When a local home seller tallies the total financial impact of selling the old and then buying the new home, in addition to the closing and brokerage costs, the expense of the move has to be reckoned, too. It may seem like an afterthought, but especially for larger homes and families, it’s a cost significant enough that it bears some economy-minded preparations.
Although doing the lion’s share yourself is the surest way to bring that price tag down, it will also add a load to an occasion that’s already stressful enough. “Moving day” can prod your already surging emotional stress meter further into the red if you are trying to do everything yourself (or relying on friends to carry more of the load than is healthy for the relationships). Since this is such a common hurdle, a good deal of wisdom has developed that can keep potential town moving day misery to a minimum. Here’s a collection of useful tips:
- Gather ye boxes while ye may…far ahead of time. Yes, you can certainly buy them—and probably should for special types like wardrobes and glassware—but since you know you’ll be moving once the town house has been sold and the new place is ready to move into, make a point of holding onto all the clean cartons you come across leading up to the big day. Once you’re sure you have gathered enough, pinch yourself (and get back to gathering more). Somehow you always need many more than you imagine possible!
- Cut cut cut. Long before you approach moving day, get serious about all the stuff you don’t need any more and yard sale (it’s a verb) it, Salvation Army it (ditto), give it away, or just toss it out. If you are going to use professional movers, cutting down the size of the move will be worth its weight in…well—let’s just say it will be worth it!
- Dismantle ahead of time. When the movers arrive, a great chunk of their time (and thus, their bill) can be spent taking things apart for safe transport. You can do this ahead of time with a pen and some masking tape, a wrench, pair of pliers, and some Ziploc bags. The bags are for the nuts, bolts, screws, and other fasteners. The masking tape and pen are to label the bags and tape them to larger pieces—you’ll thank yourself at the other end, when it’s time to reassemble everything.
- Collect all receipts. Whether you pay movers or rent a van or trailer yourself, remember that moving expenses may be tax deductible. If you get a new job that’s more than 50 miles from your previous home within a year, it probably qualifies.
- Time your move. The major stampede for movers happens during the high volume times of year (spring and summer) and especially at the end of the month. Planning to move any other time (like right about now, for instance) will make it that much more likely one of our local movers will be able to give you a deal. And get a firm price guarantee whenever you can; estimates based on hourly rates can take a lot longer than expected!
Picking up stakes and leaving a long-time town home (or moving to your new town home) is a major life experience you’ll want to remember as the delightful opening of new doors instead of a harrowing misadventure. A little planning ahead of time helps that happen. Part of what I offer my clients is the experience of having shared many ‘moving’ experiences. Call me when one is on your horizon!