Moving. It’s a long haul, whether relocating down the block, or migrating clear across the country. While each situation is unique, there are certain factors all movers will be faced with at some point during the often-lengthy process. The better prepared and more knowledgeable you are, the easier time you will have navigating this major transition.
We have compiled a collection of helpful hints for those in the planning stages, including everything from obtaining initial estimates from professional moving companies to the intricacies of packing and unpacking, best practices to avoid any seasonal pitfalls, as well the protocol involved in setting up utilities and tipping movers.
If something is classified as “no fee,” this means that a broker—if you are using one—will not charge an additional finder’s fee. This will instead be covered by the owner or landlord. Rent-stabilized properties are locked in a fixed price, which cannot fluctuate; non-stabilized, by contrast, can increase at the close of the lease, based upon the discretion of a lease manager.
A security deposit, generally required upon signing a contractual agreement, is returned upon fulfillment of the lease, pending an assessment of the condition of the living quarters. In some cases, the cost of any damage sustained will be deducted from this total. Renter’s insurance, though optional, is recommended as an added measure of security, and can include both personal property and liability coverage.
Make sure you have properly taken inventory beforehand, itemizing those belongings to be moved to avoid any additional charges down the line. It’s important to confirm whether the company in question provides binding or non-binding estimates, as the latter can fluctuate based on the final weight of the cargo to be transported. Also, confirm the expiration date on the quote you receive. These can have a shelf life which ranges from one week to 90 days.
Winter may not be a prime time to relocate, weather-wise. However, home prices tend to dip during this season, and moving dates are far easier to book. To avoid any unnecessary pitfalls, make sure all utilities are fully functioning prior to move-in. Take measures to clear all walkways of snow and ice, and protect floors from any salt and sand that will undoubtedly be tracked in throughout the day. Spring is a notoriously big season for selling, and is an ideal time to take stock of your belongings and do some major spring cleaning in preparation for your fresh start.
Summer, while it avoids disruptions in the school schedule, is also understandably the busiest time, typically requiring a window of three to four weeks advance notice to book a mover. Hydration is key, as warm temperatures can wreak havoc on a such a manual undertaking. Don’t forget to make sure air conditioning units are installed and fully functioning on that first day. Autumn brings with it lower prices and increased availability, cutting the window most movers need to about 10 days advance notice.
For those who elect to go it alone, take stock of your belongings to determine what you’re keeping, those items that can be donated or sold, and those better off being discarded altogether. Begin collecting sturdy, high-quality boxes, along with an ample supply of packing tape, protective bubble wrap and other insulating materials.
Lists are your friend, as they provide a valuable safeguard against any small detail being overlooked. Fragile items should be packed separately for transport with you, to avoid any unnecessary jostling that could lead to breakage. Valuables, as well, should remain easily accessible during the entirety of the process. Pack heavier items on the bottom of boxes, with lighter ones on top, taking care to fill each carton so all cargo is properly secured. When finished, label each box with your name, destination, and contents.
When scheduling, be sure to stop service at your old residence the day after you plan to move, that way you can be assured of having hot water and electric up until the moment you close the door behind you for good. Your start date should be designated as the day before you cross the threshold for the first time, to avoid any inconvenient delays, which can cause undue stress.
On average, 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of the move, divided evenly among the movers, is an acceptable standard. Some choose to select a flat amount, somewhere in the range of $10 to $20 per person. It’s common to tip the foreman, who will distribute the total among his employees, but you can also elect to tip each mover individually, whichever way you feel most comfortable.
Assuming your boxes are labeled appropriately, you should have a fairly easy time discerning what room each belongs in. Begin with the kitchen, unloading the pots and pans and necessary items first. Next, move on to the bedrooms and bathrooms, focusing on the basics, leaving the details and organization for later. After this, you can begin to tackle the furniture, putting together those pieces that require assembly in the rooms they will be permanently residing, to avoid unnecessary transport later.
Once you’re relatively settled in, you can take your time with the decor, arranging things as you see fit, designing your living quarters in the way most conducive to your specific tastes and lifestyle. This is the fun part, when a house—or apartment—becomes your home sweet home.
Those are the basics, tips that virtually everyone can use at some point during the course of the move, no matter how big or small. And, if you do decide to hire a professional mover, the process will be even further simplified.