Moving Homes

So you have just bought a home? You have come to the right place.

You have just gone unconditional on that dream home or became the winning bidder after an exciting auction. Congratulations on your new purchase! Moving homes can be an exciting yet stressful time for you and your family. Set out below is a suggested sequence of tasks which you can adopt as a starting point for your own moving checklist. These tasks generally belong to 4 main categories. 

1 month before the move

  • Create a list of items that you would like to move. Separate them into different categories e.g. ‘moving’, ‘selling’, ‘giving’ and ‘throwing’. 
  • Obtain supply of boxes (supermarkets and even Bunnings often have spare card boxes). Get packing tape, bubble wrap and heavy marker pens (to label the boxes) and start packing your things.
  • Decide whether you would like to use professional movers or do it yourself by getting truck rentals. Professional movers can sometimes be more cost-effective if you factor in the cost of your time (and the inevitable backache!).
  • Call utility and telecommunication companies to arrange disconnection of services at your old address and ensure connection of essential services at your new address. This is the time to shop around and compare prices as these companies often dangle discounts or first-time customer codes to entice you to sign up.
  • If you would like someone else to help you clean your new house before moving in, contact professional carpet cleaning companies and general cleaning companies to ask for quotes (there are quite a few good ones in the Eastern Bays!). Monitor group discount websites as they often have good deals on this! Remember – the vendor is expected to leave the house in a reasonably, and not spotlessly, clean state. 
  • Make arrangements to enrol children in a new school (if there is a need to). This may often take longer than a month so it will be good to start this process early. 
  • If you are renting and:
    • have a periodic lease, give your landlord at least 21 days’ written notice unless your agreement specifies a shorter period.
    • have a fixed term lease, you will  have to communicate your intentions to move with your landlord early so that you may both come to some sort of agreement.

3 weeks before the move

  • Sell any unwanted items on Trademe or through a garage sale or give them away to charities/friends/neighbours or even your local schools. It can be cathartic to declutter.
  • Move valuables to a safe place.
  • Arrange contents and/or house insurance for your new home and shop around for quotes. Banks will require an insurance certificate prior to disbursement of funds on settlement date.
  • Contact your existing insurers for your current home and get a refund on the remaining period of your existing house insurance (if any).

2 weeks before the move

  • Apply to have your mail redirected at your local PostShop. In the Eastern Bay, there is one in Orakei, one in Mission Bay and one in St Heliers.
  • Let your friends and family know your new address and contact details with NZ Post’s ‘Change of Address’ cards. You can pick up these free postage included cards at any PostShop.
  • Use NZ Post’s free online ‘Change Service’ to quickly and easily notify businesses and organisations of your new address—don’t forget to notify banks, insurance providers, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, Internal Revenue Department, Elections registrar, clubs and organisations, registrar of motor vehicles and drivers license, police (if you own or store firearms), doctor, dentist, accountant and lawyer. There are also companies that can assist for free.
  • If you’re moving out of a rental property, arrange a time for the landlord to do a final inspection before the return of your bond. Remember, you only have one shot at getting it right. 

1 week before the move

  • Clearly label boxes containing breakable items as ‘fragile’ and let the professional movers know. Label each box numerically. Save as a note on your phone a brief description what each box contains.  Have boxes labelled for each room or each group of items that are similar (for e.g. pots and pans), rather than throwing random items together. 
  • Separate the personal luggage you will move yourself from the boxes. Remember to carry all jewellery and valuable documents yourself.
  • Clean the stove and oven and defrost your fridge and freezer. Start cleaning the house now as you may not have a lot of time for this on moving day. Otherwise, relax if you have arranged for a cleaning company to assist.
  • Plan to use any remaining food in your refrigerator over the last few days in your own home. 
  • Contact the current owners of the new property via the real estate agent and ask them to leave any special instructions about the house e.g. heating, alarm details etc.
  • Make sure you’ve got all the essentials for moving day in one place — important documents, car keys, clothes for at least a couple of days, cleaners’ and mover’s contact details.
  • Leave everything for your current house (for e.g. garage door openers, house keys, remote controls etc) in one place. 
  • Contact the real estate agent to arrange a pre-settlement inspection day. This is typically a couple of days prior to settlement date. On inspection day, make sure you check that all chattels are working, defects have been fixed (if any and agreed) and that the house is in the same condition as when it was sold. Bring your building report along (if you had a building inspection done) to see if issues have been rectified. Inform your lawyer and the real estate agent immediately if there are any issues so that a discussion can be had with the vendor. 
  • Follow up with the mortgage broker/banker to confirm that funds will be released early on the settlement date and there are no outstanding points. 

The BIG day - settlement/moving

  • Some people move only after (rather than on) settlement date. This often gives some breathing space and should be considered. 
  • As a real estate agent, a question I often get from buyers is the time for collection of keys – this is determined by lawyers confirming to me that settlement has taken place and keys can be released. This can often be as late as 4pm (cut-off time for same-day fund transfers).  
  • The time you choose to move is also crucial. In the Eastern Bays, you would want to avoid moving when the children are all getting off school, especially if you are moving to or from areas near Selwyn College, Glendowie Primary etc, as your moving van is likely to be stuck in traffic!
  • Call your utility providers with a final meter reading for your electricity/gas/water (take a picture!), and confirm that essential services will be connected at your new address.
  • Do a final tour of your old home, double-checking all drawers, cupboards, and other storage areas for belongings that may have been left behind.
  •  Have another person supervise the cleaners so that they will do a thorough job of cleaning your house (especially important if you want your rental bond back – you only have one chance to clean properly!). 
  •  Check against your moving list that all boxes and items have arrived. 

After the move

  • Make a list of anything that was lost/broken/damaged during the move and contact your moving/insurance company.
  • Have spare keys cut.
  • Familiarise yourself with your neighbourhood (or talk to us to find out more). 
  • If you were renting previously, check if your bond has been returned (usually 3 – 5 working days after sending the bond refund form). 
  • Enjoy your wonderful new home and please keep in touch if you have bought from us. We would absolutely love to hear how you are getting on! 

Found this post useful and have more questions?

Please get in touch and I am happy to have a chat over coffee! (Contact details below)

Contact Ruoxi Wang

Ruoxi Wang, Eastern Suburbs' Specialist, ray white, orakei, mission bay, kohimarama, st heliers, st johns, glendowie, top real estate agent