Homebuyers hoping to move into their new homes before Christmas only have until 30 November to book their removal company, according to research from Bankrate UK.
This news comes after a surge in house sales following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that there will be a stamp duty holiday until March 31 2021.
While buyers are actively pushing solicitors, surveyors and estate agents to keep their purchase on track, Bankrate spoke to removal firms across the UK who are all struggling to meet the increase in demand for pre-Christmas move-in dates, with many already close to capacity.
According to Daleysmove, it is typical for removal companies to have bookings planned eight weeks before a removal date. However, due to the increased demand, removal companies are being given only 2 – 3 weeks. Some customers have even been calling the day of their move.
Nisha Vaidya, Mortgage Expert at Bankrate UK, said: “With shorter days, bleak weather and the approaching festive period, November and December are historically the least popular months to move home. However, with each stage of the home buying process taking longer than usual and the stamp duty deadline looming, there appears to be a trend of homeowners actively pushing to complete before Christmas.”
Tony Daley, Operations Director at Daleysmove, said: ‘We’re at 90% capacity for November and 67% capacity in December already and our year on year bookings in these months are up 37% and 26% respectively. I’d be very surprised if December isn’t fully booked by 21st November.”
Charles Rickards, Marketing and Finance Director at Aussie Group, also comments: “Demand for removals has been extraordinarily high with many moving in the quest for more space, as well as benefiting from the stamp duty holiday. We expect Christmas to be fully booked in the next two weeks.”
Google trends data further supports this as searches for ‘removal companies’ are at a five-year high, with interest spiking in early September and continuing to grow throughout the last few months.
In addition, compared to this time last year, searches for ‘removal companies’ has seen a sharp rise since the stamp duty holiday announcement, which further demonstrates the increased pressure on removal companies this year.
Typically, removal companies tend to close for the festive break. However, due to an increase in last minute bookings, many companies may decide to stay open for business throughout Christmas (excluding Christmas Day, of course).
Some removal companies like We Move Anything have even purchased extra vehicles and hired extra staff to accommodate additional business and ensure buyers are in their new homes in time for Santa’s arrival.
No matter the time of year, moving to a new house can be stressful. Take the time to write a detailed plan and consider writing your to-do list weeks in advance to ensure a smoother moving day. You should aim to complete your main tasks 1 week before the move date, as it will help to keep the moving process on track.
As well as our tips below you may also want to buy cardboard boxes in advance and ensure all fragile items are clearly labelled.
You will also need to give your landlord notice if you are renting. Most rental agreements require 30 days of notice, but check your contract to make sure.
Ideally, your moving in and moving out date will line up so you don't pay rent and your mortgage at the same time.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to call different removal companies for quotes as well as checking their customer reviews.
Although a lot of removal companies will accept a provisional date, which can be changed when you have a definitive moving date, each company will appreciate receiving enough notice.
Preparing your home in advance will make the moving process much smoother. Take the time to declutter your home early because the more you can cut down now, the easier and cheaper it is to move.
If you are looking to donate to your local charity shop, it would be helpful to check what Covid-19 restrictions they have in place prior to your arrival.
Start with your loft and work your way down. Don't forget your Christmas decorations - put them to one side to be packed last, making them accessible when you're in your new home.
To avoid returning to your old residence for post, contact relevant close contacts and companies with your new address.
And to ensure this year's Christmas cards don't go missing, set up post redirection with your local Post Office.
Setting up new service providers can take time and during colder months, the last thing you’ll want is to be without power, heating and water. You’ll also want to set up your internet and TV in advance, ready to watch Christmas films.
And don't forget to read your meters to ensure you have accurate final bills.
If it’s expected to be snowing or icy on your moving day, ensure your entry point to the new home is clear and safe.
If necessary, put down salt or sand the night before as well as protecting your flooring with sheets.
You may also want a torch to hand if you are moving into your new property during the dark evenings.
During a move, it is common for essential items to go missing until all boxes are unpacked. It is a good idea to pack boxes with essential items that you will need for the first few days in your new home, as well as important documents such as passports and birth certificates.
Consider labelling some boxes containing:
Clothing and toiletries
All important documents
Dried and tinned foods
Light entertainment such as board games
In order to relax in a warm home as soon as your move is complete, it is a good idea to switch the heating on as soon as you arrive at your new property. You will thank yourself later.
Moving to a new home is hungry work. As well as packing essential dry food such as pasta and tinned soup, it might be worth finding out where your nearest takeaway is in advance or stopping by your local supermarket to stock up your fridge straight away.
Christmas can be a busy time of year in itself, let alone adding moving to a new house into the mix!
Once you have unpacked your essential boxes and re-built your furniture, it is time to find the decorations you had set aside to add some festive cheer to your new home!
If you're moving home, you may want to compare remortgaging deals to find out how much you could borrow.