Moving house is a huge undertaking - and combine that with moving abroad and you have a logistical nightmare. To help you keep on top of things, we’ve put together a three-part guide to help minimise last-minute panicking and maximise adventure.
Part 1: 6 months before you move
Part 2: 3 months before you move
The clock has now really started ticking: Keep calm as you head into the final month.
- If You Haven’t Already… Get Somewhere To Live!
If you are planning on getting your bearings before finding somewhere permanent to live, now is the time to get a short-term sublet either through a short-term apartment rental site, or via a specialised letting agency.
Phone your local council to let them know you’re leaving - and see if you are owed any money back from your council tax.
Ring the telephone, internet and utility companies to tell them when you will be leaving your property - you will need to take readings on your final day, but this will ensure the utilities are switched off._Top tip:_ Give them a date one day later - the electricity going dead when you are desperate for a final cup of tea is very irritating! At this point you should also be getting a feel for how the utility companies work in your new country - and what is likely to be included in a rental contract and what isn’t. If you already have somewhere to move into, then now is the time to start organising internet connections etc.
Let your buildings insurers know that you are moving - and check what exactly is covered in transit from your contents insurers. If they can’t cover you abroad while you get set up then look for a suitable local or international insurance company.
This will be the constant background job for the next month. Get used to stepping around boxes - and you are bound to pack something that you vitally need two days later, so forgive yourself in advance. Get your curtains and rugs cleaned before packing or storing them.
Get change of address forms for your car paperwork etc.
Not permanently! But now is the time to see if a friend or relative can take them off your hands for the hectic final 48 hours of the move.
Start selling the big ticket items that you are leaving behind - let friends know that the chest of drawers they’ve always liked needs a new home, or get some ready cash by selling things on eBay. If you are happy to give things away for free, join your local Freecycle group - it’s amazing what people will take off your hands!
Whether you are handing your home back to the landlords and want your deposit back, or are selling it and want to reap good karma, now is the time to start the deep clean. Take pictures down and see the condition of the walls - you may need to paint and patch. Start making notes for the new owners about where to find the water mains, and when the rubbish is collected.
If you have a long drive ahead of you, now is the time to get your car fully serviced.
Make sure you have enough of the local currency in cash to tip the removal people, and see you through the first week. If you haven’t already, set up an account with TransferWise so you can move money abroad without incurring bank charges. Change your address with your bank, your credit card provider and anyone else you might have overlooked.
Make sure you are up to date with any small payments - do you get your newspaper delivered? Do you have an outstanding library fine?
Work through the freezer, and once it’s empty defrost it.
Pack it with the telephone numbers and addresses you will need, plus your insurance documents, flight boarding passports, train tickets, passports and visa paperwork. This folder will stay at your side during the entire move, so put it somewhere very safe for the time being.
Teabags, travel kettle, instant coffee, mugs, candles, torch, batteries, some local currency, spare phone charger… everything you’ll need for the first hour or two when you arrive.
Tomorrow is the one day you do NOT want to run out of power!
Gas, electric and water… And take a photo too!
Keep the keys together for the handover to the landlord or new occupiers.
Remember that box you packed with teabags and coffee - you’re glad of it now!
Make a note, and take photos, of any items that seem to have been damaged in transit with the moving van - your removal guys should have a special sheet you can write them down on as well.
Yes, twice in one day! Don’t forget to take readings at your new place as well - again, with pictures. Check all the lights work before it gets dark.
Hopefully everything will go beautifully smoothly, but our guide will at least stop you forgetting anything too important. Good luck with your move! We’ve also put together some guides specifically for people who are retiring abroad. If that includes you, check them out. They cover the implications on your finances, your tax, your pension and your healthcare. Part 1: 6 months before you move Part 2: 3 months before you move