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How to prepare for your move: The insider checklist

Congratulations! You have a firm closing date on your new home and now its time to prepare for your new adventures in it. But the excitement of signing on the dotted line can fade in the face of the final daunting task: The Big Move. Numerous surveys indicate that moving is deemed one of the most stressful moments in life but it doesnt have to be. 

The solution lies in planning because there is a lot to think about. Fortunately, weve done a lot of that thinking for you, based on the decades of collective experience that the agents of Briggs Freeman Sothebys International Realty have in advising clients not only about buying or selling a home but about so many things related to it. Follow our checklist and youre almost guaranteed to be smiling when you land on your new doorstep.

1. Start with a comprehensive plan

Whether you use an app or a pen and paper, you need a well-constructed, detailed schedule to prepare for your move. Consider your timeframe and plot a course to the final day, incorporating all the milestones below.

2. Keep track of what youre spending on the move

Its vital that you keep track of all your documents and receipts. Choose a cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive and also create a file system for hard copies. Receipts will be required if you are eligible to deduct moving expenses from your taxes. Consult with your accountant to evaluate.

3. Find a reputable moving company

Protect yourself by searching for a registered company in your state. Obtain three written in-home quotes for comparison. Ensure that a packing service is included, along with an inventory report that details the items in each labeled box. Ask what kinds of items the carriers will not transport, to determine if you need any additional specialized services. 

Read the agreements carefully before committing. Dont forget to hire a junk-removal service after you have decluttered.

4. Consider additional insurance

Moving companies insure your belongings based on a value per pound. You may want to purchase extra insurance to give you reassurance. The distance of the move, for example, may be one factor that influences your decision to add more insurance.

5. Plan for driving or transporting your vehicles

If youre driving, service your car before you leave. Plan your route carefully. Reserve hotel rooms in advance should you require overnight stays. Keep an eye on weather forecasts. 

If youre having your vehicle delivered, choose a respected service to guarantee it arrives on time and intact. Dont leave any valuables or documents in your vehicle. Take time-stamped photos of the exterior and interior prior to transport.

6. Measurements are essential 

To ensure everything fits into your new home, accurate measurements of your largest items can help make the move worry-free. You dont want to deal with stairs or doorways at the other end that wont accommodate your furniture. If the new home has any seemingly narrow doorways or staircases, ask your agent if they could obtain those measurements, so youll know if any adjustments may be required.

7. Obtain parking permits to avoid aggravation 

Large moving trucks may require a parking permit during the move. Ask the local authorities in your current neighborhood and at your destination if one is needed. Notify any neighbors who may be impacted. This can prevent potential fines and disruptions.

8. Take precautions for your children and pets

For the day of your move, unencumbered movement for you will maximize efficiency for everyone. Consider scheduling a friend, sitter or daycare center that can entertain your children away from the premises. Keep pets in their cages on moving day, or reserve a spot at a care center for the big day, so that they wont get underfoot, either.

9. Alert your employers of your new address

If you are starting a new position with a new company, ensure that your former company is aware of your new address. In the future, they will be able to send any records or tax slips to you directly. And, of course, make sure your new employer has your new address, too.

10. Notify financial and payment services

Notify all financial institutions of your move. These may include accountants, banks and investment companies, credit-card services (bank and retail) and loan institutions. If a credit-card company sees charges in a new destination and is not aware of your move, the charges may be flagged for security reasons. Payment services such as PayPal and Venmo also require current information. 

Insider tip: Dont forget to empty your safety-deposit box if you plan to open one at a bank closer to your new home.

11. Contact government agencies

There are multiple agencies that require current details, such as your updated address. Changes can usually be made online. They include the DMV, IRS, Social Security, USPS and Voter Registration. Often, changes must be made in a timely manner.

12. Update any insurance policies

You may have a number of insurance types car, health, dental, vision, life and homeowners and all of them will require updated details. Contact each provider to determine if your policies can be transferred to your new address or if you need to sign on with a new service.

13. Update all entertainment, retail and periodical providers

You dont want to risk losing out on your favorite streaming or shopping services. Make a list of online providers that deliver movies or retail purchases. (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are a few candidates.) Redirect any pending orders to yor new address. Providers of magazines or newspapers that are delivered to your door will need updated addresses and billing information, which you can typically modify online.

14. Give utility services plenty of notice

We cant emphasize strongly enough the importance of contacting utility companies well in advance of your move. These services always require a notice period to deactivate, activate and transfer accounts. You may be able to transfer your accounts if the same company operates in your new neighborhood. However, if they dont, you may need to register with an alternative provider. Water, electric, internet, cable, phone (landlines, cellular service) and security systems all fall into this category. Some services may require you to return equipment, such as modems or cable boxes.

15. Cancel or transfer club memberships

Do you have social-club or gym memberships? If they cant be transferred, then try to cancel in time to avoid any penalties. And dont forget to clear out any lockers. (FYI, our team is standing by with fabulous suggestions about amenities in your new locale.)

16. Look after your household

Inform dentists, doctors and attorneys that you are moving. If you are switching to new professionals, this will ease document and record transfers when necessary. Fill any outstanding prescriptions before you leave. If you have a pet that is microchipped, contact your vet to update the data. Ask for a recommendation for another vet if you need one closer to your new home.

17. Have fun on moving day!

At last! Moving day has arrived. Weve saved some final tips for how to prepare for your move. Back up your computer so you dont lose any valuable photos or documents. Prepare one box labeled Open First and add any prescription and grooming essentials that you will need upon arrival. Empty your safe. Gather all personal documents such as birth certificates and passports and carry them with you. Finally, before the movers drive away, make sure you tip them with cash. They deserve it.

Now youre ready for the new adventure

And thats it! We hope you found this checklist helpful, and we wish you all the best in your new home. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact us for more information. When moving is done right, it can be one of lifes most rewarding experiences.

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