11 Weird House Building Superstitions
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All houses have their strange quirks, the single squeaky floorboard, the mysterious switch that doesn’t actually do anything, that strange shape in the living room that grunts and emits terrible smells (oh no, that’s actually our teenage son). But along with their unique character, many houses were built with curious traditions.

Here are some of the strangest house building superstitions from around the globe.

 

Sainted Medals

Two medallions that have often been found buried in the foundations of houses are those of St Joseph and St Benedict. As the patron saint of carpenters, Joseph is believed to ensure a strong construction. St Benedict medals are believed by some to ward off evil spirits.

 

Buried Wealth

In many cultures coins are buried in the foundations to bring the homeowners good fortune. In some versions, coins are placed under the doorstep to encourage wealth into the home.

 

Stair-raising Superstition

Housebuilders in the Philippines are very careful with the number of stairs, which are counted in threes “Oro, plata, mata” meaning, gold, silver and death. Superstition states that the topmost step must not end in mata (death), as this will surely bring bad luck to the new occupants. It’s also unlucky for there to be 13 stairs.

 

Triskaidekaphobia

The fear of the number 13 is reflected throughout our homes Many people won’t buy a house that is numbered 13. Some property developers will simply skip number 13 as statistics show it will sell slower and for less. 28% of British streets don’t have a number 13 (check your street). On average, properties numbered 13 sell for 2% less than 11 and 15. Less than 5% of high-rises in New York have a 13th floor.

 

Buy-Day The 13th

It’s not just the house, it’s also the date. Fewer homes are sold on the 13th day of the month. While Fridays are normally one of the busier days of the week for completions, when Friday the 13th occurs in a month, on average sales/completions drop by 43%.
In Italy 13 is a lucky number, the expression “fare tredici” means “make thirteen”, or strike it lucky.

 

Thank You

Topping out ceremonies began in Scandinavia where builders would celebrate reaching the top and finishing point of the house by hanging a bough to thank the forest and tree dwelling spirit for allowing the use of the wood. The tradition is now observed by different trades such as masons, brickies and carpenters, but is aways tied to reaching the highest point of their job.

 

Chinese Numbers

In China, 8 is a lucky number and homes with 8 in the number tend to fetch a higher price. Chinese buyers will also often include 8 in the final fee. 4, 17, 19 and 53 are all considered unlucky (not great news if you were born on the 17/04/1953).

 

Long & Winding Road

Chinese gardens often have winding paths and houses built with curved rooves, both of which are said to confuse spirits who can only travel in straight lines.

 

That’s The Spirit

In parts of Southern Asia, ‘spirit houses’ are built close to homes to give dead spirits somewhere to live away from the main house (“Mum, Great-great-great-great-grandma’s walking around the garden again!”).

 

Exit This Way

Back in the Philippines, spirits are thought to hide in low, dark places, so special escape routes are sometimes built into basements to allow ghosts and spirits to leave.

 

Which Witch

In Europe, the biggest fear for housebuilders was witches getting down the chimney. Mummified cats, animals’ hearts pieced with iron nails, pots of urine… all manner of anti-witch totems were buried within the chimney or under the hearth to keep the pointy-hatted harridans away. A ‘witch’s crook’ was another tactic, essentially building a bend in the chimney to stop witches flying down it.

Moving into a new home and want to ensure everything starts with a pinch of good luck? Here are some new home traditions from around the world you can try.

 

Paint Your Porch Blue
America

According to Gullah superstitions (associated with African-Americans in some southern states), ‘haint’ spirits can’t travel over water, so painting your porch, doors and windows blue would keep those evil spirits away. There was also a practical purpose, the paint would be mixed with lime which would ward off mosquitos.

 

Get Fruity
China

In Chinese tradition, different fruits symbolise or bring about different fortunes and so will often be presented as new home gifts. Oranges for prosperity, pomegranates for opportunities, peaches for good health and apples for safety. As well as the fruits themselves, fruit trees or plants might be presented or planted by the new owners.

fruit on the doorstep

 

Roll A Pineapple
China

Another Chinese tradition involves rolling a pineapple into your home from the moment you enter it. It should be rolled in every room while chanting phrases of good fortune (in Mandarin naturally). And afterwards, you can make a nice fruit salad.

 

Bring Bread & Salt
Russia & Germany

A Jewish custom in Russia and Germany says bread and salt should be the first items in your new home. Bread to ensure you never experience hunger, salt to fill your life full of flavour. They’re often presented as gifts.

 

Holy Thread
Thailand

If you’re moving to a new home in Thailand, remember to invite an odd number (even numbers are unlucky) of Buddhist monks to perform a Khuan Ban Mai blessing ceremony. The monks tie a sai sin (holy thread) around the wrists of those moving in to bring them luck.

 

Hang the Chimney Hook
France

Pendaison de crémaillère, refers to ‘hanging of the chimney hook’. Dating from the medieval period, when a house was built, the last thing to be put in place was a hook in the chimney to hang cooking pots from. Once in place, a meal would be prepared to thank everyone who helped build the house. In France pendaison de crémaillère still means housewarming party.

 

 

Spill the Beans
Korea

In Korea red beans are spread throughout the new home to banish evil spirits and bring luck (red is considered a lucky colour in many parts of Asia).

 

Ring a Bell
Tibet

A Tibetan bell will help clear out stagnant or dying chi, allowing room for positive energy to flourish. But if you hear a soft ‘ding!’ it could just mean you’ve received a text message.

 

Bless This House
Italy

Religious ceremonies have been used in many cultures, in Italy the local priest would bless the new house with incense. He’d also hang around to enjoy a good meal afterwards.

 

Burn Sage
North America

Native Americans would burn sage to remove bad energy from their homes.

 

Right Foot First
India

In India new homeowners should step into their new property with their right foot first to bring good luck.

Right foot first

 

New Broom
England

Rather than bring their old broom, with its old dirt, old luck and maybe old spirits, a new home would always require a new broom.

 

Acorns
Germany & Scandinavia

Acorns were considered the best way to keep evil spirits away so windowsills would be lined with acorns. They would also be carved into doors and shutters. Gifts with acorn emblems are still given as housewarming gifts.

 

Can On A Hot Tin Roof
New Zealand

In New Zealand, once the new homeowners have settled in and night has fallen, friends and family throw tin cans onto the roof to scare away evil spirits (and probably frighten the life out of sleeping neighbours!). They’re then welcomed inside for a housewarming.

 

Bury Coins
Philippines

In the Philippines coins are buried in the foundations of a new home, or if moving into an existing building, scattered on the doorstep to bring prosperity.

Coins

 

Rice & Easy
India

Rice features in a number of new house traditions. In India milk and rice are heated in a pot until the pot overflows to symbolise an abundance of wealth and happiness.

China

The Chinese carry uncooked rice inside to bring about prosperity.

Italy

But in Italy, bringing uncooked rice into the house brings about fertility. So if you look at your children and think, “We already have too many of these!” it might be best to give the rice a miss.

 

Plant a Pomegranite
India, China, Persia

Pomegranates are another food associated with fertility and trees would be planted outside new homes of couples wishing to have a family.

 

Spread Salt
Unknown

Spreading salt in a room features in a number of different cultures. Salt is sprinkled on the floors of the new home and is left overnight to ward off evil spirits then swept up the next day.

 

Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

     

    Housewarming
    Northern Europe

    It’s not just another excuse for a knees up (although it is a good reason to have a party). The tradition of housewarming comes from lighting fires in a home that might have been left empty and cold. Also candles would be carried from room to room to frighten away evil spirits.

     

    Opening A Bottle Of Wine
    Your New Home

    Open a bottle of wine. This isn’t actually a tradition at all but if you’ve just spent the entire day moving house, we think you deserve a nice, chilled glass of wine. Good work and cheers!

    A HUGE thank you to everyone that has helped donate aid for our Ukrainian Appeal. So far your incredible generosity has meant we’ve sent 15 pallets of aid (clothes, food, toys, toiletries, bedding, shoes), amassing over 7 tonnes of much needed support to displaced people arriving in Poland.

    We received the following letter from Sofia, who made the difficult journey from Ukraine.


    I would like to express my gratitude for the entire indescribable support that we are receiving from you.

    It is difficult to express in words how crucial your help is. I’m a mother of a 5-year-old daughter, which whom I have stood for almost 24 hours on the Ukrainian-Polish border crossing during the first day of the war. There were a lot of people standing there with me, and fear was all that could be sensed in the air. Standing there I knew that a couple of kilometres ahead was my sister, on Polish side of the border, and that there was safety waiting for me.

    However, many of the women that stood next to me with their children had no one waiting for them, they did not know where they would sleep or if they would have something to eat. They did not know if they would be able to wash their children. Sometimes the women did not have enough strength to carry their bags with them and would leave them on the pavement. Some of them only took very small bags with them as they had no time to pack themselves nor their children.

    After a while a lot of people had nothing to drink, and some begun to lose consciousness. When the night has come, that is when we began fearing the most, as it was very cold, temperatures were falling below 0 degrees, and we were all still on the Ukrainian side of the border. The children were crying out of cold, tiredness and out of fear of not knowing what would happen to them. There were drones flying over us – now I think that they were belonging to the press or to the police, but then I was afraid of them, I was thinking only about possible provocations or bombardment.

    When I crossed the border, I was very happy to see my sister waiting for me with hot tea, it was already after almost 24 hours that we managed to cross it. There was a lot of help waiting for everyone that was crossing. I knew that now, thanks to the good people that were helping, Irina, who was crossing the border with her newborn child next to me, will now have somewhere to sleep as well as food to eat.

    At that moment I was calm as I knew that all women crossing the border will receive help. Your hearts are enormous, thank you very much, each one of you.

    Sofia Kobilnyk


    Our Ukraine Appeal is still ongoing. You can see the latest updates to find out how you can help here.

    Most of us are guilty of hanging on to things too long. Never is this more evident than when moving home. The last thing you want to do is increase packing (and moving costs) by taking ‘stuff’ with you that’ll simply clutter up your lovely new home. Our experts have some quick tips and hacks to help you say goodbye to clutter.

     

     

    1. Stop staring, start doing!

    The hardest step is just getting started. “I’ll do it next Bank Holiday…”, “I just need a plan…”. “Maybe if I leave it long enough pixies will come and take it away for me?”. We all prevaricate but sometimes you just need to dive right in and get started or it’ll never happen.

    Removals Hero

     

    1. Is it useful or sentimental?

    It’s natural to hold on to things of sentimental value. Sometimes we hold on too long, so ask yourself are you going to display it, use it, repair/upcycle, if the answer is ‘no’ then it’s probably time to let go.

    Removals Planning

     

    1. Don’t find excuses not to let go.

    “But “XXX” gave me this…”, “But this reminds me of…”, “But what if one day…”. We all find reasons not to let go. Apply the rule above, sometimes, you’ve just got to let go to move on.

    Moving With Kids

     

    1. Don’t dump it, store it.

    Some items are too precious/useful to let go and that’s fine, you really might want them in the future. That’s what storage is for. It lets you keep what really is going to be of use again without reducing the size of your home but taking up useful living space.

    Shed

     

     

    1. Reduce now, replace later.

    Some of that ‘stuff’ can probably be replaced with new items. It’s ok to let things go and enjoy the luxury of new and improved when the time comes.

    Removals Planning

     

    1. One man’s junk…

    Items not going into storage can still be valuable. Offering items on ebay, Freebay, Facebook Marketplace can give them a second lease of life without adding to landfill. You could even make a few pennies to redecorate that old dumping room.

    Declutter

     

    Get a free quote for your storage today.

       

      1. 90/90 Rule

      Have you used that item in the last 90 days? Are you going to use it in the next 90 days? If the answer is ‘no’ then it’s time to let it go or store it elsewhere.

      Decluttering Tips

       

      1. You don’t wear it well.

      Clothes and shoes can be a major cause of clutter. Simple test, if you haven’t worn something in the last year, there’s probably a reason. They can have a good life elsewhere with a new owner.

      Removals Decluttering

       

      1. Work room by room.

      If you have multiple cluttered rooms or areas, don’t try and tackle them all at once. Simplify the task by doing one room at a time. As the various mountains get smaller, you’ll have a more manageable amount of items to make final decisions about.

      Removals Box

       

      1. Set easy goals.

      Decide what the end result should be. Once decluttered you can redecorate or repurpose that reclaimed space by turning it into the studio/dressing room/home office you’ve always dreamed of.

      Decluttering Blog

       

      1. Do the rubbish bag dash.

      Grab 5 rubbish bags. Your challenge is to fill those bags quickly with stuff you know needs to go. No pausing, make quick, simple decisions on stuff that you just don’t need. It can be easier than you think once you get started. That’s 5 bags done. Take a breather, have a well-earned cuppa then go for the next 5 bags. Look at you go!

      Decluttering

       

      1. 10, 10, 10

      Another simple challenge to get you started. Chose 10 items to go, 10 items to donate, 10 items to keep.

      Removals Planning

       

      1. Take before and after photos.

      To keep inspiring yourself for the next room and spaces to clear, take a before and after photo of the first room you declutter, so you can see just how great the difference is.

      Decluttering

       

      1. Bring in reinforcements.

      Get a friend to help. They don’t have the emotional attachment and can assist you in making clearer decisions about what you really do or don’t need to hold on to.

      Removals Help

       

      Got any clutter reducing tips? We love hearing great hacks and ideas and will add any great ideas to the blog for other people to read and use. You can send your hacks and tricks to info@armishaws.com.

      Advice For Rainy Removals

      We always advise clients to be prepared. After months of foreboding weather reports warning that your moving month will bring storms and pestilence! Suddenly the forecast is looking brighter but as any Wimbledon fan knows, the British weather has a habit of misbehaving.

      So having a ‘wet-weather plan’ ready is no bad thing. To help you get prepared, here are some handy tips to help deal a rainy relocation.

       

      Seal Boxes

      Double check the seals on boxes to ensure the flaps are secured with no gaps for rain to get into. Yes, that seems obvious but is overlooked surprisingly often. Also have cleaning products to hand. Even with the most diligent removal crew, the chances are there will be drips and splashes inside your home, so keeping a mop and vacuum cleaner handy could prove useful.

      Stronger Cartons

      In damper weather, old boxes will suffer worse. If you’re expecting rain, use new boxes where possible, they’ll be stronger and more rain resistant. Your boxes can still be reused and all cardboard should always be recycled (Armishaws use only recycled and recyclable cardboard wherever possible).

       

      Mark Special Items

      If there are some items that are more at risk should they get wet, make sure they’re clearly marked and discuss these with your removals team.

      Fragile Box

      Protect Wood/Electronics

      Wood that might mark and electrical goods should be completely covered. A good removals crew will know how to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Most companies offer full packing services, this will allow the pros to take care of the fiddly protective measures so you can relax.

       

      Cover Floors

      At Armishaws our trained crews can provide floor coverings and it’s certainly something we recommend. Cardboard boxes or plyboard can create an interior runway although they should be securely fastened together so there are no trip hazards. If you use boxes they should be clean and any printing placed facing up, away from flooring and carpets. To be doubly sure, use plastic sheeting under your makeshift walkway.

       

      Plastic Sheeting

      Available from DIY shops or even pound stores, plastic decorating sheets can provide an extra layer of protection. They tend to not be very robust and won’t stand up to a few trips of heavy boots, so should only be used as a secondary layer under something more durable.

       

      Buy Bin Bags

      Larger wheelie bin sized bin bags are conveniently large enough that they will slip over most boxes and wardrobe cartons without having to cut them. Don’t just leave them in place once they are in the van, they will drip water creating a wet floor, soaking the bottom of the boxes. Instead, place them over a box to carry it to the van, once in the van, remove the bag and take it back to cover the next box/item. Keeping the bags in one piece also means they can be reused (for your new bins) to prevent unnecessary waste.

       

      Tarpaulins

      Tarpaulins can provide quick, short-term protection if you have to place items outside for a short time. They won’t protect against really heavy downpours, but they can help keep the worst off in lighter rain. Make sure they are secured in place if covering items, or if you’re using them as temporary ground cover, ensure they are securely anchored and don’t create a trip hazard.

       

      Check Your Route

      It’s likely you might not be hugely familiar with the route to your new home. So check ahead, use a route finder app or map to look at your route. Check for any areas that might be liable to flooding (roads running close to rivers, low bridges where water might gather, etc) and have a ‘Route B’ as back up. Your removals team probably know a number of potential routes, so it’s a good idea to consult with them to make sure everyone is on the same page/map.

      Driving

      Tents & Marquees

      Pop-up marquees can offer extra protection on the day so if you don’t own one but have a friend, relative or neighbour that could lend you one for the day it could help (it should be firmly anchored in place).

       

      Use A Garage As A Staging Area

      Moving items into a garage for easier access can reduce the number of wet boots entering the house. You can have an indoor team and outdoor team working in relay so those ‘wearing the rain’ don’t bring it inside.

       

      Get Your Moving Vans Closer

      To reduce the distance and amount of time items and boxes might be exposed to the rain, get your removals vans as close to the property as possible.

       

      Don’t Drive On Grass

      Even if you’re keen to get vehicles as close as possible, avoid driving on grass. Heavier vehicles will inevitably damage lawns, and in the worse-case scenario where there is particularly soft ground, they could get bogged down.

       

      Cover Wet Ground

      Plyboard, cardboard boxes, old carpet are all ideal to cover wet or muddy ground. If your removal team are likely to be crossing outdoor areas that are muddy or grassy, laying down a protective layer can keep the worst of the mud at bay. But if the day is likely to be windy, make sure to secure your temporary walkway in place using something like tent pegs.

      Do not use scaffold boards. It’s something we see from time to time but scaffold planks are thin and can be wobbly, they’re certainly not suitable for heavy guys carrying even heavier boxes and furniture.

       

      Wet Weather Clothes

      In your rush to get everything packed, removal day arrives and… “Where did we put the wellies?!?” Make sure you have suitable wet weather gear to hand for everyone. It’s better to have it and not need it than realise it’s somewhere at the bottom of a huge pile of boxes (and you’re not even sure which box!).

      Moving House In The Rain

      Recycle & Reuse

      Where possible, any items you use should ideally be reusable or be recycled. Moving home does have an environmental footprint which can be minimized with a little bit of planning. Our teams operate a box recycling scheme, use an eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap, Armishaws are also planting sustainable woodland to offset carbon emissions and taking huge steps to ensure every move we undertake has as little impact on the environment as possible.

       

      Don’t Forget The New House

      Yep, you’ve managed to get everything out of your old house without too many boot prints or soggy cardboard. But don’t forget you’ve got to do it all again at the other end. If you can, take any floor coverings or protective measures with you to use at your new house.

       

      Further Advice For Moving House In The Rain

      In wet weather things will inevitably move slower and take longer. Crews might have to temporarily halt to avoid moving your items through the heaviest downpours, traffic is likely to be slower, wrapping furniture will need more attention. Plan ahead as much as possible to reduce the impact of the weather. Have floor coverings at the ready, communicate with your removals team, mark items that are more susceptible to bad weather. Rain is inconvenient but with simple steps and measures you can avoid major hold-ups.

      If you are driving to your new property, your car will possibly be carrying more and therefore heavier than usual, drive accordingly, leave extra breaking space, drive slower on bends and roundabouts and avoid driving through standing water.

      Patience is a virtue. Yes, moving home can be stressful but remember your moving team are on your side. They are experts at what they do and will want to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. They want to do the best job for you, so work with them and take advice where offered.

       

      Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

         

        Made that decision already and need help with packing or removals?
        Click to view more information on our UK Removals page.

        Moving abroad? We offer an overseas removals service too –
        for more information click to view our European Removals or Overseas Removals pages.

        With so much to do and arrange, it’s easy for some things to be forgotten. To prevent any last minute panics, here’s a complete, easy to follow new home checklist, covering everything you may need to consider/arrange before, on the day and after your move.

        New Home Checklist

        Before Moving In

        Set Up Utilities

        Shop around to find the best deals and arrange to have utilities connected for the day you are due to move in (in most cases this is done remotely and won’t require someone turning up on the day).

        Broadband & TV

        Similarly, make sure you have TV and broadband live on the day of moving in (especially if you have younger family members!).

        Other Bills, Suppliers, Services

        Council tax, home insurance, wood (for fuel burners), rubbish collection. If you prefer grocery delivers, you should also check which supermarkets deliver to your new address.

         

         
        Change of Address

        Ensure everyone that needs to be told has been updated. You can also set up a Royal Mail redirect service for a set period (3, 6 or 12 month options).

        Schools

        If you’re moving with children arrange to have their records transfered and order their new uniforms (most school websites give a list of local uniform suppliers).

        Finding Schools

        First Shop  

        Book a shopping delivery of all the essentials to arrive the evening of your move or your first full day (don’t forget binbags and loo roll!).

        Bulbs, Batteries & Curtains

        Three things that are easily overlooked but often vitally important on your first evening. Some homeowners do take lightbulbs. Batteries may be required for smoke, carbon monoxide detectors. Even if they’re only temporary, make sure you have curtains (and a means of hanging them) for the first night.

        Deep Clean

        If time is on your side, arrange for a cleaning company to carry out a deep clean ahead of your items arriving at your new home.

        Cleaning Your New Home

        New Home Checklist

        On Moving Day

        Garden Safety

        Check your new garden is child/pet friendly and make sure any escape points have been secured.

        Sweep For Forgotten Items

        Check rooms, outbuildings, loft spaces for any items the previous residents might have left behind by mistake.

        Metre Readings

        Read utility metres and take photos of the readings.

        Pet Safe Zone

        Create a safe, quiet, room for your pets by placing their familiar smelling bedding, toys, food and water (don’t wash bedding before the move, familiar smells will help them feel safer in the new surroundings). Put a sign on the door so your removals team don’t enter by mistake.

        Safe Item Space

        Set aside a room/area for delicate/fragile items to be placed, safely away from potential knocks or bumps.

        Assemble The Essentials

        Assemble essential furniture such as beds, hang bedroom curtains and set-up a TV for the kids. It’s best to get it done sooner rather than later. After a long day, you don’t want to head to bed and find you haven’t built it yet!

        New Home Checklist

        After Your Move

        Locate Shut Offs

        Find where the water stopcock, gas supply valve and fuse board are. If you have tradesmen coming to fit appliances or carry out work, you’ll make their job easier (and your bill cheaper), if they don’t have to waste time looking for those important switches.

        Test Smoke Detectors

        Make sure any smoke detectors are working. If you don’t already have one, invest in a carbon monoxide detector.

        Lock Out Remedy

        Decide where/who your emergency spare key is going, so you have a solution in place before it happens.

        Register Locally

        If you haven’t already done so, get all your household registered locally with a new dentist, medical practice, vets, etc. Have your patient files/records forwarded to your surgery.

        Ask Your Neighbours

        There will no doubt be all kinds of local delivery services or interesting artisan suppliers tucked away. Your neighbours will be a great source of local tips and handy companies you might enjoy.

        Neighbours

        Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

           

          Made that decision already and need help with packing or removals?
          Click to view more information on our UK Removals page.

          Moving abroad? We offer an overseas removals service too –
          for more information click to view our European Removals or Overseas Removals pages.

          Moving day delays are often avoidable. Something has been forgotten, something packed that should have been kept handy, people aren’t properly prepared. If we had a pound for every time our crews had to sit, drinking tea, waiting for their homeowners finished getting things ready, we’d be able to afford all those cups of tea!

          So here’s our easy moving day checklist to keep your move on track.

          Moving Day Checklist

          At Your Old Property

          Dress For Action

          At some point you will be getting hands on, whether that’s carrying every box or just tidying up. Wear older clothes you’re happy to get dirty and sturdy footwear.

          Check Access

          Clear over hanging branches or other obstacles that might make life difficult for the removal van/s. If the moving vehicles will be parking on the road, make sure there is adequate space outside your property (have a friendly word with the neighbours if needed).

          Pet Safe Zone

          Create a calm, safe space for pets by placing bedding, toys, food and water in a quieter room. Clearly mark the door so your removals team know not to enter.

          Cover Floors

          Use plyboard, or cardboard boxes (print side up) to protect floors from the many shoes that will be walking through. For extra protection use a layer of (clean) plastic sheeting underneath. Make sure it’s well anchored with no trip hazards.

          Wet Weather Precautions

          • On the day, make sure all the family have boots and coats handy (so don’t pack them too early!).
          • If the ground needs protection, use plyboard or cardboard boxes to create a walkway. Do not use planks or scaffold boards, although strong they can move underfoot.
          • If you can, borrow a pop-up tent or awning (that you won’t have to pack and take with you) as a makeshift command post-box depository for items you might need to keep out of the rain.
          • Wheelie bin sized bin bags can be useful for covering boxes or wooden furniture on route to the van (make sure you reuse them in your bins to reduce waste).

          Moving house in wet and cold weather

          Hot Weather Precautions

          • Have a cool box handy with extra drinks.
          • Keep sun cream, hats and sunglasses ready for younger movers.
          • If you can, borrow a pop-up tent or awning to create some shade for delicate items and for your crew.

           

           

          Keep Valuables Separate

          Some removals companies won’t be covered for transporting expensive items like jewellery, cash, watches, stamps, etc, so these may need to travel with you. Ask your removals company in advance for exact details of what they can and can’t transport.

          Print Paperwork

          You might have them stored digitally but make sure you have a printout of all the essential paperwork to hand in case you lose your internet connection or your device’s battery fails.

          Moving Day Survival Kit

          Have a moving day survival kit ready containing; toys/food/drinks for pets or children, medication, phone charger, old keys, paperwork.

          Pack A Moving In Bag

          Prepare a bag with the essentials you’ll want when all the chaos has finally subsided, toothbrush, pyjamas, etc. That way you won’t be hunting for things at the end of what could be a very long day.

          Plan and pack for moving house
          Metre Readings

          Take final metre readings (and photographs).

          Essential Tool Kit

          Prepare a bag/box containing basic tools so they’ll be handy when you inevitably need them; knife, screwdrivers, allen/hex keys, packing tape, scissors and lightbulbs (in case they’ve been removed from the new property).

          Look After Your Crew

          Yes, they are paid to do an excellent job, but having some cold drinks or showing appreciation really can go a long way in ensuring your team go the extra mile (we mean work hard, not keep going past your address!).

           

           

          Last Day Check

          Check all windows are closed and locked and switch off water (stopcock), gas and electricity at the fuse box/mains.

          Final Sweep

          Do one final sweep of the entire property, including outbuildings, loft spaces, garages, before your removal van leaves in case something has been missed.

          Removals Supervisor

          If you’re leaving before your van/s, arrange for a friend/family member to stay behind to supervise the removals crew, to ensure nothing is missed and everything is locked up.

          Moving Day Checklist

          At Your New Property

          Garden Safety

          Ensure your new garden is pet/child friendly by securing any potential escape points before you let the little animals run free (and yes, as a family run company, we’re including children in that!).

          Check For Forgotten Items

          Inspect your new property for any items the previous occupants might have left behind by mistake. Set them aside for the owners to collect later.

          Metre Readings

          Read the utility metres and take photos for your new billing.

          Pet Safe Zone

          Set a room aside for your pet away from strangers, boots and noises. Place bedding, toys, food, water and items with familiar smells to keep your pet calm. Clearly mark the room so your removals men don’t enter.
          Moving house with Pets

          Safe Item Space

          Set aside a room or space to place valuable or fragile items, away from the hubbub of the many items and boxes coming in.

          Assemble The Essentials

          Once your removal team has left, assemble essential items such as beds, bedroom curtains, dining table and set-up a TV to keep young movers entertained, they’ve had a long day too and will need some down-time. Our tip is to do it as soon as possible, you don’t have to reassemble your bed at the exact moment you really want to get in it.

          Annnnnnnd breathe!

          Congratulate yourselves on a job well done with wine, chocolate, a take-away or a lie down in a dark room!

           

          Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

             

            Made that decision already and need help with packing or removals?
            Click to view more information on our UK Removals page.

            Moving abroad? We offer an overseas removals service too –
            for more information click to view our European Removals or Overseas Removals pages.

            Complete Guide to Italy Removals

            There4’s no denying the fact that moving home is stressful and while we’d love to sugar coat it, the fact is overseas removals come with a few added issues to overcome. It certainly isn’t insurmountable, thousands of Brits have made the move to Italy. Our top tip is to use an company with experience of Italy removals to help guide you through the web of paperwork, customs and procedures. To help get you started, here’s our quick guide.

             

            How much does it cost to move to Italy?

            There are a number of variables that will decide the cost of your move; the distance travelled (the Italian peninsula extends over 620 miles), volume of items, size of property, number of days required, storage options… Our friendly team will be happy to talk to you about costs (we don’t do hard sell!) and arrange a free, no hassle quote.

             

            Do I need a specialist removal company?

            Yes. Any removals company working internationally must have an ECMT International Removals Permit. Without the correct documents they won’t be able to operate in Europe which could result in delays, extra costs and even fines.

             

            Air Freight or Land/Ferry?

            Air freight is undoubtedly faster (depending on the destination airport), however speed comes at a premium and air freight costs are considerably higher. Traditional road/ferry removals are a most cost effective option.

             

            What paperwork will I need to move? 

            • Visa
            • Passport
            • Proof of address
            • Proof of income or means of support
            • Health insurance
            • Customs declaration for goods in transit

            You must also register at your local police station within 8 days of arrival to get your Residence Permit, ‘Permesso di Soggiorno’.

             

            Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

               
               

              What paperwork do I need for my pets?

              • Pet passport
              • Microchip
              • Recent health check
              • Proof of rabies vaccination

               

              Do I need to register for tax?

              Yes, like pasta and opera, taxes are unavoidable in Italy. This is something that can be arranged through your employer. If you are planning on staying and earning in Italy long term, you should also contact HM Revenue & Customs in the UK to make sure you’re not still be charged tax back in Blighty.

               

              Banking In Italy

              It is advisable to open an Italian bank account, that can make banking much easier as not all Italian companies will work with international banks. You’ll need a bank account to set up most utility services (internet, phone, electricity, etc). It is still traditional in Italy to pay bills through the post office (Poste Italiane) complete with traditional queuing and occasional tutting. This is increasingly changing and direct debits direct to companies or digital bank transfers are on the rise, although as stated, Italian banks are preferred.

               

              Do we need health insurance?

              Yes, you should have health insurance set up before arrival. Italy has an excellent national healthcare system, once you secured health insurance, you can then apply to pay national healthcare contributions. Many companies run health insurance schemes so if you’re intending on working, speak to your employer about private healthcare and/or national healthcare contributions.

               

              Can I use my driving license?

              You can use your UK license for up to 12 months, after this you must have an Italian license and will be required to take an Italian test.

              By law you are required to ensure your car has a reflective warning triangle and high-visibility jackets for every occupant.

               

              Can I take my car?

              Yes, however it is against the law for anyone who has been living in Italy for 60 days or more to drive a car registered outside Italy. That essentially means you have 60 days in which to register your car for Italian use. Your car will need to undergo the Italian equivalent of an MOT and switch to Italian number plates. You’ll also need proof of insurance and ownership (V5C).
              A word of caution – Italian driving is renowned the world over for its somewhat aggressive nature (this maybe a little harsh but Italians freely admit a love of hand gestures and verbal onslaughts!). A right-hand drive car does come with added risks, vision is impaired at junctions and overtaking can be more dangerous, we’d always advise anyone moving overseas to adapt to left-hand drive as soon as possible.

               

              What should I look for in my Italy removals company?

              Firstly, they must have ECMT International Removals Permit to be allowed to operate in Europe. Unfortunately some companies do try and operate without the required documents, this can result in delays, having your items returned to the UK and fines. Always check your removal company’s credentials. Secondly, find a company with experience. Overseas removals are more complex and require a number of different bodies all coming together to ensure a smooth relocation. Having a longstanding network of port agents and familiarity with the Italian customs system can make a huge difference and remove much of the stress for you.

              All the above information was correct at the time of writing. Italian legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct Italian authorities prior to your move.

              Moving overseas always comes with a few extra details and hurdles to overcome. But it’s not something you should lose sleep over, with the right removals company in place, your relocation to the Emerald Isle can be a smooth as a wee drop of Irish cream. “Slainte!”

              To help get you started, here’s a quick Q&A of the most frequently asked questions and some hand hints and tips.

               

              How much does it cost to move to Ireland?

              Like any UK removal, the cost of your move will depend on the distance your items will need to travel, the number of items/size of home, outbuildings, etc. There are a number of variables, even the time of year or day of the week will make a difference as ferry prices can vary.

              Our team are on hand to give you a quick quote, this will include all the costings. Our top tip would be, for any quotes you receive, make sure this is a total cost, so don’t get hit with any unexpected costs. At Armishaws we always provide a total quote.

               

              Do I need a specialist removals team?

              Yes, as this is an international move your removals company will need to carry an ECMT International Removals Permit (European Conference of Ministers of Transport), without this they won’t be licensed to transport your goods across European borders. Sadly, there are companies that do try to cut corners or find ways around the required documents, but the last thing you want is to see your possessions stuck quayside as the ferry they were supposed to be on leaves without them.

               

              What paperwork do I need?

              The UK and Irish governments have an agreement in place of a protected Common Travel Area (CTA), allowing free movement between the UK and Ireland. Under the terms of the CTA, UK and Irish citizens can live and work freely in both countries.

               

              Do I need to register to pay tax?

              Yes, you must register to pay tax if you’re living and working in Ireland. You’ll need either a contract of employment or to register yourself as self-employed. Further details can be found on Revenue.ie.

               

              Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                What documents/checks do I need for my pet?

                Dogs and cats must have;

                • A microchip, it must have been fitted at least 21 days prior to travel
                • Rabies vaccination
                • Health certificate, this can be issued by your local vet

                As long as these are in place there is no quarantine period. Other pets (such as reptiles), may have different requirements depending on the type of animal.

                 

                Can I take my car?

                Yes, you can take your car to Ireland however you must make a customs declaration and you may be required to pay duty.

                • Customs charges apply to all used vehicles imported from Great Britain. New cars are currently exempt.
                • If the vehicle’s vehicle has a different country of origin (IE, it had previously been exported to the UK from the EU or elsewhere), you will be required to pax tax.

                 

                Can I use my UK licence?

                Yes, on entering the country you can use your UK license, however, once you take up residency in Ireland you must have an Irish driving licence. You can simply exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence, as long as it is valid and has not been expired for more than 1 year.

                 

                Moving Documents

                On the day you’ll need all your documents to hand.

                • Passports
                • Pet health certificates (microchips will be checked for vaccinations)
                • Detailed inventory of your goods

                 

                Prepare a Travel Box.

                Have a secure box or bag ready that you can keep in a safe place on the day. This is where you can keep all the most important things to hand.

                • Passports
                • Tickets
                • Pet health certificates
                • Inventory of goods
                • Car/driving documents
                • Euros (notes and change in case you need them for things like parking, vending machines, etc)
                • Phone charger
                • Any required medication

                Simple tips and advice to reduce the stress for your feline family members.

                Moving House With A Cat

                If you think moving house is stressful, just imagine how your cat feels! No one asked ‘Fluffington’ if he/she wanted to up sticks and leave its familiar territory behind. No, one morning you’re staring through the window at next door’s budgie, the next thing you know you’re stuck in a car and unleashed into a new and bewildering environment. So here’s a few helpful tips for anyone moving house with a cat.

                 

                Before The Move

                Microchip

                Before moving day, make sure your cat’s microchip is updated with your new address so that if they should manage to make a break for it, whoever finds him/her will know where to bring them.

                 

                Tell The Neighbours

                If you’re moving a short distance and it’s likely your cat might find it’s way back to the old house, speak to your neighbours and the new occupants. If your cat does go missing, check with them first as it might have made its way ‘home’.

                Moving With Cats

                Cat Hotel

                If your move is likely to take a few days, it might be better to book your cat into a cattery for the duration of the move and collect them once the dust (and moving boxes) have settled.

                 

                At The Old House

                Do Not Disturb

                To keep your cat calm while the chaos of moving starts to unfold, keep your them in a safe room with the door shut and preferably a sign so your removals team know not to enter. Make sure your cat has familiar toys, blanket and access to food and water as well as a litter tray.

                For particularly nervous cats, there are plug in pheromone diffusers on the market which can help keep your cat calm.

                 

                In Transit

                Car Safety

                Make sure your cat is in a cat carrier or basket. This should be securely fastened with a seat belt or packed in so that it can’t move. For longer journeys, place the basket (securely fixed) in a dog cage so your cat can have breaks outside the basket with access to food and drink.

                Never let your cat travel loose in the car. Even if your cat is a good traveler, they will have no protection in the event of an accident.

                Moving With A Cat

                Familiar Smells

                Let your cat travel with familiar items such as blankets or toys that have its scent.

                 

                Breaks

                Give your cat breaks on long journeys and if you do have to leave them in the car, make sure it’s well ventilated and park the car in a shaded spot if it’s a hot day. And remember, the sun moves so allow for the direction the sun will be in by the time you return to your vehicle.

                 

                Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                   

                  At The New House

                  Safe Room

                  Set a room aside with a ‘Pets – Do Not Disturb’ sign and speak to the removals team about not entering the room to give your cat a safe haven away from all the boxes and banging. Place their toys, water, food, etc in the room creating a ‘cat zone’ they can explore and hide away in.

                   

                  Scent It

                  Another tip for nervous cats is to rub a cloth gently around your cat’s face and then rub the cloth on cat height surfaces of the first room you place it in, to create more familiar smells. You can repeat this in other rooms to build up your cat’s scent in its new territory.

                   

                  Bedding & Toys

                  If might seem tempting to get everything clean and ready for the move but don’t wash toys or bedding just prior to the move. At the new house everything is going to seem strange and new, having some familiar scents on bedding, blankets and toys will reassure your cat that although it is new, this is their space.

                  Moving With Cats

                  A Door You

                  Once you are ready to open the door and let your cat explore your new home, try not to leave every room open. It can be very overwhelming with so many new places to explore at once. Equally, as you’re getting to know your new home, it’s very easy to mistakenly shut your cat into a room or cupboard, so try not to leave doors open. And if you don’t see him/her for a while, you might want to retrace your steps to workout which wardrobe you’ve managed to shut them in!

                   

                  A Little Bit Of Love…

                  …goes a long way. Moving home with a cat can be pretty confusing for them. Everything smells new, looks new, big men with noisy boots. You woke up in a house full of all your favourite smells and now where are you?!? While everything else is totally strange, one very familiar thing is you, so after the removals team have left, find some time to cuddle and play with your cat to reassure it that it’s not so scary after all.

                  Moving House With Cats

                  No Rush

                  Yes, you’re excited to make yourself at home, but your cat might not be quite so enthusiastic. Let them explore their new surroundings at their own pace. Don’t pick them up and give them the grand tour or carry them into the garden. If they do decide to stay put don’t worry, they’ll go for a wander once they’re ready and feeling a little more confident/curious.

                   

                  Comfort Food

                  Reduce the size of your cat’s meals once you’ve moved, feeding them smaller amounts more often. This will encourage them to keep coming back and not wander too far as they scope out their new neighbourhood.

                  Another handy tip when moving house with a cat, if you’re letting them out for the first time, do it when you know they’re hungry so you can entice them back inside with food if you have to. Once they are outside, make sure the door is open so they can get back inside easily when they want to.

                   

                  Escape Artist

                  All cats are escape artists. Their instinct will be to do a Houdini at the first chance they get, so make sure your house is escape proof, windows and doors (internal and external) are kept closed and that everyone in the family knows the new cat-safe rules for the first few weeks until they’ve adjusted to their new home.

                  Paying Bills & Banking In Italy

                  The biggest difference you’ll find is the habit of paying bills through the post office. Once common in the UK, the practise is still viewed by many as the traditional/correct way to pay bills. Banking in Italy is not quite changing as fast as some of their European neighbours but the country’s banking habits are definitely changing inline with the digital age.

                  Most common bills can be paid through the post office, Poste Italiane (if you don’t mind queuing). Bills can be paid by direct debit and in some cases it’s not possible to open an account with a new provider unless you arrange the direct debit.

                   

                  List of common household utilities in Italy:

                  • Electricity
                  • Gas
                  • Water
                  • TV
                  • Phone/Wi-Fi
                  • Building Fees
                  • Waste Tax

                   

                  Electricity

                  There are a large number of electricity suppliers in Italy. Many old buildings still have older wiring with a limited power supply (if you’re watching TV in one room, someone else is drying their hair in another room and then you switch the kettle on…! You can expect a blown fuse and trip to the basement). Electricity providers can update/increase your supply as well as take care of your bills and supply. Bills can be sent and settled on a monthly basis by direct debit or you can pay at the post office. Increasingly it is possible to opt for ‘green energy’ in Italy, made using sustainable technology such as solar and wind farms.

                   

                  Gas

                  Gas tends to only be used for cooking in Italy. It is most commonplace to have a joint gas/electricity provider and like the UK you’ll receive a separate bill for both. Bills can be sent and settled on a monthly basis by direct debit or you can pay at the post office.

                   

                  Water

                  Mains water is limited to a fixed, metred amount, properties exceeding the amount will face a higher charge. Outdoor water (such as swimming pools, stand pipes for gardening) are billed separately but from the same water supplier. Bills are normally sent twice a year and based on metre readings. You can pay by online transfer, direct debit or through the post office.

                   

                  TV

                  RAI (Radio Audizioni Italiane) is the Italian equivalent of the BBC. While RAI stations do have adverts, they’re also supported by Canone RAI, which is widely viewed as ‘TV tax’ in Italy. Canone RAI works the same as TV license in the UK, you only need to pay once for the household (not per TV). Canone RAI can be paid at the post office or by direct debit.

                   

                  Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                     
                     

                    Phone/WiFi

                    There are a number of suppliers offering different tariffs and packages for landlines and WiFi. Not all services cover every town or region and it is worth shopping around to get the best deal. Also make sure you do your research on broadband speed and reliability in your area.

                     

                    Building fees

                    Apartment buildings and gated communities have some common, shared expenses covering things like maintenance, grounds, cleaning of communal areas, waste tax, etc. The ‘spese condominiali’ is similar to UK management fees. It can be paid by direct debit or transfer. Building Fees can fluctuate depending on any extra maintenance, building work required.

                     

                    Waste Tax

                    Known as TARI, the tax pays for the collection, transport and processing of waste. The cost of TARI is based on the size of your property (by metres²) including storage space and box (garage), plus the number of occupants. For apartments, TARI may be included in the rent or building fees.

                    Italians take their recycling seriously. Failure to recycle household waste correctly can result in a fine.

                     

                    Rental Properties

                    Most rental properties in Italy are ‘all inclusive’ with a single payment covering all the bills mentioned above. Make sure you check exactly what is or isn’t included in the bill before signing a contract.

                     

                    Banking In Italy

                    Payment Methods

                     

                    Direct Debits

                    Most usually this will be set up at the time of signing up to a particular utility or service as part of the contract. You will need proof of your address, photo ID and bank details.

                     

                    Cheques

                    The use of cheques is in decline but they’re still accepted at the post office and in banks as long as you have ID.

                     

                    Post Office

                    Most utility and household bills can be paid at the post office, you’ll need a copy of the bill detailing the amount owed and payment details of the recipient. You can pay using cash or card.

                     

                    Online Banking

                    Like many European countries, online banking is on the rise. However Traditionally, Italy’s older generation tend to be more resistant to change so paying via the post is still very common. The larger Italian banks do have English translation websites and services.

                     

                    Opening a Bank Account

                    To open a bank account in Italy you’ll need;

                    It is possible to open an Italian bank account as a non-resident but in most cases the account will offer restricted services and fees are likely to be higher.

                    Basic French monetary systems for paying utility bills, opening bank accounts are similar to the UK, with comparable requirements for proof of ID, etc. Online banking in France is on the rise and there are some familiar UK banks now operating across the country.

                    Here’s a quick rundown of all things banking to help get you started.

                     

                    Paying Utility Bills

                    Typically in France utility bills are sent every two months or you can arrange monthly bills/payment. You can pay upon receiving each bill (by bank transfer or cheque) or you can set up a direct debit to automatically pay each bill as it arrives. Meter readings are usually taken once or twice a year, however smart metres are increasingly common in France.

                    Bills from utility companies are usually split into three charges.

                    • Subscription Charge (‘Abonnement’) – This is based on the tariff you have agreed to.
                    • Usage Charge – This is based on the actual amount of energy/water used.
                    • Fees & Taxes – These are separated in your bill but payable at the same time as the other two charges.

                     

                    Cash

                    Cash is still king in France. Legally transactions above €3,000 are required to be paid by other means (such as cheque or bank transfer). In general cash is more commonly used in France than it is in the UK.

                     

                    Cheques

                    Unlike other countries where they are being phased out, cheques are still widely used in France. French cheques clear much more quickly (usually within 48 hours) cheques are treated as cash under French law so even backdated cheques will be cleared immediately. Should a cheque not have sufficient funds to be paid, charges are applied. Failure to pay charges can prevent you from obtaining a debit/credit card or opening another account, even with another bank.

                     

                    Transfers
                    To pay via bank transfer (virements), you’ll need to provide full account details of the payee (name, account number, branch name, branch address). These details are normally supplied by the payee and can be found on their RIB (rélevé d’identité bancaire) or RIP (rélevé d’identité postal).

                     

                    Direct Debits

                    The most common and practical way of paying regular bills, direct debits (prélèvements automatiques) can be set up in branch, via online banking or telephone banking. Once again you will need the payee details in advance using the RIB or RIP.

                     

                     

                    Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                       
                       

                      Online Banking

                      As with most European countries, online banking is becoming increasingly common and most French banks have apps you can download direct to your phone to manage your account, set up direct debits, make instant payments/transfers, etc.

                      It is generally easier to have a French bank in order to make payments but not legally required (despite some claims to the contrary). However, you may find sticking with your English speaking bank easier for communication or dealing with problems.

                      If you do prefer the idea of staying with an English speaking bank, Barclays, HSBC and Citibank all operate in France. It’s also worth noting that larger French based companies like BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole do have English speaking staff.

                       

                      Opening A Bank Account In France

                      If you do wish to open a French bank account, it is a relatively simple process, not unsimilar to opening an account in the UK. You can open an account before moving to France as long as you place some funds in it. You will be provided with a bank card, access to online services, direct debit facilities, although some banks won’t provide credit cards to non-residents.

                      Depending on where you’re banking and the exact circumstances, you are most likely to be asked to provide;

                      • Photo ID, proof of identity
                      • Proof of address
                      • Proof of earnings/employment contract
                      • Birth certificate
                      • Marriage certificate (if opening a joint account)

                      Switzerland is an incredibly efficient and forward-thinking country. This is certainly evident when it comes to paying bills in Switzerland where internet banking, online payments and telephone banking are all common place. However, older more traditional payment options like paying in a bank, paying through the post office, cheques (by actual snail mail!) are still available due to the growing age of the Swiss population which has a life expectancy above the UK average.

                       

                      Payment Slips

                      For most household bills (rent, banking, utilities, services) you’ll be issued a payment slip. This carries all the information required to make payment, which can then be done by a number of methods. Payment slips are either orange or red (the difference is the amount of data printed on the slip).

                       

                      Direct Debit

                      Just like UK banking, the fastest, easiest way to pay bills is via direct debit. This is the system that allows you to give instruction to your bank to allow a company to obtain payment electronically for regular bills.

                       

                      Online Banking

                      Increasingly common, more and more people are switching to online banking to pay bills or set up direct debits. To do either, you’ll need the information provided on the payment slip. You can set up online banking using a computer, tablet or smartphone.

                       

                      Paying At The Post Office

                      Post offices are the same the world over, no matter what time you arrive you’ll find a queue (and invariably a person in front of you with a large jar of pennies needing to be counted out!). Once again, you’ll need the details on the payment slip, then queue, wait, wait a bit longer, job done.

                       

                      Paying by cheque

                      Yes, you remember those old pieces of actual paper? You used to see them tucked inside Christmas and birthday cards from older relatives. They are gradually being phased out in most European countries but Switzerland currently still accepts cheques as payment. And they can be sent through the post.

                       

                      Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                         
                         

                        ATMs

                        Automated banking machines (ATMs) can be found at banks, some shops and service stations and many allow you to make automated payments. The machines offer English speaking options, however you will need a recognised, accepted bank (not all ATMs recognise all overseas banks).

                         

                        Paying On Time

                        In Switzerland things really do tend to run like clockwork, transport, infrastructure, utilities, government/financial institutions are all very timely. As such, things like late payments are picked up extremely quickly. If you do have an issue that result in having to make payment late, then contact the company in question as early as possible. Even better (if possible) to notify them in advance.

                         

                        Opening A Bank Account

                        It’s possible to open a Swiss bank account as a non-Swiss citizen once you’re registered to live in the country. You’ll need;

                        • A valid passport
                        • Proof of income – A bank statement if you’re already being paid or a copy of your employment contract.
                        • Proof of address/residency (they might choose to send some mail to your address to verify this).

                        You can open an account before moving to Switzerland but you will need to get your documents notarized. The two main banks are UBS and Credit Suisse. If you are moving to Switzerland, in some instances it can make life a little easier to have a localised bank account.

                        The typical, basic bills for Spanish homes are;

                        • Local Property Tax
                        • Rubbish Collection Tax
                        • Community Fees (privately shared land only)
                        • Electricity & Gas
                        • Water
                        • Telephone/Broadband

                         

                        Paying Bills & Banking In Spain

                        Property Tax & Rubbish Collection Tax

                        Once you have signed the deed on your Spanish property, the Public Notary will inform your local town hall that you are now the legal owner. The process then allocates the Local Property Tax (I.B.I.) for the property in your name and issues the first bill. With a reputation for being a bit slow, the process can take several months or in some cases years but you can continue to live in the property and use public services during this time. Notifications will be sent direct to the property. Once it is done, you can set up payment via direct debit.

                         

                        Community Fees

                        Community fees are applicable for gated/private communities, apartments, etc. These fees are set by the management company and cover things like general maintenance, landscaping, emergency repairs. These will be stipulated in the contract when buying your property. Community fees are most commonly paid by direct debit.

                         

                        Electricity & Gas

                        There are two types of provider in Spain, the open market (mercado libre) or the regulated market (mercado regulado). Most energy providers in Spain typically operate in both markets, but are required to operate under a different name in each market.

                        Gas is not as common in Spain, in general most Spanish homes use only electricity and very few Spanish towns have mains gas supplies, instead those opting for gas use bottled deliveries. If you are using gas, you’re required to check gas appliances for safety once a year.

                        Renewable energy is increasingly on the rise in Spain, most commonly this is generated through solar power (thanks to the Iberian sun). However, at present the cost of both electricity and in particular gas is not cheap, Spain is in the top 5 most expensive countries in Europe when it comes to domestic fuel costs.

                        The most common form of paying fuel bills in Spain is direct debit.

                        It’s worth noting that Spanish fuel companies don’t enjoy a great reputation for customer service and one of the chief complaints is billing. To avoid overpayment check your bills regularly. Bills are most commonly issued monthly or bi-monthly in Spain.

                         

                         

                        Water

                        Water bills are normally issued monthly or quarterly. Similar to the UK, there is no open market, each area/city has one water provider which will be either privately owned, state run or a mix of the two. Water rates can vary widely from region to region. Water rates are also subject to change due to demand and availability (typically more expensive during the drier months).

                        Most providers will require a direct debit to set up an account.

                         

                        Telephone & Broadband

                        There are a number of landline and broadband providers in Spain. Like telecom providers in the UK, not all companies operate in all regions. Prices do vary so shop around for the best deals. All services require direct debit payments to be set up when opening an account.

                         

                        Setting Up Payment

                        To open an account for most utilities you’ll need to provide;

                        • Photo ID
                        • Your NIE number
                        • Your bank details
                        • Proof of address

                        Please note; many utilities (particularly state services) require payment through a Spanish bank account. This is slowly changing but in many cases having a Spanish account can make things a little easier.

                         

                        Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                           
                          What is an NIE number?

                          Spanish citizens and foreign residents are required by law to have an identification number, or Número de Identificación de Extranjero. There are a number of online services that provide help to apply for an NIE.

                           

                          Banking In Spain

                          You’re not legally required to have a Spanish bank account to be a resident, but in some instances it can be easier setting up payments through a localised bank. Most Spanish bank accounts aren’t free and while costs are low, there are charges for basic services you might not be used to being charged for.

                          Some of the major Spanish banks offer non-resident accounts specifically for foreign residents and the major banks all have English speaking telephone banking services. Smaller branches do not always have English speaking staff.

                           

                          How To Open A Bank Account

                          Accounts usually take 1 – 5 days to set up and cards and documents typically arrive within 2 weeks.

                          To open an account in Spain you’ll be asked to provide;

                          • Photo ID
                          • NIE Number
                          • Proof of address
                          • Proof of employment (employment contract, unemployment documentation, student card)

                          Non-Spanish documents may need to be officially translated and/or authenticated with an Apostille stamp.

                          An Apostille is an official government certificate added to documents being presented in a foreign country.

                           

                          Payments

                          Direct Debit

                          Referred to as SEPA debit in Spain, direct debit is by far the most common way to pay bills. Many services including utilities won’t allow you to open an account without setting up direct debit payments.

                           

                          Cheques

                          Cheques are rarely used in Spain and many companies, services and individuals won’t accept payment by cheque. Where cheques are accepted, most banks charge a percentage of the amount for processing the transaction, which means for larger cheques the commission can be considerable.

                           

                          Online Banking

                          Online banking is increasingly common. Many foreign residents living in Spain prefer to use an international bank. It’s worth noting that many Spanish companies will ask for payment via a Spanish bank. Digital banking is an easy way to set up direct debits and keep an eye bills and transactions (some Spanish service providers don’t have the best reputation for accuracy or customer service).

                          In order to import your car to Spain you must either;

                          • Be a permanent resident.
                          • Own a property in Spain.
                          • Have a property rental agreement (minimum 1 year) and hold a Spanish driver’s licence.

                          If you are considering taking your car with you to Spain, it should be noted that there are greater risks for driving a right-hand-drive car than adapting to a left-hand-drive vehicle. Statistically it is more dangerous, a higher percentage of accidents occur involving right-hand-drive vehicles. Sight lines are greatly reduced, in particular when overtaking and at junctions.

                           

                          Documents & Forms

                          • Importation application form.
                          • Proof of residence in Spain (such as a Residence Card) or photo ID from your country of origin (such as a passport).
                          • A certificate from the local police stating you live locally.
                          • Proof of property ownership or rental agreement (rental contracts must be for a minimum of 1 year).
                          • Spanish driving license.
                          • Registration document and fee, to register your car in Spain.
                          • Proof of registration tax payment.
                          • Proof of local car tax payment.
                          • Proof of ownership/purchase of the vehicle.
                          • Proof that VAT has been paid in the country of purchase.
                          • Certificate of Conformity (Certificado de Conformidad) from the vehicle manufacturer or a certified representative.

                          Once your car has been imported you cannot drive the vehicle until you have been issued temporary (green) registration plates by your local traffic department. These are valid for a limited period (usually less than two weeks), during which time your vehicle must pass a Inspección Técnica de Vehículos (essentially an MOT) in order to be allowed to be driven permanently in Spain.

                           

                          Number Plates/Registration

                          It is illegal to drive a car with foreign plates in Spain if you are a Spanish resident. Any car imported on a permanent/residence basis must be registered with the Spanish authorities.

                          Any tax/duty-free vehicle imported to Spain cannot be sold or transferred during the first year of its registration.

                           

                          Spanish Car Tax

                          Spanish car tax is similar to the UK and is based on a vehicle’s emissions.

                          • Less than 130 grams
                          • 120 – 160 grams
                          • 160 – 200 grams
                          • Unrated
                          • Over 200 grams

                           

                           

                          Driving Licence

                          As a resident you’ll need to apply for a Spanish driver’s licence and possibly pass a Spanish driving test. The process will depend on your country of origin, terms for UK drivers have changed since Brexit. Information regarding driving in Spain and licences required can be found on the You.Gov website (although at present these mostly refer to short stay and holiday makers).

                          For the latest information on all import, tax and licence requirements visit the DGT, La Dirección General de Traficó, website (information is available in English via the dropdown menu at the top right of the webpage).

                           

                           

                          All the above information was correct at the time of writing. Spanish legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct Spanish authorities in regards to importation and licencing prior to your move to Spain.

                           

                          Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                            The basic French systems for paying utility bills and opening bank accounts are similar to those in the UK. Online banking in France is on the rise and there are also some familiar UK banks now physically operating across France, so you might be able to stay with your existing bank.

                             

                            Paying Utility Bills

                            Typically in France utility bills are sent every two months. You can pay upon receiving each bill (by bank transfer or cheque) or you can set up a direct debit to automatically pay each bill as it arrives. Meter readings are usually taken once or twice a year, however smart metres are increasingly common.

                            Bills from utility companies tend to be split into three charges.

                            • Subscription Charge (‘Abonnement’) – This is based on the tariff you have agreed to.
                            • Usage Charge – Based on the actual amount of energy/water used.
                            • Fees & Taxes – These are separated in your bill but payable at the same time as the other two charges.

                             

                            Paying By Cash

                            Cash is still king in France and more commonly used than in the UK. Legally transactions above €3,000 are required to be paid by other means (such as cheque or bank transfer).

                             

                            Paying By Cheque

                            Cheques are still widely used in France. French cheques clear much more quickly (usually within 48 hours) and are treated as cash under French law, so even backdated cheques will be cleared immediately. Should a cheque not have sufficient funds to be paid, charges are applied. Failure to pay charges will result in fines and can prevent you from obtaining a debit/credit card or opening another account, even with another bank.

                             

                            Paying By Transfers

                            To pay via bank transfer (virements), you’ll need to provide full account details of the payee (name, account number, branch name, branch address). These details can be found on the bill which will either be an RIB (rélevé d’identité bancaire) or RIP (rélevé d’identité postal).

                             

                            Paying By Direct Debit

                            The most common and practical way of paying regular bills, direct debits (prélèvements automatiques), can be set up in branch, via online banking or telephone banking. Once again you will need the payee’s details in advance using the RIB or RIP.

                             

                             

                            Online Banking

                            As with most European countries, online banking is becoming increasingly common and most French banks have apps to manage your account, set up direct debits, make instant payments/transfers, etc.

                            It is generally easier to have a French bank in order to make payments but not a legal requirement (despite some claims to the contrary). However, you may find sticking with your English speaking bank easier for communication or dealing with problems.

                            If you do prefer the idea of staying with an English speaking bank, Barclays, HSBC and Citibank all operate in France. It’s also worth noting that larger French based companies like BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole have English speaking telephone banking.

                             

                            Opening A Bank Account In France

                            If you do wish to open a French bank account, it’s a relatively simple process, similar to opening an account in the UK. You can open a French held account before moving to France as long as you place some funds in it. You will be provided with a bank card, access to online services, direct debit facilities, although some banks won’t provide credit cards to non-residents.

                            Depending on where you’re banking and the exact circumstances, you are most likely to be asked to provide;

                            • Photo ID, proof of identity.
                            • Proof of address.
                            • Proof of earnings/employment contract.
                            • Birth certificate.
                            • Marriage certificate (if opening a joint account).

                             

                            All the above information was correct at the time of writing. French legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct French authorities in regards to all legal requirements prior to your move to France.

                             

                            Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                               

                              France has an excellent health system and infrastructure. Around 75% of the French healthcare system is funded by social security contributions which are deducted from your salary, or if you’re self-employed/retired, you need to contact the Regime Social des Indépendants (RSI) to arrange paying contributions. The rest is privately funded through private health insurance.

                               

                              Insurance

                              By law all residents and citizens are required to have health insurance, whether using private or state healthcare. After living in France for 3 months, non-nationals can apply for their family to be covered by the ‘PUMa’, Protection Universelle Maladie.

                              Once registered you’ll be issued with a carte vitale. This is a green, plastic health insurance card that has your photo and an embedded chip with information such as your name, address, social security number. It doesn’t contain any of your medical information.

                               

                              Health Card – Carte Vitale

                              You’ll need to present your carte vitale at any healthcare appointment or hospital in order to access free healthcare or claim a reimbursement.

                              In general the French health system has much lower waiting times than we’re used to in the UK for both scheduled operations and services like A&E.

                               

                              All the above information was correct at the time of writing. French legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct French authorities in regards to all legal requirements prior to your move to France.

                               

                               

                              Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                                 

                                If you’re taking your car with you, it must be registered and plated with a French registration number. For this you’ll need;

                                • Certificat de Conformité/Attestation d’identification.

                                (equivalent of the UK MOT)

                                • A tax certificate.
                                • Proof of ownership of the vehicle.

                                If you haven’t driven in France before, you should be aware that all vehicles in France are legally required to carry;

                                • A warning triangle.
                                • A hi-visibility vest for each occupant.

                                Also, it’s illegal to drive a in France with any missing lightbulbs so it’s advisable to carry spares.

                                 

                                Can I use my driving license?

                                You can use your British driving license for up to 12 months. After that you’ll need to take a test to gain a French driving license (having the wrong license will invalidate your insurance).

                                If you are considering taking your car to France, it should be noted that there are greater risks for driving a right-hand-drive car than adapting to a left-hand-drive vehicle. Sight lines are greatly reduced, in particular when overtaking and at junctions. We always advise movers to switch to a left-hand drive vehicle.

                                 

                                All the above information was correct at the time of writing. French legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct French authorities in regards to all legal requirements prior to your move to France.

                                 

                                Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                                   

                                  There are three ways to become a French citizen; Birth, marriage, naturalisation. To apply for citizenship through naturalisation you must be over 18 and living in France. It isn’t necessary to renounce your previous nationality, you can have dual nationality.

                                   

                                  Birth

                                  Any child born in France to one or more French parent/s instantly becomes a French citizen.

                                  Any child born in France to non-French citizens becomes a French citizen at the age of 18, as long as:

                                  • The family was living in France at the time of the birth.
                                  • Since the age of 11, the child has lived in France for a continuous period of 5 years.

                                   

                                  Marriage

                                  A spouse is eligible for French citizenship if they can prove;

                                  • They have been married for longer than 4 years.
                                  • Lived in France for a minimum of 4 years.
                                  • If the couple live outside of France, the spouse must have registered on the French register for citizens abroad.
                                  • If the couple married abroad, the wedding must be registered on the French civil register.

                                   

                                  Naturalisation

                                  To apply for naturalised French citizenship you must;

                                  • Have been living in France for five continuous years
                                  • Pass a citizenship test (carried out in French it covers current affairs and French history)

                                   

                                   

                                  How To Apply

                                  To become a French citizen through naturalization or marriage, you must sign the Reception and Integration Contract (CAI). This form is valid for 12 months, after which you will be evaluated (a type of citizenship test).

                                  You will also need to submit a ‘demande d’acquisition par declaration’ at your local prefecture. And depending whether you’re applying via marriage or naturalisation you’ll need;

                                  • Two copies of the French nationality application form.
                                  • Copies of ID of the applicant and spouse (if applicable).
                                  • Proof of address.
                                  • Birth certificate (with a certified translation if not in French).
                                  • Marriage certificate obtained within the last three months.
                                  • Attestation sur l’honneur des 2 époux, which both spouses must sign at the préfecture or consulate.
                                  • Evidence of the relationship such as birth certificates, joint mortgage, bank accounts, birth certificates of children, etc.
                                  • Proof of the spouse being a French citizen at the time of marriage.
                                  • Evidence that you don’t have a criminal record.
                                  • Marriage certificates from any previous marriages and divorce papers.
                                  • Proof that you lived in France for at least three years since your marriage.
                                  • Proof of employment or financial support.

                                  There will also be the naturalisation test, in the form of an interview. The process can take up to two years.

                                   

                                  Permanent Residence

                                  If you don’t wish to become a French citizen, once you have lived in France for five continuous years, it’s possible to apply for a carte de resident. This is a renewable permanent residence permit that allows you to live in France for up to 10 years. You’ll need to apply via your local prefecture. The criteria are similar to the naturalisation process.

                                  You lose the right to permanent residence if you leave France for more than two consecutive years.

                                  If you are married to a French national for more than three years, you can apply for permanent residence immediately, even if you have not lived in France during your marriage.

                                   

                                  All the above information was correct at the time of writing. French legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct French authorities in regards to all legal requirements prior to your move to France.

                                   

                                  Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                                     

                                    A quick guide to paying bills and banking in Spain.

                                    Paying Bills

                                    The typical bills for Spanish homes are;

                                    • Local Property Tax
                                    • Rubbish Collection Tax
                                    • Community Fees (privately shared land only)
                                    • Electricity & Gas
                                    • Water
                                    • Telephone/Broadband

                                    Property Tax & Rubbish Collection Tax

                                    Once you have signed the deed on your Spanish property, the Public Notary will inform your local town hall that you are now the legal owner. The process then allocates the Local Property Tax (I.B.I.) for the property in your name and issues the first bill. The process can take several months but you can continue to live in the property and use public services during this time. Notifications will be sent direct to the property.

                                    Once it is done, you can set up payment via direct debits for property tax and rubbish collection.

                                    Community Fees

                                    Community fees are applicable for gated/private communities, apartments, etc. These fees are set by the management company covering things like general maintenance, landscaping, emergency repairs. These will be stipulated in the contract when buying your property.

                                    Community fees are most commonly paid by direct debit.

                                    Electricity & Gas

                                    There are two types of provider in Spain, the open market (mercado libre) or the regulated market (mercado regulado). Most energy providers in Spain typically operate in both markets but are required to operate under a different name in each market.

                                    Gas is not as common in Spain, in general most Spanish homes use only electricity and very few Spanish towns have mains gas supplies, instead those opting for gas use bottled deliveries. If you are using gas, you’re required to check gas appliances for safety once a year.

                                    The most common form of paying fuel bills in Spain is direct debit.

                                    It’s worth noting that Spanish fuel companies don’t enjoy a great reputation for customer service and one of the chief complaints is billing. To avoid overpayment, check your bills regularly. Bills are most commonly issued monthly or bi-monthly in Spain.

                                     

                                     

                                    Water

                                    Water bills are normally issued monthly or quarterly. Similar to the UK, there is no open market, each area/city has one water provider which will be either privately owned, state run or a mix of the two. Water rates can vary widely from region to region. Water rates are also subject to change due to demand and availability (typically more expensive during the drier months).

                                    Most providers will require a direct debit to set up an account.

                                    Telephone & Broadband

                                    There are a number of landline and broadband providers in Spain. Like telecom providers in the UK, not all companies operate in all regions. Prices do vary so shop around for the best deals.

                                    All services require direct debit payments to be set up when opening an account.

                                    Setting Up Payment

                                    To open an account for most utilities you’ll need to provide;

                                    • Photo ID
                                    • Your NIE number
                                    • Your bank details
                                    • Proof of address

                                    Please note; many utilities (particularly state services) require payment through a Spanish bank account. This is slowly changing but in many cases having a Spanish account can make things a little easier.

                                    Spanish citizens and foreign residents are required by law to have an identification number, or Número de Identificación de Extranjero. There are a number of online services that provide help to apply for an NIE.

                                     

                                    Banking In Spain

                                    You’re not legally required to have a Spanish bank account to be a resident, but in some instances it can be easier setting up payments through a localised bank. Most Spanish bank accounts aren’t free and while costs are low, there are charges for basic services you might not be used to being charged for in the UK.

                                    Some of the major Spanish banks offer non-resident accounts specifically for foreign residents and have English speaking telephone banking services. Smaller branches do not always have English speaking staff.

                                    How To Open A Bank Account

                                    Accounts usually take 1 – 5 days to set up and cards and documents typically arrive within 2 weeks.

                                    To open an account in Spain you’ll be asked to provide;

                                    • Photo ID
                                    • NIE Number
                                    • Proof of address
                                    • Proof of employment (employment contract, unemployment documentation, student card)

                                    Non-Spanish documents may need to be officially translated and/or authenticated with an Apostille stamp.

                                    An Apostille is an official government certificate added to documents being presented in a foreign country. 

                                    Ready to start planning your move? Get a free quote.

                                      Payments

                                      Direct Debit

                                      Referred to as SEPA debit in Spain, direct debit is by far the most common way to pay bills. Many services including utilities won’t allow you to open an account without first setting up a direct debit.

                                      Cheques

                                      Cheques are rarely used in Spain and many companies, services and individuals won’t accept payment by cheque. Where cheques are accepted, most banks charge a percentage of the amount for processing the transaction, which means for larger cheques the commission can be considerable.

                                      Online Banking

                                      Online banking is increasingly common. Many foreign residents living in Spain prefer to use an international bank or bank from their country of origin. However, it’s worth noting that many Spanish companies will ask for payment via a Spanish bank. Digital banking is an easy way to set up direct debits and keep an eye on bills and transactions (some Spanish service providers don’t have the best reputation for accuracy or customer service).

                                      All the above information was correct at the time of writing. Spanish legislation is liable to change and we recommend you check with the correct Spanish authorities and service providers for the latest details.

                                      Get a Quick Quote

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