Know your Options When Planning a Move

What to consider when relocatingMore than half of all relocations happen in late spring through the summer.  For one thing, the weather is usually more pleasant.  Also, families with children are less inclined to move in the middle of a school year.  Whether you’re downsizing to a condo or buying a larger home for a growing family, research the following options while planning a move.  Keep your budget in mind, as well as your own enthusiasm for heavy lifting. 

Renting a truck and doing it yourself:  For this option, you’ll need some good friends, a strong back, lots of patience and excellent organization skills.  You’ll also need to draw upon your spatial reasoning skills to pack the truck efficiently.  You’ll need to budget for truck rental fees, fuel costs, boxes and tape, plus food for your helpers. If your move requires some highway travel, you’ll need to know which states require you to stop at weigh stations along the way. 

Hiring a full-service moving company:  A moving company can pack your belongings, load the truck, and unpack everything at your new destination. This is sometimes the more expensive option but if you consider the value of your time, truck rental fees, fuel costs, and peace of mind, this is often the best option for many.  If you’re moving cross-country, knowing an experienced truck driver is transporting your valuable belongings will remove some of the anxiety that comes with any move.  Keep in mind that large moving vans carry property for multiple homes.  If your new house or condo isn’t the first stop, you may experience up to a week without your belongings, and you’ll need to get to the new home before they arrive.  In your own car, you’ll need to pack a week’s worth of clothes and supplies, precious valuables, pets and delicate plants.

A little of both: If you’re more comfortable packing your items yourself, and think you can handle up to a 24-foot truck, hiring a team to simply load and unload the truck for you may make good sense, especially on a local move.  A team of 2-3 professionals can load a typical home’s worth of belongings in just a couple of hours.  These teams know how to properly load balance the truck and can make maximum use of the space inside.  If you’re planning a move cross-country but hiring a full-service moving company is beyond your budget, you can save some money by packing everything yourself.

There are multiple combinations of services you can choose from with most moving companies.  Many provide detailed checklists that you can follow to ensure your move goes smoothly.  A good checklist should include advice on tasks such as:

  • Having a garage sale and/or donating items to charity
  • Transferring utilities
  • Transferring medical/school records
  • Completing the address change notification for the post office
  • Cancelling services such as pest control or lawn maintenance
  • Completing an inventory of your items/boxes
  • Securing homeowners insurance on the new property

Check with your homeowners insurance agent to understand if your current policy can be transferred to the new home. You’ll also want to talk to your agent to understand what happens if your items are lost or destroyed in the move.