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Moving Tips

At Higgins Group, our Realtors® have invested many years helping clients to plan and accomplish their moves with the least possible stress. We compiled this list of moving of tips to help you on your way. If you have any questions, please ask your Higgins Group Realtor®.

Keys to moving success:
Start early! Recruit family and friends to help you sort, pack and move!

Measure Twice – Move Once (If you haven’t already done these – do them NOW!)

  • Nothing ruins a moving day worse than finding out your furniture won’t fit through the door!
  • Best bet: Take a measuring tape with you when you house-hunt
  • Take measurements in your new home. MOST IMPORTANT: doors, elevator openings and stairwell corners ; also room dimensions and the main walls in bedroom and living room
  • Compare to measurements of length, width and height of your largest pieces of furniture
  • Make sure you bring only what will fit in your new home
  • Sketch room layouts for each main room; you can use these to decide what to take, and where you will need phone jacks or cable hookups
  • Create a notebook or binder to keep all your layouts and moving plans in one place

Lighten Up – Or – Are you really going to bring all that stuff? (4 weeks ahead of your move)

  • Use your move as an opportunity to shed possessions you don’t really need
  • A month before your move, take photos of your room layout and furniture
  • Ask yourself if there are any pieces that don’t fit your mental picture of your new home
  • Sell or donate whatever won’t really “go” with the new setting
  • Do the same with clothing: whatever you haven’t worn in a year, sort into “Donate” or “Throw”
  • Please do not donate any clothing that is worn, torn or stained!
  • As you sort, put off-season clothes into a moving box and label it
  • Now, sort books, videos, magazines, sports equipment …you get the idea!
  • Sort—pack—give—throw—sell
  • As you sort, pack into moving boxes and label them
  • Take the time to do this sorting now and you will Start Fresh in your new home

OK, Now – How do I get all of this moved? (4 weeks ahead)

  • You have 3 basic choices: move it yourself with friends, hire a few guys and a truck, or hire a professional mover
  • The trade-offs to consider are total cost, risk of damage, your ability to lift heavy objects and drive a rented truck, and the distance you have to move. A do-it-yourself move may work for a short distance, but a moving company may be best for a long haul
  • You should make this decision a month before your move, so you have time to get estimates and reserve a truck. Rental trucks and professional movers are busiest at the end of each month
  • If you want to hire a professional mover, get 2 or 3 estimates. Make sure they do a realistic estimate based on what you own and the number of stairs. Also check the movers’ on-time record and complaints with the local Better Business Bureau
  • Get a binding estimate from the moving company and make sure the amount is written in the contract. Have the contract include a guarantee of how many hours the job will take, allowing an overrun of no more than 10%. Be wary of contracts that add a certain amount of cents per pound shipped!
  • Be sure all charges are written into the contract, including packing fragile items, tips for the crew, and highway tolls
  • Movers are limited by law regarding what they can give you for lost or damaged goods. To cover potential damage, check existing homeowner’s or renter’s policy
  • Verify how you will make final payment when you take receipt of your belongings at your new home. If cash is required, withdraw the amount from your local bank BEFORE you leave, so you will have the cash to pay if you arrive at midnight or on a weekend
  • Make a detailed list of your valuables before you pack. Number the boxes and document what went into each box. MAKE A LIST of numbered boxes that contain valuables so you can use it to check-off on moving day

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (3 – 4 weeks ahead)

  • Make travel arrangements with airlines, buses, car rental agencies and hotels; plan ahead for special needs of infants and pets
  • Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays and prescription histories. Ask doctor and dentist for referrals and transfer prescriptions
  • Check into the laws and requirements of your new city regarding home-based businesses, professional tests, business licenses and any special laws that might be applicable to you
  • Have appliances serviced for moving
  • Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving
  • Reserve elevator if moving from or to an apartment or a hi-rise condo
  • If you plan a Do-it-Yourself move, recruit family and friends well in advance. Make sure to offer an appealing breakfast or lunch and beverages. Recruit more people than you need, in case of last-minute cancellations!
  • Reserve your rental truck, and be sure to reserve a wheeled dolly for heavy and bulky items

Lights, Camera, Action! (2 weeks ahead)

  • Make a schedule and budget for utilities in your new home
  • Ask your Realtor® or landlord for contact info for utilities companies in your new location
  • Call your new electricity, gas, oil, water and trash collection companies to arrange service; also if necessary, a reliable snow plow contractor! Save these phone numbers in your Moving Notebook and your mobile phone
  • Use your room layouts to decide how many cable outlets, phone jacks and modems you will need; tell your providers so they can give you an accurate estimate of installation fees
  • Call a few providers for phone, TV and Internet and compare rate packages for your new location; do price shopping for bundles of mobile + home phone + internet + TV; beware that these bundles prices will increase after 6 or 12 months
  • If you use a satellite TV provider, and you will be renting, check with the landlord or condo association for rules and locations for satellite dishes
  • Inform your local utilities providers of your last service date and arrange for any final meter readings. Give them your forwarding address for final bills. Also cancel local newspapers

Plan for Moving Pets (2 – 4 weeks ahead)

  • Cats and dogs can be taken in your car. If so, remember to take along food, water, a leash, newspaper or absorbent pads to keep your car clean
  • Animals can get car-sick and will require frequent stops along the way. Also, verify that the hotel where you are staying allows pets
  • For moving pets long distances, check out:

Plan for Moving House or Garden Plants (2 – 4 weeks ahead)

  • Check with your local U.S. Department of Agriculture for regulations regarding moving plants from one state to another. Many states have restrictions on certain plants to prevent importing bugs or pests that can destroy valuable cash crops.
  • Check out professional movers’ tips online; for example:

Plan for Moving Yard Care and Home Maintenance Items (2 – 4 weeks ahead)

  • Empty used coals from backyard grills into safe containers for trash pickup
  • Return propane tanks to supplier; most movers will not carry propane
  • Drain water from garden hoses and sprinklers; clean dirt and mud from lawn and garden tools; pack them in heavy black yard bags sealed with duct tape
  • Call the Solid Waste Division in your county for disposal instructions for paint, motor oil, pesticides, dyes, coolants. Please do not just dump them in your sewer or trash can!

Your Money and Your Mail (2 weeks ahead)

  • Fill out change of address order form for post office:
  • Fill out an IRS change of address form
  • Make sure all your friends, family and business associates have your new address; also change address for magazine subscriptions, national newspapers, alumni or political organizations, car insurance, etc. Here is a form to keep track:
  • Even if you manage bank accounts and credit cards online, you need to give them your new address, for notifications and tax documents, and to avoid fraud alerts when you start charging in your new location
  • Compare banks in your new location; decide whether to keep your current bank, if it has local branches, or open accounts in a new bank
  • If you choose a new bank, have your funds wired to the new bank from your current bank. Before closing, be sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments that haven’t been processed. Enter instructions for automatic payments with your new bank
  • Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents; decide whether to hand carry them to your new address or ship by mail or express shipping service (insured and with a tracking number)
  • Check with your insurance agent to ensure you’ll be covered through your homeowner’s or renter’s policy during the move. Get policies for your new location

Let’s Pack It In! (10 days before you move)

  • NOTE: packing always takes longer than you expect, so start more than a week ahead!
  • Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed, in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or video tape your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment. Make a list of which boxes hold valuables
  • Keep the following supplies handy for packing: Boxes, marking pen, bubble wrap, newspaper and tissue; clear packing tape and scissors; tape measure
  • Use strong boxes and containers that can be secured tightly. Purchase special boxes for dishes, wardrobe and other special items. Avoid loading more than 50 pounds into one box
  • For kitchen and bath, create one or two LOAD THIS BOX LAST for: medicines, bathroom supplies such as toilet paper, shower curtain, soap and towels; kitchen supplies for those first few take-out meals: paper towels, disposable plates, cups, forks, etc; snacks for you and your pets
  • Create a LOAD LAST MOVE-IN box with a few essential tools: screw drivers, scissors, flashlights, picture hooks, hammer, level, tape measure, and, of course, duct tape!
  • When boxes are being loaded into the truck, make sure these few boxes are LOADED LAST so they will be UNLOADED FIRST
  • Label each box with (a) The room it will go in and (b) Whether it is fragile
  • Pack audio-video equipment in their original boxes, if available. Label cables with colored tape and tighten transit screws. If removing screws, tape them to the objects they are removed from
  • Cushion contents with packing material such as bubble wrap, newspaper or tissue. Save room by using towels and blankets to wrap fragile items
  • Pack books tightly on end in small boxes. If musty smelling, sprinkle talcum powder between the pages and wrap the book before packing
  • Have rugs and draperies cleaned before moving and leave them in wrappings for the move
  • If you will be flying, carry only a few days worth of medicines; pack the remainder in a leak-proof container and hide in a numbered moving box
  • Carry all valuables such as jewelry with you; also carry spare eye glasses or contact lenses
  • Have each family member pack one or two suitcases with essential clothing and personal items, toothbrush, etc., including chargers for phones and other pocket electronics

Final Countdown (7 days to 1 day ahead)

  • Confirm moving date and time with movers or volunteer crew
  • Arrange for babysitting or pet care on moving day to reduce stress
  • Use up food items, so that there is less left to pack and possibly spoil
  • Defrost freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside to control odors.
  • Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed
  • Get cash or travelers checks for quick, available funds
  • Pick-up any dry cleaning, items in storage, or items lent to friends
  • The day before your move, return all items that will cost you if you forget: rented movies, cable or satellite boxes, dishes, modems, remote controls

We have Lift Off – Moving Day

  • Pick up your rented truck as early as they open; rent a wheeled dolly and moving pads & straps
  • If using a mover, make sure you understand the procedures for you to track weight, delivery time, and amount due on your bill
  • Watch loading and check-off boxes on your list (you made a list, right?)
  • Exchange mobile phone numbers and new address with movers, family members and volunteers
  • Get cash or cashier’s check to pay your movers, as necessary
  • Double check closets, drawers, shelves, attic and garage to be sure they are empty

Safe Landing – At Your New Home

  • As soon as you arrive, check all utilities and make sure they have been connected. If not, call your electricity, gas, oil or water suppliers immediately!
  • Watch unloading and check-off the boxes ; examine all items carefully before signing a receipt from the moving company
  • Locate the hospitals, police stations, veterinarian and fire stations near your home
  • Within the first month, renew your driver’s license, auto registration and tags
  • Shop around for new insurance policies, especially auto coverage
  • Transfer memberships in churches, clubs and civic organizations
  • Revise your will and other legal papers to avoid longer probate and higher legal fees
  • Register to vote
  • Set up automatic monthly payments for rent or mortgage, phone and utilities.
  • Don’t overspend for new curtains, furniture, etc. Take it slowly. It’s more important to rebuild your savings after you move than to complete all of your decorating right away
  • Ideally you should save an emergency fund (cash, not credit cards) for 3 to 6 months of living expenses.
  • Enjoy your new home!