It’s great that you are moving house but be very careful you’re not alone!

The housing market has woken from its long hibernation since 2008, that’s 5 years of sluggish activity. That was until May this year when house sales started to increase. You only have to look at the stats that there are now 100,000 more estate agents than there were back in 2008. Infact the huge growth in these numbers accounts for the highest growth in the labour market in any sector in the UK.

We have been the busiest we have ever been recording 5 record months and there seems to be little sign of it slowing. The government have just announced that they are bringing forward the introduction of the help to buy scheme to include all properties not just new. There are lots of people waiting to take advantage of this as they are struggling to raise the high deposits the banks were requesting, although they can easily afford the repayments. For this reason and a general “Feel Good” in the economy with higher than expected growth, and house prices on the up, we can expect 2014 to be the busiest house moving year in a decade.

Be prepared, and be careful. The removals industry has been struggling for a few years and if this activity does happen then it’s unlikely there will be enough professional removal companies to handle the increased workload. There will undoubtedly be new companies and opportunist man and van type operators looking to cash in on this work but this will bring its own problems, See my unique removals report “The Top Ten Removals and Storage Disasters to avoid” which is endorsed by the National Guild of Removers as it outlines many of the pitfalls of moving house. This will give help and advice for moving issues, and offer some real insights into the industry. (you will be shocked at some of the practices that go on!)

In the last few months we have experienced firsthand some of the issues that a busy market can bring, and I want to highlight some of them to help you. We have spoken to a lot of very upset people recently who have been let down by their removal company, don’t let this be you.

Our booking procedure is that we hold provisional bookings for up to 7 days before moving day and we acknowledge this with a confirmation letter, we do not and never have double booked. For this reason we have to regrettably turn work away. We always try to get customers to check our availability before they confirm the date to avoid this happening, but when there are often several people involved in the chain it can be difficult. (We have several removal crews and it works well if we can move more than one person in the chain, this removes some of the other problems on moving day such as late loading.)

The fact that a percentage of provisional bookings change their dates means that some companies double or treble book, this is when we get calls from very unhappy people who have been let down at the last minute. The surprising thing is that is not just the unregulated removers that do this it is often the well known names as well. Because we often loose bookings at the last minute we can often help these people but not always. The ironic thing is that quite often these people wanted us to do the move in the first place but went elsewhere for a cheaper price.

So the key is to be prepared, find a company that is regulated and a member of one of the two trade associations in the industry, the Guild and the BAR. Next make sure you get a survey so they can see exactly what you need. Ask them about their booking procedure and at what point your booking will be safe, ask if they sub contract any of their work or use casual or agency labour to cover busy days. Finally and most importantly make sure you get your booking confirmed in writing even if it is only a provisional booking, this will reduce the chances of you being dropped at the last minute.

It’s not just unscrupulous removers that can cause you moving stress Solicitors can be responsible for this aswell. There have been many occasions where we have had clients call us and say their solicitor has exchanged contracts and have agreed a completion date for them without asking if they are able to book removers for this day. Quite often it’s a busy Friday and we can’t accommodate them, and nor can anyone else. I heard an example of a client who literally couldn’t get anyone to move her so she had to do it herself with family and hire vans, she had a big move and 2 children! The solicitors know the busy days so they should not have let this happen.

So the message is be aware, plan early and ask lots of questions. If you have any questions for me then please call us today and either myself or one of my team will be more than happy to help you.