So, you’re considering a move? Whether you’re retiring, relocating for a job, moving in together with a loved one, or just wishing for a change of scenery, you’re going to face the same enormous challenge – you need to leave the comfort of your familiar surroundings and brave the unknown. Such a life-changing step requires a lot of courage and resolve that can only come from the firm conviction that you’re fully ready to go through all the difficulties of the arduous moving process and guarantee the successful outcome of your relocation adventure.
Are you certain, then, that you’re prepared well enough? Have you considered all the relevant factors, planned every aspect of the relocation endeavor, and devised a backup strategy for anything that might go wrong? Not quite sure? Well, no need to worry – just take a closer look at the following essential questions to ask yourself before moving. When you find the best possible answer to each and every one of them, you’ll be completely ready for the huge relocation challenge ahead of you.
1. What’s the new area like? What does it have to offer?
To be able to prepare for your new life, you need to know what to expect from your new area:
- Cost of living – the cost of living in your new city is one of the most important things to consider when moving as it will determine the actual purchase power of your money. Find out the costs of groceries, transportation, utilities, medical care, taxes, clothing, etc. well in advance, so that you know what monthly income you’re going to need in order to feel financially comfortable in your new area;
- Job market – research the available employment options and the overall business environment in the area, as well as the unemployment rate and the average wages in your field of work in order to avoid unpleasant financial surprises;
- Climate – examine the climatic conditions, weather quirks, and natural phenomena typical for your new region and prepare accordingly;
- Cultural issues – get familiar with the social practices and cultural peculiarities in your new area to make sure that you’ll be able to adjust quickly and easily;
- Opportunities – find out what your new city has to offer in terms of recreation and hobby activities, education and healthcare, sporting and cultural events, etc.
2. How to find an appropriate new home?
Review your housing options and explore the real estate market in your new city in order to find the right new home for you and your family:
- Look at the crime rates and living standards in different neighborhoods, the social and demographic characteristics of different areas of the city, and the availability of local amenities and entertainment options in the vicinity;
- Consider the location of your workplace, your children’s school (if applicable), and other key places in the city you’ll be visiting on a regular basis;
- Look for a property that suits your lifestyle and your needs and preferences (in terms of size, type of dwelling, surroundings, etc.);
- Make sure the monthly rent or mortgage of your chosen property that does not exceed 25%-30% of your disposable income.
3. When is the best time to move?
To decide on the best moment to perform your move, you need to take a number of relevant factors into account:
- When do you need to start your new job (if applicable)? What about your partner?
- When does your lease agreement end (if applicable)?
- Will it be better for your kids (if you have school-aged children) to move in the middle of the school year or during the summer vacation?
- Do you have any plans or engagements you need/want to complete before the relocation?
- Can you afford to move in peak season?
4. Have I saved enough money for my relocation?
One of the most important questions to ask yourself before you move is whether you have the money to cover all the associated expenses. To find the answer, you need to evaluate your financial condition and set a moving budget. Figure in all the:
- housing expenses – first month’s rent or mortgage, security deposit and management fees (or closing costs), renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, utility deposits and/or connection fees, utility bills for the first month, furnishings, etc.;
- moving costs – packing materials, movers’ rates or moving truck rental costs, appropriate insurance, travel expenses, etc.;
- living expenses for a couple of months;
- emergency expenses.
To be sure you won’t experience any financial difficulties during your relocation, you need to have at least double the amount you determined as necessary.
5. Can I perform a self-move?
Moving on your own is a viable option if all of the following conditions are met:
- you’re moving short distance;
- you’re moving a small household that doesn’t include any specialty items;
- you have reliable friends to help you move;
- you have some previous moving experience.
In all other cases, you’re advised to use professional moving assistance, as the risks of moving by yourself are too great to be worth it.
6. How much does it cost to hire movers?
The actual moving cost depends on a number of factors, specific for each particular relocation case – the relocation distance, the weight of the shipment, the required extra services, the time it takes to complete the job, etc. To get an accurate estimate of your relocation costs, you need to fill out a moving quote and ask for an in-house survey of your belongings. Yet, you can get a rough idea of how much it will cost you to move house, based on the average moving costs in the country (according to the American Moving and Storage Association):
- local moves – about $1,500-$2,000 for a 3-bedroom home (at a rate of $25-$30 per mover per hour);
- cross country moves – about $4,500 for a 3-bedroom home (at a distance of 1,000 miles).
7. How to choose the right movers for me?
To ensure a smooth and trouble-free relocation process, you need the help of experienced and trustworthy moving professionals who will take good care of your belongings and will perform your move in the quickest, safest, and most efficient way possible. This is especially important when moving across the country – finding reliable long-distance movers to help you relocate can mean the difference between a successful move and a nightmare moving scenario. So, make sure you:
- ask for recommendations;
- fill out a moving quote to get in touch with several reputable interstate moving companies;
- read online moving reviews to learn of other people’s moving experiences and get an accurate idea of the competence, reliability, and attitude of different movers in your area;
- research the companies’ online profiles and check their ratings with the BBB;
- ask the companies that seem to best suit your needs and preferences for in-house estimates;
- compare the offers (not just the final prices, but the included services, special conditions and other important details) and choose the best movers for you.
8. What mistakes to avoid when hiring movers?
To protect your move and avoid costly moving mistakes, make sure you:
- book your move well in advance;
- request binding on-site estimates and ask all the important questions you have about the company and the details of your move;
- never go for the cheapest offer without researching the reasons for the lower costs;
- research the movers well – check their USDOT number, check the company’s complaint history (research the databases of reputable consumer protection sites and organizations, such as ProtectYourMove.gov, MovingScam.com, etc.);
- get proper moving insurance;
- read the moving paperwork very carefully and make sure you understand and agree with everything written in it before signing the moving contract.
9. What to take to my new home?
Relocating all your earthly possessions will be both very difficult and very expensive. Therefore, it’s a good idea to sort out your belongings before the move and get rid of anything:
- you won’t be able to use in your new home (because of the available space, the change of lifestyle, etc.);
- you don’t really need (duplicate items, outgrown items, useless items, etc.);
- you don’t like anymore (gifts, decorations, clothes, furnishings – anything that doesn’t match your personal style and aesthetic taste);
- you’ll have to replace soon (worn-out items, outdated items).
Make sure you take along only items of high practical, monetary, and/or sentimental value that will make your new life easier and happier and your new home cozier and more comfortable.
10. How to pack quickly and efficiently?
To speed up the laborious packing process and provide maximum safety to your possessions, you’re advised to:
- create a packing timeline;
- get quality packing materials;
- learn the golden rules of packing;
- know how to pack a moving box the right way;
- pack fragile items with utmost care;
- clearly label the moving boxes with all the necessary information and important handling instructions;
- set aside your essentials and pack a survival box;
- focus on one task at a time and take breaks to replenish your energy and rediscover your motivation;
- avoid common packing mistakes.
11. How to organize a safe, smooth, and stress-free moving day?
A successful moving day means a successful move. To ensure that success you need to:
- be ready by the time the movers arrive;
- take efficient measures to prevent property damage;
- ensure the safety of kids and pets;
- take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents and injuries;
- keep your valuables and important documents with you all the time;
- reserve a parking place for the moving truck in front of the entrance to your home;
- provide some snacks and drinks for your movers and tip them properly for a job well done;
- double-check everything!
So, you already know the answers to all the important questions to ask yourself when moving? Then, you’re ready to proceed with your relocation plans and start your new life. Happy moving!