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Moving Home Checklist

It’s often said that moving home is one of the most stressful things you will ever do. Several important decisions need to be made, there are many things to do, it’s a lot of hard work and then there’s the cost. As always, organization and planning is essential. The following checklists, suggestions, reminders and links may be of assistance. You can start at the top and work your way down or go straight to a particular section by clicking on one of the following bookmarks:

Planning and Preparation

 
Timing Issues:   If you are currently renting, make sure you give appropriate notice to the landlord in accordance with the lease and the relevant tenancy legislation.

If you are hoping to simultaneously settle the sale of one property and the purchase of another, make sure that your lawyer is aware of this so he or she can advise you accordingly and appropriate steps can be taken to make it happen.

     
Inventory:   Take an inventory of your possessions and work out:
  • what you are taking with you
  • what you are not taking with you that must be either disposed of or put into storage
  • what you are leaving behind, if anything.
     
Logistics:   Work out the best way to move the possessions you are taking with you to their eventual destination. The job will inevitably require a lot of muscle, packing materials and one or more heavy vehicles. It's a big job best left to the professionals. Consider the various disposal and storage alternatives for the possessions you are not taking with you (see below) and make sure you leave yourself enough time to get it all done.
     
Packing and Unpacking:   If you can't or don't want to do all of the packing and unpacking yourself, you can get a professional packing service to help or do it all for you. Subject to cost constraints, it makes a lot of sense to let the professionals do the packing because they should have both the expertise and the packing materials required to do the job efficiently. It makes more sense for you to do some or all of the unpacking because you can generally do it at your own pace and after all, only you know where all the bits and pieces go. The most important unpacking rule is that you should start with the important stuff. Get the perishables in the fridge, get the bed set up and made and get the kitchen and bathroom basics in place.

Prepare a floor plan of your new home and work out where heavy items like furniture should go. Give a copy to the removalist to minimize the amount of heavy lifting and moving you need to do later.

     
Moving Guarantees and Insurance:   Packing, moving and unpacking your possessions exposes you to the risk of damage or loss. Some risks may be covered by guarantees from the removalist, for example regarding breakages. Others may be covered by insurance.

Check your existing home contents policy to determine the extent of your insurance cover and be aware that the removalist may exclude liability for breakages where you do the packing or unpacking.

     
Quotations:   Get quotes and copies of the documentation from a couple of reputable removalists. If you know someone who has moved recently, see if they are prepared to recommend someone to you. You can also contact the Australian Furniture Removers Association and ask for a list of qualified removal companies in your area. Make sure all quotes are provided obligation free and ask:
  • how they pack delicate items like glassware, hanging clothes and paintings
  • how they label boxes and other items
  • whether they provide a guarantee against breakages
  • whether they offer or can arrange any moving insurance cover that you may require.

If you are doing some of the packing or unpacking yourself, also ask if they can supply packing materials and boxes, and check the arrangements for collection of the boxes after the move.

Review the quotes and documentation, taking into account any exclusions of liability, guarantees against breakages and insurance cover (including the level of any excess) and whether GST and the cost of insurance, boxes, packing materials etc. is included in the quote.

Select and book the preferred removalist well in advance.

     
What Not To Forget:   Anything that's out of sight may be out of mind, particularly if it's been tucked away for a while. Consider whether anything you have lent, hidden, put into storage or safekeeping or put in for repair needs to be collected or relocated. In some cases it will depend on how far away you are moving, but the following are some examples:
  • cash or other valuables buried in the backyard or hidden in the toilet cistern
  • bits and pieces stored in the attic and under the house
  • wills and other important legal documents held by your lawyer or accountant
  • documents and other valuables stored in a bank deposit box
  • medical, dental, immunisation and hospital records
  • books or other items you may have lent to friends
  • electrical equipment, watches or clothes in for repairs
  • dry cleaning.
     
What Not To Take:   Return rented videos and library books and leave behind anything that is of little or no use to you but could be important to the new owner or occupant such as:
  • all the keys you scattered around your relatives, the neighbours and the garden
  • the remote control for the garage door
  • the documentation for fixtures like the air conditioning unit, water heater, pool filter, garage door etc.
  • spare tiles and paint.
     
Pets:   Removalists generally do not transport pets so you will have to make alternative travel arrangements. Pets should be kept out of the way during packing and unpacking and special care may have to be taken to settle them in to their new surroundings.
 
 

Surplus Stuff

 
Sell It:   Depending on the item, consider online auctions (e.g. eBay), traditional auctions, online classified advertising (e.g. tradingpost.com.au), traditional classified advertising, second hand shops, local markets and garage sales.
     
Family and Friends:   Do you have family or friends that would be happy to use or store some of your surplus stuff under appropriate conditions? Make sure all parties to the arrangement understand their respective obligations and responsibilities if the goods are lost, stolen, damaged or simply wear out. If you are not entirely comfortable with a handshake or oral agreement, set out the terms in writing to minimize the risk of problems or arguments later.

Check your respective home contents insurance policies to see if the goods are in fact covered under either policy.

     
Storage:   Storage facilities seem to be springing up all over the place. Choose one close to your new home, particularly if you are likely to be visiting it regularly. Make sure the space is clean and dry and that the facility has adequate security and fire protection measures in place.

Don't forget insurance. Items in storage are unlikely to be covered by your home contents policy. The proprietor of the storage facility may be able to offer or arrange appropriate cover.

     
Give It Away:   Family and friends may be happy to take some of your surplus stuff off your hands permanently and it may be appropriate to donate other items to charity (e.g. The Smith Family or The Salvation Army).
     
Toss It Out:   Make sure you dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully, safely and efficiently. Depending on the item, the following disposal methods may be appropriate:
  • regular garbage service
  • periodical Council clean ups
  • the local tip
  • hire a mini-skip.

Check with the relevant authority or service provider to establish exactly what rubbish they will and wont take. There are strict rules about who will accept what and some items may need to be prepared first. For example, old fridges may need to have the doors removed for safety reasons and old tins of paint may need to be opened and allowed to thoroughly dry out. Pesticides and other chemicals should be disposed of only in accordance with the manufacturers instructions to avoid polluting our waterways.

 
 

Council Rates and Utilities

 
Council and Water Rates:   If you are buying or selling a freehold property your lawyer will generally ensure that the relevant Council is notified of the change of ownership. Check with your lawyer that this is the case. An adjustment will usually be made at settlement to reflect any prepayments or arrears. The same arrangements may apply to water rates, so again check with your lawyer. If you are renting, Council and water rates are generally the responsibility of the landlord.
     
Utilities:   Contact your electricity, gas and telephone providers to have the services disconnected and advise your new address. They usually require up to 5 business days notice in advance. Someone may come out to read the relevant meters or you may be asked to take the readings yourself and advise the result over the telephone. Final accounts will usually be sent to your new address or settled over the phone by credit card.

Arrange to have the required services connected to your new home. Again, they usually require up to 5 business days notice in advance. In some cases you may have a choice of service providers to choose from, so shop around.

     
Mobile Telephone:   Notify your service provider of your new address for billing purposes and confirm whether the service extends to the area where you are moving.
     
Internet Service Provider:   Check whether you will be able to access your existing Internet Service Provider ("ISP") from your new address for the cost of a local call. If you can't, check the terms of your current agreement regarding termination and start looking around for a new ISP. A penalty may be payable if you terminate the contract part way through an agreed fixed term.
     
Cable and Satellite TV:   Check the terms of your current agreement regarding termination. A penalty may be payable if you terminate the contract part way through an agreed fixed term. Consider having cable or satellite TV connected to your new home.

Here are links to Austar and Foxtel.

 
 

Mail

 
Monitor Your Mail:   Keep tabs on your incoming mail for up to a year before you move and jot down the names of everyone that sends you something. You will then know who to notify when you do move. Many organizations include "Change of Address" forms when they send mail or publications to regular customers or clients. Collect them and send them out when you do move.
     
Mail Redirection:   Australia Post offers a Mail Redirection service. Be sure to notify everyone that keeps sending things to your old address. If important items are still being sent to your old address when the redirection period is close to expiring, consider extending it.
 
 

Home and Contents Insurance

 
Contents Insurance:   You can either take out a new contents policy or arrange to have your existing policy transferred to your new address. If you are moving to a smaller home and disposing of some of your possessions, consider whether the level of cover should be reduced accordingly.
     
Home Insurance:   You generally only need to take out your own home insurance policy if you directly own a non-strata title freehold property. In most retirement villages you will not therefore need your own policy, the main exception being a community title village where your home is on a separate community title. In lease, license, strata title, company title and unit trust villages, the village owner or the relevant owners corporation, company or trustee will usually be responsible for insuring the village structures, including your home.
     
Refunds:   If any of your current insurance policies become redundant when you move, terminate them and apply for a pro-rata refund of the premiums you paid.
 
 

Spread the Word

 
    The list of other people and organizations that you should or may have to notify is long and will vary from person to person. The following is a comprehensive but non-exhaustive guide.
     
Family and Friends:   You can do it by conventional mail, e-mail, e-cards, telephone, carrier pigeon or any other way you can think of.
     
Forwarding Address:   Leave a forwarding address and telephone number with the new owner or occupant so they can pass them on to all the people you forget to tell.
     
Newspaper Delivery:   Cancel your newspaper delivery and settle your account. Enquire at your new local newsagency about newspaper deliveries.
     
Car:  
  • Registration
  • Drivers license
  • Compulsory third party insurance
  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Motoring associations ( NSW, QLD, VIC)

If you are moving interstate you will need to investigate the registration and licensing requirements in the new jurisdiction and you should consider joining the appropriate motoring organization.

     
Health:  
     
Leisure:  
  • Associations
  • Clubs
     
Professionals:  
  • Employer
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer
  • Broker
  • Financial planner
  • Fund manager
  • Superannuation manager
     
Securities:   If you own shares, property trust units or other registered securities you should advise:
  • for issuer sponsored or certificated holdings - the registry of the issuer
  • for CHESS holdings - your controlling broker or non-broking participant.

The Securities Registrars Association of Australia Inc. website has more information.

     
Other Finance and Investments:  
  • Bank, building society or credit union accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Department store cards
  • Hire purchase companies
  • Life insurance
  • Other creditors
     
ATO:   The Australian Taxation Office must be notified of your change of address. You can do it by telephone or mail and can find instructions and contact details here.
     
Electoral Rolls:   When you change your address you may need to complete a new Electoral Enrolment Form and send it to the Australian Electoral Commission. You can download and print the appropriate form here.
     
Seniors Card:   If you are a Seniors Card member you should let them know your new address and if you are moving interstate you may want to apply for a new card to ensure that you are entitled to receive all available benefits. Here is a link to a page that has links to all of the State and Territory websites.
     
Social Security:  
     
Companies and Businesses:   If you are a director, secretary or public officer of a company or the home you are moving from is the registered office or principal place of business of a company, contact your accountant or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission regarding notification of your change of address. Similarly, if you are the proprietor of a registered business name and the home you are moving from is the principal place of business, contact your accountant or the relevant State authority regarding notification of your change of address.




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