A Helpful Guide to Smooth Moves During a Pandemic

Posted on: Friday, June 19, 2020

Finding and buying a new home is an exciting, memorable experience.

Actually moving in, however? That can be a bit more stressful.

The challenges presented by a move only increase if you’re downsizing. This requires additional planning, especially if you’ve decided to change addresses during the current pandemic.

Your Orlando REALTOR® is a solid resource for tips on how to make your move as simple as possible. Here are few to keep in mind:

Research and Settle on a Moving Company

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You can certainly rent a truck and handle an entire move yourself, if you’d like. But if you opt to go with a professional moving company, we recommend researching movers eight weeks before your projected departure and scheduling one about six weeks out.

You want to err on the side of reputability. Make sure the company is licensed with either the federal Department of Transportation or, if it’s a local outfit, with the state.

Get at least three estimates. Ask questions about the company’s liability coverage; whether they have experience with your type of move; timelines, expectations and the like. As for moving costs, don’t hesitate to negotiate. With fewer people moving during the pandemic, moving companies are competing for your business. 

Bonus tip: When getting estimates, push for a “binding estimate,” or a “binding not-to-exceed” estimate. They’ll help keep your costs fixed and prevent or minimize unwelcome surprises. Steer clear of a “non-binding estimate,” which does not set a fixed price or price range.

Changes wrought by COVID-19: Moving companies, like REALTORS®, have instituted new protocols that include following social distancing guidelines; conducting virtual surveys to provide estimates; wearing masks and gloves, and other measures. Make sure in advance that your mover is prepared to follow these guidelines, and don’t be shy about reminding workers of the policies.


Purging and Packing

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Please, leave yourself plenty of time. Once a moving date is firmly scheduled, get started. Come up with a strategy and a timeline. Basic rule: Pack non-essentials — stuff you won’t need in the weeks leading up to the move — first. Pack essentials — kitchen items, dinnerware, certain clothing, toiletries, etc. — last. There are countless resources online that provide tips, big and small, to make your move smoother.

If you’re downsizing, it might be difficult to take everything with you. So make time to declutter your existing home before you start packing. Don’t be shy about throwing things out or into the recycling bin. Consider selling lightly used things online, or have a garage sale. If there are things you’d rather not sell, donate them. Most large organizations will schedule a time to pick up big items, like furniture. Always call the charity first to find out what its policies are. Finally, If you have excess canned goods and non-perishable food items, check with your local food bank to see if they can accept them.

Bonus tip: In the planning stage, obtain a blueprint of your new home. It will be a big help in determining how much of the stuff in your current house — and which large furniture pieces[LM3]  — will actually fit in the new place.

Changes wrought by COVID-19: Unfortunately, you should steer clear of one of moving’s nice cost-savers: gathering free, recycled boxes from local stores. The coronavirus can live on cardboard for as long as 24 hours, according to most estimates. Boxes already in your home are OK, but we highly advise that you buy the rest.


Administrative and Social Notifications

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A lot of people and institutions are going to need to know about your new address. It’s easy to tell your friends via phone call or email. But for anything business related -- Social Security, Medicare, your bank and credit card companies, insurance providers, individual service providers like doctors and veterinarians (by the way, best to take the pet to the vet before you go), tax agencies and more -- you’ll need to change your address at the post office.

Obvious tip (consider it a reminder): You’ll need to cancel utilities in your existing home, and set up utilities in your new place. But don’t leave these tasks until late in the game. They might seem like simple things to do, but the last thing you’ll want to do is try and survive two days in your new home without electricity or Internet!

Changes wrought by COVID-19: In normal times, you might have considered throwing a farewell party. Sadly, the pandemic has cast doubt on such large gatherings. Decide whether coronavirus conditions in your area are suitable for, say, a backyard party with social distancing measures in place. The safest way is to invite a group of friends for a happy hour on Zoom or another platform.


Now that Moving Day has Finally Arrived

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Everything’s buttoned up; the checklist has been checked and double-checked. You’re eager to go headlong into your next chapter. Sorry, there are still things to do. First, work with the mover to take a quick inventory of your belongings, so you can keep track of who has what and where it is. Take photos of fragile items on the moving truck for liability or insurance coverage.

Do a final sweep of the house. You may have done this several times already, but little things might’ve changed, even overnight. One final final sweep will give you peace of mind.

Make sure you have cash on hand. Depending on how far the trip is to your new place, you may need it. And it’s customary to give movers a tip. Yes, they prefer cash.

If you’re leaving keys, put them in an envelope. 

Bonus tip: When doing the final walk-through of your home: You’ve probably looked under the beds and in the fridge several times, but don’t forget the less obvious places like bathtubs, washers, dryers, out-of-the way cabinets, outdoor sheds and other easy-to-miss spots.

Changes wrought by COVID-19: If you’re driving, make sure your vehicle is equipped with hand sanitizer, facemasks and even gloves. It may be a good idea to pack a cooler with sandwiches and drinks. Before the pandemic, stopping at restaurants on road trips provided a nice break. But these days, it might be safer to find a picnic table to yourself at a rest area to enjoy your meal.

Finally, take time to enjoy the move. You’re embarking on a new chapter in your life, so look at it as an adventure and savor every moment!



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