Moving 101 – Maintaining Your Sanity

by Hello Blue
February 13, 2020
Reading Time: 8 minutes

When you have been fortunate to find a qualified buyer willing to pay the price of your home, the challenging part is over. 

Or is it?

Perhaps it is better to describe finding a ready, willing, and able buyer as one of the more challenging parts of moving, but, in reality, the work involved during the move has just begun.   

Plan your Move While Selling your Home

Real estate professionals will tell you that it typically takes 30 – 60 days for a real estate transaction to close, although the timing might vary significantly by location. This 1 – 2-month timeframe is a great time to develop a viable plan to move. Include quotes from moving services. 

Here are a few other important moving insights to consider. 

Select a Realistic Occupancy Date

Contract negotiations generally include a decision regarding an occupancy date for the new owners. Typically, the seller and the buyer come to some occupancy date agreement, although there are times when an occupancy date works for the buyer but not the seller, or vice versa.

Sellers must be careful when deciding upon the occupancy date for them because two months (or less) is simply not a lot of time to prepare for moving from one home to another. 

Make Final Walkthroughs Meaningful

In general, a buyer arranges to do a final walkthrough about a week before closing, if the occupancy date and closing date are the same. This final walkthrough is essential because it is an excellent opportunity to provide –

  • Maintenance documentation and manuals for the heating and air-conditioning units to the new owners.
  • Access codes for doors or alarms.
  • Days the trash is picked up.
  • Understand the homeowner’s association rules and regulations, if applicable.
  • Information regarding any unique home quirks.
Measure your New Space

While hunting for your new home, it is a good idea to take pictures and measurements of each of the rooms in the home you plan on buying.  For those digitally inclined, it is simple and cost-effective to create a digital floor plan of the new home using the Magic Plan app. This app integrates with a smartphone or camera that can scan the room and create two-dimensional floor plans. 

Schedule Repairs and Upgrades Before you Move 

While it is unlikely a new owner can make any changes to the home they have yet to close, the new owner can certainly use this two-month timeframe to schedule projects and set up appointments with decorators before moving.

Before moving in, if possible, do as much as the dirty, grunt work (cleaning, painting, papering, etc.) while the house is empty. By doing the grunt work before moving, the work will likely be completed faster and at a reduced cost.  

Decluttering Saves Money & Time 

Decluttering has become an art form, with decluttering specialists available to help with the most challenging of cluttered homes. Despite its status as an artform, decluttering can be a great way to save money and time as you prepare to move.

Decluttering can potentially –

  • Increase the home’s value by upwards of 5%. 
  • Decrease the cost of moving by choosing to NOT move items that are no longer used or wanted. Most professional movers charge for their services by the hour, so it would be utterly foolish to pay someone to move something that is no longer used or needed!
  • Decrease the time it takes to pack and then unpack. 

Consider Selling Unwanted Items 

The first job is to sort through your belongings and decide what you will keep and what must go. Then, a second decision is required to determine if the unwanted item can be sold online or should it just be donated to others in need. 

The first sales option is the trusty-old garage sale. This is the best way to try to sell all the items in one specific timeframe. However, it is essential to remember that garage sale-shoppers are bargain-hunters. The item had better be unique, or the price better be less than cheap.

Another viable option in the digital age is selling items online in the many safe and established used items websites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, for example. Use high-quality photos from several angles, including brand labels, if applicable. List dimensions and other important information about the item for sale. 

Here are a few specialty websites for selling unwanted or unused items. Use caution and logic when selling your items second-hand. 

Poshmark
This app works wonders for reselling unwanted wardrobe items like clothing, handbags, shoes, and other accessories.

Craigslist
This app allows for the sale of pretty much anything you can sell. 

Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace was built to rival Craigslist in that one can sell most items. 

eBay
eBay
was once an online selling titan. It has recently taken a hit by the many specialty websites available online. eBay remains, however,  a great website to sell used electronics, collectibles or antiques.

Chairish
Chairish performs as a consignment store that specializes in furniture. Be sure to take great photos, and remember, Chairish takes about 30% commission. 

Discogs
Discogs is recognized among the top websites to sell analog music collections. Cataloging skills required.

Donate Useable Items

Consider donating unused items to the many worthy charities in your area. Goodwill, animal shelters, and libraries often offer pickup services. Check out donationtown.org.

Remove Junk by Junk Removal Professionals

Some people prefer hiring pros to haul away those items that are no longer wanted but not really in a condition to donate. Haul Junk Moving by College HUNKS has perfected junk hauling. 

Packing Suggestions

Appropriate packing can be taken to an art form. The most important part of packing is remembering to make unpacking easy. Stay organized and efficient. 

Get the Necessary Equipment

Tools

Moving can be back-breaking work but made it easier by having the correct packing tools. At a bare minimum, packing a home for a move should include markers, a dolly, tape, sticky-notes, measuring tape, tape gun, trash bags, furniture sliders, and a box cutter. Consider renting a dolly at a local hardware store for a day or so during the move. 

Bags

Ziplock plastic bags are quite helpful when packing as they can be used to protect belongings by keeping liquids (like lotions, sunscreens, and perfumes) from spilling or fabrics from snagging. Consider using a space-saving Spacebags to minimize packing volume. 

Padding 

Padding can help protect items during the move. There are many options for padding like bubble wrap, newspaper, towels, or blankets. Cellophane is a smart way to wrap and protect furniture.

Boxes

Moving boxes are available in all sizes, from small to wardrobes, picture moving boxes or clear plastic bins. Some experts anticipate that owners of 3 bedroom homes may need between 70 and 100 different sized boxes to move. 

Use a Label System

Accurately labeling your boxes help facilitate the entire move. Each box should –

  • Be labeled with its destination room.
  • Have bulleted contents, and Fragile if needed

Apps to Facilitate the Moving Process

Check out these apps that help organize the moving process –

Moving Van

This app allows those who are moving to organize boxes by name and room,  and then add the contents with photos. 

Sortly

This app allows those individuals planning to move to print labels using color codes and QR codes that are scannable. 

Choose a Moving Team & Method of Moving

It is important to begin to decide how you wish to move. There are several options that are discussed below. 

Professional Movers

Professional movers offer the least stressful moving options. There will be no need for heavy lifting or even packing. The price varies by location, distance moved, the volume of belongings, and the type of service contracted for. Consumer Affairs offers a helpful list of average rates, but those planning to move must obtain at least a quote or two. 

The Cons

Hiring professional movers is typically the most expensive way to move and requires owners to relinquish control of their belongings to a professional company. 

Rental Truck

Renting a truck and personally driving it to your new home is the least expensive way to move. Additionally, this method allows for total control over your belongings. Rental Truck pricing varies by size and distance. On average, rental truck costs for local moves average about $155 and just under $1,000 for long-distance moves. 

The Cons 

You are the responsible party for the heaving lifting and truck loading. This method will likely take longer than hiring professional movers. Plus, you must drive the truck and take on the risks associated with operating a large commercial vehicle.

Pods

Pods are the newest innovation in moving. Pods are a cost-effective way to move your belongings without having to drive a large truck. The cost to rent a Pod depends on how long it is needed but averages about $450 for a local move and about $800 for a more long-distance move. Note, though, mileage charges may apply. 

The Cons – You must do the heavy lifting and lose some control of the move while the POD is being transported professionally.  

Leave your Home Pristine for the New Owners

Most purchase contracts state that a home must be left in broom clean condition. Hiring a cleaner before you leave the sold home is smart because most sellers are simply too exhausted from moving themselves to take care of this requirement.  

Set-Up Services at New Address 

There is a lot to do when moving to a new home. It is easy to forget to provide a mail forwarding notice to the post office. The USPS allows for a Change your address online, ahead of time. 

Also, update billing addresses for credit cards, car registration, insurance, subscriptions, doctors, employers, and schools, if applicable.  

Many share their move using moving announcement cards that can be customized online at Shutterfly. 

Shut Off & Transfer Utilities

It is easy to set up a utility shut-off date well in advance, to ensure these accounts are closed the day you move. It is also smart to set up a start date in the new home regarding the electricity, gas, and water utility services.  

Connect the Internet, Phone & Entertainment System

Generally, one company offers these services in a bundled package, which makes it easy to transfer them with just one phone call. However, it pays to research coverage in the new home’s location before staying with the same provider. If you stay with the same provider, try to negotiate a better deal by reminding them that you have a choice, and you may choose someone else’s services.  

Secure your Home

It is important to secure your new home. This is easily accomplished by changing passcodes, changing door locks, and checking the expiration dates on the home’s fire extinguishers.

Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are in working order.

Become Involved in Your New Community

Harvard scientists have shown through research that an individual’s life expectancy is tied to a strong community connection. However, only 1/3 of Americans know their neighbor’s name.

Take the time to say hello to neighbors and begin to increase your well-being during your transition by feeling like you are a part of the community.

Settle In

Moving is exciting, but also overwhelming. Let’s review how to help family members adjust to their new home.

The Kids

Moving is often scary for children as they have no control over what is happening. To help acclimate the kids to their new home consider the following ideas –

  • Let the kids help design their room.
  • Prioritize unpacking their room with them.
  • Have a going-away party. 
  • Share memories when saying goodbye to the old home. 
  • Make a memory book for the new house and new friends. 

The Seniors

Seniors often find moving challenging for the same reasons as children – a fear of change and a lack of control. Be patient as you –

  • Walk the house together to allow them to familiarize themselves.
  • Install necessary modifications – bath handrails and wheelchair ramps.
  • Explain where the nearest hospital and their physician is located.
  • Help find community activities for seniors nearby.  

The Pets

Pets add of few extra steps to the move, so it is best to plan ahead. 

  • Update pet license with the local licensing department.
  • Update the microchip address or tag.
  • Check local laws to make sure the pets have required vaccinations.
  • Pets should be calmed before long-distance drives. If your move includes a long trip, buy your pet treats with calming ingredients to soothe nerves. 
  • Outdoor cats should stay inside for a couple of weeks to allow them to acclimate to their new outdoor digs. Consider these how-to tips.

Sit Back and Enjoy

When the movers have left, take a moment to collect your thoughts before you begin to get to know your new space.  

Some people have the ability to move into a home and know exactly where everything should go; however, many others need time to decide how to set up the house in a way that works. 

There is no rush or time limit, except the ones you place on yourself. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts and savor the moment.