Using a Moving Company: FAQs We’ve Got You Covered On

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Moving to a new home is an exciting yet stressful endeavor. A lot of different factors go into a move, and it can be difficult to keep everything straight. A major question that we find comes up a lot: should I use a moving company? And with that question, many other questions can come up. How much will it cost? Do they pack my things? The list goes on. We’ve broken things down for you below, and have tackled some major questions that could come up when deciding to use a moving company. The key to a stress-free move is being prepared, and we are here to help you with that. 

How much should you tip the movers?

We know, paying for a moving company is expensive enough as it is, and to throw a tip on top of it all may feel like you’re breaking the bank. That being said, your movers are working very hard to make sure your items get from point A to point B safely, so tips are much appreciated. The amount you should tip is up to you based on your experience, the service you received, and the complexity of your move. A good rule of thumb to follow is to tip anywhere between 5-10% of the total cost, which will then be split amongst the moving team. If you are feeling tight on money, providing water, snacks, or meals for your movers is another great way to show your gratitude during the move.

Do movers cost more on weekends?

Peak times for moving include the weekends, summer, holidays, and both the first and last few days of the month. Because of the high demand during these times, you can expect the rates to be higher. Regardless of the time of year, moving during the week will always be the more affordable option. While this isn’t always the most convenient option for everyone, scheduling a mid-week move will definitely save you some cash.

When is the best time to move?

May through September, the beginning and end of the month, and weekends are the most popular times people choose to move. If you can be flexible with your move, choosing any off times will not only be cost-effective, but your movers will be considerably less busy and therefore, more attentive. Choosing the best date and time for your move will make things a lot easier and a lot less stressful when the day finally comes.

Is it worth having movers pack my things?

This really depends. Do you have a lot of large or hard to move items or a lot of breakable items? Do you have a lot of friends or family help you pack? If you are confident that you can handle the packing on your own, or have plenty of people to help you with it, it may not be worth having the extra money to have the movers pack your things. That being said, if you can afford the splurge, we do think it is worth it. There are a lot of factors that go into moving, and a million things to worry about on moving day. Having someone else handle the packing for you is a huge stress relief, and well worth it in our opinion.

How do I make my move cost less?

In our opinion, planning your move as far in advance as you can be the best way to cut down on costs. As we just mentioned, choosing your move date wisely will be a huge help in terms of cost savings. October through March are your best bet for lower costs. Opting out of having your moving crew pack everything up for you is another great way to cut costs as well. Grab a few friends and pack up your place together rather than paying someone else to do it for you. Another tip: don’t pay for boxes. While one box seems cheap, it adds up when you have a whole home to move out of. We like to head to our local liquor store to load up on boxes when we are getting ready for a move.

Do I need insurance while my belongings are being moved? 

Insurance is a great thing to consider having for your belongings while they are being moved, especially if you are moving far. Established moving companies will typically offer liability insurance for an additional fee, and there are typically different levels to choose from. Another important thing to note: if you have homeowner’s insurance, it may cover any damage to your belongings in the event that something happens. While paying for insurance may feel like an additional unnecessary cost, it is worth it for the peace of mind.

What if they charge me more than the quote?

We’ve said it already, and we will say it again. Moving can get very pricey. Make sure you are paying attention each step of the way when utilizing a moving company. If moving companies offer you quotes, make sure they are firm. On top of that, make sure you are asking the right questions when you are examining the costs behind your moving company. Are there any additional fees that may be added on to this quote? What about cancellation fees? How much more will it cost if things take longer than expected? These are all important things to know and address at the beginning to avoid being charged more than you are expecting.

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

Should I Furnish My Luxury Leased Property?

should I furnish my luxury leased home

The decision to lease your luxury property comes with several other decisions as well such as the type of property management team you should choose, whether you should leave it furnished, and your price point. Leasing luxury property is slightly different than a typical or traditional multifamily property or even a single-family house. There are different factors involved when you’re talking about luxury. And, if you don’t think that luxury homeowners choose to lease their property, you would definitely be wrong because there is a market for luxury leased property.

In places like Hollywood Hills, Belleair, Beverly Hills, Malibu, and these high-end, affluent communities, luxury leasing is actually very popular. Not all high-end clientele choose to own their own home. Leasing a property gives the tenant the freedom to move on, not deal with any maintenance, or simply have the option of picking up and leaving should something occur such as a business opportunity in one place or another.

If you’re planning on leasing your luxury property, you might be stuck with the decision on whether you should furnish it or not. A lot of luxury homes are already decked out in the finest of furnishings and if you have other homes, you may not want to deal with the furnishings, furniture, or personal property and choose to lease it with the home. You can also get a higher price from your rental agreement if your home is furnished, but that might also be turning some applicants away.

For reasons to furnish your home before leasing:

  • 1. Furnished homes lease for more money
  • 2. Furnished homes target a higher-end client
  • 3. Furnished homes can be tax-deductible
  • 4. Furnished homes reduce maintenance costs

Furnished homes tend to lease for more money because there is more on the table when it comes to the property in general. You have more items in the home and the tenant can simply move in and move out without having to worry about their property, moving or transferring any furnishings, or dealing with moving companies.

You may also deal with the higher end client. Many leasing clients do so for a short period of time and the last thing they want is to move in all of their furniture only to move it out 6 or 12 months later. This avoids all of that and may be more attractive to the leasee.

Furnished homes can also be tax-deductible. You can include all of the furnishings in your depreciation when dealing with taxes.

And furnished homes can reduce maintenance costs because people are not moving in and out big chunks of furniture that can damage the home, walls, steps, and flooring. Simply leaving everything word is will definitely reduce maintenance costs.

So what type of furnishings should you leave in the home?

The basics should include furnishings in just about every room. The living room should have a sofa, table, lamp and perhaps a bookshelf or coffee table. The bedroom should have a bed, nightstand with lamp, dresser, and perhaps the desk given the size. The dining room should have tables and chairs. A bathroom should have a shower curtain, wastebasket, and floor mats. In the kitchen should be fully stocked with utensils, dishes, glassware, pots, pans, and appliances.

The choice to furnish your luxury leased property is truly up to you but there are benefits. If you plan on storing the items anyhow, it might benefit the property overall and your overall bottom dollar to leave the furnishings in place. If you are concerned about alienating a part of the tenant pool, consider making it an option. You can always offer a furnished home or condo with the option of a lower-priced fee if the home is not furnished.

Information by luxury lease property manager in Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills, Luis Pezzini.

More Tips for Luxury Lease Options:

What to Expect in a Luxury Lease Property Manager

5 Tips to Marketing a Luxury Lease Home

Is a Sub-Lease Right for You? – Commercial Leasing

Source: realtybiznews.com

Moving Stressing You Out? Here Are 5 Move-Planning Apps to Make Your Life Easier

What can eclipse the excitement of moving to a new home? The headache of packing and unpacking, deciding what to toss, and actually transporting all of your prized possessions, that’s what. It’s a big job, and someone has to do it—but that doesn’t make the impending stress of moving any less overwhelming.

What will help take the pain out of preparing to relocate are move-planning apps. Like other productivity apps that can be downloaded on your smartphone, move-planning apps will help you keep everything organized.

“Move-planning apps work great for preparation and organization, because they help you break up your move into small, actionable steps, so you can be prepared on your move day,” says Jason Burroughs, founder and CEO at Able Body Moving and Delivery in Birmingham, AL. “This can greatly save you on the cost of your move, because the less the movers do, the more money you keep in your pocket.”

Below are five of the best move-planning apps to help make moving day as hassle-free as possible.

1. Sortly

Sortly is an app that helps you keep inventory for your move.
Sortly is an app that helps you keep inventory for your move.

Sortly

The beauty of this app is its attention to detail; it allows you to compartmentalize every inch of your house. You can create a moving checklist (which can be exported for movers), photograph items and categorize them by location (room, closet, box, etc.), and you can add value and condition for specific items (i.e. your prized dolphin painting).

For $3.99 a month, one user can catalogue an unlimited number of items on three devices. The $25-a-month plan allows three users to catalog unlimited items, with the option of adding users $3 a month per user. The app also has a two-week free trial and a free version that allows one user to catalogue 100 items on one device.

Sortly is available on the App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Androids.

2. Unpakt

Find a moving company with Unpakt
Find a moving company with Unpakt

Unpakt

This app helps you find a moving company. Enter basic details—when, where, and what you’re moving—and you’ll see real prices (not estimates) from verified firms. Unpakt offers a price guarantee that only changes if you add or remove an item or service.

Booking a service is simple: Just select a mover, enter your billing information, and your move is reserved. Your credit card will be charged two business days before the day of the move. Unpakt guarantees that moving companies are screened to ensure that they’re reputable; you can also read reviews from other consumers on the app.

Unpakt is free and is available on the App Store for iPhones and iPads and the Google Play Store for Androids.

3. MakeSpace

MakeSpace is a great storage solution.
MakeSpace is a great storage solution.

MakeSpace

If you’re downsizing or moving to a home short on storage space, MakeSpace will come in handy. “We take care of the hauling and heavy lifting, at a price that’s comparable to traditional, DIY self-storage,” says Amory Wooden, VP of brand at MakeSpace.

The app makes the process as simple as possible: Just book an appointment, and its team of professional movers will come to pick up your stuff and haul it off to storage. When you want your items back, schedule a delivery, and the team will return your goods.

As an added bonus, Wooden says MakeSpace will bring complimentary supplies, like bubble wrap and free MakeSpace bins.

When the items arrive at the storage facility, the company sends photos of everything—and the photos can be used to request specific items that you want to get out of storage.

The storage plans range from $69 per month for a 2-foot by 2-foot unit, to $469 per month for a 10-foot by 20-foot unit.

The MakeSpace app is free and is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

4. Flying Ruler

Flying Ruler will help you measure anything in your home.
Flying Ruler will help you measure anything in your home.

Flying Ruler

Not sure if that sofa will fit in your new living room? Is it too large to come through the front door? Flying Ruler can help you be sure. This app is a tape measure, ruler, protractor, and a goniometer (otherwise known as an angle-measurer).

After you calibrate your phone—a simple process that the app walks you through—you can take measurements merely by moving your phone from one point to the next. The measurement is then displayed on the interface in either inches or centimeters. You can also take a photo of the measurements. The Flying Ruler app has a high accuracy rate, but the company recommends that you measure more than once.

FlyingRuler costs $1.99 and is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

5. Dolly

Hire someone to help you move with Dolly.
Hire someone to help you move with Dolly.

Dolly

Dolly helps you find vetted and insured pick-up truck owners to help you with moving, furniture pick-up, and even hauling off your trash. Found your perfect sofa at a store that doesn’t deliver? Dolly can help you hire someone to transport your purchase home.

In addition, Dolly can match you with someone for a “labor-only move,” if you need some extra muscle to move stuff around your home.

The app is extremely simple to navigate: Enter your details (what/where/when you need something picked up and delivered) and receive a quote for the service. If you agree to the price, simply book the Dolly. You can book a same-day delivery, or schedule the delivery for the next day, or even the next month.

You can ask for almost anything to be moved, with the exception of a few items, such as gun safes, pianos, and alcohol.

Dolly is free. It is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Androids.

Source: realtor.com

7 Surprising Items Many Moving Companies Won’t Ship

A long-distance move can be tricky. In addition to having to pack up every possession you own, you’ll also have to figure out how to get it all to your new home. While some people choose to drive their stuff themselves across state lines, that might not be feasible with an entire household’s possessions. That’s why shipping is sometimes the preferred method when moving a considerable distance. It’s simple, really: The bulk of your possessions get boxed up and shipped to your new home, and you take all the invaluable items (e.g., your ID, birth certificate, medications, etc.) with you on the plane.

Many homeowners will hire a moving company, but did you know there are limits to what most companies will ship? Some items are just too fragile, valuable, or hazardous, and your movers won’t be allowed to take responsibility for them.

Of course, different moving companies will have their own rules for the types of items they won’t ship.

“Talk directly to the moving company and ask them what they are willing and not willing to do,” says Justin Hodge, co-founder and president of Muscular Moving Men based in Phoenix. Good communication with your movers will help reduce the number of last-minute surprises on move-out day.

While you’re in the throes of planning your move, consider the following items many movers won’t touch—and then plan accordingly!

1. Photos and photo albums

Photos and photo albums are very fragile and could easily get destroyed. Although they might not be of high monetary value, photos can have high sentimental value. Plus, once photos are ruined, they’re likely gone for good.

“If there was a situation where everything was damaged, you would have peace of mind of knowing you’re in your own control, not the moving company you’re working with,” Hodge says. Many movers opt to avoid the risk.

2. Unsealed personal care products

As obvious as it may seem, unsealed lotions, shampoos, and skincare products will likely give your moving company pause. If one were to spill, it could ruin your entire shipment, and your moving company doesn’t want to be on the hook for that.

Hodge says you could pack sealed personal care products in your suitcase, give them to a friend, or just throw them out if they’re nearly empty. Hey, you have a new place to live—buy some new stuff!

3. Expensive clothes and accessories

If you own any expensive or unique designer clothes, formalwear, or accessories, it might be better to take them with you on the plane.

Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in New York, recommends creating an inventory of your truly upscale items.

4. Flat-screen TVs

Many movers are reluctant to ship flat-screen TVs because they’re pricey and notoriously fragile. Plasma-screen TVs are especially delicate and need to be kept upright to avoid damaging the glass panels inside. If you do have a flat screen you need to ship, be sure to mention it from the get-go before hiring a moving company

5. Nail polish

If you have an extensive nail polish collection, you’ll probably have to transport it in your luggage on the plane. Zafrani says polish is a perfect storm of shipping badness.

“It’s a liquid and in a glass bottle, and if the bottle is not securely tightened, it can leak and cause damage,” she says. It’s also flammable and could catch fire during the move. Pack it with you it, toss it, or give it to a friend.

6. Fine art

Need to ship a one-of-a-kind Picasso? While fine art doesn’t show up on everyone’s inventory list, if you do need to transport artwork of value, your standard moving company probably won’t be up for the task.

To make sure your precious cargo gets to your place safely, look into professional art shipping services. Many of these companies will offer insurance and white-glove service.

7. Food in glass containers

You know that fancy bottle of olive oil you brought back from Tuscany this summer? Delicious! Too bad it’s simply too fragile to ship. The same goes for other glass containers filled with food.

“Glass bottles are pretty thin, and if the box is accidentally dropped, the bottle can crack,” says Zafrani.

Broken glass—and spilled food—will be the last thing you’ll want to contend with when unpacking. You already have enough to worry about.

Source: realtor.com

5 Terrible Mistakes People Make Moving During a Pandemic

So much can go wrong during a move. Add a coronavirus pandemic, and a lot more can go off the rails, and the consequences can extend far beyond a broken lampshade. They can affect your health.

Nonetheless, according to a survey conducted in late March by apartment listing site RENTCafe.com, 60% of renters planned to go ahead with their move, while just 9% are putting it off until the crisis is over.

“Not everyone gets the choice of when to move,” says Mike Glanz, founder of HireAHelper, an online moving services marketplace. “Predetermined corporate relocations and moves due to evictions or escrow closings are forcing some people to keep their move dates in place.”

Plus, transportation has been designated an essential service by the federal government, and that includes moving companies, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. Yet Glanz urges anyone planning to move soon to check with their state or city government to make sure no limitations or regulations exist preventing movers from operating.

And the truth is that moving can be done relatively safely right now, if you take some precautions. To help point you to the pitfalls, here are some common coronavirus-related moving mistakes to avoid.

1. Assuming a DIY move is safer than hiring help

Hiring movers can be pricey, costing between $600 and $1,700 for a move less than 100 miles away, according to HomeAdvisor. Add the possibility that movers might be sick, and it might seem safer and smarter to go the DIY route.

True, renting a truck and rounding up a few friends or family to help you move may be cheaper—but it won’t necessarily be safer. For one, your friends and family might just likely be as sick as the movers. And odds are, professional movers should have the training and equipment (including gloves and face masks) to move things as safely as possible.

If you’re determined to move your possessions yourself, make sure to take all the same precautions. If you rent a moving truck, you’ll have to spend time cleaning it. Ask local truck rental offices about their process for sanitizing vehicles between customers, Glanz says.

Bring your own sanitation supplies to clean and wipe down the steering wheel, door handles, and any other high-touch areas. Use gloves when driving the truck and while opening and closing the back door and loading ramp.

And since the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces, “I would recommend disinfecting the walls and floors of the truck before loading your items,” adds Justin Carpenter, owner of Modern Maids, a housecleaning service in Dallas and Austin, TX, specializing in move-in and move-out cleaning.

2. Not vetting your movers

If you do hire movers, you should vet them thoroughly. Glanz suggests checking to make sure a company is licensed and insured, for starters, and also checking for wording on companies’ websites about their commitment to sanitation and safety.

“That tells you they are taking their responsibility to everybody’s safety seriously,” Glanz says. “If a moving company has a history of positive, active interaction with customers, they’ll shine even brighter under tough circumstances.”

Make sure the moving company you use is taking extra steps to ensure safety during the coronavirus outbreak, including providing virtual rather than in-home estimates and no-contact options, according to AMSA.

3. Using recycled boxes and packing supplies

The novel coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, according to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Using boxes and plastic bins that you already have on hand should be fine. But, if you need extra moving supplies, AMSA recommends purchasing new moving boxes and packing tape, and avoiding picking up free, recycled boxes from supermarkets and liquor stores.

Moving companies may also let you rent plastic bins, so be sure to wipe them down, inside and out, with disinfectant before packing your things.

4. Not prepping for your movers

Make sure you do what you can to pack and prep your boxes so they’re ready to go once the movers arrive. The reason: The less time spent moving your items means lower exposure risks.

“The faster a move can get done, the better and safer it is,” says Lior Rachmany, founder of Dumbo Moving and Storage in New York City.

This is also a decent argument to not DIY your move.

“The movers will do one straight transaction from point A to point B in less time than it takes the average person to do a DIY move,” Rachmany adds.

5. Moving in without deep cleaning first (and hiring help here, too)

Similar to hiring movers, hiring a professional cleaning service can be a cost-effective time saver, letting you focus on the move. A one-time housecleaning before moving into a new home averages $125 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor. And at a time like this, that may be money well-spent.

“A professional cleaning service already has years of experience cleaning hard-to-reach places or forgotten surfaces,” Glanz points out. “That comes in twice as handy now that it’s more important than ever to keep every touchable area cleaned.”

Before hiring a cleaning service, check online reviews and ask lots of questions.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the products we use to clean and if we are taking any extra precautions,” Carpenter says. “Ask the company for recent references that have been served since shelter-in-place directives started rolling out. Call those customers and ask if they’d hire the service again.”

If you’re cleaning the place yourself, make sure to use products that actively disinfect and include ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and quaternary ammonium compounds. And, don’t forget high-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, faucets, and cabinet pulls.

Source: realtor.com

6 Things Landlords Want You To Know About Renting Right Now

Touring, leasing, and moving into an apartment looks a little different nowadays. The COVID-19 pandemic has made venturing outside our homes riskier than ever, but despite the health hazards, many renters have found themselves at the tail end of their lease and in need of a new place to live.

So landlords are doing their best to keep the rental process moving along, despite the challenges.

“As property managers, we are still adjusting to all of these sudden changes,” says Fernando Avila, a property manager, broker-salesman and Realtor® for Atlas Group LC in Las Vegas, NV.

Some of those common changes include offering comprehensive virtual apartment tours and closing common-area amenities, like fitness centers, pools, and business centers. What else would landlords and property managers like renters to know? Read on for insight into how they are trying to make the renting process a little less precarious in this uncertain time.

1. Safety is a priority

While relocating during this period may seem scary, property managers want to reassure current and future tenants that they take the safety of apartment communities very seriously.

“There are tens of thousands of property management professionals across the country—including leasing staff, maintenance workers, concierges, and parking and security teams—that have shown up to work every day through this pandemic to keep apartment communities functioning and to ensure residents’ safety,” says Najam Syed, ​head of asset management for Brightline Trains and Parkline Communities in Miami, FL.

He says some of the precautionary measures they are taking include installing automatic door openers to allow secure, touchless entry and putting antimicrobial coatings on high-traffic surfaces.

2. Keep the lines of communication open

In times like these, there is no such thing as over-communication. Landlords and property managers want future tenants to know they’re listening and that they understand renters may have some concerns when considering a new property.

“Communication continues to be key. When applying, a simple conversation with us will give the applicant a better understanding of what can be expected and if the property is the right fit,” says Avila.

3. Essential jobs are a plus

With each week, more states are opening up and sending more people back to work to join essential personnel. But in tough economic times, landlord and property managers want to be sure that potential renters have the income and employment to make their monthly rent.

“Unlike before, applicants with an essential job are easier to qualify, since we know income for them is more feasible,” says Avila.

He says his company still screens and processes applications as it did before, wanting to see reasonable proof of income, a good rental history, and an acceptable credit score.

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Watch: The Rent Is Too High? Here’s How to Haggle It Down

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4. Move-ins are safe

Many renters may initially have some trepidation about the entire moving process—and chiefly whether or not they can still hire a moving company. Moving companies are considered essential services.

“If you are considering relocating to an apartment community, housing moves can be completed in a responsible manner, now that social distancing is an accepted and promoted practice,” says Syed.

Many moving companies are following such procedures as disinfecting their vehicles daily; requiring movers to wear face masks and shoe coverings; washing their hands for 20 seconds upon entering your home; and immediately putting on single-use gloves.

Syed says his property has implemented move-in policies that observe social distancing.

5. Landlords want to better serve you

Finding an apartment in the age of COVID-19 may require some extra leg work on the tenant’s part, but property managers want us to know that they are making a lot of changes to ensure the health and happiness of tenants during the new normal.

“We have redesigned leasing tours, optimized office layouts, and socially distanced communal and co-working areas,” says Syed.

He says that for new developments, property managers are seeking to maximize outdoor green space, and are considering upgrades to HVAC systems, installation of antimicrobial finishes, and reviewing common space usage and furnishing.

“Before you choose to call a community your home for the next 12 to 14 months, it would be prudent to review its COVID-19 response to see if the service level matches your expectations,” he says.

6. Wanted: New tenants

Nothing drops rent prices quite like a global pandemic, or so it seems in many markets throughout the country. Landlords want to fill vacancies, which means they can be willing to price down their units or offer incentives, such as a month of free rent or waiving a deposit.

“In response to employment declines in most major cities, some communities are offering meaningful discounts on immediate move-ins,” says Syed.

“Just like cars, furniture, and publicly traded stocks, apartments are also on sale.”

That might be the silver lining if you have to move right now.

Source: realtor.com

How to Get a Moving Estimate That Won’t Become a Moving Target

Newsflash: Moving stinks—and it can be even worse when you don’t know how to get a moving estimate you can trust. This can lead to massive misunderstandings, when movers quote you one price before you move, and whole different (and much higher!) number after it’s over.

So what gives?

The fact is, there are many ways to get a moving estimate, and each come with their pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know to get an estimate that won’t become a moving target.

How a moving cost calculator can help

For starters, you can get an instant estimate for your move using a moving cost calculator, which will ballpark the cost of your move based on the number rooms you have, how far you’re moving, and other variables.

In general, the average cost of a professional in-state household move is $2,300, according to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). That number climbs to a whopping $4,300 for an out-of-state move, based on an average weight of 7,400 pounds and an average distance of 1,225 miles.

But keep in mind that a moving calculator is just a ballpark start. To get a more accurate estimate, you’ll have to actually contact a moving company and get its take on the situation.

Binding vs. nonbinding estimate: What’s the difference?

So you want to know precisely how much your move is going to cost? Get a binding estimate, where a moving company tells you upfront all of your moving costs, including fees, taxes, and insurance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), movers who provide a binding estimate can’t require consumers to pay any more than the estimated amount at delivery.

There are a couple of caveats, though. Getting a binding estimate upfront may incur an initial fee. And with a binding estimate, “movers will often charge more money to build in an extra cushion, in case the move takes longer than expected,” says Scott Michael, AMSA’s president and CEO.

By comparison, a nonbinding estimate is free, but the cost that you’re quoted is only an estimate, and is subject to change. If the nonbinding estimate is based on weight, the movers can charge up to 10% more once they get the official weight on your goods, after packing them into the vehicle and stopping at a weigh station.

How to get a moving estimate that won’t change later

You can obtain a moving estimate over the phone, by email, or in person. Michael recommends getting estimates from at least three movers in person.

“Doing it in person ensures that the mover will see all the items that need to be shipped, and can identify any complications in advance,” Michael says. “For instance, if there are low-hanging tree branches that would prevent the moving truck from being able to pull up to your house, that’s something you want to know ahead of time.”

To obtain an accurate estimate, you’ll want to do a walk-through of your home with the mover a couple of weeks before your move. Michael recommends going room to room with the mover, “showing the person every single item the company is going to move.”

Point out items that you plan to transport yourself, and flag valuables, like artwork or antiques, that need to be handled differently or insured at a higher rate. “You may need to get an insurance policy from a third party to cover extraordinary artwork,” Michael says.

How to find reputable movers

To find a reputable moving company, make sure it has a state license to operate—and it should be happy to show you proof.

If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need a mover that also has a unique license number, issued by the United States Department of Transportation.

Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people fall victim to moving fraud, according to the FMCSA’s “Protect Your Move” campaign. To avoid getting scammed, steer clear of moving companies that ask for a deposit, list a P.O. Box or a residential address, or offer a ridiculously lowball estimate.

Once you have an estimate, it should be part of a written contract that’s signed by both parties before the move. That way, if the numbers come back different after your move is done, you have documentation that argues otherwise.

Source: realtor.com

6 Surprising Things You Never Knew You Had to Do Before the Movers Arrive

Moving is stressful, so you’d be forgiven if after packing the last box you thought that you were finally done. Now it’s just time to wait for the movers to arrive, right?

Not exactly.

Working with professional movers is a great option for people making big moves, moving with kids, or moving large or fragile items that would be otherwise impossible to transport. But while many moving companies do a great job of providing end-to-end service, there are some things that only you can do to make the whole process run smoothly. Here’s our list of six surprising things you’ll need to do before the movers arrive in order to avoid disaster.

1. Make a clear path

Whether you live in an urban apartment or a two-story house in the country, there are bound to be obstacles for your movers. By anticipating these issues before they happen, you can make everyone’s job easier, and possibly even save some money by taking up less of the movers’ time.

First, you should consider the parking situation outside your home. Where will the movers be able to leave their truck when packing up your stuff? If you do have that house in the country, this might not be an issue. But if you’re living in an apartment or urban area, chances are good that a huge double-parked truck won’t be taken very kindly by the neighbors.

“If you live in an apartment building or if there is limited parking in your area, ask the movers if they will handle the logistics or if you need to do so,” says Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.”

Some moving companies might be familiar with your neighborhood and know how to park in a way that doesn’t raise any red flags with the neighbors. But if they tell you they’d like your help with the logistics, then this will be on you to handle before they arrive.

“You may need to contact your building manager,” Wenzke says, “or the local city government to get the appropriate signage and allowances.”

There are other things to consider, too—like the state of your driveway.

Pat Byrne, operations manager of Long Island–based moving company Moving Ahead Moving & Storage, always asks clients to remove ice and snow to avoid any accidents during the move. You should also make sure the driveway and front access points are clear of debris—like kids’ or pet toys that might pose a slip hazard.

2. Make necessary reservations and get your paperwork together

Some apartment buildings might have service elevators available for use. This would be another time-saving question to ask your building manager in advance.

“See if service elevators can be reserved and whether the building needs any paperwork from movers—like a certificate of insurance,” says Byrne.

3. Protect your house, including your floors

To prevent damage to your house during the move, you should be aware of what furniture is going out the door, and anything fragile in its path that might be at risk of breaking.

“Lightbulbs, fixtures, pictures, mirrors, wall hangings should be removed from the main areas where furniture will be moved,” Byrne says.

And don’t forget about the hardwood floors. Nothing will put off a buyer more than seeing skid marks illustrating the path your sofa took out of the place.

“If you have hardwood floors or tile in any rooms, let your movers know ahead of time so they can prepare the right materials—and make sure your contract includes hardwood floor protection,” advises Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator at San Francisco–based moving company Dolly.

4. Measure!

On a related note, you’ll want to measure your furniture and make sure any large items will fit through the front door in the first place.

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than finding out the gorgeous sectional you spent hours assembling is not going to make it through your front door unless you spend more hours disassembling it,” Benson says.

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Watch: Who Would Have Guessed: Weird Packing Tips That Really Work

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5. Pack up the kids (and pets)

Not literally, of course. But you should take the time to consider where your family will be when the movers are at work. If paying for a space in the nearby pet hotel isn’t an option, at least consider keeping your pets in a safe space within your home.

“Pets should be kept in a room with everything they need that movers won’t need to access,” Byrne advises. “You’d want to do this even if your pet is friendly, to avoid [their] accidentally getting out of the house or injured.”

Similarly, young kids should also be kept out of the way on moving day. This is important for their safety as well as the safety of your moving team.

“The last thing you or your movers want to worry about is whether your 2-year-old’s scream is going to shock them at the wrong time,” Benson says.

6. Make yourself available

Once the family is out of the house, it’s time (drumroll, please) to sit down and relax—sort of. Find a central point in your home (that’s out of the movers’ way) and simply plan on making yourself available to them as they move your stuff.

Do we mean supervising their every move and reminding them the box is marked “fragile”? Probably not. But you should be around to help answer any questions, or alert movers to anything special they should know about your place.

“There are little things about your house that you only learn from living there: The hallway closet door never stays closed, the third step down has a slight bend, a pack of hornets tends to congregate around the back door, so use the front—these are all valuable things that make your movers’ lives easier,” Benson explains.

“On top of that, being available to answer questions, whether that’s in person or via phone, can make your move much smoother,” she adds.

Source: realtor.com

Everything You Need to Know About Moving Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic—If You Must

Packing up and moving has always been remarkably stressful in and of itself. Moving during the coronavirus pandemic, when everyone across the nation is supposed to be staying put to lower their risk of illness? Well, that’s a tricky undertaking, to say the least.

We’re here to help you navigate moving safely with the final installment of our new series, “Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus.”

First, a note of caution: If you don’t have to vacate your current home, consider staying right where you are. Aim to reschedule your move for when the spread of the coronavirus outbreak slows and the government lifts restrictions on movement.

“During this crisis, many customers are postponing their moves and some are just completely canceling them,” says Lior Rachmany, CEO and founder of New York’s Dumbo Moving and Storage. “However, we’re still receiving a great deal of new customers that need to move at this time.”

So if you are one of those people who absolutely have to move right now—maybe the home you own or rent was recently sold, you have to relocate for a new job, or you just closed on a new home—then here’s some info on how to move safely during this pandemic.

Checklist: Before you move

Make sure moving is allowed in your area or building

Not sure if you can move? According to the American Moving & Storage Association, moving has been deemed an “essential service” by the federal government.

Still, while moving is legal in the big picture, it might not be allowed for your specific circumstances. For instance, some apartment buildings in New York City are not allowing residents to move during the current shelter-in-place order. So check with your local and state governments (and your HOA or condo board, if applicable) before scheduling any move.

Choose car travel over air travel

“In order to be safe and to protect others from possible exposure to the coronavirus, drive instead of fly for your long-distance move,” advises Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.”

It may take longer for you to arrive at your new home, but driving is better for the safety of everyone.

Carefully research your movers

Hiring movers should always be a process that involves careful research before signing a contract. Now that missive is even more important. So is using professional movers rather than a cheaper man-with-a-van option, which could involve unknown rental equipment and multiple trips to get everything moved.

These days, many companies have transitioned to contactless moving, which means customers leave their homes while the crew comes in to pack up and load the truck. Many movers are also using video chat technology to see customers’ homes and offer quotes.

At Bellhops, a company that provides moving services in 30 states, “the customer provides instructions and takes a video and sends it to us,” says Luke Marklin, the company’s CEO. “We do a FaceTime walk-through when we arrive and a final FaceTime walk-through to show them the truck and the house, then repeat that process for the unload.”

Make sure to ask all prospective movers about their COVID-19 policies and practices, and make sure to ask the following:

  • Do you provide virtual or digital estimates?
  • Are the trucks and movers equipped with hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves?
  • Will the truck transporting your furniture and boxes be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before your belongings are packed inside?
  • Will all equipment—such as hand trucks and sound blankets—be cleaned before your move?
  • How often are high-touch surfaces in the trucks sanitized?
  • What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
  • How are the movers ensuring employees aren’t sick? This could include taking their temperature on the day of the move and asking if anyone in their household is ill or experiencing symptoms.

These best practices don’t just apply to the movers but to you as well.

“We advise that anyone who is planning to move right now to get gloves and masks to wear during the move,” says Rachmany.

Decluttering? Call ahead if you plan to donate

Moving is a natural time to sort through your closets and set aside items to donate. This unusual time period doesn’t have to be an exception to this.

But if you plan to drop off old housewares, clothing, and other items at your neighborhood Goodwill or Salvation Army, call ahead—not all stores are open or accepting donations right now, and you may need to take additional steps to sanitize donated items.

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Watch: The Essential Quarantine Supply List

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Plan ahead if you need to set up new internet or cable service

If you need a technician to come to your place to set up internet or cable service with a new provider, schedule that installation ASAP so you can get connected as quickly as possible and avoid delays.

Appointments are harder to come by these days, says Jenna Weinerman, vice president of marketing for Updater, a moving app. “You can’t bank on getting an installation appointment as easily as you have in the past.”

Use new cardboard boxes you pack yourself

“In normal times, I recommend using neighborhood sites like Nextdoor or Craigslist to get free moving supplies,” says Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.” However, during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safer to buy brand-new moving supplies.

Don’t use plastic bins, either—the coronavirus can survive up to a day on cardboard, but three days on plastic.

You should also pack your own china, books, and clothing rather than hiring movers to do it. The fewer items the movers touch during your move, the safer you will be from exposure to the coronavirus.

Stock up on cleaning supplies for you and your movers

Don’t pack up your cleaning supplies quite yet. Even though your movers should come equipped with their own supplies, you can help by providing plenty of opportunities for the crew to wash their hands before, during, and after the move—and to wash your own hands before and after making contact with any surfaces.

“At a minimum, you want adequate supplies of antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes on hand,” says Matt Woodley, founder of MoverFocus.com. “You will need to disinfect all common areas before and after your movers arrive, too.”

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Checklist: On moving day

Don’t involve more people than necessary

Many moving companies are reducing crew sizes to comply with guidelines to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Homeowners and renters should also try to reduce the number of cooks in the kitchen.

“Designate one person to manage and oversee the entire move to ensure best social distancing practices are observed,” Woodley says.

Time your move carefully

If possible, plan your move so that the crew drops off your belongings first, then wait at least 72 hours to move yourself or your family into your new place—by then, the virus is less likely to remain on any surfaces.

If you have to move at the same time as your items, Weinerman suggests packing a designated “open first” box that you drop off before the rest of your items. Fill the box with essentials like disinfectant spray, paper towels, snacks, soap, toiletries, bed linens, phone chargers, and a change of clothes.

“Place the rest of your boxes away from your ‘open first’ box,” she says. “Cover it in colorful tape or use colored markers to make sure it doesn’t get swallowed up in a sea of brown boxes.”

To be safe, disinfect the box and the items inside when you open it.

Disinfect all points of contact

As you come in and out of your new and old places, you’ll need to frequently disinfect doorknobs and cabinet pulls, along with wearing a mask and gloves. Keep windows open to promote airflow and circulation.

If you’re moving in or out of a multiunit building, take extra care in common areas like the lobby or mailroom where your neighbors pass through. Don’t forget to sanitize any surfaces you touch, including elevator buttons.

“It’s really helpful to reserve a dedicated elevator,” Marklin says. “One of the worst situations is to be crammed together in a crowded elevator.” He also suggests scheduling your move early in the day to avoid running into neighbors.

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Checklist: After the move

Wipe down your moving boxes and furniture

Even if your movers take every precaution to keep you and your belongings safe, the coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic carriers. So you will need to thoroughly clean and disinfect everything after the movers leave.

“Even things that are wrapped in moving blankets, like tables or couches, should be completely disinfected before using them again,” says Rachmany.

To play it safe, also give your boxes a good cleaning once they’re placed in the appropriate rooms, and make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling any items the movers touched.

Canceling or changing your move if you’re sick

Feeling under the weather? Don’t think twice about canceling or postponing your move; it’s not worth putting others at risk.

In most cases, your agreement with a moving company is nonbinding, Weinerman says, which means you can change your plans without penalty.

“However, if your moving company collected a deposit prior to your move, it may be nonrefundable,” she says. “Contact your moving company about your deposit. Many reputable moving companies will be flexible or make an exception considering the pandemic.”

Companies like Bellhops have waived cancellation and rescheduling fees for anyone who needs to change plans due to illness.

“This is a pandemic, so all of the previous rules need to be thrown out the window,” Marklin says. “Everything needs to be viewed with heightened care and concern.”

Source: realtor.com

5 Tips for Moving During COVID-19

By taking extra safety precautions and minimizing social contact, you can still move safely.

Amid travel bans, widespread stay-at-home orders and social-distancing mandates, millions of Americans have adapted to the changes brought about by COVID-19. Countless events have been rescheduled or cancelled, but for a few people — including those who already made plans to move — staying put is simply not an option. 

If you are about to move, you can still pull it off with a little extra planning and a few precautionary steps.

Here are some tips for making your move as safe, seamless and stress-free as possible. 

DIY if possible

Even though most states have designated moving services as “essential” and therefore still able to operate, many smaller companies have reduced hours or have paused business altogether. If you can, try to manage the move on your own.

If you need help, do your homework on the companies operating in your area. Call to ask about sanitation procedures, whether the movers have necessary supplies (like masks, gloves and booties), and confirm there is a reasonable cancellation policy in the event that you need to change your plans.  

Minimize contact

If you’re working with a moving company, ask for a virtual quote and see if the company offers fully contactless service. 

Forgo handshakes, for obvious reasons. A smile and a generous tip (sent through Venmo, PayPal or another contactless digital platform) are a welcome substitute. 

Take extra sanitary precautions

  • Wear masks, gloves and booties. If you’re hiring a moving company, they’ll likely bring similar supplies for their workers, but consider having additional hygiene products available.
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, paying particular attention to door knobs and handles.
  • Place soap and paper towels next to sinks and hand sanitizer by doors.
  • Buy new boxes: The coronavirus has been found to live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, so this might not be the time to pick up used moving supplies from stores that are recycling them. You can also use boxes that you already have in your home. 

Be transparent and flexible

In advance of your move, reach out to your neighbors — especially if you live in an apartment building — and share the date and time you plan to move. This gives everyone in your direct vicinity an opportunity to avoid unnecessary contact and let you know if your timing is a problem.

If you or any family members are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, postpone your moving plans. Though rescheduling is a pain, the health and safety of your community comes first. 

Help those in need and lighten your load

Even in the best of circumstances, nearly 40 million Americans are unable to afford groceries. As COVID-19 forces school closures, soup kitchen shutdowns and a surge of layoffs, the need for anti-hunger provisions is greater than ever. Donate your shelf-stable items to a local food bank or to Move for Hunger, a national organization that works with professional moving companies and their customers to feed those in need.

Moving is hard work no matter what, and it’s especially challenging right now. But by taking extra precautions, you can — and will — get past this hurdle.  

Additional resources:

See below for a roundup of popular moving companies that are continuing service during coronavirus. The list is not exhaustive or provided as a recommendation of their services, and we encourage you to check the company websites for up-to-date information. 

Source: zillow.com