Selling Step 7: Moving

Even the smallest home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items may require a professional mover. Your REALTOR® can give you advice on the moving process.

How Do You Plan a Move?

The time to plan your move begins once you've decided to sell your home. Some of the things you do to prepare your home for sale can actually help with the moving process, e.g., cleaning out closets and the garage, basement and attic.

Your planning will be guided by how far you plan to move:

  • Moving locally: If you move yourself you'll need to get moving supplies and organize a van rental.
  • Moving a long distance: You'll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
  • Moving internationally: Contact the embassy of the country you’re moving to for information. Be aware that some items that are entirely common at home can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes.

Planning is essential: stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers will know where goods should be placed and so you know what’s inside the boxes.

Hiring a Mover

If you need to hire a mover, ask for recommendations from your REALTOR® and friends and associates. There are a number of factors to consider. Money is one issue: you'll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references from past clients who had a similar volume of goods to transport.

Get mover estimates in writing. Be aware that it's possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession.

Always confirm mover credentials. Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman's compensation insurance. It’s a good idea to check whether a given mover is approved by the Better Business Bureau - many aren’t.

There is also the question of how many movers to use – usually either 2 or 3. Naturally, 3 movers will cost more, but the time saved might mean that using 3 is more cost effective than using 2, who would take longer. Additionally, it’s good to find out what the minimum number of hours you’ll be charged for, given that this could determine how many movers you use.

Moving Preparation Checklist

Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:

  • Yard sale: Get rid of excess furniture and other goods by having a sale before you move.
  • Postal: Get mail forwarded to you, and inform important people and companies (bank, insurance, etc.) of your new address.
  • Utilities: Prearrange to have utilities cut off at your old home and hooked up at your new home. Check whether there are any deposits that should be returned to you. Also find out what your hook-up fees will be.
  • Boxes: Number boxes so that all items can be counted on arrival. Make a list of boxes by number and note their contents.
  • Medicine: Keep medicines and related prescriptions in a place where they will be available during the move.
  • Children: If you’re moving with children, make sure that children have some of their favorite things - toys, blankets, games, music, etc., - that will keep them happy.
  • Pets: If you have pets, bring along food, water dish, carrier and other items your pets will need.
  • Money: If you're moving more than a few miles you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Valuables: Make sure historical, antique, breakable or valued items get special handling and packaging.
  • Important papers: Keep important papers with you so they do not get lost in the move.
  • Contact Numbers: Have address books readily available in case you need help.
  • E-mail: If you have a laptop computer with a modem, make it accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.