Moving usually comes about because of a life change. The change can be a new spouse, a new job, a new baby or maybe just a desire for a new start. Regardless of the reason, it means there’s probably something else on your mind when you’re making a move. When it’s a do-it-yourself move, things get even more complicated.
Relax. We can help with suggestions for moves you should—and shouldn’t—make when you’re moving.
The Destination’s the Thing
Make sure your new house will be available on moving day. That means take care of all the little things that can derail closing on the home, such as securing home insurance. Coverage isn’t something you can just shift from one house to another. Different homes require different policies, and even similar homes in different locations could command vastly different premiums (because of a higher threat of tornadoes or other covered disasters in one of the locations).
How much home insurance do you need? That’s a tricky question—some financial experts will tell you only enough to cover the unpaid balance of your mortgage. But, as this video explains, that only protects your lender—not you. A better strategy is to purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home from the ground up should it be destroyed by a covered peril.
Be a Utility Player
Nothing’s worse than moving into a new place and finding that the lights, heat/air conditioning and water don’t work yet. For one thing, you’ll run out of daylight at some point. For another, you can’t take a relaxing shower at the end of what’s sure to be a physically demanding day.
What this means is that, before your move, you’ll need to set aside a day for investigating the water and power companies that serve your area. One question you might not have considered: Is your new home in a state in which electricity and/or natural gas service is deregulated? If so, you could have a number of choices offering different prices, green power options and more.
You’ll also need to line up Internet and television service before the big day (if possible) for a smoother moving experience – you know you’ll want to take a break from hauling boxes to catch a little game action or check social media.
When you’re packing the boxes, remember to label them so you’ll know what goes where and roughly the order to unpack them. Put everything in the truck in the reverse order. For example, you probably won’t need the washer and dryer right away – put them in the truck first. On the other hand, you’ll want to get the bedrooms set up fairly soon – pack that stuff last so you’ll unload it right away.
Along the Way
One large moving company estimates that three-quarters of all moves are completed by do-it-yourselfers, which in most cases means you have to rent a truck. You know all those advice columns you’ve read telling you to never opt for rental car insurance because it’s either provided by a credit card or maybe by your auto policy? Well, forget about them when it comes to your rental truck.
Most credit cards don’t cover vehicles that weigh more than 9,000 pounds. Neither do personal auto policies. The result: If you cause an accident, you could be responsible not only for repairs to the truck and any other damage but also for the time the truck is out of service (and not earning money for the rental company).
What if your stuff gets damaged during the move? Your homeowners policy could cover it—many policies include protection for your possessions off-premises as well. However, don’t assume this is true—check it out before the move.
Once You’re In
Everything’s in the new place and you’ve returned the truck without incident, so you’re done, right? Not yet.
Do you know where the circuit box is? How about the master water shut off? Both of these can be crucial if there’s an electrical problem or water leak in the house.
Finally, remember those house keys you got a closing? How sure are you that there aren’t some copies floating around? As soon as you can, arrange to have all the locks changed. You’ll feel more secure when you know the only people who have keys to the house are the people you’ve picked to have them.
Remember, the average American moves about 11.7 times in his or her life, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are many other things to take into consideration. But this can give you a start to having a moving experience that’s, well, moving.