Moving to London Cheaply
Moving can be costly, especially when you’re heading to one of the most expensive cities in the world! But there are ways to reduce the cost of moving, especially if you can plan ahead and do some extra research! Read on for our top moving tips…
Avoid letting agents’ extra fees: Moving is expensive enough already without your letting agent taking an extra cut. Be sure to ask upfront what their additional fees are before signing anything, as they should be clear about these. Many will charge for services such as the credit check, drawing up tenancy agreements and inventories, getting references and admin costs, as well as the holding deposit. There might also be a renewal fee if you decide to stay for longer than the initial term, and ‘check-out’ fees covering any move-out inspections and inventory checks. It’s difficult to avoid all of these but you can certainly do some research before house-hunting as some agents are much more expensive than others.
Cheap packing supplies: The move itself – packing up and getting your stuff across to your new place – doesn’t have to be expensive. Find packing boxes on FreeCycle or Gumtree for free – people will often list these after a move to get rid of them, so your only expense will be travelling to collect them. You can use newspaper, magazines, blankets and towels as packing materials for fragile items. Start packing early so you don’t have to do any panic-buying of packing supplies, and also so you have a good idea of how many boxes you’ll have. This way you won’t overestimate the van size and pay extra for space you end up not needing.
Cheap moving vans: A lot of man-and-van businesses can be found on auction-style sites. You list what you need to move and companies will ‘bid’ for your business. Bear in mind that cheaper isn’t always better and check out recent reviews. Consider if you need extra help loading and unloading or if you’ll have friends and family able to help with that at either end. Moving with friends? If your starting points are close enough, check out prices for sharing a moving van; even if you need a bigger van it can work out cheaper per person.
Don’t hire a van: If you don’t have a lot of stuff to move, maybe one room’s worth with no furniture (this is particularly applicable if you’re moving out of your parents’ house for the first time), a car is usually a cheaper moving option than a van. If you don’t have a car yourself, a taxi could be used for short-distance moves, or ask around your family and friends. Of course, if you’re a super light packer, public transport is an obvious winner for cheap moving!
How I did it: The first time I moved to London I came down with a (large) suitcase on the train – my parents followed the week after with a car-full of stuff. The second time my friend and I were moving out of a place at the same time (to different flats), so we rented a van between us. I then moved everything again a week later to a new flat with a van which happened to be super-cheap as it was booked last minute – not recommended as it’s a risky move! The third time my partner and I rented one van between us, which went to his flat then mine before dropping everything off. It was cheap but they were rubbish packers and turned up super late – sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more…