5 obvious things we are still forgetting when we move

What you shouldn’t forget when you move

Don’t stress, it happens to the best of us.

To prove it, we spoke to a cross-section of different folk – including professional declutter, Chelsea Smith of The Organising Platform – and asked them which vital items they’d forgotten when they moved to a new home.

Here’s what they said.


Research from realestate.com.au shows that 30% of all movers still forget about connecting their electricity when they move.* 

“A friend moved house recently and didn’t tell her provider she was moving,” Chelsea shares. “She arrived, didn’t have electricity and couldn’t open her [electrical] garage door.” D’oh.

Professional organise Chelsea Smith reminds us to connect our electricity. Picture: Eugene Hyland

“She spent almost half of her moving day without electricity. It was one of those really hot days and she couldn’t put on fans or aircon.”

Save yourself any hassle by contacting your provider before you move.

Organise your electricity before you move to avoid winding up in the dark. Picture: Unsplash

Relevant keys

“When we moved house, we left a key to our safe hidden in the felt under a billiard table,” Deanna Nott from the Gold Coast begins.

“The safe came with us, but we were never able to get the key back because the new tenants refused to let us in to get it and claimed they could not find it! We had to get a locksmith to crack the safe.”

We all have little things that require keys, not least of all are safes containing precious items! Remember where you’ve hidden keys so you don’t get locked out of anything vital.

The bed (wait, what?)

Hear us out!

Jessica, a former Sydney resident who now lives overseas, once signed the lease on new rental property before ordering a mattress, only to then face a rather lengthy delivery time.

If ordering new furniture, make sure the delivery times align with your moving needs. Picture: Getty

“I was leaving a furnished property and I knew I was going to need a mattress; I just didn’t realise how long it would take,” she says. “I then spent the first month in my house sleeping on a single air bed.”

This is a good reminder for anyone buying new furniture suites or items that need to be delivered. Ensure you shop around in advance and check delivery windows to ensure they align with your moving plans.

The assembly order

You’re unlikely to forget the fridge itself (right?) but Chelsea warns against forgetting to organise your move so that your fridge is in your house and ready to go when you need it.

Organise your move so the fridge is the last thing out and the first thing in. Picture: Eugene Hyland

“For me, one of the hardest things to get right moving homes is timing,” Chelsea says.

“You will probably get rid of a lot of your fridge and freezer items, but there will be some things that can survive the transit. You still want to time moving your fridge or freezer so it’s one of the last things you take out and one of the first you move in to the new place.”

Essential supplies

Don’t forget to keep some essential supplies separate and have them at the house when you need them. Consider things like cleaning equipment, a vacuum and toilet paper.

“Having to run out and buy toilet paper while you’re busting and in the middle of moving is not the kind of race against time anyone enjoys,” says Rebecca from Sydney. “It happened to me once and I won’t forget it again!”

Sydney lockdown rules explained: What you can and can’t do…

Four Sydney council areas will go into lockdown late on Friday night as a coronavirus outbreak in the city keeps growing.

People who live in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney, or who usually work in those local government areas, will have to follow the new tough restrictions starting 11.59pm on Friday and ending exactly a week later.

The people affected will only be allowed to leave home for four reasons:

  • Shopping for food and other essential things
  • Getting medical care or going out for compassionate needs
  • Exercising outdoors in groups no larger than 10 people
  • Essential work or studies that cannot be performed at home

“We understand this is a difficult time for everyone, however we need to take these steps now to get on top of this outbreak,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a statement.

I don’t live in the four affected local government areas, but I do work there. Am I affected?

Ms Berejiklian said on Friday that if you have been working in the four affected local government areas either part time or permanently in the past two weeks you are subject to the stay-at-home order.

“So it doesn’t matter where you live. If you’ve worked in those four local government areas, you’re subject to that as well. That includes me,” she said.

“I don’t live in the four local government areas but I work in the CBD on most days, therefore, I am subject to the restrictions. I can’t leave my home, and that starts today.”

I recently visited one of those areas, do I have to stay at home?

People who have visited the four areas, but who don’t usually work there, will not be affected by the rules, a NSW Health spokesman said.

That means people who, for example, have gone to the CBD for dinner or a meeting in the past two weeks will not be included among those who have to lock down.

Do my partner, kids or housemates have to lock down?

No. People who are household contacts of someone who works in the four affected areas will be exempt from the rules, the spokesman said.

Can I visit the four affected areas?

If you don’t live there, you may only visit for “essential purposes” such as work, education or medical care.

A nurse conducts a COVID-19 swab test at the Rushcutters Bay mobile Covid testing clinic. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

A nurse conducts a COVID-19 swab test at the Rushcutters Bay mobile Covid testing clinic. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

I don’t live with my partner, can I visit them?

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said there will be some allowances made for visits to intimate partners.

“We always have some components which are around intimate partner visits, and that will extend in this circumstance,” she said. “But we are actually asking the community to work with us.”

Can I go out to get my Covid-19 vaccination?

Going out to get vaccinated will be considered essential and allowed as well.

I’m a Sydney resident who is not affected by the stay-at-home orders. Has anything changed for me?

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions in place for the greater Sydney community would be extended at least until midnight next Friday.

Those rules include a ban on travelling outside metropolitan Sydney for people who live in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra local government areas.

“Residents across greater Sydney should also limit unnecessary activity and avoid large gatherings in coming days and comply with the current restrictions,” the statement said.

The restrictions that were previously in place for greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour include:

  • Maximum of 5 guests, including children, allowed in households
  • Mandatory mask wearing in all indoor spaces outside of peoples’ homes, including workplaces and organised outdoor events
  • No standing and drinking at indoor venues
  • No singing by audiences or congregants indoors
  • No dancing at indoor venues or clubs, but for bridal parties under 21 people, dancing is OK
  • No more than 20 people in dance or gym classes, and all participants have to wear masks
  • No more than one person per four square metres allowed in indoor and outdoor settings, including funerals and weddings
  • No more than 50 per cent capacity at seated outdoor events
  • The “green dots” on public transport will be in effect again, limiting capacity on trains, buses, etc.
  • No travelling outside metropolitan Sydney for people living in Sydney’s inner west, Bayside, and Canada Bay areas

8 frequently asked questions when buying off the plan…

While there are many benefits to buying off the plan, it can still be quite a foreign concept for many Australians when it comes to purchasing a property. 

Like with many things in real estate, there are pros and cons to all options. The deciding factor, will often come down to what best suits your financial circumstances and lifestyle. That’s why it’s important to know what questions to ask a property developer or sale person.

To help you decide if buying off-the-plan is for you, here we take a look at eight of the most frequently asked questions asked by first-time off-the-plan property buyers.

 1. How much deposit do I need to buy off the plan? 

When buying off-the-plan, you’ll most likely need to pay a 10% deposit when you sign the contract, with the balance due when it’s finished.

Typically the developer receives the interest on the deposit. However, it’s always wise to ask the sales person this question, as often you can negotiate to share part or full payment of the interest with the developer.

Your deposit will be held in a solicitor’s trust account until the project is finished or the registration/sunset period expires.

2. How long does an off-the-plan apartment take to build

Construction times vary depending on the size of the building, with larger apartment developments usually taking longer to build.

3. Will my apartment be identical to the display?

The display suite will be a good measure of the quality of your apartment’s finishes, but beyond that, you’ll need to inspect what you expect and ask the sales consultant how your apartment will differ from the display, as there are usually many different apartment types within every building.

Ask whether the display is the same in terms of kitchen, bathroom and bedroom dimensions and layout.

First home: Tips for buying off-the-plan as a first time buyer
Search tool: Find new apartments

4. Do you pay stamp duty when buying off-the-plan?

Whether you pay stamp duty or transfer duty on your new off-the-plan apartment will depend on a few things, including what state you have bought in, the price of your new home and whether you’re a first-home buyer, owner occupier, local investor or foreign investor.  

However, most states have incentives and concessions that may reduce your stamp duty. For example, Victoria has the off-the-plan duty concession where the dutiable value of your home (the amount your stamp duty is calculated on) is calculated as the contract price minus any construction costs incurred on or after the contract date. So, if you and your property meet the eligibility criteria for this concession, you’ll pay a lower stamp duty amount.  

5. When is settlement for buying off-the-plan?

Your contract should contain the specific settlement details, but as a general rule of thumb, you will be obligated to settle within in two weeks of the registration of the unit’s plan.

6. Can I get a mortgage to buy off the plan?

Yes, you can get a mortgage for off-the-plan. It’s best to speak to your bank or financial adviser to find a loan that best suits your situation.

It’s worth noting, that fixing your interest rate is one way to minimise exposure to interest rate rises. However, locking in a fixed loan rate may mean you may have to pay break costs if you want to pay out the loan early.

More from Guides

How to buy a house before you sell your current home

Investor’s guide: Tips for buying off-the-plan as an investment

7. How much are the levies or strata fees for off-the-plan?

A levy is the fee that the owner of an apartment in a strata plan must pay to the Owners Corporation for the management and upkeep of the building and common property.

Levies are generally payable quarterly, with the cost varying from one building to another, depending on the facilities and the number of apartments contributing towards the building’s upkeep.

8. Can I negotiate off-the-plan prices?

While most off-the-plan properties come with a fixed price, vendors might still be open to a negotiation.

Your best bet is to get in early once the properties hit the market – or during pre-sales – as they will likely want to show a good sales rate during the early phase.

Caution needed when buying a house with a small deposit….

A total of 20,000 places will be made available from July 1 in schemes operated by the federal government where first-home buyers and single parents need only a small deposit.

However, while qualifying first-home buyers can put down a deposit of 5 per cent and single parents just 2 per cent, there are traps that await the unwary.

The government is making more places available in its low deposit housing schemes from July 1
The government is making more places available in its low deposit housing schemes from July 1..

Mortgage interest rates are at a record low but at some point variable mortgage rates will start rising. Four-year and five-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rates are already on the way up as lenders anticipate that official interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia will be higher by then.

And though a rise in variable-rate mortgage interest rates could be as much as a couple of years away, once they do start to rise, they could rise quickly, substantially increasing repayments by those taking out a low-deposit mortgage at a bargain-basement rate of interest.

Calculations by Canstar show repayments of $2,690 a month on a $588,000 mortgage over 30 years, using a variable interest rate 3.65 per – the average on its database. The total interest paid is $380,350.

However, if after four years the mortgage interest rate increases by one percentage point to 4.65 per cent, the monthly repayment increases to $2,994 – just over $300 a month higher – and the interest paid would be $475,273.

Even though a one percentage point rise is relatively low by historical standards, is has a big impact on repayments. That is something anyone thinking of taking part in one of the government’s low-deposit schemes needs to keep in mind.

Of course, there are advantages of getting into the property market earlier with a smaller deposit. Price rises, though now beginning to slow, are likely to continue their upward march for some time.

A big plus of the low-deposit schemes is that the borrower does not have to pay for lenders’ mortgage insurance. Though the insurance reimburses a lender for any shortfall should a property be repossessed and sold for less than its outstanding mortgage debt, it is paid for by the borrower.

Normally, a buyer needs a deposit of at least 20 per cent to avoid having to fork out for lenders’ mortgage insurance.

Under the low-deposit schemes, the government becomes guarantor for borrowers, so the first-home or single-parent buyer does not have to pay for the insurance.

The other issue for anyone buying with a small deposit is the potential of “negative equity”, where the money owed on the house is more than it is worth, should property prices fall significantly.

Buyers do not give it much thought when prices are rising, but property prices do indeed fall.

For someone who is putting down a deposit of only 2 per cent, or even 5 per cent, that does not leave a lot of room for prices to fall before hitting negative equity.

5 smart things you should do when buying your first home….

Avoid worrying about what you may have forgotten by ensuring you’ve covered these smart essentials of home buying. 

When buying your first home, there are a lot of things you need to get in order. Some are obvious, like getting your finances together. However, some others aren’t quite as clear.

If you’re thinking of buying your first home, here are some essentials to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Get organised early

From home loan pre-approval to First Home Buyer Grant applications and everything in between, you’ll be expected to hand over piles of documents throughout the buying process.

Figure out a filing system – physical and digital – for all your relevant documents. Picture: Pexels.

Consider keeping an organised file of your pay slips, tax documents, copies of various ID (birth certificates, passports etc.), proof of shares, bank statements, written references and so on.

Also, consider whether you’ll need to have any of these documents certified and get on to this before you even start your property search. You don’t want to be rushing around taking care of nitty gritty details when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Get thorough inspections

Before you’ve laid down any deposits, it’s vital to check off a few inspections, particularly a pre-purchase building inspection.

You may fear it will delay the purchase or add to your mounting costs, but this isn’t the section to skip!

A pre-purchase inspection can detect drainage issues, mould, rot, foundation and structural issues as well as a range of other faulty features in the home. It can also detect anything in need of repair or help estimate costs of repairs down the track.

Remember this may not include a pest inspection, which is also an essential step.

3. Create or update your will

For most of us, real estate will be our single largest asset. Therefore, it makes sense to create or update your will.

“It’s important that real estate is distributed in accordance with the homeowner’s wishes upon their passing,” State Trustees lawyer and will writer Jason Falzon tells realestate.com.au.

“If you pass away without a valid will (‘dying intestate’), intestacy laws will apply. This means that the law will dictate who receives your assets upon your passing,” Falzon says.

“These people may include family members who you are no longer in contact with and/or ex partners.”

This could likely become an issue for many especially if you do not have any immediate family, have a former spouse/defacto partner, a blended family or a complex relationship with your family member(s).

Even if you have a simple family structure, Falzon informs that “passing away without a will usually leaves behind an unnecessary mountain of stress for your loved ones during an already difficult time.”

Not having a will can result in unintended consequences for your assets and make things more complicated for loved ones. Picture: Pexels

Another reason to have a will is to legally record how you want real estate and other assets to be distributed.

For instance, do you want someone (say a housemate or relative like a parent or child) to live in your real estate after your passing but not necessarily inherit the asset itself? Put it in your will. Do you want to give your real estate and your household belongings to different people? Put it in your will.

Understanding the ownership of your real estate is also essential.

For example, did you buy real estate with another person? If ‘yes’, you should be made aware that if you own real estate ‘jointly’, a surviving co-owner will automatically receive your share of the real estate when you pass away regardless on the terms of your will. On the other hand, if you own real estate as a ‘tenant in-common’, your share of the real estate will be distributed through your will.

If you need help preparing a will or recording special wishes regarding your real estate, book a Will Consultation with an expert will writer who can guide you through the process and prepare a will for you.

Otherwise, if your circumstances are straight forward and you have the confidence to give it a go yourself, an Online Will is a great option.

4. Update your insurance policy

The admin is not over yet! Once your contracts are signed, you may want to update your insurance as soon as possible. While laws vary between states regarding responsibility for the home during the settlement period, in many cases you may need to get building insurance to cover your purchase ASAP.

Furthermore, contact your insurer to ensure your contents are covered during and after you move into your new place.

Ensure you have home insurance prior to moving in and then make sure your contents are covered too. Picture: Getty

Starting early on this step may also allow you to review your insurance policy and compare it to others on the market. Who knows, you may save yourself a few dollars at a time when it is desperately needed.

5. Triple check your budget

When buying a house, brace yourself for the many hidden costs that may arise.

When factoring in how much you can spend on a home, be sure to include stamp duty (in most states), council rates and Lender’s Mortgage Insurance if you’ve saved a deposit under 20%

Some hidden costs may be one-offs, while others you may need to pay more than once, such as conveyancing, building inspections, loan application fees and more. These can be particularly painful if your journey to homeownership is long and full of false starts or unsuccessful offers.