Moving day is just around the corner! Your offer to buy a home has been accepted, escrow will close soon and it’s time to plan and prepare for your move. You may have hired a professional moving company or rented a truck and enlisted friends to help. Regardless, moving can be tough and moving day has the potential to be a long, tiring ordeal. Here are ten tips to make moving day activities less stressful and the process more efficient.
Tip #1 – Schedule A Transition Period
Moving from one home to another involves more than just relocating your possessions. Give yourself a few days to clean the new place before you move in and to clean the place you are leaving after it is vacant. Take whatever time is required to do everything based on the tasks at hand, work committments, and so forth.
Tip #2 – Take Notes During Final Walk-Through
The final walk-through is typically conducted by the buyer and the buyer’s agent in the final days just before escrow closes. It’s a chance to confirm that the property is still there and in the condition expected when ownership transfers. Use the inspection to confirm your list of tasks to be completed after escrow closes and before moving day. Seeing the areas helps to confirm what needs to be done, such as cleaning, minor repairs, and changes.
Tip #3 – Have Utilities Turned On When Escrow Closes
Not all utilities can be switched on in a few hours, so plan ahead. You want utilities turned on and in your name on escrow closing day so you can start pre-moving activities immediately. Most utilities can be turned on with a phone call or web site visit, but some may take more lead time to make sure they are active when you need them. Examples:
- Cable TV/Internet service may require a technician visit if the provider was not servicing the home during previous ownership. Get on their installaton schedule as soon as possible.
- Same with the alarm system. If installing a new alarm system, having it installed prior to move-in provides security during the transition period when the home is vacant.
- If buying a home in a rural area where heat and cooking are fueled by a propane tank, check the level of the tank during the final walk-through and, if needed, schedule a delivery. Don’t get caught on moving day with a three day supply when there is a five day wait for delivery.
Tip #4 – Do Deep Cleaning And Yard Service Prior To Move-In
Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, give the home a deep cleaning prior to moving day. Not having furniture and other items to move or work around means the cleaning will be more thorough and much easier. Giving the yard a mow, trim and sweep before moving day means you won’t have to worry about it for a week or two as you focus your energy on getting the interior organized.
Tip #5 – Create A Map
Draw a sketch of the interior layout of the home and label each room or space with a unique identifying number. Write the room number on each box so that whoever takes boxes off the moving truck will know precisely where to put them down. Post copies of the map at the front door and in hallways. You can even mark the rooms by writing the indentifying number on a piece of paper and taping it to the door or door frame.
If you have heavy furniture, you can add notes to the map showing where those items should be placed, which will reduce the amount of post-moving furniture re-arranging you’ll need to do. Since you don’t want to write on furniture with the same Sharpie you use to mark boxes, try putting painter’s tape on the furniture and write on the tape.
Tip #6 – Have Major Appliances Delivered Prior To Moving Day
If buying new appliances for the home, have them delivered before moving day. The delivery crew will have an easier time with installation if they don’t have to manuever around furniture and boxes. Early delivery also provides time to make sure the appliances are the right model, size, color and not damaged. If there is a problem, you have time to have a replacement delivered before moving in.
Tip #7 – Block Loading/Unloading Zones
If you don’t have a driveway where your hired moving van or rented truck can park during loading/unloading, you may need to reserve the space on your street along the curb. You can do that by parking a couple of cars there the night before moving day to make sure the spaces aren’t taken by neighbors or visitors. You can also set out traffic cones with notes taped to them to let everyone know you need the space for moving between certain hours. No cones? Try a couple big boxes with Caution tape strung between them. The alternative is to park the moving truck in the middle of the street, which could block traffic and prompt police to inform you to “move along.”
Tip #8 – Plan Around Rush Hour Traffic
Schedule your move so that your hired movers or helpful friends don’t get stuck in traffic. Moving companies may add a charge to your bill if their people have to spend three hours on the road when the drive is normally thirty minutes from your old home to your new one.
Tip #9 – Plan To Supervise
Whether you hired professional movers or asked friends for help, they will need supervision to make sure everything is placed in the new home where you want it. Don’t make your helpers stand around holding a heavy box while waiting for direction. Even if your map is clear and detailed and boxes are clearly marked, there will be questions about where things go and decisions may need to be made throughout the day. Assign someone to do nothing but direct traffic. If the new home is large and multi-level, you may need more than one person supervising.
Tip #10 – Take Care Of Your People
Even a properly organized and adequately staffed move is stressful and tiring. Make sure drinks, snacks and restroom facilities are available for everyone. Take rest and meal breaks at appropriate times and have a first aid kit available in case of bumps and scrapes. Place chairs in the back yard where everyone can sit and rest.
Show your appreciation when the move is done. Ordering pizza after the last box is off the truck is a common way to show gratitude to your crew.
Bonus Tip – Mail Pick-Up
Even if you’ve submitted an address change card to the Postal Service so your mail is forwarded to your new home, give the new owners of your old home your contact information so they can inform you when potentially important mail arrives with your name on it. If you were renting, make sure the landlord has a way to get in touch with you. Also let them know you will drop by to get the mail, they don’t have to bring it to you (this will make them less likely to toss your mail into the trash).
If you moved out of town, consider asking the listing agent who helped you sell your old home to pick up the mail and send it to you. Cordon Real Estate offers this free service to sellers who move out of the area.
Successful moving days start with detailed planning and preparation. Create a task list and update it as you go. When you have an escrow closing date and pick a moving day, contact movers, utility providers and everyone who will help with your move. Have a safe and enjoyable moving day!