Moving home can be expensive. This page looks at the main financial considerations and how you can get help with moving costs.
Doing it yourself
Arranging the move yourself can be a cost effective solution if:
you don't have much furniture or very many belongings
you aren't moving far
you have your own transport
you have friends who are willing to help you
you are strong and in good health.
How much will it cost?
You will have to consider the costs of:
hiring transport, such as a car or van
hiring a driver if you're not able to drive yourself
petrol (remember you may have to make more than one journey).
You should also bear in mind that:
lifting and carrying furniture is exhausting, and you shouldn't attempt it if you're not in good physical health, for example if you have back problems
it will take you much longer to do the move than it would a professional. Can you spare the time?
TheMoveChannel.com has lots more information on DIY moving.
Hiring a removal firm
Hiring a removal firm is a good idea if:
you have a lot of furniture and belongings and would need to make several journeys in a car or van
you have furniture or other goods that are awkward to transport, such as a very large sofa or a piano
your home has access problems, for example if there is no convenient parking or there are a lot of stairs to negotiate
you're moving a long distance
you need help packing, carrying and loading your belongings
you have any health problems, for example a bad back.
How much will it cost?
The cost of hiring a removal firm will depend on:
how far you are moving
how much furniture and how many possessions you have
how awkward it will be to move your belongings, for example if you own a lot of very large furniture or your home is difficult to access
whether you want help with packing.
The amount different removal firms charge can vary widely and can cost anything from around £100 to several thousand. Get a few estimates, and try to book your move early, as it may cost you more if you leave it until the last minute. If you don't have many possessions and are not moving far, you may be able to hire 'a man and a van', specialising in small removals.
You should be able to pick up free boxes from most big supermarkets. However, if you have a lot of belongings, you may need to buy boxes to pack your things in. Most removal firms will supply boxes on request, whilst some will also provide portable wardrobes for your clothes and special packing for breakable or valuable items, such as china or your computer.
If you have to leave your previous home before your new home is ready for you to move into, you may have to put your belongings into storage. If you are hiring a removal firm, they may be able to arrange this for you as part of their service. You can find storage firms in the Yellow Pages.
If you have to move out of your previous home before you can move into your new home, you will have to arrange alternative accommodation until your new home is ready. This could be with friends, or in a hostel, bed and breakfast or hotel.
Furniture and white goods
If you're leaving home for the first time, moving into unfurnished rented accommodation or are a new home owner, there may be some essential items you'll need to buy, for example furniture, kitchen equipment and white goods (fridge, cooker, etc). You can download a checklist of essential items here.
There may also be a local scheme in your area which provides low-cost recycled white goods. Contact the Community Recycling Network for further information.
When you move into your new home, you may have to pay a one-off charge for connecting the gas, electricity and telephone if they have been cut off. To find out who the current suppliers are:
for gas, call the Gas Network Identity Line on 0870 608 1524
for electricity, call SSE Power Distribution on 0800 048 3516 if you live in North Scotland or SP Power Systems on 0800 092 9290 if you live in South Scotland (visit the questions section of the Consumer Focus website to find out more).
for the phone, call BT on 150.
Help with moving costs
If you are claiming benefits or on a low income, you may be able to get financial help from the social fund to help with the cost of moving or buying essential furniture or white goods for your new home. Depending on your circumstances (for example, if you are leaving care or have been homeless), you may be able to apply for a:
Last updated: 8 January 2020
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.