You’re finally making that move. You've sold your house and found the new home of your dreams. If you've been embroiled in real estate negotiations, perhaps moving day has snuck up on you and will be here before you know it.
So … What steps do you need to take before the moving truck pulls up in front of your house?
Set up the move. Set a date and create a moving day budget. How much are you planning to take along with you in your car? Are you packing up a U-Haul? Or will you be using a moving service? Your real estate agent will have information on reliable movers in your area, and you will probably want to get estimates from several of them. When a moving company gives you a quote, make sure it includes any items that might require special consideration, such as a grand piano or grandfather clock, as well as anything fragile. If you are moving far away, you may also need to contact a transportation company about shipping one or more vehicles. Again, your real estate agent will know where to start.
Get packing. Before moving day is imminent, you’ll want to have as many of your belongings packed as possible, unless your movers are going to be packing everything for you. By now, if you’ve been showing your house for sale, you’ve probably gotten rid of anything you don’t plan to take with you to your new home. If not, now is the time. Start stockpiling boxes and newspapers. Wardrobe boxes are useful for transporting clothing, and you’ll want to pack heavy items like books in smaller boxes. While you are packing, make at least a cursory inventory of what you put in each box so you will know whether anything is missing when you arrive at your new home. Label each box with the name of the room in which will belong in your new house. If your budget permits, let the moving company pack fragile objects; they are the experts at getting your belongings to their destination unscathed. If you are doing all of your packing yourself, make sure that boxes containing fragile items are well marked.
Manage your utilities and services. As moving day approaches, call utility companies and transfer or cancel your accounts. Set up utilities at your new home so that they will be switched on prior to moving day. That way, your electricity, heat, and water will be hooked up and you’ll be able to use your phone and the Internet upon your arrival. Discontinue services at your old address like landscaping and snow removal, newspaper subscriptions, and dry cleaning delivery and if you wish, set them up at your new home.
Get the word out. Prior to moving day, send out change of address postcards to friends and family with your new address listed. Or send out a mass email to people you know to inform them of your move. Likewise, change your address with your bank, major credit cards, and other accounts - often, you can accomplish this online. Finally, you can fill out a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service (either in person or online) to forward your mail so that anything you’ve forgotten to change will still make its way to you.
Wrap up last-minute tasks on moving day. When the movers have finished loading the last of your boxes and furnishings, do a sweep of the interior and exterior of your house before the truck pulls away in order to ensure that nothing has been left behind. Hire a cleaning service to come in and clean anything you don’t have time to (or don’t want to) clean yourself. Your real estate agent will have contact information for this sort of service. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are emptied and defrosted. And as you head off to your new destination, keep important documents and jewelry with you, regardless of how you are traveling to your new home.
Welcome home! If you’re moving to another state or municipality, you’ll have to change your insurance, re-register your car and pets, and enroll your children in new schools. With some planning ahead, you’ll have gotten any repairs and renovations out of the way and your new home will be ready for you to settle in. Deciding where your furniture should go in your new home will be helpful to your movers when your belongings arrive. Once the movers leave, you’ll be busy with unpacking and organizing – take your time and approach this as a fun project. Don’t forget to change your locks and re-program the code to your garage door. Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are functioning. It may have been a lot of work, but now you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’re done! Now it’s time for a housewarming party!