Essex Removal Company, A J Stephenson Removals

Welcome to my Blog Site...

My Company A J Stephenson Removals, are founding members of the National Guild of Removers and Storers, and are Ombudsman approved. With over 30 years experience in Removals and Storage I am happy to offer help and advice regarding any aspect of moving you may have. I have written a unique report on removals titled "The Top Ten Removals and Storage Disasters to Avoid"! which is Free and available from my website, or by following this link. I have reciently been awarded the `ACE` Award (Annual Certificate of Excellence) from the Guild, for our consistant customer satisfaction record.

I will post regular blogs regarding different aspects of moving, please follow me and you will recieve these updates as they are posted.

Please look at my website for help & advice and much more.

I Hope you enjoy my posts!

Thanks for your Interest. Alan Stephenson

Sunday, 19 December 2010

What is the best day for moving house?

A difficult question? well not really!
The best day for moving house is the day your preferred remover can fit you in!

With all the many considerations when moving house, the stresses and strains of hoping the exchange goes through you  may be forgiven for not worrying about what day the actual removal day falls on.
You will usually be informed by your solicitor what the completion day will be and at that point you will go to your chosen removal company and inform them of your moving day. This can often lead to disappointment as they are fully booked, your next favoured remover are also fully booked and so on and so forth until you have to settle for a man and van/lorry operator to fit you in. (That opens up a whole new can of worms, not for this post though)
Solicitors are not really concerned about the completion day (removal day) all they have to do is make sure the money moves from one account to another. The busier the completion day the more problems there are, so should be avoided.
The busiest day of the week is Friday. The end of the month is always busier than the beginning so combine the two and the last Friday of the month is the busiest day of the month. Listed below are 8 reasons why this day should be avoided.

1. Its unlikely you will secure the services of your preferred remover.
2. If short notice you may only be left with cowboy operators. (how do you spot a cowboy?)
3. You are more likely to pay a premium and not be able to negotiate a reduction.
4. There will be more completions for the solicitors so you are more likely to have a late key release.
5. If you have late key release you may have to pay waiting time charges.
6. Some removers may hire vans and agency workers to cover the demand - reduced quality.
7. If there is a problem with the completion you will have to wait until Monday to get it resolved.
8. The Estate Agent may have alot of activity and may cause a delay in the release of keys.

So what do you do?

The first thing to do is do your homework and get removal quotations nice and early and decide which company you want to move with. Once you have identified them let them know you want to move with them and explain the stage you are at with your move. You may be surprised at how much help and advice you can get from a good remover.
You may have some idea of when the move may take place even if you haven't exchanged contracts, your remover will let you know the dates around that time that are available.
Armed with this information contact your solicitor and ask if the time frame is accurate and that you want to move on the suggested date. (Someone in the chain will suggest a date that everyone else works towards, why don't you be that person?) Once agreed let your remover know that's the date your working towards and they will provisionally book for you. This will hold the resources they need, but will not commit you until nearer the time, usually seven days before the date.
This approach will save you allot of unnecessary stress and will give you the best hope for a trouble free move.

Everything above is to do with completion day moves, If you are moving to or from a rented property or moving into or out of storage you will have more flexibility and therefore more chance of getting the date and remover you want. Our current special offer is proof of this. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Surviving Removal Day!

Removal day has the potential to be one of the worst days of your life. When in reality it should be one of the happiest. There a a few things you can do to shift the balance in favour of happy and I will try to outline a few of them here.
Whether you are moving yourself or paying for the full service there are obstacles in front of you that you may not be aware of.

Scenario 1.   You are moving yourself.    Make sure you plan well in advance, especially if you are buying and selling. (there`s usually less stress if your moving from or to a rented property as you can usually work in an overlap which will give you the time to spread the move.) In completion day moves you will have time constraints and you are exposed to the biggest stress of all- holding up the chain. This can involve alot of bad feeling and also expense. See an example of what can happen here.Make sure you have prepared yourself and completed the packing and dismantling the day before, maybe even sleep on the mattress to save time with dismantling the bed. Hire the van the day before (you can usually pick it up late without additional charges) this will give you a massive head start as leaving it until moving day will dramatically reduce the loading time. You can even start loading the evening before and certainly first thing on moving day. Know what van you are going to need. Very important indeed. You could be paying for a bigger van than you really need or getting one that's far too small. There are many space calculators on Removal web sites and I would suggest you use one of these to help you decide.
As a rough guide a panel van will hold 200-400 cubic feet  a luton van will hold 400-600 cubic feet and a 7.5 ton lorry will hold 800-1200 cubic feet. My space calculator can be found here it will be helpful but you must build in an error margin and always go for slightly larger vehicle than you think.
Make sure you have plenty of old cardboard and blankets to protect items and make sure you have enough help at hand. You can buy specialist covers from most removers and some packaging companies, you may be able to hire blankets and trolleys as well.
There are many other considerations, and I will be happy to advise you if you want some help, I can even sell you those covers, packing materials and hire you a few blankets etc.

Scenario 2.  You book a removal company.  You have increased your chances of a happy experience especially if you have booked a packing service as well.
Most removers will take care of all the last minute packing and dismantling but you will need to get this in writing. If you are packing yourself you will be expected to pack the last bits, but you will usually have plenty of time while loading takes place.  As with any service if you don't have a good recommendation or you totally trust the remover you will definitely increase your protection and happiness if you book a remover who is a member of the 2 dedicated removal trade associations in the UK- The National Guild of Removers and Storers(NGRS) and the British Association of Removers (BAR) also look out for Ombudsman Protection as this will provide the ultimate protection.
It may sound odd but paying in advance will increase your protection, as its harder to be let down at the last minute if you have a credit card slip a receipt and a confirmation letter. In a competitive market it is possible that an unregulated remover or man and van type service may take a higher paid job at the last minute and literally drop the cheap move (you) at short notice possibly even on the morning of your move. Now there`s a recipe for one of the worst days of your life!

Other tips for moving day bliss are- keep young children and animals away, they will be unhappy about the whole experience and will almost certainly be in the way and in danger.  Read all your meters the day before as this is often forgotten in the rush. Ask the removers to clear a room at a time so you can clean behind them. Call your solicitor before 12 noon as they or another solicitor in the chain is likely to be on an extended lunch break after that. Say you are loaded and you want an update on the cocompletion. Its true to say that the one that make the most noise gets dealt with first, don't be pushy but just ask nicely if you can get the keys yet as you are ready. (This could save you waiting time charges if the delay is extended.)
Removers have large vehicles! so think about the parking for the morning, possibly park cars outside to reserve spaces for the truck. Inform your neighbours as they may be inconvenienced.  Make up a last minute box with all those last minute items you will need such as medicines, keys,phone chargers kettle etc! and don't let the removers get hold of it!

There are alot of common sense things you can do, and I have only scratched the surface but you can always ask me any specific questions you may have, or you could read my detailed report "The Top Ten Removal and storage Disasters to Avoid"  which is available from my website  . You will need to provide your email and name, the report will be sent to you over 10 days.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your move!

Alan Stephenson

Monday, 11 October 2010

Is Mobile Self Storage the best house staging tool?

To sell in today's housing market you need to have something special, something that will stand out in the viewers mind. It has always been the case that house staging can enhance the chances of selling your property, but today this is never more the case. There are many ways of house staging and there are many house stagers around, we have worked with Staged Moves in Essex, although there are many around that will offer a similar service.   
One of the main ways of house staging is to remove clutter and furniture to maximise the effect to a potential buyer, historically this would involve a man and van or a hire van and a trip to a self store facility. As you can imagine this is a real hassle and is often decided against. There is a solution to this dilemma, what if the self store room could be brought to your front door? Impossible? Well its not, there is a solution called Mobile Self Storage The storage room, in the form of a mobile storage unit (MSU) is brought to your property inside a trailer and left for you to load. This is really convenient as you will get enough time to load up and secure your MSU. Each  MSU comes with 15 blankets for protecting your goods and can be secured with 2 padlocks. The other benefit is that your goods will be handled once as opposed to multiple times if accessing a room in a self store site. You can also purchase packing materials in advance or on the day from the `mini bar` secured to each trailer. Items such as mattress covers and sofa covers can be purchased.

This system of house staging we have found is more convenient and at a time where every detail is so important becoming a really useful service. The typical storage charges are lower than self storage sites and the collection charge is very reasonable at approximately £40 for a local collection. Insurance is usually included free up to £5,000 and £1 per £1,000 cover per month.  For an illustration £10,000 cover with a self store company could be approx £30-£40 pcm  compared to £5 mobile self storage.

There are many ways of helping to sell your property, I stumbled upon one this weekend when I decided to sort out the weeds coming through my block paving. I purchased a scraping tool and a bag of sweeping sand and went to work scraping the weeds and mud out and then sweeping the sand over the gaps. The end result was amazing my drive looked like new.(It needs to be a sunny day preferably) Things like that can make all the difference.

When you do get to the point of actually selling your property you will have already have completed one of the main jobs i.e. de-cluttering and you will be more organised for your forthcoming move. When getting quotes from removal companies it is really important that you look for companies that are accredited, and are members of either the Guild or the BAR.

Good luck with your sale and remember you need to stand out in a crowd!

Alan Stephenson

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Is Storage the answer in todays housing market?

With all the uncertainty in the housing market at the moment its little wonder sellers are often under stress during the selling process. There are many reasons why people move home, some reasons will override any economic influence such as divorce, death or job change, however the majority of moves in the UK are largely voluntary, ranging from the addition of a child, wanting more room, to the ultimate extreme- a lottery win.
The housing market has been affected by recent economic influences since as early as January 2008, and as such the majority of moves in this period, have been mostly the first group mixed in with a few of the second group depending on various conditions, such as election results, and interest rate or unemployment  predictions. One thing certainly true is that the market is affected by the media and forecasts. This will vary from predictions of growth and lower than forecast unemployment figures to headline news that the mortgage lending for the last month was an all time low. This all affects confidence and this is what drives the market.
The other main reason for the volatile market we are seeing at the moment is the shortage of first time buyers, a direct result of several factors such as the average house price, availability of finance and the tightening of mortgage lending and the removal of self certificated mortgages. This factor is causing the current uncertainty and lack of activity it is not however the root cause, this is down to things like the banks excesses of the last 10 years.
Historically there was no shortage of first time buyers in a growing market when the banks were lending up to 125% mortgages, where the buy to let market was booming and landlords were usually the first time buyer. in the rare example that there was no first time buyer, or they pulled out, it would often be the case that someone at the top of the chain would buy at the bottom to enable the completion, knowing it would not be a problem selling soon after, and often for a tidy profit.

This is not the case in today's market. So when a seller has a complete chain including a first time buyer, they will be very keen to exchange contracts as the worry is that the chain could fall apart at any time. We have experience of this over the past few weeks and have found that from speaking to our customers they are saying this is the case.
By going into storage the seller is showing commitment to the sale and can wrap the deal up quicker. This will also enable them to be in a better buying position as they have now become the first time buyer and may have more leverage on price and availability because of this, they may be able to move quicker as they will be non dependant cash buyers.

Wooden Storage Containers on a specialist Removal Lorry. A Forklift loads and unloads from the lorry to reduce handling. An adjustable ramp is positioned for ease of loading.

Wooden Storage containers stacked in our warehouse in Thurrock. All contents are protected and handled with care.  

If your considering storage with a rental property as an option to break the chain, it is worth considering the details carefully. Many people automatically assume they need a similar sized house to rent as the one they have sold, but if they can manage with a smaller house and put some of their furniture & effects into store the difference between the rental costs will be far greater than the storage costs, furthermore it will save the furniture and effects being unnecessary handled as containerised storage only requires handling twice, the same as a normal removal.

There are many options available when considering storage, but its use is certainly an answer to the uncertain housing market we are now experiencing.

So Is Storage the answer to today's housing market? I very much doubt it, but it could be a major help for some people in the situations described above.

For Information on our storage services please visit our Website

Alan Stephenson
A J Stephenson Removals

Monday, 16 August 2010

A J Stephenson Removals: A J Stephenson Removals first blog!

A J Stephenson Removals: A J Stephenson Removals first blog!: "Hello Welcome to my first blog. I have alot of interesting and useful subjects I want to discuss in the coming months but for now I will le..."

A J Stephenson Removals first blog!


Welcome to my first blog. I have alot of interesting and useful subjects I want to discuss in the coming months but for now I will leave it short and simple.
My company A J Stephenson Removals has recently joined the moving etc group which is a dedicated site for accredited professionals in the moving industry including removers and estate agents etc. It is open to the public and would be an invaluable place for anyone considering moving home. see the site here-

I will be able to offer information regarding removals, storage and packing as well as outlining potential problems encountered when moving home.

You will be able to find really useful information about all aspects of removals and storage in my unique report "The Top Ten Removals and Storage Disasters to avoid". This is an depth look at what really goes on in the industry, some is quite ugly! All you need to do is put your email and name in the form on my homepage or on my facebook page  the report will be delivered to you in daily chapters.

As founding members of the National Guild of Removers and Storers, and one of the few Ombudsman Approved Removers in Essex, you are guaranteed a quality service. My goal is to be known as the name to trust for anyone considering  removals in Essex.

Alan Stephenson