Even the smallest home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover.
How Do You Plan a Move?
The time to plan your move begins once you’ve decided to sell your home. Some of the activities required to sell the home can actually help with the moving process. For example, by cleaning out closets, the basement and the attic there will be less to do once the home is under contract.
Your planning will be guided by a number of things:
• Are you moving long distance? If yes, you’ll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
• Moving internationally? Contact the embassy in Washington, DC, for information. Be aware that items which may be entirely common in the United States can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes.
• Moving locally? If yes, will you move yourself? You’ll need to consider acquiring packing boxes, peanuts, blankets or padding and a van rental.
• Planning is key: Stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers will know where goods should be placed.
Which Mover Should You Use?
There are a number of factors to consider:
• Cost: You’ll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references for home sellers with a similar volume of goods to transport.
• Get mover estimates in writing: Be aware that it’s possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession: Clergy, for example, sometimes qualify for a discount.
• Always confirm mover credentials: Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman’s comp insurance.
Make A Checklist
Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:
• Get estimates from professional movers or from truck rental companies if you are moving yourself.
• Once you've selected a mover, discuss insurance, packing, loading and delivery, and the claims procedure.
• Sort through your possessions. Decide what you want to keep, what you want to sell and what you wish to donate to charity.
• Record serial numbers on electronic equipment, take photos (or video) of all your belongings and create an inventory list.
• Change your utilities, including phone, power and water, from your old address to your new address.
• Obtain a change of address packet from the post office and send to creditors, magazine subscription offices and catalog vendors.
• Discuss tax-deductible moving expenses with your accountant and begin keeping accurate records.
• If you’re moving more than a few miles, then you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
• Keep medications in a place where they will be available during the move.
• Make a list of boxes by number and indicate their contents. It makes it easier to count all boxes on arrival.
• If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other items.
• Moving historic, breakable or valued items? Such goods routinely require special handling and packaging.
• Have address books readily available: In case you need help.
Two Weeks Out:
• If you're moving to a new community, contact the Chamber of Commerce and school district and request information about services.
• Make reservations with airlines, hotels and car rental agencies, if needed.
• If you are moving yourself, use your inventory list to determine how many boxes you will need.
• Begin packing nonessential items.
• Arrange for storage, if needed.
• If you have items you don't want to pack and move, hold a yard sale.
• Get car license, registration and insurance in order.
• Transfer your bank accounts to new branch locations. Cancel any direct deposit or automatic payments from your accounts if changing banks.
• Make special arrangements to move pets, and consult your veterinarian about ways to make travel comfortable for them.
• Have your car checked and serviced for the trip.
• Collect items from safe-deposit box.
One Week Out:
• Talk to your pharmacist about transferring important medical prescriptions.
• Arrange for a babysitter on moving day.
• Return library books and DVDs.
Two to Three Days Prior:
• Defrost your refrigerator and freezer.
• Have movers pack your belongings.
• Label each box with the contents and the room where you want it to be delivered.
• Arrange to have payment ready for moving company.
• Set aside legal documents and valuables that you do not want packed.
• Pack clothing and toiletries, along with extra clothes in case the moving company is delayed.
• Give your travel itinerary to a close friend or relative so they can reach you as needed.
• Pick up the truck as early as possible if you are moving yourself.
• Make a list of every item and box loaded on the truck.
• Let the mover know how to reach you.
• Double-check closets, cupboards, attic, basement and garage for any left behind items.
• Be on hand at the new home to answer questions and give instructions to the mover.
• Check off boxes and items as they come off the truck.
• Install new locks.
• Confirm that the utilities have been turned on and are ready for use.
• Unpack your "first day" box (see below for suggested contents).
• Unpack children's toys and find a safe place for them to play.
• Examine your goods for damage