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How Does House Clearance Work?

Adele MacGregor

Written by

8th Jun 2023 (Last updated on 4th Jul 2023) 5 minute read

House clearances can be an essential service for those moving, downsizing or inheriting a home. It can also be used for clearing unwanted clutter or for those who need professional help, such as a hoarding case.

House clearance companies will arrive equipped to clear a home. This can be a full or partial house clearance, depending on your needs.

Below we look at how a house clearance works. This includes how much it costs and how to choose a house clearance company.

  1. What is House Clearance?
  2. How to Choose a House Clearance Company
  3. How Does the Process Work?
  4. What Can’t House Clearance Providers Take?
  5. How Much Does It Cost?
  6. Will They Pay Me for My Items?
  7. Get House Clearance Quotes

What is House Clearance?

A house clearance is the process of removing unwanted items in a home. This differs from a removal company as the belongings do not stay in the possession of the homeowner.

Usually during a clearance, a large number of items (often the contents of an entire home) are removed. These are then taken to reuse organisations or local charities. Anything valuable can be sold on online marketplaces or via auction houses and antique dealers. You can do this yourself or the value of items can be used to offset the cost of the clearance. All other items will be taken to a waste disposal centre.

House clearances are used for a variety of reasons. The most common is when someone has died, is taken into care or if there is a case of hoarding. Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition. This is where a person finds it difficult or impossible to throw items away.

Bereavement house clearance is used to clear a home after someone has passed away. This assists family and friends who are facing this difficult task during what can be a traumatic time.

How to Choose a House Clearance Company

There are a few checks you should make before choosing a house clearance company. You should ensure that they:

  • Have Public Liability insurance: This is essential to protect both you and the house clearance company in the event of any damage.
  • Have a Waste Carriers License: Companies that carry any waste in a commercial capacity are legally required to hold a Waste Carriers License. You can check a company license number on the Environmental Agency site to ensure they are covered.
  • Have good customer feedback and reviews: Read reviews from previous customers to get an idea of the service they offer. This can tell you a lot about how they approach a house clearance and how they treat their customers.

You should also ensure that they are experienced in house clearances. If you need a specialist service such as bereavement, you may want a company with experience in this type of clearance. This is to ensure it is completed with sensitivity, care and professionalism.

For a hoarding case, you should check if they are willing to take this on. Some companies may refuse due to the size and circumstances of the job.

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How Does the Process Work?

From finding a company to the disposal of items, the process of a house clearance includes:

1. Booking

To start, make sure you compare house clearance companies with Compare My Move. By comparing local companies, you can find the right company for your circumstances. This means comparing price and also expertise. You may want to use a specialist, for example for bereavement or hoarding.

2. Preparing

Before the house clearance can take place, make sure you remove anything you want to keep. This could be smaller sentimental items such as pictures and jewellery or certain furniture items and antiques. You can also hold on to anything of value that you wish to sell privately. For these items, it would be worth considering using a storage unit if you don’t have room to store them.

3. On the Day

House clearance companies will often let you decide if you want to be there on the day of the clearance. You do not have to attend if it is difficult for you. They will arrive at the agreed time and start clearing the home.

By this time you should have taken anything you want to keep or sell yourself. Everything else that the company has been told to remove will be cleared out by a team of professionals. This includes any household waste.

4. Disposal

If items cannot be reused or sold, they will be taken to a recycling centre where possible. Sadly many other items from a house clearance will end up in a landfill. A professional house-clearance company will ensure this is done legally and responsibly. It is vital that they hold a Waste Carriers License. Using a reliable company ensures they will not just fly-tip the items, which could result in you getting a fine.

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What Can’t House Clearance Providers Take?

There will likely be items that house clearance companies cannot take. This will be due to health hazards or laws. It may vary between companies but the following cannot be taken by the majority of clearance firms:

  • Weapons
  • Asbestos
  • Medical waste
  • Petrol

Make sure you check with your chosen company what they will and won’t take, to avoid issues on the day of the house clearance.

How Much Does It Cost?

The average cost of a house clearance for a standard medium-sized family home is £400.

As with a removal company, the cost can depend on the location and property size. It will also depend on the volume and type of items being cleared.

Be aware there may be extra costs for the disposal of certain bulky items, such as a refrigerator or mattresses.

Will They Pay Me for My Items?

This can often depend on the company you use and whether there are saleable items in the home. It will also depend on what you have discussed with the company prior to the day of the clearance.

Some house clearance companies will estimate the cost of any valuable items found. They can then subtract the value from the cost of clearing the house. If the worth is more than the clearance costs, they can pay you the difference. Be aware that not all house clearance companies offer this. You should check with the company beforehand if you believe valuables are in the home.

Read more on: Do House Clearance Companies Pay You?

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Save up to 70% off house clearance costs

Get House Clearance Quotes

We can match you with up to 6 house clearance companies in your local area. This can help you find the right experts at a price to suit your budget. Whether you are clearing the home of a loved one or have moved into a house full of possessions, a house-clearing company can be invaluable.

Our dedicated teams only take on the best in the business, so you know your house clearance will be handled professionally. We ensure they hold a Waste Carrier's License and Public Liability insurance.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over five years, Adele specialises in covering a range of surveying topics.

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