Skip to main content
buying a house checklist

8 Vital Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Removalist

It’s a big deal to trust someone with your belongings during a house move.


After all, each of your possessions has some form of practical, sentimental and/or monetary value attached to it. Therefore, it’s only fitting that, before hiring a local removalist, you should at least ensure that the company is reputable and offers the services you require.


Asking questions is the best way to assess whether your prospective removalist can satisfy all your needs for the move. Once you have a removals company in mind, take into account the following questions during your first meeting:


1. What is your experience?

This is a crucial question especially if you are also moving rare or precious items that most removalists may not usually come across.


For instance, priceless pieces such as fine art, antiques, and a grand piano require skilled moving knowledge to prevent damages. These aren’t items that someone can easily carry and place in a moving truck; they need extra care through proper packing, dismantling and gentle handling.


2. Do you have insurance?

There are many risks during the move that may be beyond your removalist’s control.


The only way you can guarantee the safety of your items is through insurance. If your removalist does offer insurance, make sure to ask about the coverage and whether it is already part of the quote they have given you.


3. What is your rate?

Most removalists will give an initial rate based on the size of your current residence and the distance of the move.


Keep in mind that once you decide to move forward, the company should give you a proper estimate in writing and provide you with a copy of it.


The estimate document must include:


  • All fees/charges for the move
  • Both the removalist’s and your signature
  • Method and date of payment


Additional Fees

Ask if there are additional fees and when such charges will apply.


Some removalists charge extra for items which are difficult to handle and destinations which are particularly challenging to access. To avoid unexpected costs, take note of what conditions will cause them to go over your budget.


4. How long will the transit time be?

This is a crucial question to ask so that you can estimate when your belongings will arrive at your new home.


If you’re moving a long way and your items end up arriving early or far too late, you may not be around to pick them up.


5. Can you provide references or reviews from your previous clients?

If your chosen removalist is trustworthy, they would not hesitate to give you testimonials of satisfied clients. Much better if they have a website so that you can easily browse through to check if they’re giving factual and legitimate information.


Complaints and Claims

Ask your removalist if they have encountered complaints or claims. Details won’t be necessary as long as the company is honest about it, and they were able to handle the problems they encountered well.


6. Do you offer packing or storage?

There are people who don’t have enough time to properly pack their belongings inside individual boxes.


Find out if your removalist offers packing services so you don’t have to do all the packing on your own. Also, ask if they have a storage facility so that you have a place to secure your items just in case your new place isn’t ready yet.


7. Where is your office located?

A legitimate removal company should have an authentic brick and mortar office and contact number. Asking about the address of their office can help you verify the existence of the company.


You can even go as far as to check with your city government as to whether or not the removalist you will be dealing with has a licence to operate.


8. What are the things I need to prepare or arrange before moving day?

Inquire about what the removalist expects you to do before the actual moving date.


The company may ask you ready your boxes and save them a parking space for easy access. If you’re doing the packing by yourself, the removalist may be able to give you advice on proper packing to protect your belongings.


Also, don’t forget to ensure that your new home is all set, and spic and span, and ready for occupancy.


If you can’t handle the cleaning yourself, you should at least choose a good professional cleaning company to do the job for you.


A bit of checking goes a long way

As a client, you should be confident of the removalist you intend to hire by evaluating their background and services. This way, you can make sure that you don’t get less than what you deserve.


So, be sure to ask about the all of the above. The best removalists won’t have any qualms responding to your questions.


Come moving day, all you need to focus on is getting your new home set up once you get there.





Kim Hill works on Marketing at Adams & Rofe Removals and Storage and has been a dynamic figure in the removal industry for over 30 years. For relocating families, individuals or offices around Sydney or all over Australia, Kim will develop the perfect removal plan to take the stress out of your next move.

Step By Step Guide To Choosing Flooring

If you’re lucky enough to be moving to a new home you might already be planning how you’re going to stamp your mark with new furniture and redecorations. A major part of any interior, and one that will set the tone for your whole home, is the flooring you choose.

So here’s a great guide to choosing the right flooring in your new home.

Step By Step Guide To Choosing Flooring

deal with stress when moving

How to Deal With Stress When Moving

Whatever the circumstances surrounding your upcoming move — good or bad, exciting or nerve-wracking — the process is going to be fast-paced, overwhelming, and potentially stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to go through with a move and not turn your hair gray at the same time.


If this sounds appealing to you, here are the top five tips to deal with stress when moving.

1. Plan and then plan some more

We all procrastinate, especially when something as overwhelming as moving house is on the horizon. However, attempting to clear clutter, pack those boxes, organize your belongings, and vacate your old home last minute is guaranteed to bring an unnecessary level of stress. You need to start planning far earlier than you think!


However long you think it is going to take, double it. Seriously, things are going to crop up that you don’t expect and nothing will go entirely according to plan, so prepare yourself with a realistic timeline.


In order to remain calm, cool, and collected during this time, make a list of what needs to be done, and then break these tasks into weekly to-do’s. From this point, you can divide the weekly to-dos into more manageable daily tasks. This strategy is the best way to beat procrastination and help you feel as though you are in control of the situation.

2. Schedule “me” time

Whether or not you want to be moving, there are still (probably) going to be feelings of grief about the upcoming transition. Don’t be afraid to experience these feelings – they are normal, and everyone has them!


That being said, it is essential to take care of your own well-being while you are dealing with this process. Ensure that you are regularly getting enough sleep and that you are eating a wholesome, balanced diet. Far too often, when you are busy, these things go out of the window. But being tired is only going to make the move feel a lot more overwhelming and stressful!


Additionally, schedule “me” time so that you don’t feel as though the move has taken over your entire life. Whether that means regular exercise (which you should be doing!), time to read, coffee with friends, or meeting up with your local knitting group, don’t forget about the things that make you happy.

3. Hire professional removalists

There is a reason that people hire professional movers or removalists – they reduce so much of the stress! If your budget allows, hire a dependable removal company that can pack and move your furniture. On the day of the move, you will be thanking yourself for making this investment.

4. Reach out to your friends and family

In addition to hiring movers, you also should make use of your network. Friends and family will undoubtedly be willing to help you with anything you need before, during, and after the move. Relocating shouldn’t be a lonely process and having your loved ones by your side as much as possible can aid you in reducing the stress.

5. Shift your mindset

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, profoundly said “the only thing constant in life is change” and even all these centuries later, it remains true. Change is going to happen in your life, you can’t always resist it. However, change can be seen as exciting — a new adventure — you just have to shift your mindset.


When you find yourself getting sad, stressed, or nostalgic about what you are leaving behind, reflect on this quote and open yourself up to embracing what is to come.


I am not going to sugarcoat it – moving is stressful, overwhelming, and often downright annoying. However, it has to happen. We all have to do it at certain points in our life. Don’t expect it to be a walk in the park, or you are setting yourself up to be very miserable and annoyed with yourself.


When you feel stressed and crabby, sit with yourself and identify what exactly is making you feel this way. From this point, you can make a plan for dealing with it. By utilizing these five tips, you can make the move a lot less stressful and maybe even bearable. Good luck with the move and remember, “home is where the heart is, even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in!”



John Pfeiffer has been the proud owner of Ashtons Removals for over 40 years. His attention to detail, a product of his accountancy background, and his emphasis on training and empowering his team members, has ensured the vast number of Gold Coast families who have been moved by Ashtons Removals, have had their furniture and effects moved undamaged and with minimum fuss.

buying a home

How student debt affects choices about buying a home

Think about the future before you apply for that loan.


Student debt has become an inevitability for anyone who wants to study today. However, the amount of debt you accrue as a student, as well as your ability to clear it, can significantly impact future choices. In particular, if you’re hoping to buy a home after you graduate, you may find that the student debt you have acquired at university has an impact on how easy this is for you.


Can you buy a home if you have student debt?


There are no rules that say you can’t buy a home if you still have student debts to pay off. In fact, there are many people who are still making payments on either private or government student loans who do manage to successfully buy a home. However, according to the personal finance experts at Solution Loans, it’s important to remember that lenders will still have to take into account the amount of debt that you have, regardless of what kind of debt it is. This can affect your application for a mortgage in a number of different ways:


  • Debt-to-income ratio. When lenders make decisions about an applicant for a mortgage they will look at how much income you have, as compared to your levels of debt. This will show a lender how much of your gross monthly income (i.e. income before taxes) is going to be sucked into debt repayment and what that will leave you with afterwards. If the debt-to-income ratio is too high then you won’t be an attractive prospect for a lender and you’re unlikely to get approved for a mortgage.
  • Mortgage affordability criteria. Mortgage lenders today are much more focused on affordability i.e. whether you will be able to make the repayments on the mortgage at the same time as meeting your other financial responsibilities. If you have high levels of student debt (or even an average debt) then this may affect the affordability of a potential mortgage. A lender may look at what you’re left with after debt and mortgage repayments and make the judgment that you’re unlikely to have enough to live on and would, therefore, be default risk.
  • Defaults and missed payments. If you’ve struggled to meet the payments on student loans then this is also likely to affect whether a mortgage lender sees you as a good option as a borrower. Even if there was a good reason for missing a payment – and you made the payment relatively quickly after it was missed – it could still give a lender a reason to pause. It’s also important to note that missed payments could affect your credit score.


Tips for buying a home if you have student debt


  • Overpay your student debt to clear it as soon as possible
  • Increase your income – ask for a pay rise or find a new, better paid job with the qualification you’ve earned studying
  • Don’t miss any debt repayments, ever
  • Buy with someone else – two incomes are always less of a risk for a lender and could enable you to get more property for your money too


Moving House Indicates Buy New Home And Box

Things You Must Consider While Moving

Moving is never an easy process, and in order not to regret your decision to do so, make sure that you put the following into consideration:

Your finances

Your finances will play a major role in determining whether you move. You need to ensure that you are financially able to afford a move, and you also need to consider whether you will be able actually to survive in your new place. Most times, this factor is downplayed, especially if the move is due to a work order (in which case, the company will most probably still pay you and ensure that your move is as comfortable as possible). However, if you’ll be moving and the move is your personal choice, you need to ensure that you are financially stable enough to move without being affected (or at the very least, affected to a considerable degree)

A moving company

It very difficult to move by yourself. Regardless of whether you’ll be moving to a house on the next block or you’ll be moving to a new country entirely, a moving company will be required to help you transport your things and make the moving process much more comfortable for you.

Since there are so many moving companies out there, it is essential that you pick the one that is ideal for you. To help with this ensure that you ask some hard questions before choosing a moving company. You can select various companies and sift between them, and you can also ask for references.

All in all, ensure that your moving company is right for you, that they provide boxes for moving house and that you are satisfied with their services and rates.

Moving insurance

You will also need to get moving insurance. Although it might be a precautionary procedure, it is also essential because there is always a possibility that your items get lost or damaged in the process of a move. To avoid having to start buying all your items again, your moving insurance will cover your losses and ensure that you get compensated.

Your tools

While you move, there are specific tools that you will definitely require.  Things like tape, markers, moving boxes for your house, etc. must be top in your priority list, and you will definitely be in need of them if you are looking to have a seamless transit experience.

Also, you need to ensure that you get these tools at good prices to save as much cash as you can. Look for where to get things like cheap moving boxes, and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to save.

Do you have everything?

Simply put, you don’t want to forget anything while you move. It’ll most probably be as good as gone, so ensure that you check and double check before you leave your old home.

Transitioning to your new home

The process of transitioning to your new home has to be in place. This means you need to inform people like the mailing company, your place of work, your bankers, etc. and notify them of the fact that you’ve moved, and to also provide them with a means of reaching you.

adapt for elderly care needs - lg

Move House or Adapt For Elderly Care Needs?

As we grow older, a house that we once loved to live in may become difficult to negotiate. The stairs are a common problems but even just a few awkward steps to the garden can also be problematic. And managing the garden itself – once an enjoyable past time – can become a huge burden. In a place where you once felt safe and secure you may not feel safe anymore as the risk of falls as we get older becomes a real problem.


A home can change into somewhere no longer suited to living as an older person, which is why home adaptations are often desirable to enable you to stay in your home safely and happily. Changes can enable you to opt for home care services rather than moving to a residential care home. This is often a more cost effective approach because of the high cost of care home fees.


If you are considering adapting you home to be better suited to your care needs as you get older, consider the following:


  • Easy Access – Getting into your home safely through the main entrance door and also to and from the garden might require a ramp, hand rails and additional lighting.
  • Bathroom & Toilet – You may need a walk in shower with a wide entrance and a secure seat if you have difficulty walking and standing. You may also need a toilet with support rails around it.
  • Accessing upper floors – A stair lift or internal lift can help you get up and down the stairs safely so that you can still use upper floors and one or other can usually be fitted in most houses.
  • Kitchen – Even if you have a live-in carer or use home care services where someone comes into the home to help prepare meals you may still want to be able to prepare simple snacks like a sandwich. In that case you may have to lower the height of the worktops. This is especially true if you have to use a wheelchair.



The Cost Of Adapting Your Home

Adapting your home is going to cost money but so also does moving to a more suitable house so you will have to consider your own personal preference and individual circumstances. And there are cost effective ways to make alterations and often financial help available for some of the changes such as ramps and handrails.


Contact the local social services department to find out what financial or practical assistance you are eligible for when it comes to making your home safer. You will then have a better idea of whether you can continue to live there safely.

If you need to make larger alterations such as adding a ground floor bedroom and wet room then you may be entitled to a grant. Although bear in mind that you will have less freedom over the type of adaptation if you don’t pay for it yourself.


There are also charities that can help with both advice and potential sources of funding so talk to someone like Age UK as a starting point.


It might seem a daunting prospect with lots of upheaval to alter your home but if it helps you stay in your own home rather than go into a care home then it is worth it for a better quality of life. Remember you can get good care in your own home – are homes are not the only option.

decluttering - home storage unit

Getting Ready To Move House – Should I Be Decluttering?


After weeks (or is it months?) of limbo when nothing seemed to happen in the long chain I’m involved in with my house move suddenly it’s all systems go and panic has set in as everyone wants to exchange and move before the start of summer. At the beginning of the year we all knew when summer was but it seems to have been the effect of the Easter school break recently that has given everyone renewed impetus. I have spent all morning on the phone chivvying estate agents, mortgage providers, solicitors etc. and just generally keeping the lines of communication open. This is the 4th house we have tried to buy in nearly 18 months (yes, 4th, really) and after our “3rd time lucky” house failed to be lucky I have given up keeping my fingers crossed – now I just want it to happen.

I have lived in my current house for over 20 years and when we first decided to move it was with a mixture of excitement and sadness. We reminisced about the parties we’d had, the fun, the long hot summers in the garden (well maybe that’s an exaggeration) and the fact that our children have never known any other home. But as time has dragged on the sadness has waned and we are all just eager to get on with our new lives in our new home now.

I have started a bit of decluttering, bought packing boxes, had estimates for the removals and even spoken to some builders about the work I want to do in the new house but I can’t make any commitments yet – I can’t even make a proper start with packing up my belongings as I haven’t yet signed the contracts. For any of you living outside England you might be unfamiliar with the system where you can agree to sell your existing house and agree to buy a new house but it can be months before this agreement becomes legally binding for both you and all the other people involved in the chain of house sales and purchases.

This system has been the source of many a failed house move but I am consoling myself with the fact that during the time we have been waiting for all the legalities to be completed the mortgage interest rate with our chosen provider has fallen by 0.5%. Great news! But as my husband sagely pointed out we won’t be saving ourselves 0.5% worth of interest payments if the purchase falls through as we won’t be paying for that particular mortgage at all.

Realistically, I no longer have any hope of moving in before the warm weather arrives given that it is only a few weeks away and we haven’t yet exchanged contracts but after all the waiting I’m sure I can wait a little longer and it might just give me the chance to do some more decluttering so there is less to pack and less to unpack in the new house. If I can get into the decluttering habit now there’s a chance that we might all be able to live an organised, clutter-free life in our new abode (well, I can dream).

I’ve been reading some tips on clearing clutter and it seems the most important thing is to remember that a lot of the material possessions we own don’t have any sentimental value and no longer have any practical or decorative use – most possessions are just stuff filling up our homes. The decluttering tips also suggest that tackling the clutter gradually is more effective if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and give up before you make any progress. So I am determined to sort as much of my junk as possible in the coming weeks.



stress free home move

Can a Home Move Be Stress Free?

In the high-end property market in London many of the specialist mortgage broking firms are booming as a result of wealthy overseas buyers investing in the better London boroughs. So the multi-million pound property market might be recovering (in fact, it never suffered the same level of stagnation as the mainstream market after the credit crunch) but what about the rest of us?

How easily you can sell a home is dependent on so many factors such as area, location within that area, type of property, property condition, local demand etc. Some of these factors are outside your control but others are not so you can minimise the stress of a home move by doing something about the parts you can control; for instance make sure the inside and outside of your home are clean, tidy and clutter-free. Do all those niggling little repairs and if anything major needs repairing get it done before opening your home to viewings. If necessary, invest in some new accessories to dress your home: lamps, new bedding and towels will make a big improvement for minimal cost and you can take them with you to your new home.

Of course, you cannot remove stress entirely from a house move because, fundamentally, it is a stressful business because it affects both our finances and our emotions. You are leaving behind an old home but there may be an emotional wrench, depending on your personal circumstances, if you don’t want to leave. Then you have to find a new home and we all have our own image of the perfect home but often we cannot afford it, or even find it. When some people find a home that ticks all their personal boxes they do not actually want it because there is no emotional draw to the home. Conversely some people fall in love with a home that ticks none, or only a few, boxes. And once you make an emotional attachment to a home by embarking on the buying process those emotions can just make the stress build up.

If you are buying a new home, whether it is your first or one in a long string of many, it is a complicated process. We often don’t understand all the financial and legal jargon involved and have to rely on others to deal with the process but if you don’t understand something then just ask for a simple explanation. Questions you have that remain unanswered will just fuel an already stressful situation.

Once you are ready to make an offer you need to be prepared for various outcomes if you are to avoid an emotional rollercoaster. House sales and purchases can be unpredictable: your buyer may pull out, your best offer may be turned down, you could be dragged into a bidding war, you could be gazumped (yes it still happens), the seller could pull out of the deal after accepting your offer, serious defects may be revealed by the survey, you lose your job and can no longer afford to move. The list really is endless…

But providing you are aware of such possibilities then you should be able to handle them calmly if they do happen. Have a contingency plan – for instance, if the seller pulls out but you have a good buyer then consider putting your belongings in self-storage and moving into rented accommodation rather than lose the house sale in a tough market. This could put you in a better position as a chain-free buyer; just remember that others might be doing the same.

pack kitchen

The Easy Way To Pack Kitchen Items Ready For Moving House


The kitchen can be the most difficult room to pack, especially if you don’t leave enough time to do it properly. Here we look at simple and easy ways to pack kitchen items ready for a move.


When you’re moving house it’s easy to feel like you’re getting everything together nicely until… you come to packing the kitchen. It is easily the most difficult room to pack because it’s got so many awkward shaped items in it as well as many, many breakables. Not many people get through a house move without mourning the breakage of at least one precious mug! But do not fear, pack kitchen items easily and efficiently ready for self-storage or your new home with these simple tips:

Allow Time

Allow the most time to pack the kitchen. It’s going to take longer than the other rooms in the house and that’s OK, as long as you’ve allowed the time to do it. Don’t make the mistake of simply leaving it until last the day before the move and having a meltdown when you realise you’ve no option but to throw everything in boxes and hope for the best! It should be the last room to complete because you use it the most for everyday living, so don’t put it off, just allow lots of time to do it when the rest of the house is packed.

Be Ruthless

Like everywhere else in your house, you should not be packing items you no longer need or want, regardless of whether or not the items are going into self storage in London or a new home in the country. Make a throw away bag and a give-away bag to put your unwanted items in. If you have time, sell anything you don’t want and get a bit of extra cash to help with your move, otherwise dispose of undesirable items responsibly and give the rest away to charity. Don’t hang on to anything that ‘might come in handy’, take this opportunity to clear yourself of the junk that clutters your kitchen – your new kitchen will be thankful for the breathing space!


Be Careful!

You are packing the room containing the most breakables so you must make sure you use the strongest boxes, the strongest packing tape and the best padding you can lay your hands on. Weak boxes will not do, things will simply fall through at the bottom when they are being moved. Make sure all electrical appliances are packed in waterproof packaging with their cables neatly secured. Ensure cutlery and sharps are wrapped up properly so they cannot poke through – tea towels are great for this as long as you use a few, plus you’re killing two birds with one stone by packing them both together. Keep liquids like bleach, washing up liquids and detergents separate from any food items and make sure they are in a no-leak container. Plates, glasses and bowls should be carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and newspaper in strong boxes, with special attention paid to delicate items like wine glasses. If your items are going into self-storage it is important they are clearly labelled so you don’t place heavy items on top of delicate ones in the removal van or self-storage unit.

Don’t Forget The Food!

Items from your fridge and freezer need to leave on the day of the move, so try to consume as much as possible so you don’t have to take it with you. Some items will need to be thrown away as they won’t be suitable for refreezing. You may also have to completely empty your fridge and freezer before the day of the move if the white goods are going with you – if this is the case prepare for this well in advance.

Make An Essentials Box


One of the most frequent mistakes people make when packing up a kitchen is packing away everything and then finding they have nothing to cook with. Keep out some plates, mugs, spoons and essential utensils and keep them in a clearly labelled box so you know where everything is. You could even make a box titled ‘tea’ and put mugs, teaspoons, the kettle, tea bags, UHT milk and sugar in it so you’ve got something to make everyone a brew with when you arrive at your new home.

And remember, moving might be stressful but new homes are always exciting so it will be worth it…


Sell a House without Stepping Inside

3 Ways to Sell a House without Stepping Inside

Moving is stressful enough, with finding a home of your own, settling into a new school and maybe even a new job, as well as packing up your entire house. Why make selling your home any more difficult than it needs to be?


If your home has great outdoor space, use it to your advantage when selling! While buyers will always care about kitchens, bathrooms and storage space, give them something else to love about your property with a lush, relaxing garden.


Even if your outdoor space is limited, these tips can be used to your advantage. Apartment dwellers may even benefit more from calling attention to a balcony or porch, if other properties nearby don’t have these amenities.


Stage Your Outdoor Living Space

When staging your home, don’t neglect your outdoor space. Continue making potential buyers feel at home when they step onto your porch, deck or balcony with cohesive outdoor furniture. Use enough furniture and décor pieces that the space is welcoming and functional, without overcrowding. If you plan on an open house, keep in mind that there will likely be extra people among the furniture.


Continue Themes from Inside

You should make your outdoor living space an oasis, but don’t make it so different from the rest of your home that people find it jarring. Compliment the style of your home and interior design, whether it be rustic, modern or classic.


Add More than Just Furniture

Chairs and tables are without a doubt important! However, don’t neglect simple elements that make spaces feel more inviting. Candles, weather-proof rugs and string lights are all inexpensive ways to make potential buyers feel at home.


Upgrade Your Kerb Appeal

The front of your home is likely what visitors will see when looking at your home for the first time. Make the most of this first impression with flawless kerb appeal. There are lots of simple ways to upgrade your kerb appeal, and many are quite inexpensive. Start by picking up things that don’t belong in the front garden, like bikes, gardening tools and sprinklers. If necessary, a fresh coat of paint on your porch or front door can also be a nice update that doesn’t take a professional.


Use Simple Landscaping Elements

Adding small touches of greenery and other landscaping elements is a great way to improve kerb appeal. Make sure your planters are cohesive, flowerbeds freshly mulched, and bushes and trees are trimmed. Unexpected details like decorative stones and a cute watering can help your house stand out.


Sell a House more easily


Appeal to Different Types of Buyers

You can make educated guesses about what type of buyers will be interested in your property, based on your location, size and price range. However, don’t fixate on that client too much, at the expense of ignoring potential buyers who don’t fit the bill. Make your outdoor space appeal to different types of buyers with different sections of your garden.


Make Room for Entertaining

Even if you’re not the entertaining type, let buyers imagine themselves hosting in this outdoor space. Create flow between the kitchen and the garden to show how easy serving can be. If there’s room, a tall bar cart can also be added to your staging.



Create a Kid-Friendly Space

Don’t leave all the fun for the adults! If you have a playset or swing, make sure it’s safe to use and looks well-maintained. Even without one, you can set up a little area with chalk, hula hoops and a soccer ball. This space will appeal to families who are looking for a new home, and also help keep kids out of the way while parents tour the rest of your home.