Whether you’re considering hiring professionals to help you relocate or are taking a more do-it-yourself approach, it’s a fairly safe bet that moving doesn’t rate among your favorite ways to spend time. With costs for relocating averaging $2,300 within state and $4,300 for an out of state move, it can also take a huge bite out of your budget. On the other hand, you may be surprised at how much you can save in hassle, stress and money by employing these simple strategies taken from both industry experts and those who have learned from personal experience:
Put a checklist in place: About sixty days before your move date, create a schedule for when you will complete your moving related tasks. This is a great way to eliminate last-minute problems when time is in short supply in the days before your move. HGTV recommends using a week-by-week checklist to keep you on track. Looking for some help in creating a workable timeline for your move? You may want to check out “The Most Epic Moving Checklist in the History of Moving” from the Updater, a tech company that creates tools to help people move.
Practice astute timing: If you’ve decided to hire a professional moving company, you can often save significant cash by planning the move for a time when demand is at its lowest levels. While it may not be convenient for you to avoid relocating during the peak moving season of May through August, you may have more discretion when it comes to the time of the week and month in which you move. For your best deals, aim to move in the middle of the week or month, when moving companies tend to be less busy and will lower costs.
Give yourself a fresh start: If you’ve lived in the same home for many years, you may not realize the extent of clutter that could have easily accumulated over time, and how little it’s actually contributing to your life. In reality, holding onto items you don’t need or no longer enjoy may actually be sapping you of time, energy and money. Moreover, the more items you have to move, the higher your moving expenses will be, so the months leading up to your move are an ideal time to donate, recycle, sell or toss out unwanted items.
Tips for lightening your load: A yard sale can be an excellent way to rid yourself of possessions you no longer want or need, but you may also find that friends or family members can use large items such as patio furniture, extra TV sets, table and chairs, etc. Be sure to assess your old collections of books, videos and CDs and ask yourself if you will really miss them if you were to pare down. In addition to eBay and Craigslist, here are good sites for listing items to sell: Thredup.com (clothing), Decluttr (CDs, DVDs, games, books, tablets and more) and Letgo (assorted items). For donations, consider the library, thrift shops, nonprofits such as Goodwill, or even sites such as Freecycle or Nextdoor (which you can also use for selling).
When hiring professionals, get three or more quotes and vet your first choice: Professional movers may offer you the option to charge on a per hour basis or a flat fee, so make sure you’ve carefully considered what the more cost-effective option is likely to be given your household needs. It’s typically best to get estimates from three or more moving companies before reaching a decision. Be sure to research the background of any business you hire and steer clear of any moving service that claims there is no need for them to do an in-person or video inspection of your items before providing an estimate.
Ensure that the moving company you go with is licensed, reliable and reputable by getting their license number and checking their background and credentials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As always, it’s also a good idea to do an internet search to alert you to potential problems using keywords such as “scams” or “complaints.”
If possible, take a do-it-yourself approach to packing: While certain life circumstances such as an immediate start date for a new job may make it impractical to pack without professional help, keep in mind that you can often save several hundred dollars by handling the majority of this yourself. As Home Advisor explains, most people can expect to pay upwards of $400 in hourly costs from a full-service moving company charging $25-$50 per hour per mover to pack and unpack your home. One way to cut this cost dramatically is to do most of the packing yourself, but have the movers pack your fragile items such as mirrors, china and glassware.
Find boxes for free and repurpose items you own as packaging materials: When it comes to collecting boxes for your move, there are a multitude of free resources you can tap into. Moving.com recommends retailers such as grocery stores, liquor stores, bookstores, and large chain stores, as well as schools and offices. The real estate website also suggests sites and social media networks like Freecycle, Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook groups. As you start gathering your packing supplies, keep in mind that many items you already own can be put to good use in a move, including everyday objects like towels, blankets, scarves, newspapers and plastic bins.
Create a color coded system: While this may sound intimidating, it’s actually incredibly simple. Just use magic markers to label each box of items you plan to move with a different color according to the room where it should go in your new home. For example, you might use a yellow marker to label all boxes that should be placed in the kitchen. Then draw a floor plan of your new home and label each room with the correct color.
Take advantage of moving discounts with SFPCU’s Realtor Referral Affinity Program: Lastly, if you’re planning to buy and/or sell a home in the near future, keep our Realty Referral Affinity Program in mind. In addition to providing an excellent referral source for experienced and highly reputable agents, it allows you to save up to thousands of dollars in closing costs whether you purchase or sell a home with a Century 21 realtor in the program. Buyers will also get access to exclusive Bay Area real estate listings and the ability to house-hunt with confidence with a preapproved SFPCU home loan. Another major plus: special discounts including savings on moving services, home protection and more! For details, visit http://bit.ly/RealtorReferralAffinityProgramBayArea.