from Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards this week revealed that 15 per cent of people making a large purchase on their plastic didn’t use one with 0 per cent interest on purchases

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent. (image: Rex Features)

No Pain No Gain: Vodka causes a hangover as shares in Stock Spirits slump

Last week was hangover time, when Stock Spirits, a vodka producer, distilled a profit warning that sent its shares crashing more than 25 per cent

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

Mark Dampier: Strong returns can be found if you go the opposite way to the crowds

Investment melting pot: the price of gold may have fallen but Artemis Strategic Assets believes its value cannot be debased

The Bank of England announced that interest rates will stay at 0.5 per cent

Simon Read: Banks can’t blame the economy for their low rates

Interest rates are currently as low as 0.1 per cent

The schemes work by using collective power to negotiate better deals with gas and electricity suppliers

Simon Read: Don’t blow a fuse with your energy supplier, just switch

The energy watchdog Ofgem has slammed Scottish Power, while Citizens Advice reports a string of complaints about it

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management charity to clear the £20,000 he owed

Simon Read: The only place for debt is out in the open, don't be afraid to ask for advice

John Lush from Hampshire got into debt with payday lenders and had the help of a debt management adviser to clear the £20,000 he owed

Seven Families campaign aims to raise awareness of financial damage caused by illness or disability

The campaign is handing financial help to seven families for a year, along with support and advice in how to get their careers back on track
The 10th birthday of broadband in Britain was marked with a projection in 2010. But the infrastructure is still being rolled out

Families pay the price of superfast broadband

Bills are going up for households around the UK as providers invest in better infrastructure. Emma Lunn explains why - and what to do

How to cut the cost of car insurance: A five-step guide to getting a better deal

Premiums are on the rise again but motorists don't have to take a back seat on the price of their cover, says Rob Griffin
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Argyll Scott International: Business Analyst - MGA - London Market - Insurance Broker

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Argyll Scott International: A Business A...

    Ashdown Group: PR, Marketing & Events Executive - Southwark, London - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: PR Marketing & Events Exe...

    Selby Jennings: C++ Developer – Hedge Fund – New York

    $80000 - $110000 per annum, Benefits: Bonus and Employee Investment Scheme: Se...

    Selby Jennings: Java Developer Enterprise Specialist –Paris,France

    €30000 - €50000 per annum, Benefits: Competitive Bonus: Selby Jennings: Java D...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible