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Moving tips for homeowners

By | Published: Oct 14, 2009 | 41 Comments

Transporting belongings from one home to another is a big task that's often fraught with anxiety, even when a move is efficiently planned and coordinated. Follow these tips from Trulia to make your next move as stress-free as possible:

  1. Get recommendations

    Ask for the names of reputable and reliable moving companies from friends, co-workers and family. Inquire about their experiences, and note what worked and didn't work, as well as how much they paid. Seek out their advice on how to make your move a smooth one.

  2. Check background

    For movers you are considering, check whether each is a licensed member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), a trade group.

    AMSA has a ProMover service in which they've checked the credentials of all the movers registered with their program. You can search for movers by moving date and your to and from locations on the AMSA website.

    Referral websites like Yelp and Angie's List (subscription required) can also help you find reputable movers.

    Verify whether there have been any complaints filed against the moving company with the Better Business Bureau.

  3. Seek estimates

    Get "not to exceed" estimates -- binding estimates that cap how much you'll be charged -- from movers. Ask for "in-home" estimates, as they are more accurate than ones conducted over the phone.

    Watch for hidden fees. Know what you'll be expected to pay and what services will be covered -- some movers charge by weight and distance, while others charge by the number of man hours it'll take to transport your stuff.

    The more you own, the more you most likely will be charged; if you ask that your belongings be boxed for you, that will come at an extra cost.

  4. Think insurance

    Take an inventory and dollar amount of the belongings you're moving and check what kind and how much liability coverage the mover provides.

    Is it enough to cover the value of the belongings? Research the procedures for submitting a claim with each company in the event something happens.

    Your homeowner's insurance may cover some of your belongings' value -- check your policy.

  5. Know the rules

    If you are being relocated by your employer, check with their moving policy to understand their rules and regulations and exactly what part of the bill will be footed by them.

  6. Reduce

    Donate or sell as much stuff as you can -- it may lessen the cost of your move and will make packing and unpacking easier. Try hosting a garage sale, or selling your items online through websites like Ebay or Craigslist. The Vietnam Veterans of America offers a great pick-up service for donated items, and will come right to your door. Other charities offer similar services.

  7. Plan ahead

    Book a mover six to eight weeks before your move. Plan which items will go where and pack by room. Color code the boxes and wrap fragile items in crumpled paper or bubble wrap before boxing, placing them on top. Mark "fragile" in bold letters on boxes with breakable items. Seal the boxes well -- so nothing may fall out while being transported and to protect the items should they be placed in professional storage -- or your basement.

    Set aside essential items you'll need right away (toiletries, clothing, etc.) and move them yourself so they can be easily relocated the day of your move. It's also a good idea to move important documents (birth certificates, bank records, closing papers, etc.) and valuable jewelry yourself so you won't loose track of them.

  8. Keep in touch

    Make a list of all those who need to know of your move -- friends, family, utilities, businesses and the United States Postal Service -- and give them your new contact information and the date that it will be in effect.


By Chad F,  Thu Oct 29 2009, 09:46
Here are some tips for moving with children..
Kids don't even like to change their socks, so imagine how difficult it is for them to change addresses, schools and friends. Because the home is a special source of security and comfort for children, many families may experience concerns about leaving their familiar surroundings. Although parents understand why moving may be necessary, the reasons might not be clear your children. Mayflower Transit has some simple steps that can help to ease your children's fears and make the whole moving process as easy as counting to three.

Discuss the Move in an Open Family Forum
Break the news about the move to everyone in the family together, and focus on the “when,” “where,” “how” and “why” of the moving process. Be sure your child understands that the move is a positive event for the whole family.

Make New Friends but Keep the Old
Before the move, give your children an opportunity to spend time with their friends to say goodbye. Mayflower has a special moving kit for children that includes fun cards that kids can use to exchange address information with friends.

Involve the Kids in the Moving Process
Ask your children to help you plan the route your family will take to your new home. When the van operator arrives, introduce him or her to the children. For safety reasons, make sure your children understand the importance of staying clear of the driver's path when he or she is moving boxes and furniture into the van. Other ideas include making a game of navigating the best route to travel in an atlas or on a road map or letting your children decorate and label their own boxes and pack their “special belongings.”

Alleviate Fears
If possible, take the children to see their new home and neighborhood in advance. This will help to take the “mystery” out of the move. Introducing your children to their new neighbors will reassure them that they will make new friends after the move. If it is not possible to go to your new neighborhood, try to compile as much information about the neighborhood as you can. The Internet can offer a wealth of resources. Also, try to get a couple of photographs of your new home and surroundings (ask your real estate agent to help), and share all of the information with your children.

Pursue New Activities
Help your kids to make new friends by getting them involved in extracurricular activities in their new neighborhood. Sports leagues, community kids' clubs and classes specific to your child's interests will keep them busy and make them feel more at home in their new surroundings.

Once you have arrived at the new address, let your children pick their favorite restaurant, type of food or activity to “celebrate” their help in making the move successful and the beginning of a new adventure.
By Jim Paulson,  Wed Jan 6 2010, 23:49
Chad, good advice on the kids. I have found simple things like assuring them there is a McDonalds in the new town = acceptance.

There are companies like "PODS" that let you pack yourself for a lot less money (if you know what you are doing and don't waste space or create breakage".

Make sure your Realtor reads and understands your employee relocation manual (if applicable) so that you receive the benefits you are entitled to!

In #5, I remember being transferred prior to my real estate career, from New York to the Washington DC area in which I realized they would pay for two cars to drive to the new location so I had my wife drive the second car with all our plants and stuff they wouldn't "move" for us (i.e. chemicals, glassware, etc.).

#6 talks about "reducing". For example, I bought an electric organ from one of my clients and several fridges since the cost for them to sell locally and rebuy an equivelent item in their new place was less than paying the cost of getting the item to the new location!

Ask your Realtor for boxes! If your Realtor specializes in relocation, they may keep surplus boxes available for you to use instead of requiring you to buy them.

Ask your Realtor if they have any relocation benefits. For example, I let my clients use my secured storage facilities, my flatbed trailer for local moves, my boxes for moving; etc.
By Fran Rokicki,  Sat Oct 23 2010, 14:44
I would add, think of your pets, also. Dogs and cats will feel the excitement and the activity of the packing for the move. Take the dogs for walks, give them plenty of attention and playtime. Pack the pet toys and beds, last. When you arrive at your new home, unpack the pets things first.
By Sean Kimbrough,  Thu Jan 27 2011, 11:51
Here is a link to help out with Tip 4, take an inventory of your contents as you're packing them and use this inventory list

By Joanne Bernardini,  Tue Jun 21 2011, 16:55
After looking at the cost of moving boxes, I purchased heavy duty clear plastic tubs with a tight fitting lids for the same price! If they have to go into storage, the contents stay dry and bug free. You can then keep some for attic and basement storage and sell the rest at a yard sale! Attaching a paper to the INSIDE
of each of the four sides of the tub with the name of the room the box is destined to land in your new house, helps you and the moving men know where to take them when they carry them off the truck!
By Cathy Bureau,  Sun Jul 17 2011, 21:43
Label your boxes well so you can find what you need without having to open things unnecessarily when you aren't ready.

Pets - they too have difficulty with change. Make sure you keep their cages, bedding, etc. so they have a sense of familiarity.

Kids only freak out about moving if the parents make it a negative. Focus on the positives and find a way to stay connected in a fun way with their old friends. Where we live the school boundaries change almost yearly due to growth so really, school is a moot issue. Their classrooms change and other people move. If you are challenged so will your kids; if you make it exciting so will be your kids thoughts.
By Adrian Provost,  Mon Feb 27 2012, 16:31
Wonderful post!
By Matie,  Mon Jun 25 2012, 04:31
Ask your children to help you plan the route your family will take to your new home. When the van operator arrives, introduce him or her to the children. For safety reasons, make sure your children understand the importance of staying clear of the driver's path when he or she is moving boxes and furniture into the van. Other ideas include making a game of navigating the best route to travel in an atlas or on a road map or letting your children decorate and label their own boxes and pack their “special belongings

By Rick Jackson,  Sun Aug 26 2012, 10:08
Moving can be very stressful. No matter how hard you try, and organized you may be, you should expect some bumps. Don't let them bother you. You will get settled.

By Jeff Metcalf,  Sat Nov 17 2012, 21:41
Thanks for sharing~
By nickmott2012,  Fri Nov 30 2012, 15:23
Thanks for the tips hopefully they will help me and the movers in Vancouver get moved more efficiently. http://www.bc-albertamovers.com
By Jay Taylor,  Sun Aug 18 2013, 05:46
Thanks for sharing. I would like to add, when planning to move pack those unnecessary items first that is not essential up until the day of the move.
By Jim Cramer,  Tue Oct 15 2013, 19:19
Great Post!
Thanks for sharing.
By Elizabeth Sagarminaga,  Fri Jan 10 2014, 07:22
I would like to add that before moving be aware of all that can comfortably be housed in the new property. Take measurements of the property and then of your stuff- the furniture, the appliances etc. Mentally arrange the stuff in your new home and only then start packing. This will help you reduce time spent as well as money spent on packing. Be careful with fragile stuff. Also be careful of the stuff-you-cannot-be-separated-from.
By Shabana Pathan Group,  Mon Apr 7 2014, 19:27
Moving is not easy! Be prepared for last minute surprises. However, focus on outcome and not on hurdles! Wish you great luck!
By Judi Monday, CRS,  Fri Apr 11 2014, 08:40
Moving is a great time to get rid of all the things that you no longer want, need or use. By doing so you'll save yourself some money by not having them moved.
By Gary Papirov,  Tue Apr 15 2014, 10:13
Here Is A Checklist Of Things You Need To Do:
1) Do You Need Insurance?
2) Order Boxes And Supplies
3) Get Recommendations For A Reliable Moving Company
4) Notify Critical Parties That You Are Moving
•Credit card company
•Financial institutions and investment companies
•Your office
•Insurance company
•Utility Company
•Any institution or club that you are a member of
•Magazines or journals that you subscribe to
•Phone company
•Cable company
•Health care
5) Inform your local post office of your move and leave the forwarding address with them. Notify family and friends of change in your mailing address.
6) Pay Bills And Disconnect Services
•Home Maintenance
7) Begin Packing
8) Is Your New Home Large Enough?
9) Renting A Storage Unit – This is a practical idea, especially if your furniture won’t fit into your new home or you have a lot of stuff but less space in new home. Storage units are safe and the best way to stow moveable property. Be sure to pack your goods properly and label them before shifting. Rents depend on the size of the unit and the duration you want to lease it.
10) Final Checklist
•Donate or sell items that you don’t need instead of lugging them to your new home
•Ensure you empty, defrost and clean the freezer and refrigerator
•Start using perishables and other supplies days before the move
•Check lofts, storage area under the staircase, the garage etc to ensure everything has been packed
By Joseph Tsomik,  Thu Apr 17 2014, 07:59
- Change the locks.
- Create an inventory of your belongings.
- Repair and paint while the home is empty.
- Whole-House cleaning.
By Stephanie Scott,  Mon Jun 9 2014, 22:31
check to see if the window treatments are out dated? and safe? Old treatments should be replaced. Especially if you hve children. Blind cord safety is serious.....

"Nearly one child is strangling in window cords every two weeks. Almost all of these deaths (93 percent) are children three years old and under." http://parentsforwindowblindsafety.org/ According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, corded window coverings are among the top five hidden hazards in American homes. Check your window coverings for exposed or dangling cords. Use retrofit kits http://goo.gl/TfyIhY or replace them with today’s safer products. Safety experts recommend using only cordless window coverings like Plantation Shutters in homes with young children. Educate yourself http://shuttersblindsva.com/child-safety.html
By removalsfurniture99,  Mon Jun 23 2014, 02:38
Your advice on transporting belongings from one location to another location is very effective. We can easily move without any stress by following these tips. http://readymovers.com.au/services
By Kiara Jane Thorne,  Tue Oct 28 2014, 13:54
My family wasn't prepared to move two states away, it was very unexpected. So when it came to packing, we were in a big hurry. It was very unorganized, I wish I had called a company to help us move. http://www.midwestmoving.com/relocation/business
By Calvin James,  Fri Nov 21 2014, 17:49
What are your recommendations for packing? It seems like there are a lot of good options out there. What do you think are the best value storage equipment? Are plastic boxes worth the extra cost? Sorry for all the questions, this is just my first time moving a long distance. http://www.shelvingracklockers.com/
By djennifer009,  Tue Dec 16 2014, 19:01
I agree, and I think there's a lot to your "plan ahead" point. When the movers come, you should already have everything packed and ready to go. I've also found it useful to make sure they have parking that's as close as possible. Otherwise moving the furniture is going to be a pain. | https://myareecarhire.com.au
By djennifer009,  Sat Jan 17 2015, 08:19
I also like the reduce idea. So many people pack up all their junk that's accumulated over the years just so they can truck it to the next house. When you're packing, really consider what you want to have at your new home. I think people would be surprised at how much they could leave behind. | http://www.rblogisticsalaska.com
By Cory Trevor,  Tue Jan 27 2015, 05:40
I am glad that I read the seventh tip. My family will be moving at the end of the month, and we don't have any moving supplies. We already hired a moving company, so we kind of forgot about packing. I am sure that the movers will have their own supplies, but we have a lot of junk.

By Mark Saunders,  Thu Feb 5 2015, 10:04
label everything
By Vamshi Ra,  Wed Mar 11 2015, 23:30
Thanks for posting good information about relocation services, i appreciate your effort for doing this work. - http://www.packersandmoversatjaipur.com
By Vamshi Ra,  Thu Mar 19 2015, 05:37
Nice article this is nice and knowledgeable post. http://www.packersandmoversmarathahalli.co.in
By tom.stubbs.1234,  Tue Mar 31 2015, 07:40
I think the biggest tip you pointed out is to plan ahead. You really have to plan ahead if you are moving. It can get crazy and hectic, but if you have a basic plan and know what's going on you can reduce the crazy. Moving will always be stressful, but you can make it less by planning ahead. http://arizonaactivemovers.com/
By Peter,  Wed Apr 1 2015, 08:03
Moving can be very stressful. No matter how hard you try, and organized you may be, you should expect some bumps. So I found a good idea for start-up - rent an old and cheap warehouse, buy used shelving systems like http://www.arkerconfig.com/products/ and offer best storage services for movers!
By bengibson4113,  Fri Apr 17 2015, 19:49
These are some great tips, I never considered tip #4 in calculating how much all your stuff is worth & getting it insured. I'd imagine having insurance on your stuff would be a great relief during a move. Tip #5 is also great, consulting with your company to see if & what they may cover in moving costs. My brother ended up having to relocate a few years ago. He said the company covered the entire move. http://www.pricesremovals.com.au
By Nora Moore,  Wed Apr 22 2015, 08:13
Getting an estimate is a good idea. I've never heard of "not to exceed" estimates before, but I can see how they can be useful. It would be nice to know exactly how much the price can be at maximum. Having insurance is relaxing as well. I like knowing that I'm covered. http://www.fidelitymovingandstorage.com/Residential_Move.html
By EdwardThirlwall,  Thu May 14 2015, 22:10
We've got an equivalent removals governance in Australia called the Australian Furniture Removalists' association and it governs self storage companies as well as removals companies.
By Randybradford6,  Tue May 19 2015, 18:29
I never knew you could request estimates from different moving companies. Being able to know what you are going to have to pay for a moving service seems like it could help you budget for your move better. I have a friend who is moving in a few months and this might be some good advice for her. Making sure you find a moving business that provides both quality work and competitive pricing might also be some good advice to consider. http://www.christoffersonmoving.com/call-an-expert-moving-company-for-your-madison-wi-move/
By 89jackmoore,  Mon Oct 12 2015, 15:59
Wow, I had no idea "not to exceed" quotes even existed. That's really smart though, so they can't all of a sudden jerk up the price for any reason. I had also never heard of the AMSA, I'll have to look into that for my upcoming move. Thank so much for writing, very informative and helpful. http://movers201.com
By 89jackmoore,  Mon Nov 9 2015, 15:38
These are some really helpful tips and tricks! Moving is already a stressful time for you. There's no reason to make it worse by having a bad moving experience. Always do your research and get estimates from a couple different companies to see what your best options are. Thanks so much for writing!
By Bob,  Tue Jan 5 2016, 13:31
Great advice, I will definitely use this advice for when I move this upcoming April. Moving is already a stressful hassle as it is, I can take all the advice I can get on how to reduce the stress.
By Jusknox86,  Tue Mar 1 2016, 06:16
Thank you for the help. My wife and I will be moving soon for the first time since being married. I am not sure that I realized you can get estimates from movers before making the decision. How many estimates do you recommend looking for? http://www.citywestremovals.com.au/removals
By Bob,  Sat Mar 26 2016, 13:54
Thank you for sharing that was really interesting and a lot of good points
By Jackrpalmer32,  Tue Apr 26 2016, 06:22
I like how you suggested to, "Ask for the names of reputable and reliable moving companies from friends, co-workers, and family." I think going that direction will help us find some really reliable help. Moving isn't easy, we could use all the help we can get! Thanks for the idea. http://www.kloses.com.au
By Moversinvictoria1,  Tue May 17 2016, 13:13
i must say your tips are really helpful specially tip 4 and 5. We should ask about the insurance that if it will cover everything. Few days back i hired guys from http://moversinvictoria.com.au/ and they did an amazing job.

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Use this checklist from Trulia to make sure that all these needed tasks for your move are completed before the big day: Hire a moving company Using recommendations from people you know and organizations like the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) ...


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