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TV property expert Phil Spencer’s five tips for moving house

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As home buyers and sellers race to complete before Christmas, Phil Spencer, property expert and presenter of Channel 4 series Location Location Location, offers his top tips for saving time and money when moving house.

There’s no getting around the fact moving home can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful, but it’s also an adventure. I’ve planned my fair share of home moves, and always ensure I’ve done as much as possible in advance – including asking lots of questions of the previous owners – so I can get unpacked and start making my house a home as soon as I’ve waved off the removal van.

  1. Preparation is key

Moving house can be a costly process, and advance planning can help save time and money. I’d always recommend conducting a thorough check of equipment such as boilers before you move into a new home, so you don’t get greeted with a hefty bill on move-in day. If repairs are required, you may be able to negotiate on the cost of the property.

  1. Move your energy account to your new home in advance

Do as much as you can before moving day, such as alerting your energy provider and redirecting your post, so you can focus on unpacking and settling in. British Gas allows you to do this online.

  1. Check your thermostat and set your hot water schedule

After a long day lugging heavy boxes, you’ll probably want a nice hot shower. When you get into your new house, make sure you locate your thermostat and set a schedule that suits your schedule. This’ll help make you house feel familiar, and you’ll avoid wasting money on heating the house and hot water at unnecessary times. If you’d like the flexibility of being able to control you heating and hot water through an app, you could also look into a product such as Hive Active Heating – which offers an estimated saving of £12.50 a month.

  1. Don’t forget the basics

There are some quick and easy things you can do to ensure your new home is warm and working, which the previous owners may not have got round to. These little maintenance jobs can also help save you money in the long term.

Bleed your radiators: If your radiators have cold spots, this means you have air in the system, so bleed them using a radiator key to ensure they’re working efficiently.

Block the breeze: Make sure all of your home’s windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping, and close doors behind you to keep draughts to a minimum. For windows and doors which don’t seal, a draught excluder is a cheap alternative which you can buy from most DIY stores – or create your own by filling an old jumper sleeve or pair of tights with dry rice.

Check your boiler: Check to make sure your boiler is working properly, and is running efficiently. If you have a pressure gauge make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top-up as necessary.

Take meter readings: Make a note of the readings on your gas and electricity meters. If your new home doesn’t have smart meters already installed, why not consider upgrading so you always receive accurate bills, without having to take manual readings? Find out more about smart meters here.

Check alarms: Test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly and the batteries don’t need replacing.

  1. Make it personal

Buying new furniture and decorating can be expensive, and it’s sometimes not possible to do this as soon as you’ve moved into your new pad. A far cheaper way to make you house feel homely is by unpacking personal items like photographs, candles and trinkets as soon as possible. Don’t underestimate how lighting your favourite scented candle or pinning the kids’ drawings to the fridge will help give your house that homely feel, without breaking the bank.

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