House Clearance Advice

A house clearance is often needed after a bereavement or when a family member or friend is taken into care, if this happens the house usually needs to be cleared so it can be sold or given back to the local authority.

In both instances the house will need to be cleared of it contents and either redistributed to friends family and charities or if the house is subject to probate, then the contents will need to be valued in order to comply with inheritance tax, you can learn more about probate valuations with HRMC’s Probate Basics here.

A property clearance can sometimes be a difficult and challenging time especially for family members and friends, so when looking for a good house clearance company, you need to ensure you find someone reputable and trusted.

First ask your friends and colleagues if they have any recommendations, your solicitor maybe able to recommend someone or go online and search for local “house clearance companies”.

Once you have identified some companies you should look at third party websites such as Yell or Google that carry reviews and recommendations to identify the best ones.

Because most of people should only ever need a house clearance once or twice in a lifetime their are unfortunately many man with van type operators that have no concerns about ripping people off, as repeat business from the same customer is unlikely, so it’s worth using some common sense and your gut when choosing a company.

You should ask the contractor if they are a registered waste carrier and ask for their waste carrier number. If your rubbish is found fly-tipped and traced back to you, you could be held responsible and face a fine of up to £50’000. If they are not registered advise them they need to speak to the Environment Agency on 08708 506506 and as of March 2014 all companies will need to have a waste license.

Ideally you should look to have two or three companies quote for the house clearance, so you can get a good feel for the pricing, the level of service you might receive as well as who will be coming in to the property.

Quotes may vary considerably and some companies will work differently to others in how they present their costings. If a quote is significantly cheaper than the other two, you should make enquiries as to what is happening with the contents cleared e.g. where is it being disposed of ?

As some companies will look to avoid commercial recycling fees, which is the most expensive part of a house clearance. By either fly tipping or burning the rubbish cleared, both of which are against Environment Agency guidelines and illegal.

A reputable company should be more than happy to give a free quote without obligation. Most companies will need to see the property being cleared to gauge the size of the house and the density of contents being cleared, it’s their job to work out how long it will take, how much waste their is and what can recycled.

It’s always a good idea to try and arrange for all of the quotes to be done on the same day so everything is fresh in your mind, it usually takes between 10 – 25 minutes to go through the property and run through what needs to go.

If some contents is staying then point this out to the company representative ( Tip put Post it Notes on anything that’s not to be cleared) its also worth showing the company rep any cubby holes and cupboards and spaces that have contents to be cleared.

One thing that all house clearances have in common, is they are all totally different, and many factors needs to be taken into consideration. The main ones are the number of rooms, the density of contents and the access to the property.

For a regular two to three bedroom house with an average amount of furniture, possessions, junk and rubbish, it should take a good house clearance company 8 – 14 hours or a full day using a two or three man team. This includes the work that happens off-site as well as on-site.

This would include some boxing up of smaller items, separating junk rubbish and recyclables on site, and if they are a good contractor they should leave the house clean, tidy and vacuumed. The house should be totally empty of all rubbish and junk excluding fixtures and fittings and white goods, all of which can be cleared upon request

For an average size house prices should come in at around £595 – £700 + VAT where applicable. Prices are usually based on the following elements Labor Required (Men & Vehicles) + Time Needed + Amount of Junk and Rubbish to dispose off.

All good property clearance companies will pay to dispose of rubbish. The current cost is £138 – £170 per tonne. for mixed municipal waste. Most houses will have between 1 & 1.5 tonnes of junk.

Once the property has been cleared, the contractor still needs to dispose of the rubbish at a licensed waste transfer station, drop donations to local charities, which can take another day or two’s work, which can reflected in the quote.

There are a number of larger charities that offer house clearance services which is a great way to donate to a good cause, however when contacting a charity about house clearance make sure that you ask them what they will take.

As a number of charities will cherry pick certain items and leave you with all the junk waste and rubbish. This means you will still need to find a house clearance company to finish of the clearance, which will mean more time effort and hassle

We have undertaken a number of jobs in recent months where the clients have been left slightly underwhelmed with a charitable house clearance where they’re expectation was that most things would go and they usually don’t.

It’s worth asking your house clearance contractor what charities they work with. We are more than happy to re-distribute items to the charities you support, which means you can donate and recycle without any added time hassle and upset. We get immense satisfaction from giving old and unwanted items to local charities, you can read our recycling and charitable policy here.

If you think you have some valuable items there has never been a better time to find out what they are worth using sites like Ebay, you can also ask a local auction house to give you a free evaluation or ask the house clearance contractor to give you a valuation.

An experienced house clearance contractor will be reasonably knowledgeable on the value of antiques and collectables and should look to off-set the cost of the clearance against items that have a re-sale value, however do bear in mind that the valuations will often be the trade price, so that the items can be sold on for a profit.


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