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Moving To Australia From The UK - Hackworthy's 2020 Guide

Boasting some of the most liveable cities in the world with a laid back lifestyle and great ‘work/life balance’, it’s no wonder that moving to Australia is so popular with expats. 

As anywhere, moving to Australia brings with it a lot of things to remember, from doing things in preparation for your overseas removal to learning the lingo (obviously, most speak English in Australia, but just like England they have their own slang words). 

  • Get A Visa 

The first thing you must remember before moving from the UK to Australia is to apply for your visa and get this granted before travelling to the land down under. Australian visa applications are made through the Department of Home Affairs.  There are many options of visa to choose from which can be filtered down by choosing the most relevant situation to suit your needs. 

  • Find A Place To Live 

If you haven’t already done so, whilst you are waiting for your visa application to be granted now is the time to look for somewhere to live. Unless you’re moving to Australia with an employer who will be paying for your accommodation whilst you are in the country, renting may be an option to consider as the average cost of residential property is $545,000, equalling to approximately £300,000. 

If you are looking to purchase a house in Australia, you’ll must do the following steps to buy a property

  • Get a tax file number 
  • Get a pre-approval on your loan 
  • Apply for a mortgage
  • Obtain approval from the foreign review board (anyone moving to Australia to live must get permission from the board before purchasing a property)

So, you’ve decided on renting a place in Australia, before emigrating it is worth collecting a reference from your current or previous landlord to provide to your new landlord so that they can guarantee that they are making the right choice by letting their property out to you. As well as this, you’ll want to consider setting aside some money to pay your security deposit (also known as a bond), which on average will cost around 4-6 weeks of rent, which will obviously vary depending on your rental costs. 

  • Sort Out Admin 

Before moving to Australia, it is important to close any utility accounts, insurance policies and other relevant payments that you do not intend to transfer when emigrating to Australia. 

You don’t want to be paying for things that you aren’t using anymore, do you? 

Another administrative task that is recommended to carry out before moving to Australia is informing your solicitors of your house move and updating your will. Should anything happen to you whilst you are in Australia, you can be sure that your will is up to date for anyone included. 

All of these tasks are also likely to have contact details for you which will need updating, so updating important people of your new address is important to ensure that you still receive the essential communications from people. It’s also worth setting a mail-redirect up as well, as with so many places to remember updating your address it's highly likely that you’ll have forgotten somewhere. 

  • It’s Time To Pack 

Packing is the next task to tackle when moving to Australia, in order for your overseas removal to take place. You should consider when moving from the UK to Australia the items that you may need to use in Australia that you don't use in the UK. The climate in Australia tends to be a lot more favourable in most areas than in the UK, and with this comes an increase in the need for holiday items such as mosquito spray, sun cream and swimwear. 

  • Set Up A Bank Account 

Before you arrive in Australia, most banks in Australia offer the opportunity to open an account online so that you can start contributing money in Australian dollars to it up to a whole year before your overseas removal. All you will need for this is UK identification documents and your UK home address. For more information on opening a bank account in Australia, this Telegraph article put together by TransferWise has put together a really useful guide. 

  • Organise Healthcare

With one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the world, you’ll need to understand how it works to assist in getting the best care for you and your family. Similar to the UK, the healthcare system in Australia is split into two parts; the public health system and the private health system.

The public system allows you to access care through Medicare, for free or at a lower cost, similar to the NHS in the UK, both of which are funded by the tax-payer. As obvious as it seems, the private system is paid for by an accumulation of government and private entities. 

So, when moving to Australia, you’ll need to make a decision on whether you want to use public or private healthcare. Either way, something to consider before emigrating to Australia is visiting your current doctor for advice and a check-up, especially if you are on regular medication. This way you can make sure that whilst you are looking for a new doctor's surgery when you arrive, you won’t run out of the medication you need. 

  • Arrange Schools 

Again, the education system in Australia is much the same as the UK, with public school free for all Aussie residents and most students expected to wear a uniform. The school system won't feel unusual. With private schools, parents/guardians will be expected to pay for their child's education each year and should be aware that this cost will increase if they wish to send their child to boarding schools. 

When moving to Australia from the UK, your child will be familiar with the structure of the school, due to the structure reflecting what they are used to. Children are required to start school at the age of five and typically continue through until they’re 18. 

  • Learn The Aussie Differences 

As anywhere in the world, Australia has its own form of slang words that may be completely different from the actual words that you are used to describing. Have you ever heard Australians refer to ‘nippers’? Weirdly this actually means ‘child’ (I know! I told you they can be completely different from the words you are used to). ‘Thongs’ actually refer to sandals and one you might be familiar with already is ‘barbie’, which is a barbeque (not a child’s toy doll). 

The final thing to remember when moving to Australia is that you must only walk on the left-hand side of the pavement and by law you are only allowed to cross at the designated crossings. Although you won't be penalised for walking on the right-hand side of the pavement, you can be fined AUD$70 for jaywalking. So keep that in mind when you take a walk around your neighbourhood. 

We’ve covered most of the things you need to know in preparation for moving to Australia, but if there is anything that would have really helped you to know be sure to let us know and we might add it into our guide. 

However, if you’re reading this as your planning on moving to Australia and are still looking for an overseas removal company, contact us today for a quote on 01752 548187.

The Top 5 Best Countries For Expats In 2020

Back in 2016, we took a look at the top 5 best countries for expats to live. 4 years later, we thought now would be a good time to take another look and see which countries have remained in the top 5 and whether there are any newcomers amongst the best places to live abroad in 2020.  

In a report curated by HSBC, the world’s longest-running survey of expats, the overall rank of each destination collates the score of each country in terms of the quality of life (‘Living’), career opportunities (‘Aspiring’) and the suitability for families (‘Little Expats’). 

1. Switzerland 

First up is a new entry to the top 5 best countries for expats, Switzerland. Switzerland has been within the top 10 best countries for expats since 2011, however, it wasn’t until 2019 that it reached number 1. 

Compared to the home country of expats that were involved in this study 82% have seen an improvement in their quality of life since their overseas removal. Money is a highly influential factor in the country being ranked so highly in the best countries for expats, and that’s because the cost of living is significantly higher than the other countries involved in the study. Home to two of the most expensive cities in the world, it comes as no surprise that the average salary is $203,000

Switzerland also ranked highly in the topic of ‘little expats’, with the country being popular amongst families, with over half of respondents in the study claiming that the treatment of the children in Swiss schools was better than those in their home countries. 

2. Singapore 

Whilst Switzerland was ranked fairly high for families, Singapore took the number one spot for the best country for expats with children. 

Expats from Singapore are hugely proud of the ability for their children to learn languages with almost three-quarters of respondents, praising the country for its ability to teach their children.

The safety and security of expats was found to be a higher contributor of the country ranking as the second-best place to move to. With 85% of people feeling safer and more secure in Singapore whilst also appreciating the clean and safe environment that the country is known for. 

3. Canada 

Did you know that one in five Canadians are foreign-born? With a statistic like this, you can see why Canada has to be on the list of the best countries for expats and is an easy country to emigrate to. However, let's take a look at why it reached number 3 in the top 5 best places for expats to live in 2020.

For those seeking a country to move to with a better quality of life, Canada is the place to choose. With a lower cost of living, expats have more disposable income in the country thanks to reduced expenses, meaning that you can enjoy the little luxuries such as visiting the famous Niagara Falls. 

So Canada, the second-largest country in the world, also hosts athird of its students from foreign countries. Because of this, you can be sure that the challenges your children may face on moving to Canada are well prepared for by the country's education system. 

4. Spain 

With over 80 million tourists visiting the country each year, Spain has a multitude of jobs in the tourism industry for expats living in the country. Spain also ranks highly in terms of quality of life, second only to Canada, which almost certainly has something to do with the delightful weather

Generally speaking, expats thrive from the flexible work environment that Spain offers. After all, with later start times and relaxing lunch breaks, why wouldn’t you want to live in Spain? 

Thanks to the warm weather and relaxed pace of life, it's little wonder why Spain has become a hugely popular place to retire to

5. New Zealand

Moving to a new country can seem daunting to start, but moving to New Zealand need not be. With loneliness being a common challengefor people when moving abroad, there is absolutely nothing to worry about with the people of New Zealand. Known for their friendliness, you can be sure to enjoy your time making new friends and exploring your new home. 

Have you ever noticed that New Zealand is a popular destination to visit when someone goes travelling around the world? That’s because of the experiences that you can do here from the thrill of skydiving to seeing the beautiful scenery that surrounds you. 

In comparison to other developed countries with bigger economies, however, lower salaries and fewer career opportunities are available in New Zealand. That said, with the amazing things this country has to offer, you may wish to consider the balance of your earnings against your quality of life. 

When looking at the top 5 best countries for expats in 2020, the countries all share a high ranking within the ‘Living’ and ‘Little Expats’ categories. With all 5 countries being ranked in the top 7 for living, and 4 out of 5 ranking in the top 5 for ‘Little Expats’, it's clear to see that family and quality of living is more important when moving abroad than work.

If you’re moving to live abroad and are looking for an overseas removals company to help move house, Hackworthy and Sons can help. For a quote, contact us today on 01752 548334 or fill out our online form.

FAQ: What Is The Government Help To Buy Scheme?

One of our most frequently asked questions is “what is the government Help To Buy scheme?” 

Essentially it is a scheme that has been implemented to help first time buyers to get onto the property ladder. By providing financial help to assist buyers to get a property with just a 5% deposit

Not to be confused with the Help to Buy ISA, with the Help to Buy equity loan the government lends you up to 20% (40% if you’re in London) of the cost of your new home. 

You will be required to pay at least a 5% deposit and arrange a mortgage of up to 75% to make up the rest. For the first five years of owning your home the loan will be interest free. However, after this time, you’ll be charged a 1.75% fee of the loan value, that will then increase each year in accordance with the retail prices index. 

It is worth noting that, with the government Help To Buy scheme, although you may have purchased your house at £200,000, and you borrowed £40,000 with a 20% equity loan. 

If your house is valued at £250,000 when you come to sell it, you will be required to pay 20% of the selling price, meaning that you will need to pay back £50,000. A £10,000 difference to what you initially borrowed. 

Requirements Of A Help To Buy Equity Loan

Additionally to the requirements involved in the amount of money each party needs to put forward, something to remember is that the government Help To Buy scheme is only available on new build homes that are valued at less than £600,000. 

You mustn't rent out an existing property to buy a second home through the scheme, or on the contrary shouldn’t sublet your Help To Buy home either. 

More information on the requirements of the government Help To Buy scheme can be found on the Share to Buy website.

Difference Between Help To Buy Scheme and Shared Ownership

As the name suggests, a shared ownership means that you only own a share, rather than the whole property, unlike the Help To Buy scheme. In a shared ownership, costs will involve repaying your mortgage whilst at the same time paying rent to the housing association that owns the other share of your home. 

A shared ownership house can often work out more expensive than being the official owner, that’s because you only own a share of the property but are still required to pay a full service charge and council tax.

A Help to Buy: Shared ownership scheme is a great alternative to a traditional Help To Buy scheme if you can’t afford to pay 100% of the mortgage on a home from the start. Although, it allows you to buy larger shares of the house in the future when you can afford to (this is known as ‘staircasing). 

With shared ownership, unlike the Help to Buy equity loan, when it comes to selling your property, you will need to have this independently valued. From then, depending on the housing association, those registered with them can often be offered first refusal.

However, if nobody in the housing association shows interest, the property can then be put on the market and be advertised through an estate agent. 

The benefit that both of these schemes provide is the opportunity for remortgaging in order to gain a larger share of the property, from the government or the housing association. 

When you can afford to staircase your shared ownership property to 100% this will help you become eligible for a standard mortgage with better rates.

Although remortgaging is available with the help to buy equity loans, it can often be a little harder than shared ownership. As lenders will require borrowers to pay off the 20% equity loan in full before lending money, which some people may not be able to afford to do all at once. 

 

Whilst we can explain to you what the government Help To Buy schemes involve, it’s important to seek professional, legal advice if you’re looking to take up one of these affordable housing schemes in Plymouth. However, if you’ve recently purchased a house either using a government Help To Buy scheme or not, and are looking for a Plymouth removal company to help you move, get in touch with Hackworthy & Son’s today on 01752 547432 or email enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk.  

6 Reasons To Rely On Short-Term Storage When Moving House

First up if you haven't heard of self-storage then where have you been? 

Just kidding, self-storage is “a rented space in a building for storing property, where you can bring or take away your things by yourself”. An easy way to store your belongings if you are in need of some extra storage space at your home. 

Can short term storage help me when moving to a new house, you may ask? The answer is …. Yes, and we’re going to go through the reasons why you can rely on short term storage when moving house. 

1. First up, if you’re having to compromise on the storage space in your new house, then self-storage will help you. 

You may have had storage space in the loft at your previous house and are now moving into a house with a loft conversion resulting in much less storage space. By putting your belongings into storage this will help you store away the things that were in the loft in your previous house until you have built more storage space into your home. 

At Hackworthy & Sons, our sister company Plymouth Self Storage can provide you with the space you need for however long you need it, for you access 6 days a week. 

2. If you aren’t in a rush to unpack your boxes on moving day, why not store some of your non-essential belongings into a storage unit until you have unpacked the main brunt of your house and gradually bring in the things from the storage unit as and when you need it. 

By staging your house move, this will mean that you won't be overloaded with boxes when moving to a new house and help reduce the stress that often comes with moving day. 

3. When you’ve been out on house viewings, have you ever wondered why these houses look so pristine and free of clutter? Some people choose to pack some belongings that they don't need to hand, into a storage container. This can help to make their home look more appealing to potential buyers as this better showcases the home rather than the items in it. 

4. For those that have hobbies that require large pieces of equipment such as paddleboarding or surfing, a short-term storage unit could be helpful when moving house especially if your new house doesn’t have a garage that would fit this equipment in. Self-storage units are also a great place to store items such as camping equipment as this is something that you don’t need day to day so it isn’t required to be kept in the house if there isn't enough room. 

5. Are you between houses and temporarily renting with nowhere near as much room as you need for your things? Put some of the non-essential things that you won’t need to use soon into self-storage. Then, once you have found a house and have a moving date you can pick up your things from the short-term storage unit and take it to your new house. 

6. Finally, storage solutions are often used as a short-term storage option for students who have moved back home in their summer break. As they can store all of the kitchen items, furniture they may have bought and any university things that they won’t need over the summer whilst they are away for the summer before moving to a new house into their new student accommodation. 

The Advantages of Using A Removal Company to Move House

We’ve previously looked at the reasons why you should hire a removal company, but have you explored the advantages you could benefit from by hiring a removal company? 

If not, you’re in luck, because we’re going to go through them for you here and we’re sure that you’ll never want to move house on your own again. 

Move Your Things Easily If You Don’t Drive

First of all, if you don’t drive one of the main benefits to you would be that you can move all of your things from house to house with the help of a removal company. Without this help, you are likely to face a few obstacles on how you plan to move house. Unless, you have a reliable family or friend that doesn't mind driving around to move your things. 

Safer To Move With A Removals Company 

When carrying out house removals with a removal company you can be sure that your items will be packed safely and carefully into the removal lorry. Moving on your own could pose some issues with breakages etc if you haven't packed the van correctly. But, the experience of a removal company is second to none, and at Hackworthy & Son’s our team receive regular training to ensure the safety of house removals for both parties. 

Another reason it can be safer to move with a removals company is that not only are the team trained to carry out your move in the safest way possible, but they also drive the removal vans day in and day out so are used to driving these vehicles. Whereas, if you are hiring out a van to move house on your own, you are most likely not too familiar with driving an alternative vehicle to your car. 

Peace Of Mind 

Using a removal company can help to give you peace of mind throughout the removals process, as you can be sure that everything is in hand when it comes to the transportation of your things on moving day. 

At Plymouth removal company, Hackworthy & Sons, we want you to feel as relaxed as possible on moving day. We offer additional services that can be added onto your removal quote to help you in every way we possibly can, whether this be a packing service or self storage. We can help! 

Reliability 

With removal companies you can be sure that they will always be there to help you on moving day. As reliable as your friends and family may be, you can never predict if something was to happen, or they are unwell on the day of your house move and are unable to help you move anymore. This can then leave you in a stressful situation where you may have less help than you originally thought. 

However, with a removal company you can always rely on them being there for your house removal. If a member of the team is unwell, the removal company can make other arrangements for a different member of the team to work. This may not be so easy to arrange for another family member or friend to help at such short notice. 

An additional reason that you can rely on Hackworthy & Sons for your house move is by taking up our cancellation waiver and late key waiver, which covers you should your move be cancelled at short notice or you are unable to get into your new house on time. This is something that is not always available with a van rental agreement. Thrifty, for example, is unable to offer refunds to any cancellations with less than 48 hours notice from the pick up date.  

Insurance To Cover You  

A removal company will be covered by insurance when moving your belongings. So you can be sure that your things will be covered should something happen to them on moving day. With a van rental, you will likely be covered for accidents or breakdowns, but may have to pay extra for insurance on the things inside the van. 

Experienced Removal Team

An experienced removal team is one of the most significant advantages of using a removal company. With the main reason for this being that they know the most efficient way to carry out a house move and can guide you through the process. In turn, reducing the stress for you. 

If you’ve recently moved house with a removal company and found any additional advantages, be sure to share these with us on social media to help future house movers decide on the best way to move house. 

Your Essential 2020 Guide To Moving From The UK To The US

Moving to another country is daunting, that’s why we’ve put together a checklist of the things you need to consider when moving from the UK to the US. Once you have found somewhere to live, moving to America is fairly straightforward once you have an international removal company booked. From here, you can then move your focus to the next stages of your move and follow the checklist provided here. 

At Hackworthy & Sons, we have carried out many international removals for our clients moving to America, and like any international house move, there are many things to consider beyond the usual checklist for moving house within the UK. The USA may be known as the ‘land of the free’ but that doesn't mean that there is nothing to prepare for when moving to America, which you’ll see from our checklist.


Moving To The USA From The UK Checklist

  • Obtain The Relevant Visa 

The application process for a green card can take several months to complete when moving from the UK to the US, therefore you must make sure to leave plenty of time to obtain this. It’s a good idea to think about doing this once you have booked your international removal company, that way you know that the two most vital parts of your move have been sorted. You can find more information on applying for a US visa on our Moving To The USA page.

  • Cancel Any Contracts In The UK 

In order to ensure that you aren’t continually charged for contracts that are no longer needed when moving to America, you should go through all of your financial commitments and make a list of the companies that you need to contact to cancel your payments. This may include any insurance policies, subscriptions you may have, utility companies, internet providers, and so on.  

  • Take Out Health Insurance

When moving to America from the UK, it is vital that you take out health insurance, as there is not an NHS equivalent healthcare system in the USA. To avoid hefty medical fees, you need to finding a health insurance provider before moving from the UK to the US. 

  • Apply For Social Security Number 

For those moving to America or working in the USA, you must apply for a social security number. This is a nine-digit number and is your first and continuous connection with social security, and identify and accurately record your covered wages or self-employment earnings. You will need it to get a job, collect social security benefits and some other government services. 

For more information on Social Security numbers and how to obtain a card, take a look at the SSA website.

  • Set Up An American Bank Account

Those emigrating to the US should be aware that whilst most high street banks may be marketed as international, they often have strict requirements. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that anyone moving to America opens a US bank account. This will provide employers with an account to pay your salary into, allow you to easily pay bills and buy things without having to carry cash around. 

In order to open an American bank account, you will need to proof of your address, your passport, immigration documents and your social security number.

  • Arrange Travel From The Airport To Your New Home 

If you’ve decided to purchase a car after you have arrived in America, you will need to make travel arrangements to get from the airport to your new home. This could be a taxi, an airport transfer or perhaps you are joining family members in America who could collect you. Either way, it’s important to not forget about this when moving from the UK to the USA to avoid any unwanted stress. Alternatively, if you’d like to take your car with you to America, we’d recommend checking if this is offered by your international removal company so that you can make additional arrangements if not. 

  • Arrange To Have Wi-Fi Installed In Your New Home  

You will be so used to using the Wi-Fi in your home, so it’s easy to forget contacting internet providers before moving from the UK to the US. To ensure you don’t have to go without for too long, get a date in the diary with an internet provider within the first few days of moving to America. This way you will be able to keep in contact with your loved ones in the UK on WhatsApp or Skype, without having to pay the hefty fees of making international phone calls. 

  • Familiarise Yourself With The Laws In America 

There are obviously many differences between the laws across all countries so as boring as it may be, we’d recommend you familiarise yourself with the laws of your home state to avoid getting yourself in trouble. Surprisingly, there are many differences between laws in the US and the UK and even more so in between each of the American states. It’s really important to look through these thoroughly, as what might be legal in one state may not be in another. 

Other things to consider in preparation for moving from the UK to the US, are to: 

  • Set Up A Mail Redirect  
  • Arrange Schools For Children 
  • Gather All Important Documents (marriage certificate, birth certificate) 
  • Make Sure Your Passport Is Valid 
  • Book Plane Tickets
  • Pay Any Outstanding Bills And Debts In The UK 

We hope that this checklist will help you prepare you for moving to America from the UK. If you’ve found this guide helpful, be sure to share this on social media to help others that are planning a move to the USA. 

Hackworthy & Sons' Top 10 Office Removal Preparation Tips

We know how stressful office removals can be and that you’ll want to ensure the least downtime as possible, so we thought we’d provide you with our top tips on how to prepare for an office move.

1. Create a timeline

First up, by creating a timeline to work towards in the lead up to your office move this will help you to prepare and schedule in things to do along the way so that everything doesn't need to be done at once.

We’d recommend first making a list of the things that you need to do, and then put these in order of priorities, thinking about prioritising things that need to be organised with other people near the top.

It goes without saying that the longer time frame that you have the less time you will need to take out of each day to prepare for your move.

The following tips are things you may want to consider including in your office removal timeline in the order to best suit your needs.

2. Hire a removal company

Take the stress out of moving and hire an office removals company as soon as you can to help you move. By organising this as soon as you can this ensures that you have this sorted when it comes to carrying out the other tasks involved in office removals.

With office removals at Hackworthy & Sons there is no need to purchase boxes, you will be delivered packing crates to a week before your move. However, if your moving timeline means that your packing is due to be started before then let us know and we can organise to deliver them sooner.

3. Declutter any unnecessary items

Much like moving house, office removals will definitely unveil lots of unnecessary items, so use this time to declutter your office so that when you get to the new office all of the things moved will be necessary to keep.

This can help save space in the removal van as you won’t be carrying around items that wont be used in the new office.

4. Create a list of items

Once you have decluttered the unnecessary items from your office, you can then begin to create a list of the larger items required to move in the office removal. This will not only help you know what needs to be moved but will also help the office removal company to know all of the items of furniture that will be going with you to your new office.

5. Deep clean the office

Before your office removal takes place, you may want to give it a deep clean whilst it is completely empty, because when the furniture is moved in there will never be a chance to give it such a thorough clean again.

Although, the office will most likely be clean when you move in, by doing this you will know that everywhere has been cleaned to your satisfaction and will know exactly when it was deep cleaned last when it comes to needing to doing this again in the future.

6. Get everyone to pack up their own desk

Assigning each employee to pack up their own desk will help you to reduce the amount of time spent packing up the whole office, thanks to working as a team. Once each person has done this the office can then work together to pack up the remaining shared areas of the office.

Working as a team could almost be a tip of its own, as this can significantly reduce the time of office removals if packing is not just left to a few people.

7. Make sure everything will fit into the new office

It is important to remember to make sure that everything will fit into the new office before the office removal takes place. This is mostly in relation to the furniture as these are often the items that people move before realising that it won't fit it into the new office, which could waste some much needed space in the removals van. An important point to be considered if you’re buying new furniture for the office.

8. Label your boxes

By labelling boxes this helps everybody, from the office removal company to those that are helping with the move whether this be employees or family members.

Each person knows which room the boxes need to be put into and therefore know where to start unpacking.

A tip if you are moving into a new office with multiple rooms, is to create posters using the same terms labelled on the boxes to stick onto the doors of each room so that the office removal companies can match the boxes up to the rooms ensuring that there is no mix up of boxes in the wrong rooms.

9. Arrange a parking space for the removal van

As with all removals remember to arrange some parking space for the office removals van. It is likely with offices that you share parking areas with other organisations or people, so could mean that you may not be able to guarantee a space for the removal van without planning ahead and arranging for a space to be free on moving day. 

10. Update address on all communications

Finally, we’d suggest that you make a note of the communications that contain your address as this will need to be changed once you have moved into your new office. This could include email footers, business cards, google listings and more. It’s also worth putting a mail redirect in place to redirect any mail that gets sent to your old address which needs to be done at least 5 days before the date you would like the redirection to take place. 

To ensure the least business downtime as possible, preparation is key to office removals, so by following our top tips we hope that this has helped you plan how to best tackle your office move. 

12 Things People Usually Forget To Do When Moving House

You may think what could you possibly forget when moving house, how could you possibly forget to pack things?

Well… most of the things that people often forget are actually things to remember and do in the lead up and process of the move rather than actually forgetting to pack items.

At Hackworthy & Sons we have put together a list of the things that people often forget to do when moving house, which will hopefully help others that are moving soon.

1. Notifying the relevant people of your move

First up, is notifying the relevant people of your move. People often talk about their house move with those that they see frequently as it is something that is going on in their lives. However, it could often be forgotten to inform those that live further away from you of your house move as these are likely people that you see less of in comparison to those you are with week to week.

2. Transferring school / medical records

If you are moving to a completely new location then you may be looking to move your children to a new school which is something that you have to prepare for in advance by visiting a range of schools to find the best ones for your children.

Although, if you are looking to keep your children in the same school, you must inform the school of you moving house to update your child's records with your new address.

The same goes with your medical records, if you are moving to a new location you may need to relocate to a different doctor's surgery, therefore you’d need to register to your chosen new surgery. You don’t want to get to the point where you need to visit the doctors when you realise that you have forgotten about this when moving.

3. Redirect mail

You may have informed all those relevant people of your house move, however there is always going to be someone that you may have forgotten to inform, most likely your amazon account or a shops mailing list that you’d like to keep updated with.

For this reason, it is really useful to have a mail redirect in place which will redirect any mail from your old address to your new one. This is then a good reminder for you to update your address with those people that have sent mail to your old address.

4. Defrosting your fridge / freezer

If you own a stand alone fridge/freezer and are planning on taking this with you when moving house. Don’t forget to defrost it, this can often be forgotten as you need to use it all the time, but is important so that you don’t end up with water spilling from it during the moving process. If you forget to defrost your fridge/freezer you may end up having to do this later than you’d like, meaning that you might end up having to manually speed up the defrosting time, taking up time that you could otherwise spend doing other things to move house.

5. Arranging a parking space for the removal van

It can be quite common when moving house for there to not be enough room for the removal van to fit down the driveway (and that’s if you have one!). So if you have a driveway that is too small for the removal van to fit or you don't have a driveway at all, you will need to arrange a parking space for the removal van on the road outside your home.

Arranging parking can often be something that people forget when moving house as they may not feel the need to measure the size of a driveway beforehand and end up finding out that the van doesn't fit upon arrival to the new house, when there is no parking on the road to unload the van.

6. Writing down meter readings

Why do I have to write down meter readings when moving house you may ask? By writing down the meter readings you can send these to your energy supplier both at the old house and the new house to ensure that you are not overcharged and receive an accurate last and first bill.


7. Packing an essentials box

Many people get caught up in the process of packing boxes that you can often forget to pack things in a separate box that you might need to access quickly at the new house. So, by packing a box of your essentials you can be sure to be able to easily access the things that you need and avoid having to go through all of your boxes to find the toolkit to put your furniture together.

8. Look after your pet

If you haven't already updated your address on the microchip of your pet, this is something that you must do to ensure that they come back to the correct address should they go missing.

However, it’s not just the paperwork that people can usually forget when moving house, but it can often be forgotten that moving can be stressful for pets as well as humans. You may want to consider arranging for somebody to look after your pet when you move to ensure that you don't have the added stress of keeping them calm. Not only that but it's also important to calmly introduce them into their new home, the PDSA provides some great tips on moving home with your pets, should you like any advice.


9. Inform your employer

When moving house you must remember to inform your employer of your new address. People may forget as they’ve been talking about their house move in work and assume that the employer will update their records accordingly. Although, it is important that you officially provide them with your new address in order for them to update your records and to update where your payslips are sent to if you receive these through the post.

10. Dont forget things you may have left at the dry cleaner or storage units

You may have carried out all of the things that people usually forget when moving house, but have you remembered to collect any items that you may have left at the dry cleaners, the seamstress or even a storage unit.

These are often forgotten as they are not in your house to remind you when you are packing up and the paperwork has probably been thrown into a drawer somewhere that you won't find until you have moved house and unpacked.

This is especially important to remember when relocating to another city or even country.

11. House plants

House plants become part of the furniture after a while and when packing up your house can be forgotten as it can begin to feel like they were there when you moved in.

Some UK removals companies may refuse to transport houseplants for you when moving house, and although you can transport the small ones by yourself, if you own larger plants this could be a struggle if you don't have a big enough car. Therefore you may want to research your removal company and find out if they will transport your plants.

If they don't you will need to plan how you are going to move them or if you need to sell them or donate them to a friend.

12. Packing up the storage areas in your house

Storage areas in your house such as the loft/attic is something people often forget about when moving house. As things that are stored in these areas are not often used very regularly so it's no surprise that people can forget to pack these areas when moving house.

If you forget about these when purchasing boxes for packing, you are likely to run out of boxes before you discover these….Or worse you might have moved by the time you remember that you have not bought certain items with you.


We hope this list of things that people usually forget to do will help you in the lead up to your house move and if you’re still looking for a UK removals firm to help with your move, get in touch with our team today for a quote.

 

7 Top Tips On How To Move House Stress-Free

If you’ve moved house before you will probably know that with everything involved and to think about, moving can often be quite stressful. At Hackworthy and Sons, we understand this and for this reason we’d like to provide you with some useful tips on how to move stress free into your new move. We will always do our best to make your house move stress free, but take a look at these tips to find out how you can reduce your stress in the lead up to and during your house move. 

Hire professional removers 

One of the first and perhaps the main things that can really help you on how to move house stress free is by hiring a professional removal company. The reason for this is that moving house on your own and hiring a van can bring with it a lot of stress as you have to do everything yourselves and dont have any help from an experienced team of house movers that help and assist you through the move from the heavy lifting to the smooth and professional house move. 

If you have a stressful and demanding job that requires a lot of time from you hiring a removals company is definitely a tip that we would suggest on how to move house stress free, meaning that you still have the time to think about your job and not worry about the organisation of everything that comes with moving house on your own and the requirements needed to be arranged before the house move. Once you have arranged with a removals firm when you are going to move the only other things required for you to do is to organise the actual move and the packing, rather than thinking about what vehicle you need to hire, how many trips will be required and the cost of the process etc. 

Hiring a removal company there is no need to worry about any additional costs after confirming the quote with your removal company. 

It’s also highly recommended that you organise a removal company as soon as you can in plenty of time in order to reduce the stress of rushing to find the right removal company for you. 

Make a list 

Making a list of what needs to be done in your move will help you how to move house stress free, as this will help you to be prepared for what needs to be done in the run up to your move and what needs to be done on the day. Following this, you will then be able to factor in time frames when things need to be done so that you are not having to rush doing all these tasks at once. 

On this list, it is worth thinking about the requirements around your utilities, paperwork that needs to be filled out, changing addresses, giving notice to your landlord (if you rent), finding out where things are in your new house (fuse box, the stopclock, thermostat etc). 

Be organised with packing 

Not only by making a list will you be more organised and less stressed when moving house, another tip on how to move house stress free is by being organised with your packing.

Ways you can be organised when packing is first by creating a rota of when to pack certain items in your house that you wont need in the lead up to or on the day of the move and continue to pack accordingly leaving out just the essentials that you need. By doing this, this will help you to ensure that you don't leave all of your packing to the last minute meaning that a lot of unwanted stress can be avoided. 

In this process it is also important to remember not to take things that you don't want anymore as this just means that you will be moving unwanted items into another house that wont be used and could take up some well needed space. 

Additionally to being organised with the time frame of packing and decluttering things that you don't want/need anymore, labelling boxes as you pack your belongings this will help you to know where each box needs to go in the new house and making unpacking easier in the new house resulting in less stress rummaging around trying to find things in the new house. 

Plan where you would like your furniture to be 

Much like labelling the boxes to put into the relevant rooms in the house, by planning beforehand where you would like you furniture to be placed in each room in the new house this will avoid the stress of just throwing the furniture in each room and let you take the time to plan the perfect layout in your fabulous new home. 

Assign everybody helping with your move certain tasks 

You may have a lot of help offered by friends and family to help you move house, so why not use this to your advantage, but a tip on how to move house stress free is assigning certain tasks to each of your friends and family to ensure that everyone doesn't end up doing the same thing and you are stuck with a load of things that still needs to be done creating stress and tension that could have otherwise been avoided. 

Make a moving day kit with everything you will need 

By making a moving day kit with all of the essentials you need on the day of moving, you can ensure that you’ll have all of the cleaning supplies you need, snacks, phone chargers etc, this will significantly help to reduce the stress of finding the things that you need on the moving day. 

And is a great place to pack those things that you can't pack until the last minute and need to unpack as soon as you arrive at your new home. 

Reward yourself at the end of the day 

Our final tip on how to move house stress free is by planning a reward for the end of your house move, we’d suggest plan on ordering a takeaway so that you can have a treat at the end of a hard day and avoid the stress of thinking about what to have for dinner and how to use the new oven etc. Why not leave this until the following day when you can work all this out in your own time away from all of the requirements and tasks that come with moving day. 

We hope these tips will help you if you’re moving house anytime soon, if you’d like any more advice on how to make your house move stress free, whether this be UK removals or International removals Hackworthy & Sons can help, take a look at our moving guide or contact us today on 01752 546185 or email enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk

Why Hire A Removal Company For An Office Move?

Why hire a removal company for an office move, you say? Why not? 

Using an office removals company to help move your company to another office is definitely something you should consider if you are planning on relocating your business, there are so many reasons hiring an office removals company will help you.

One of the main advantages to hiring an office removal company is that there will be less hassle and stress on your team. The Hackworthy & Sons office removals team are vastly experienced in moving offices and will always make sure that your move is as stress free as possible enabling you to focus on the other things to think about when moving office. 

Office removals companies also mean that there is not a need to hire any moving equipment, there is no need to hire a van, buy boxes or do heavy lifting on your own as this is all covered by the office removers. Within your quote from Hackworthy & Sons, you will be provided with purpose designed crates to pack up your belongings. These are usually delivered a week before your move and are collected a week after your move, giving you plenty of time to pack and unpack items in your own time. 

If you’re really busy and don't have time to pack up your things, you’d benefit from our full packing service so that you have the time to continue working through your move. 

Not having to hire moving equipment also means that you free up time that you would have otherwise spent moving the office yourself. The benefit to this is that you will have reduced business disruption as your team has the time to carry on working as the office removers are carrying out your office move. 

Office equipment is often of high value so it is important to protect this when moving your office. A way you can do this is by moving with an office removals company which offers insurance as part of your move. 

All removals with Hackworthy & Sons include insurance as part of your quote so there is no need to budget for this as an additional to your removal. 

During your move you are likely to come across unwanted paperwork that has been hanging around unnecessarily because there has never been a reason to dispose of it until you move office. If you come across this situation during your office removal, our sister company Plymouth Self Storage offers a personal confidential waste shredding service which destroys private and confidential information in a secure manner. 

Another benefit specific to a Hackworthy & Sons office removal is that we have archive and document storage available to our clients. If you don't have enough storage space in your new office or you are required to store records away from your main office, our archiving and records management service offers secure and safe storage for you to keep your records and documents off site. 

If you’ve used our office removals service before, we’d love to hear from you to find out if you experienced any other reasons as to why you should hire a removal company for an office move. Alternatively, if you’d like more information on office removals with Hackworthy or have any questions get in contact to speak to the team today on 01752 228815 or email enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk

What To Think About When Hiring Professional Office Movers

Have you moved house a few times and each time forgotten about something you should have thought about before your move? Well, when carrying out an office removal it’s much the same, so we’ve put together a guide for you on what you should think about when hiring professional office movers for your relocation. 

First up you need to plan your office move, work out what you need to take with you and the best date for your office removal that doesn’t result in too much downtime for your business, then you can start getting in contact with office movers. 

Once you have done this, the next thing is to find out what is included in the quote from your office movers. From then, you will be able to work out what things are left for you to think about that the office removal company doesn't cover. Using office movers can greatly reduce the amount that you have to think about during the move to your new office, giving you the time to focus on other things like the cleaning up of your old office and the opening up and arranging of your new location. 

From finding out what is included in your office removals quote, you may wish to add on additional services to provide you with added help through this process. At Hackworthy & Sons, we have many services available to you for your office removals such as crate hire, a packing service, and an installation service. For more information on the services we can provide for your office move, take a look here. 

We briefly just mentioned about crate hire, which is an important thing to consider when hiring office movers, as office equipment is often significantly heavier than moving your belongings from a house. For example all of the IT equipment can take up a lot of space and weight in a box which a standard cardboard box is unlikely able to handle. As your office movers, Hackworthy and Sons can offer you crate hire to transport the office as effectively as possible, of which we also have specific boxes for IT equipment to ensure the maximum protection of your items. 

Whether carrying out a home or office removal, moving can take a fair time, however something to think about when hiring office movers is that they can significantly reduce the time it takes to move the office. We know how important it is to keep the business running in times of change. You can be sure when moving with Hackworthy & Sons that your business downtime from moving is as short as possible, by the help of our experienced team moving your things as efficiently as possible. 

We hope this helps if you are looking at moving offices soon, however if your would like to discuss this in more detail and get a quote for your office removals, give us a call today on 01752 547236 or email us at: enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk

Moving To a New City? Hackworthy & Sons can help

Are you looking at moving to a new city but are unsure where to start? Hackworthy & Sons can help you through this process from start to finish.

 

Moving to a new city can be a very daunting task for many people, whether this be moving to a neighbouring city to your current home or moving to an international city. Our Plymouth removal company prides itself on moving our valued customers to anywhere in the world, and our team are on hand throughout the process to answer any questions and put your mind at ease when it comes to moving to a new city.

 

We’ve previously looked at reasons why you should hire a professional removal company but moving to a new city can bring with it added things that you may not have experienced before when moving in your local area.

 

First of all, moving to a new city can often mean moving away from friends and family that would normally otherwise offer to help you with a house move, or on the other hand you may be moving to be closer to friends and family, either way this could mean that they might have to travel quite a distance to be able to help you.

However, by moving with Hackworthy & Sons our team is on hand to move all of your belongings from one house to the next and if needed you can add additional services such as our packing service onto your removal quote to meet the requirements of your house move.

 

If you are moving to a new city overseas, you may want to take a look at the international removals service that we offer at Hackworthy & Sons. We offer a range of transit options to best suit your needs and budgets and can advise you on the best shipping options for your move and how to prepare your belongings as well as preparing the documentation that will be required on your journey.

 

As we have briefly touched on already, moving to a new city can often mean travelling a distance to reach your new home, compared to moving within the local area. For this reason, having insurance included in your removal quote at Hackworthy & Sons is a great benefit to your process in moving to a new city. This means that all of your belongings transported on a Hackworthy & Sons lorry are covered by insurance, something that you wouldn't be able to benefit from if you carried out a move without the help of a removals company.

 

Another benefit of moving to a new city with a removal company is the use of a large lorry that can transport all of your belongings in one journey. Hiring a van is unlikely to be able to move all of your things in one go due to its size and could require you to go back and forth between cities, this can soon start to rack up in fuel costs and could apply added stress the more times your are required to travel which could be avoided with the help of our Plymouth removal company.

 

If you are temporarily moving to a new city from Plymouth but are planning on moving back in the future, you may benefit from storage facilities, our sister company Plymouth Self Storage is an option you might want to consider if you are looking to store items that you don't need to take with you when moving to a new city from Plymouth. This is a great way to store items that you are not looking to move to your new home and will still be here on your return. This is especially a great facility to use when moving to a new city overseas for a temporary time.

 

If you’ve recently purchased a property and are moving to a new city, get in touch with our team at Hackworthy & Sons today for more information on how we can help you. 

How Are We Different To Other Plymouth Removal Companies

There are many choices when it comes to moving house, from choosing your perfect home to choosing the best removal company for your move. That’s why we wanted to explain to you how at Hackworthy and Sons we are different to other Plymouth removal companies. 

Our company was founded over 40 years ago in 1972 and has been owned and run by the family ever since, with many of our customers returning to us for multiple house removals. 

Hackworthy & Sons are now one of the largest independent removal companies in the South West and this is all thanks to our dedicated and experienced team that work together from start to finish to achieve a successful house move that our customers are looking for. 

We have held the BSEN12552 in Domestic Removals since 1999 and were one of the first companies to achieve this within the UK. This is an important accreditation of ours that can help to differentiate us from other Plymouth removal companies and confirms our commitment to quality and standards that our customers receive. 

Following this, we expanded the company and acquired SP Cocks Removals of St Austell, enabling us to provide our removal service to the Cornwall area,  it is important to us at Hackworthy to keep investing in our company to ensure that we are constantly continuing to reach new customers and provide our service to you. 

One of the most important values at Hackworthy & Sons is that our customers can trust us with their most precious belongings to carry out their house removal. At Hackworthy & Sons we take the responsibility you give us seriously and take the highest care possible when moving your house to ensure that you have as stress free a move as possible. 

Another one of our key values at Hackworthy is to treat others the way we would like to be treated, for this reason we constantly strive to provide the best for our customers. 

This doesn't just stop at our customers though, we put ourselves in other people's shoes and consider things from their perspectives, from our staff, supplier or the local community. 

 

As a result of the values that our business is based on, this helps us to build lasting relationships with our customers, suppliers and community and provide the best possible service, which is shown in the recommendations that our customers give and the repeat custom we have from those that we have moved. 

For us, it is important that we always stay true to the values of Hackworthy & Sons and remain committed to our customers whether these be new, or returning everybody will be treated the same through a Hackworthy & Sons removal. 

All in all, our team constantly provides us with the strongest commitment to helping customers move house effectively. 

If you’d like to discuss moving house with Hackworthy & Sons and would like more information, please feel free to contact us today or alternatively you can get a quote online and a member of our team will be in touch. 

6 Top Tips On How To Choose The Best Removal Company

We know that moving house is a stressful time and not a regular occurrence for most people, with the average British Homeowners moving house every 23 years. That’s why we have put together a list of tips to help you to choose the best removal company for your house move.

●     Plan ahead

It goes without saying that by planning your move as far in advance as possible that you will be provided with more choice of removal companies than if you had left it until the last minute. By giving yourself the time to choose from a range of different companies to carry out your removal you can ensure that you choose the best removal company for you.

Waiting until the last minute is never a good option; have you ever felt so stressed that you weren't going to meet a deadline but then somehow managed to make it by the skin of your teeth? If yes, then by planning your removal as earlier as possible you will eliminate the stress behind this part of the removals process.

●     Gather quotes

It’s important to gather quotes from several different companies to compare which of them is the best removal company for you to use. Removal companies should provide you with a detailed breakdown within their quotation which will help you to know what each separate part of the removal will cost.

You can then compare each of these sections amongst your quotes and see where you may receive more services from one company in comparison to another for no extra cost.  

●     Look at accreditations

When you have gathered your quotes and are comparing the best option for you, it's recommended to check out the accreditations that the removals company holds - if any. To gain most accreditations companies are required to undergo an inspection/assessment to make sure they are of good standing, provide a minimum standard of work and ensure you have recourse in case anything goes wrong with your removal. 

Hackworthy & Sons, currently hold 3 accreditations in the industry; The British Association of Removers, Which? Trusted Trader and BS EN 12522. For more information on the accreditations that we hold, take a look here.

By considering a companies accreditations in your comparison of quotes, this will help you to choose the best removal company not only based on the cost but will allow you to evaluate the reliability of each one in terms of the accreditations that they hold.

●     Look at the other services available

You should also consider what services you would like the removal companies to provide from packing to dismantling whether it is UK removals or International removals. You must brief your requirements to the removal companies so they can let you know if they provide the services you require. They can then include the services in your detailed quotation.

●     Check reviews / ask for recommendations from friends

Reviews are always a great way of finding out about a service that you have not used before. They can be a useful tool for looking at previous customers' experiences. However, be wary of companies that only have good reviews -  every company makes mistakes and seeing how they respond to a customer's bad experience can tell you a lot about the companies ethos.

Reviews from friends and family that you trust and appreciate the opinion of are an excellent way of choosing a company as they are unlikely to provide you with a false opinion of their experience.

You may be thrilled with the quotation that you have been given by a removals firm but if they have lots of bad reviews would you be confident they are the best removal company for you?

●     Check insurance

It is very important to make sure that the removal company you choose to complete your removal holds adequate insurance so you can be rest assured that your possessions are protected by insurance should there be an accident or damage.


If you need help choosing the best removal company for your move, get in touch with Hackworthy & Sons today and our team will offer you the information and advice you require

5 Reasons To Hire A Professional Home Removal Company

Whilst you might be able to move house without the help of a professional home removal company, there are many reasons why using a professional removal company is actually easier, quicker, and safer.

You won’t have to worry about making time to load and unload the car between driving back and forth, and that’s before you have even started looking at unpacking your possessions. 

Better value for money

The moving process can also be a costly one. Packing supplies are always the first thing that come to mind but there’s also the cost of fuel to consider, which can quickly build up depending on the number of trips and the distance between your old and new home. It’s also important to bear in mind that vans consume a lot more fuel, especially when fully laden, which could mean that you might spend more money on fuel than you may have planned for. 

Hackworthy & Sons has you covered in terms of packing up your belongings, with a variety of packing options available to you, whether that be packing your belongings yourself using our specifically designed cartons or our full professional packing service. This is definitely something that will make your house removal with a professional removal company better value for money, as this service is not something that is going to be available to you when hiring a van. 

Another great benefit of moving with a professional home removal company is having the access to a professional team who help people move house every day. If you hired a van to move would you have access to this benefit? This could cost a little more than moving by yourselves but in the long run once you have paid for all the petrol from trips back and forth and exhausting yourselves it's worth considering if this is a cost worth spending on. 

Takes some of the physical strain away 

Another consideration that many people don’t think about until it’s a little too late is the physical toll that moving can have. A cardboard box that weighs 0.5kg when empty can weigh close to 30kg once fully packed, and lifting something of that weight improperly can easily result in injury.

The team at Hackworthy, have been moving customers for over 40 years, so have lots of experience in moving heavy items and are trained to correctly lift heavy objects to avoid injuries. So why not take the strain away from moving yourselves into your new home and get the help of a professional removal company to help you? 

Moving house is a stressful time, so our aim is to provide you with the best removal service so that you can concentrate on other tasks whilst we move your things.

Quicker moving with a home removals company 

Moving with a home removal company means that you will have the access to a large vehicle that you can move your belongings in (and the best part is you don't even have to drive it). Packing your things into a lorry will make it easier to move large items and will mean you have the ability to pack around these, which is less likely to be able to with a small hire van. 

Thanks to the large lorry, this will also mean that you will be able to fit more of your things to move in the vehicle in one go, resulting in less trips that will need to be made. It goes without saying that a smaller van will move less things and will require more trips, so what better reason to reduce your trips and hire a home removal company to help you. 

Makes the process easier

When moving house there are a lot of things that need to be considered and that’s before you even start moving your belongings. 

Hiring a van to move yourself to your new house brings with it it’s own extra things to bear in mind, for example the cost of the petrol should the van need refilling, where to get packing materials, as well as the insurance that you may need to hire a van. 

Using a home removal company helps to alleviate some of the requirements involved in moving house, making it easier for you. Hackworthy & Sons will discuss with you all of the services available to you and will help you to work out what would benefit you the most looking at the needs of your house move. 

As the move is made easier when moving with a professional removal company, this means that there is less chance of you forgetting something that needs to be done in the removal process as the transporting of your belongings is covered by the home removal company. 

Insurance on belongings available with a home removal company 

With a home removal company there is likely to be the option to add insurance to your house move, to protect your belongings should anything happen in the removals process. At Hackworthy, we include the cost of insurance within your removal quote as a requirement of our registration with the British Association of Removers. Our insurance is designed to give you cover for your belongings throughout the whole removal process; including any time they’re in storage.


With all that said, there’s a lot more to a professional home removal company like ours than simply loading a van in one place and unloading it in another. 

If you are weighing up the options of moving yourself or hiring a removal company and would like to discuss your options with Hackworthy, contact us today on 01752 546214 or email us at enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk for more information and to discuss a removal quote. 

What Does Being A Which? Trusted Trader Removal Company Mean?

Are reviews important to you when choosing whether or not to spend money on a product or service? At Hackworthy & Sons, we understand that when it comes to purchasing, other people’s experiences can have quite an effect on the decisions that you make, that’s why we became a Which? Trusted Trader. 

We are confident that all of our customers are left happy after a home removal with Hackworthy and want future customers to know that they can trust us as their home removals company. The Which? Trusted Trader status of a company is available for all consumers to see, meaning the information and reviews are available to each and every person looking to find a truly trusted company.

We all know that there are some people, who just love to write bad reviews on company websites for no reason. However, with Which? all reviews are put through a moderation process, much like the trusted traders who have to go through assessments before they become accredited by Which?. For example, have you ever been to a restaurant, based on the reviews that you have seen and then arrived at the restaurant and had an awful experience? This could have been influenced by some fake reviews, perhaps providing better reviews than the restaurant deserves. On some review sites, it is so easy to set up an account and leave a review without any sort of moderation process, which is highly likely to result in many “reviewers” not having been customers of the company. 

You might be thinking ‘but this will mean that there will be no bad reviews on the Which? site if they are moderated?’ Well…. this is not the case, as much as the Which? status is given to trusted and reliable traders, there are sometimes some reviews that aren't as exceptional as others. The reason for this is that this gives us at Hackworthy & Sons a chance to reply to these reviews to resolve whatever issue the customer may have and ensure that they are provided with the best service possible. Even if, for whatever reason, they have not been left fulfilled with the service that was provided, it is vital that our customers receive the best service, therefore it is essential for us as a company to have the ability to reply to these reviews to resolve any potential worries. 

In terms of the assessment process to become a Which? Trusted Trader, this involves an assessment administered by trading standards professionals, to ensure that our consumers' interests are kept at the forefront of our business. To gain our endorsement as a Which? Trusted Trader, Hackworthy had to pass the Which? assessment process, examining the following items of our business: 

  • Credit report 
  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Business procedures 
  • Interview and assessment 

From here, we were then provided a report with feedback from the assessors to ensure that we meet all of the criteria required before we were allowed to join the scheme. Following this, we decided to join the scheme, to prove to our customers that choosing Hackworthy as your house removal company is the right choice. 

It is truly important to the team at Hackworthy & Sons that you have the most stress-free moving experience as possible and that’s why we joined the Which? Trusted Trader scheme, to be rest assured that you make the right choice when it comes to choosing a reliable and trusted home removal company. 

The Top 10 Best Cities To Live & Work In The UK

If you’re looking to relocate to another city within the UK, there are plenty of fantastic options out there for you, some of which have been ranked in the top cities in the world. 

Hackworthy & Sons has been providing UK removals services for over 40 years and has moved customers all over the country, therefore we wanted to put together the cities we have found to be the top 10 best cities to live and work in the UK.

So if you’re not sure which city you’d like to move to yet, this might give you some help to make your decision. 

1. Bristol 

We've found Bristol to be amongst the top best UK cities to live in, this is likely to have something to do with it’s ideal location. If you’re wanting to move to the city but still be able to visit the coast for holidays, Bristol is a location to move to in the UK, being so close to the motorways allows you to travel to wherever you need to go to fairly quickly. Additionally to this, moving to Bristol means that you will have an international airport right on your doorstep without the need and hassle of having to travel, allowing you to travel somewhere abroad in the matter of just a few hours. 

Perhaps surprisingly, London has not been identified as one of the best UK cities to live in, therefore if you are looking for a similar vibe to London in terms of the work that is on offer, Bristol provides some great opportunities and is often described as a mini London. 

If you’re starting up a business and are interested in moving to Bristol, the city ranked 2nd place in the Start-up cities index in 2017 and at that point was home to almost 20,000 businesses. As well as this, Bristol has been found to have a significant percentage (45.6%) of their working population holding university degrees (or equivalents), making this a fantastic city for both employers and employees. 

2. Edinburgh 

In 2018, following a study from the Royal Mail, Edinburgh was awarded the title of “Most attractive city to Live and Work in” for the UK. This was based on the education options, healthcare, employment potential and more and established that an average weekly salary of workers in Edinburgh calculated to around £578 per week, the second highest to that of a weekly salary in London. 

Home to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Aberdeen Standard Investments, Edinburgh makes a great choice of city to move to in the UK for those particularly looking for career options in financial services and banking. 

For more information on working and living in Edinburgh, we found this useful blog about Living in Edinburgh which has got some considerable points on why Edinburgh is a great place to work and live. Edinburgh has everything to offer you would expect from a major city including world-class events, international restaurants, and lively nightlife, all within a compact, walkable space. If you are an outdoorsy person you will definitely love Edinburgh since you can find a lot of beautiful destinations and hiking routes around the city but also a lot of green spaces within the city.  

3. Cardiff 

If you’re a keen rugby fan and enjoy watching a concert or two, Cardiff is home to two of the cities biggest entertainment venues, The Millenium Stadium and Motorpoint Arena, with this potentially being a good enough reason alone to be one of the best UK cities to live. However, there are obviously many other benefits, including, the connections to other areas in the country, with London and the South West being only a few hours away, similar to that of living and working in Bristol. 

Would love to live in London, but don't want to become a victim of the extortionate living costs? Cardiff is a great alternative, with the cost of living being 38% cheaper than living in London, as well as property prices, council tax and general expenses total calculating below the average across the UK. 

Those looking for a job in the services sector, in Cardiff, will have a vast choice, being home to many financial services, call centres and insurance companies such as Admiral. 

Cardiff has also become increasingly popular with the TV and Film industry with huge names filming here such as Doctor Who and Casualty. This is another industry providing a lot of great job opportunities, contributing to Cardiff being listed as one of the top 10 best UK cities to live in. 

4. York 

York provides a fantastic opportunity in terms of moving with children, thanks to it’s thriving education sector, with over 90% of children attending a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school, helping to contribute to low unemployment levels and high skilled workers. 

Looking into working in York, the city was put into second place in the UK for employment, as a result of it’s expanding business services sector driving growth. Like some of the other cities we have discussed, York is also home to some popular brand names, for example, Nestle/Rowntree and Aviva, providing some great job opportunities in the area. 

However, thanks to its location, York is on the doorstep of some other great cities with vast amounts of job opportunities such as Manchester. 

The city has previously been described as “big enough to feel cosmopolitan and small enough to feel homely” as well as having “the fastest internet in Britain”. If this isn’t one of the best reasons to relocate to York, I don't know what is. 

5. Oxford

Home to one of the biggest and most prestigious universities in England, it's no surprise that the city succeeds in the education and academic sectors, providing great opportunities for teachers looking to move to Oxford.  

The city provides around 114,000 jobs of which some recognisable employers such as BMW, BT, the charity Oxfam and many more contribute to. 

With around 40,000 students it is a very young city with lots going on from events of all kinds like music events, comedy and art over to a vibrant nightlife. Oxford offers a lot of parks and green spaces as well and isn’t a big city either which makes it easy to get around. 

6. Reading 

If you love big city life but London is not your cup of tea, why not consider Reading ? Reading is just a stone’s throw away from London with a 30 minute commute by train. The airports Heathrow and Gatwick are also just a 40 minute bus drive away. 

But not just London is easy to commute to, with the M4 around the corner, Reading is a strategically well located city that enables you to easily travel to the Southwest, South Wales or for example Oxford. 

The city prides itself with its research intensive University and a flourishing IT sector featuring well known companies like Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle. This, and a steady economic growth make Reading a very attractive city to work and live in. 

Reading is also known to have a multicultural and welcoming culture. Being a University City, it offers a vibrant nightlife with clubs, bars and restaurants. But that’s not everything Reading has to offer. Reading also has a lot to offer in terms of Arts and Culture. Next to many small festivals it hosts the famous Reading festival with almost 90,000 visitors each year. But also drama, comedy and art are a big part of Reading’s culture. 

7. Southampton 

Southampton, famously known to be the port where the Titanic departed from in 1912 provides a lot next to its rich history displayed at many museums like the SeaCity museum, the Tudor House and the Solent Sky. The city is also home to 30,000 students studying at two different universities contributing to a very diverse culture. Southampton’s academic reputation has drawn in students from more than 135 countries

Southampton is the perfect place for you if you enjoy doing water sports or sailing. Right in front of Southampton the Isle of Wight is located where the Cowes Week takes place every year, one of the oldest and most respected regattas in the world. But even if you prefer to spend your free time on dry land, Southampton has a lot to offer with more 

8. Birmingham

The second largest metropolitan economy in the UK, outside of London, if you are searching for a career similar to that of London careers, Birmingham is again a considerable option thanks to its lower cost of living. 

The cost of living in Birmingham sees a significant difference in comparison to the cost of living in London - a 22% decrease at the time of writing, to be specific - with the benefit here being that the average starting salary in Birmingham is still similar to London of £30,000. By opting for Birmingham over a move to London, this will likely leave you with more disposable income to enjoy the benefits of the city, and London is still only a couple of hours away if you want to visit. 

In terms of living in Birmingham, Did you know in a study carried out at the end of 2018 that Birmingham made the top 50 best places to live in the world? The study rated Birmingham as number 49 in terms of quality of living and number 53 in terms of personal safety. Although the report is often used to determine the attractiveness of a city for businesses, this will have quite a lot to say for those looking to relocate their lives to Birmingham also. 

Much like Cardiff, Birmingham hosts a variety of global events in the Birmingham NEC, which not only hosts global stars such as Lady Gaga, but is also the nations No1 venue for trade and consumer shows. Other notable attractions in the city worth visiting is the Sea Life Centre and the infamous Cadbury World. 

9. Manchester 

Home to Media City, Manchester is a fantastic option to consider a move to in the UK if you are interested in a career in media. Another one of the city’s largest sources of employment is the Finance sector, as well as the manufacturing sector which employs 1 in 10 people in Manchester, within companies such as Kelloggs, McVities, Boo Hoo and many more. 

Like Birmingham, Manchester is a lot cheaper than the capital city, and has even been found to be slightly cheaper than Birmingham, coming in at 30% cheaper than London. 

Neighbouring Manchester is the beautiful location of the Peak District, as well as the coastal resort Blackpool, so whether you are looking for an area to relocate near to the beach or the countryside, Manchester can give you this. 

10. Glasgow 

It won’t come as any surprise that Glasgow, is another city that provides a cheaper alternative to London, but it’s also 10% cheaper than the rest of the United Kingdom, with an average salary being approximately £26,000 per year. 

In 2018 the Scottish city was ranked as the 10th best places to live and work in the UK, this probably has something to do with it’s beautiful surroundings and vast job opportunities.  

With nearly half of the working age population qualified above A-level equivalents, the access to education is one of the many benefits of making a move to Glasgow with a family. 

Scotland’s largest urban economy, provides more than 400 thousand jobs, with 1 in 4 people being employed in the public sector

Glasgow is a fantastic place to live if you are looking to live in the city with the benefit of the countryside on a weekend. On your doorstep is Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond, a stunning destination to visit in your spare time to take part in some watersports. You might even see the Lochness Monster!

Looking at all of these cities, it is clear to see that the best uk cities to live in and work are scattered all over the United Kingdom. 

If you are considering a move to one of these cities or elsewhere and are looking for removals companies to carry out your move, get in touch with Hackworthy for more information or get a quick quote from our website today. 

The Top 10 Easiest Countries To Immigrate To In 2020

Fed up of living in the UK and considering moving abroad? Whether you’re thinking of moving for good or just want to spend a few years living overseas so you can tick it off your bucket list, there are many countries that provide you with the opportunity to immigrate with relatively little hassle.

As international removal specialists, Hackworthy & Sons has helped clients relocate to destinations all around the world and we do our best to provide as much support and guidance as we possibly can. To help those who want to emigrate but haven’t quite chosen to where yet, we have taken a look into the easiest countries to immigrate to and put together a list (in no particular order) of those countries that reoccurred during our research. 

  • UAE 

The first on our list of countries easiest to move to is the UAE. Immigrating to the UAE tends to be a fairly easy process for UK citizens due to the simple visa requirements. When visiting the country there is no need for any advanced arrangements for a trip less than 30 days, however, it is required that you have a sponsor in place should you wish to stay longer than this or move to the area.

A typical sponsorship would be in the form of an employer, so if you think that the UAE is a place you would like to live, make sure that you have an employment offer in place. You will then need to obtain a probationary 3-month work permit, which will allow you to start working immediately. 

It is important to note that if you have a family that you would like to join you in the United Arab Emirates, you must be earning a minimum monthly salary of 4,000 AED (approx £800), and if you would like your parents to join you the minimum monthly salary must be 10,000 AED (approx £2,000). Once you and your family have entered the UAE on an entry residence visa, a residence stamp must be applied for within 30 days of arrival. 

Another point that makes it easy to move to the UAE is that there are almost no taxes. The money that you earn in your job is yours to keep with no income tax, meaning that you are easily able to budget whether immigrating to the UAE is suitable for you. This benefit is only available to those who permanently move to the UAE, so please bear this in mind if you are only looking to move to the UAE temporarily, as you may still have to pay tax on your income if you are still a tax resident in the UK living in the UAE. 

  • Germany 

When moving to Germany, this requires little in the way of entry. There is no need to apply for a visa, however you must register within 14 days of arrival at the local Residence Registration office if you plan to stay in the country for more than 3 months. If you are looking to move to Germany before the 31st December 2020, you must apply for a residency permit before 30th June 2020, of which you will only need your passport to apply for this. 

For more information on how to apply for a residence permit, GOV.UK has some useful information to help you regarding the rules around brexit. 

  • Australia 

If you’re looking to move to Australia, the easiest way to do so is by applying for jobs that are listed in their official Skilled Occupations List. If you are qualified for any of the occupations found on the list, you ought to find getting a visa a lot more straightforward. Those who want to emigrate to Australia must also be under the age of 45 at the time they submit their visa application and will also have to pass a health assessment, character assessment, and skills assessment.

Like the NHS in the UK, Australia has its own healthcare system, called Medicare, and it is free for anybody who has permanent residency within the country. This makes Australia another easy country to immigrate to, as there is no need to budget for your healthcare when moving here as this is all taken care of as part of your permanent residency. 

  • Canada 

In order to apply for permanent residence you will be required to apply for a visa and maybe required to provide photos and fingerprints at an visa application centre and will need to prove on arrival that you have the funds to support yourself in Canada. 

For those looking to make a permanent move to Canada, the easiest way to do this is by economic immigration or family reunification. Immigrating with family reunification will require you to have a family member that is a permanent resident, citizen, or registered under the Canadian Indian Act, that is over 18 and can sponsor your move.

Economic immigration tends to be the main path people take when moving to Canada and involves you to move as a skilled worker or investor. Canada provides an express entry program, factoring in age, job, education and language skills to allow people to apply for residence based on the future employment success in the country. UK, Australian and US citizens gain an immediate advantage due to the English language being one of the main languages spoken in Canada. With French also being one of the main languages this same advantage applies to French citizens.

You may also gain residency through an independent visa in Canada, this involves a point based system similar to Australia’s. The points will be based on many of those involved in the previous visa options discussed before, being; age, education, training, skill set and whether you have family in Canada, to gain this visa 67 points are required on assessment. 

  • Switzerland 

Switzerland has been identified as an one of the easiest countries to immigrate to due to its UK Swiss-Citizen’s rights agreement, which will protect UK citizens living in Switzerland at the end of the transition period meaning that there will likely be no plans in place to make the overseas removal to Switzerland harder. To immigrate to Switzerland it couldn't be easier for British passport holders, all you need to do is register within 14 days of your arrival at your local office of resident services or alternatively register your new place of residence online. 

The only other step to take for residence of more than 3 months is to apply for a residence permit with the local cantonal authority. There is also no need to apply for a work permit in Switzerland if you are a UK citizen, making this another reason Switzerland is an easy place to immigrate to. 

  • Iceland

If you are looking to move to Iceland from the UK, again there is no need for a visa if you are staying for less than 3 months. However, if you wish to stay for longer than this you must register with Registers Iceland to receive your identification number which you will need to set up a bank account, get internet and telephone connection, receive Icelandic insurance and more.  

It is important in this process that you apply for full registration to ensure that you have the right to work in Iceland, as your employer may have applied for a System ID on your behalf for payment and tax purposes (of which this doesn’t include your right to residency). 

For anyone looking to move to Iceland within the next year, it is worth considering that the rules around obtaining continuous residency may change after the transition period. It may be worth making the move to Iceland forward and registering for residency before 31st December 2020, for more information on this we’d recommend visiting GOV.UK.

  • Portugal 

As well as moving to Portugal for the stunning beaches and warm weather, Portugal is also one of the easiest countries to move to, with members of the EU having the ability to move to Portugal for 3 months without registering residency. However, if you are looking to stay longer than 3 months, you have 4 months from the date of your arrival to register at your local Camara Municipal (Town Hall). You will be provided with a residency certificate for up to 5 years, this will allow you to access healthcare, education and social security. 

When the certificate expires you will be entitled to apply for a permanent residency from Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Immigration).

With Portugal being a member of the European Union, this is another country that could be susceptible to a harder move after the 31st December 2020, so we’d recommend to keep an eye out on GOV.UK for updates on this. 

  • Sweden 

Similar to many of the other countries discussed, British citizens looking to live in Sweden for less than 3 months are not required to apply for a visa, however you must register with the Sweden Population Register if you plan to stay for longer than 1 year, and will be issued with an ID number. 

To register for right of residence you must have the right of residence for a year or more and comprehensive travel insurance. You will automatically be provided with the right or residency if you can prove that you are able to support yourself by having work or studying in place. If you are still looking for a job when moving to Sweden, you will only be provided with 6 months right of residence, meaning that you will be unable to register with the Sweden Population Register if you do not have a job. 

To ensure that you are protected as a resident, if you are looking to move to Sweden it is worth considering moving before the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020, to be sure that you are protected by the withdrawal agreement. For more information and updates on this GOV.UK is the best place to start

  • Costa Rica 

Costa Rica is yet another country that allows British passport holders to enter the country without the need for a visa, you will be given a 90 day entry stamp, if staying longer than this you may be subject to penalties of $100 per month over your 90 day stay and could be restricted from re-entering the country at a later date. For those looking to permanently move overseas to Costa Rica, you must apply for temporary or permanent residence as well as the permission to work if you are looking to work in Costa Rica, it is recommended to seek professional help with these applications.

Costa Rica also has its own healthcare system, this can be easily accessed from British Nationals by becoming a member of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, where residents are required to pay monthly to be entitled to medical treatment if/ when needed. 

  • Montenegro

Montenegro could be one of the easiest countries to immigrate to for British citizens out of all those discussed, due to the flexibility around the duration of their stay. 

You will not be required to have a visa for visits of up to 90 days and will only be required to have a valid British passport for entry and exit from Montenegro.  In the course of 6 months British citizens have the right to go in and out of the country where they have days left in those 90 days, all that is required is that you register (within 24 hours of your arrival) and deregister with the local police, on each of these movements.

To move permanently, you must apply for a longer tourist visa or temporary residence permit before the end of your 90 days have finished. 

You can also access free emergency care in Montenegro as a British citizen as a result of the reciprocal healthcare agreement that they have with the UK, entitling you to necessary medical treatment during your time in Montenegro, as long as you have evidence of being insured in the UK and have a valid British passport.

These are just some of the easiest countries to immigrate to, there are many other benefits to moving to each of these countries in terms of culture, cost of living and more, however these are the countries that we have found to have the easiest immigration regulations. 

It is important to remember that on 1st January 2021 the withdrawal agreement will likely cause some changes to the regulations when moving abroad, and could result in a harder immigration process for countries within the European Union. 

If you are considering emigrating, Hackworthy & Sons have over 40 years of experience providing international & european removals and can help you through every step of the process wherever you are moving in the world. 

7 Common Challenges Of Moving To Another Country

Have you ever sat on holiday and thought “I could live here”? If the answer is yes, did you consider the challenges that could face you, if you were to put this into reality? Be it a higher standard of living or a slower pace of life, it goes without saying that there are many benefits to living abroad but you don’t want to fall into the trap of identifying the opportunities without also pin-pointing the potential pit-falls.  

At Hackworthy and Sons, we specialise in Overseas removals and have been helping people move overseas from the UK for almost 50 years. We’ve learned a thing or two in that time and thought we’d share what we’ve found to be the 7 most common challenges of moving to another country.

Language barrier 

First up, the most likely challenge you could face is the language barrier. If you’ve never lived in a different country then this is something you will have only ever experienced on holiday. When moving to another country, you have most probably got to know some of the main phrases of the country's language and learn the basics to get you around day-to-day. 

However, when it comes to humour and slang this will take some getting used to for those that don't speak the native language. Perhaps, look at doing some language classes online before moving abroad to ensure that you are comfortable with the basic conversational language in your new home country. 

Truth be told, most people who move overseas from the UK find that can get by well enough on English alone. That said, learning a new language can be incredibly rewarding and will allow you to get the very best out of your new home.

Finding a job

If you haven’t moved abroad as a result of a job, then finding a job could be another challenge that you could face depending on the role that you are looking for and the destination that you are moving to.

In countries such as Australia, they have a Skilled Occupations List (SOL) that lists the occupations acceptable for immigration to there. In order for you to qualify for skilled migration to Australia you must nominate an occupation that you have experience in from the SOL and will be assessed by an authorised agency before being eligible to use occupation points. You then require a minimum number of points for immigration to Australia. 

Not all countries provide this level of information and some are certainly easier to immigrate to than others. While not strictly necessary for all common immigration destinations, we would always recommend that you have a job in place before moving overseas. Securing a job offer or sponsor prior to moving is one of the biggest obstacles you will likely face, but doing so will help to ensure your financial security and peace of mind.

Loneliness 

It is reasonable to feel a sense of loneliness when moving to another country and away from your friends and family. This is true whether you have moved on your own or with a partner and children, so fully expect to experience some sense of isolation.

Your loved ones and the support they may have otherwise given if they were close can no longer be relied upon as easily and will only help remotely for the most part. Even if you lived far apart before, being countries or even continents apart changes things. It’s strange and hard to explain, but a 6-hour drive is not the same as a 6-hour flight. Again, this will take getting used to at the start of your new life in a new country but once you have begun to meet new people and make friends, you will build a support network around you like you would have had before. 

Distance from home

This point is somewhat related to the one above regarding loneliness, however, there is a difference. While loneliness is an emotional response to distance, distance can also introduce some practical issues.

The distance from home removes the ease of popping around to your friends or family should you or they need any help. This is extremely challenging for some to deal with and it’s common to worry about how helpless you may feel should something go wrong back home. 

In times like this, it’s important to remember that the world is a lot smaller than it once was. You can generally get anywhere you’d need to be within a 24 hour period, with a few exceptions, and you may actually find yourself closer to home despite being further away. After all, it takes 3 to 4 hours to get to London from Plymouth, but only 2 hours 20 minutes from Barcelona. 

Where to meet new people

As we have just mentioned, making new friends is vital in making you feel comfortable when moving to a new place. Therefore, another potential consideration to bear in mind is how to meet new people, as once you have this solved this will help you make new friends and settle you into your new life. You might want to think about visiting the local shops, gym or even the local parks, where you can strike up conversations easily with those around you. 

Finding your favourite foods from home 

You may be very excited about living in another country that provides a different kind of cuisine to what you are used to. However, this also comes with the issue of potentially missing the foods from your old life and being unable to purchase in the country that you have moved to. 

Fortunately, globalisation has made once-elusive food and drink items more easily accessible abroad, especially in countries where e-commerce is well-established. Moving to countries with large ex-pat communities also increases the likelihood of being able to get your hands on your favourite foods and drinks. In fact, you may find new favourites as you try foods and drinks native to other foreign countries as well as your new home. 

Choosing The Best Shops

You are probably aware of the best places to purchase items in your home country, however, moving to another country poses this as a challenge you are most likely to face. Being unfamiliar with your surroundings could influence you to shop for food in convenience stores as you have seen them around. However, it is worth researching the other local shops in the area that provide a better value for money. This may require you to travel just a little bit further or may even make you aware of the shops that are near to you that you haven't noticed since moving. 

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Whether one of the seven above or something completely different, you’re going to experience challenges when moving overseas. This is to be expected and you should never lose sight of the fact that these challenges can be overcome, often with surprisingly positive results.

If you’re considering moving to another country, at Hackworthy we have over 40 years experience in overseas removals around the world and can offer budgets to suit everyone, get a quote for your move abroad today. 

We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff, customers and communities. We value our relationship with you, and we want to reassure you we remain open for business.

We have a Business Continuity Plan in place to ensure we are well prepared so our business can respond quickly to the changing conditions and government advice. 

Our commitment to customer service remains unchanged. Our staff are available to assist you in the coming weeks and months whatever the challenges that COVID-19 may present.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us via telephone on 01752 228815  or email us on enquiries@hackworthy.co.uk.

We’ll continue to keep a close eye on what the government and health experts are saying, and we will continue to evolve our plans as the situation develops.

Thank you for your valued support and most importantly, I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.”

 

Vicky Hackworthy

Four things you should know about moving to the countryside

Everybody knows everybody

You probably don’t know the lady that smiled at you in the butchers, or the man that said ‘Morning!’ as you were walking your dog but that’s just the English countryside. As soon as you move here you’ll feel like your social circle has grown tenfold. If you need to nab some milk when you first move in then you can ask your neighbour with no hesitation. The family vibe that comes from quaint English villages is totally unbeatable.

Night times are so much clearer and calmer

The best vantage point to see the stars is from the most remote country location. Minimal light pollution and cloud coverage can give you the most spectacular sky views. If that’s not enough to convince you that you belong in a farmhouse in the countryside then we don’t know what is! Combine your newly-discovered starry nights with some friends, a campfire and food for a classic countryside get together.

You won’t go a day without seeing some wildlife

From Skylarks to horses and everything in between don’t be surprised if your morning commute is disrupted by a herd of sheep. The countryside is the home to thousands of cattle, birds and dogs so don’t worry about taking your pooch to the pub for a few either, they’re probably welcome with open arms. Cocker Spaniels and sheepdogs are a firm favourite out in the sticks so if you really want to get in with the locals we recommend carrying around some dog treats!

The air is crisp, clean and healing

The UK countryside has some of the cleanest air in the UK with extremely low pollution levels. Thanks to all the green pastures, plants and foliage the air is completely different to the stifling, warm air of inner cities. You can start off your mornings with a walk to get you awake, alert and ready for the day!

The Top 5 Expat Destinations Around The World

HSBC’s Expat Explorer Report for 2015 has ranked countries and territories on the opinions of expats based on questions about economics, their family life and their overall expat experience. 39 countries from Brazil to Bahrain have had their expats quizzed on these three categories, with the scores being totalled to give the final ranking. Which of the following makes you want to move overseas?

1. Singapore

Singapore is a tiny island nation just off the coast of Malaysia with a high population of expats and a fantastic array of cultures. Known as the Lion City, Singapore is a hit with expats due to its tropical climate, strong economy and the fact that English is one of 4 official languages. This location is also renowned for its very environmentally friendly ‘Green Policy’ and its extreme low tolerance to crime, making it one of the safest expat destinations you could relocate too.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular choice among Brits, with expats favouring how easy it is to integrate into the ‘Kiwi’ culture and finding that settling down is extremely easy. With a strong economy and links to British sporting events like Rugby Union and Cricket, Brits typically feel right at home. Another important item the Expat Explorer Report noted was that those who move here live a more healthy lifestyle, being encouraged to be active by the weather and the general mindset of resident New Zealanders. Considering emigrating? Find out how we can help.

3. Sweden

In the 2015 HSBC Expat Explorer report Sweden came first in the ‘family’ category with the education system, government attitudes towards family policies and the quality of life all contributing to this. Sweden offers parents of newborns 480 days of leave which can be split between the mother and father, making it a very attractive place to start a family. With free healthcare and a wealth of cultural highlights, this economic powerhouse is unsurprisingly the 3rd best place for expats to live.

4. Bahrain

Bahrain is a country which offers higher average salaries, a warm welcome to expats and a ‘straightforward financial landscape’ meaning that adapting to different tax practices is easy. When asked expats did note that living costs are relatively high, with the average spend on this being 53% of their salary however 68% of those asked said they had a higher disposable income than they did previously. Combine the extensive opportunity to take in the Middle Eastern culture with the tropical climate of this island in the Persian Gulf and you’ve got a fantastic expat destination.

5. Germany

Expat residents of Germany benefit massively from this economic superpower with 49% of those asked saying that their career has advanced more quickly since moving. Job security and a healthy work/life balance are other contributing factors to Germany clinching the 5th spot on the Expat Explorer report. Other contributing factors include Germany’s long history of culture, the embedded folk traditions at Christmas time and Germany’s fashion scene. Fancy settling down in time for the festive season? Moving to Europe is easier than ever with our services,

Office trends and tips: how to optimise your in-office time

Office spaces are almost as important as who is actually in the office because it can affect productivity, creativity and the health of your employees. So finding the right balance between work and play is pivotal. The office needs to be functional more than anything. It may look great to have all ‘stand-up’ desks, but employees will eventually get tired of standing and lose the creativity you’re trying to inspire. However introducing stand-up meeting rooms for 20-minutes-or-less meetings only is likely to provoke fresh, engaging ideas and give employees mini-breaks from sitting down.

When you’re designing an office space it’s good to consult your employees. Ask them what they do and don’t want, what would be best for them and for how they work. Involving new employees in design is also a great way to spark future collaborations. If employees work together to create their own workspace, they’ll have something in common already.

Shared areas are the best way to encourage teamwork. A square office with a round ‘coffee hub’ in the middle, complete with worktops and plug sockets, is a sure fire way to get people engaged and talking. It also gets employees moving. Sitting in one spot for 4 hours can suck the creativity out of some people, so let employees wander and change their workspace frequently. Why work at a desk from 9 to 5 when you could work in a cosy pod for 2 hours, stand for 30 minutes and then set up shop in a repurposed storage container? Why work inside when it’s sunny and you’ve got a roof garden? It’s all re-energising, re-invigorating and different!

Not only does layout of an area affect employees’ productivity and efficiency there are plenty of other factors to consider. Light, colours, plants and spatial design can all be points for change and while you don’t have to think of everything but it’s good to cover the most important bases. Let’s take light for example. Do you work better in a dark, dingy room or an open room with a high-ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows? The correct amount of light can be the difference between creative genius and stagnant ideas.

The style and colour of an office is also conducive to good work, especially when there’s a playful element. The kind of ‘wow, have you seen this?’ conversation that any employees can spark up with each other encourages creativity through group bonding and an eventual lack of self-consciousness, freeing people up to volunteering new ideas.

Combining styles such as industrial rooms featuring exposed brickwork with neon, textured wall installations can be a fab way to inject a fun, youthful feel into a workspace. It works with just about any style! Try combining kitsch or vintage meetings tables with modern chairs to accentuate and highlight the differences in both, it’s a cool talking point too. If you’re not sold on that, try angular, geometric patterns on every wall and place contrasting rounded desks and chairs near by.

The easiest way to re-create your office workspace is to stick with pale coloured walls and go crazy for colours of desks, chairs, posters, and even pens, post-it notes and coffee cups! The contrasting colours will bring fresh, vibrant air and a new motivation 

Saving for your first home is simpler with a Help To Buy ISA

A Help To Buy ISA, not to be confused with the Help To Buy Scheme, is a savings product that is rewarded with tax-free bonuses for money that is saved towards a deposit on a new home. Aimed at first time buyers only, the government will pay a ‘bonus’ of £50 for every £200 saved.

As well as receiving tax-free interest (available on all ISA products), with the maximum government bonus of £3,000 available, this savings plan will mean a 25% boost for anyone who has never previously owned their own home.  In addition, if two first-time buyers are making a purchase together, they are able to save into two separate ISAs, offering up to an extra £6,000.

The government bonus is claimed via your solicitor during the purchase of your property, so whilst the savings made in a Help To Buy ISA do not have to be used to buya house, if you decide not to proceed with a property purchase, you will not receive this additional money.

To qualify you will need to have saved at least £1,600 within your Help To Buy ISA.  This will then entitle you to an initial £400 reward. The maximum property value in London eligible to be purchased using a Help To Buy ISA is £450,000, and for the rest of the country the maximum property value will be £250,000.

Further terms & conditions apply and to find out more and check if you are eligible, visit the Help to Buy website. However, we do advise that you talk to an Independent Mortgage Advisor for expert help on buying your first property.

Things to do during the fortnight before you move house

It’s only when you begin to put the entire content of your house into boxes that you realise how much stuff you actually have to move! If you’re packing your own things then we recommend that you start packing around two weeks before your move so that you won’t have to rush it during the days before the move.

2 weeks may sound a little early but when you’re packing you always start with the stuff that you use least. So if there’s a cupboard in the spare room for example, start with that! Emptying these ‘storage cupboards’ that house old photos, christmas decorations and things like that which you don’t use on a daily basis is efficient and can allow you time for a bit of a clear-out. A declutter can make the move easier and probably cheaper. Plus you’ll be doing something nice for any charities and foundations you donate too – we’ve listed some places that take unwanted items here.

Labelling is super important. Moving 20+ cardboard boxes is bad but moving 20 identical brown boxes that are sealed is not a pain that you want to bring upon yourself. Clearly write the room name on each box and you can save yourself so much time and effort when it comes to moving in as well as unpacking!

You don’t want to be missing out on any of your bank statements, local newspapers and birthday cards so letting everyone know of your change of address is critical. Especially because you don’t want any confidential details going to the new owners of your home! Below is a basic list of things you’ll need to update:

  • Your bank details
  • Your internet, television and phone provider
  • Your insurance providers, especially car and home insurance
  • DVLA records (up to a £1,000 fine if your address is wrong)
  • Redirect your mail via Royal Mail
  • TV Licensing

Hopefully our ‘2 weeks before the move’ guide is going to help make your move smooth and streamlined. Don’t forget you’re welcome to give us a call for advice or view our full guide for more in depth help!

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