The Importance of Planning Ahead
Once you accept an offer on your house, you could have as little as 30 days or less to clear everything out of it so the new owners can move in. If you wait until the last minute to plan the moving process, you’ll probably be overwhelmed and may as a result make some poor decisions that could greatly add to your moving costs. Think before you move, and steer clear of these common mistakes.
Related: 18 Hidden Costs of Moving
Underestimating Your Possessions
When you contact a moving company to get a quote, you may be asked to estimate the weight of your belongings, or how much space they'll take up in the truck. If you underestimate, you could end up paying a steep overage fee. It's best to have the company send a rep to your home to do an in-house estimate.
Failing to Purchase Insurance
Moving companies are required to offer a minimum amount of insurance on items damaged during a move, but this can be as little as 60 cents per pound. For instance, if the big-screen TV you just purchased is dropped and broken, you might collect as little as $20, depending on its weight. To be safe, purchase third-party insurance that will cover the actual replacement value of damaged items.
Packing Valuables with Other Possessions
Don’t do it! Don’t shove Great Aunt Ruby’s diamond earrings into a box with a bunch of coats or books. If you can’t take your valuables with you in your car, consider hiring a specialized art-and-antique moving company that deals in only high-end items. These companies fully insure your valuables and provide professional packing to make certain that everything arrives safely.
Packing Too Much
Because most moving companies charge based on the weight of your belongings, you'll save money if you don't move things you no longer need. As you sort through your possessions, put the items you no longer use or need in a box to be donated to charity.
Requiring Additional Services
You could get socked with overage fees if the moving company has to carry your possessions up a flight of stairs at your new home, or if they can’t park nearby and have to use a shuttle to transport your belongings from their truck to the front door. Before signing a contract with a moving company, make sure they know what to expect at both ends of the journey so you won’t have to pay unexpected fees later.
Failing to Back Up the Computer
In the days leading up to the big move, you’ll naturally be focused on sorting and packing, but don’t forget about your computer. A bumpy ride and temperature extremes can wreak havoc on electronics, so make it a point to back up your important digital documents to a drive or the cloud before unplugging and wrapping up your computer.
Waiting to Schedule Move Day
Moving companies charge more during their busiest times, which are typically the first and last days of the month, holidays, weekends, and throughout the summer. While you may not be able to wait until September to move, you should call the moving company at least a month in advance and try to schedule your move for a weekday when you can get the best rate.
Picking the Cheapest Moving Company
While the moving company that gives you the lowest estimate may turn out to be the best company for the job, unscrupulous movers often give low estimates and then tack on exorbitant fees before they’ll deliver your possessions. When shopping for a moving company, look for the ProMover designation, which indicates that the company is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association and has agreed to meet the organization's standards.
Neglecting to Check Inventory Sheet
Moving-in day is often long and tiring, and by the time the movers have finally finished, all you want to do is to sign off and send them on their way. Don’t be so quick, however. Before you sign, check to ensure that every item on your inventory list has been delivered. If you sign off and it turns out that something is missing, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever recover it.
Forgetting to Set Up or Cancel Utilities
If you forget to contact the utility companies in your new community, you could arrive at a dark house without running water and wind up having to stay in hotel until the utilities are turned on. And if you don’t alert your existing gas, water, and electric providers to transfer the billing, you could end up paying for utilities you didn't use.
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