Step 7: Moving

Even the smallest home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover.

Move.com's moving center provides calculators as well as information on moving options, storage, truck rentals and related topics. This information, plus assistance and advice from your REALTOR®, can ease the moving process.

It's ideally best to get rid of excess furniture and other goods by having a sale before you move. This will reduce the volume of goods to be moved and thus lower moving costs. Unwanted furniture which cannot be sold can often be donated to charitable groups, many of which will come to your home to pick up donations. All other unwanted items should be taken to a landfill. You should provide the U.S. Postal Service with a forwarding address, and utility companies should be advised when to end service. Check with utility companies to see if there is deposit money which should be returned.

How do you plan a move?

The time to plan your move begins once you've decided to sell your home. Some of the activities required to sell the home can actually help with the moving process. For example, cleaning out closets, basements and attics means there will be less to do once the home is under contract.

Your planning will be guided by a number of things:

  • Are you moving a long distance?
    If yes, you'll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
  • Moving internationally?
    Contact the embassy in Washington, D.C., for information. Be aware that items which may be entirely common in the United States can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes.
  • Moving locally?
    If yes, will you move yourself? You'll need to consider packing boxes, peanuts, blankets or padding and a van rental.
  • Planning is key
    Stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers will know where goods should be placed.

Who should you use?

The decision of who to use can begin with a visit to REALTOR.com's® moving center and discussions with the REALTOR® who is marketing your home.

There are a number of factors to consider. Money is one issue: You'll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references for homesellers with a similar volume of goods to transport.

Get mover estimates in writing. Be aware that it's possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession: Clergy, for example, sometimes qualify for a discount.

Always confirm mover credentials. Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman's comp insurance.

Get a checklist

Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:

  • Money
    If you're moving more than a few miles then you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
  • Medicine
    Keep medicines and related prescriptions in a place where they will be available during the move.
  • Boxes
    Number boxes so that all items can be counted on arrival. Make a list of boxes by number and indicate their contents.
  • Children
    If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other goods.
  • Fragile Items
    Moving historic, breakable or valued items? Such goods routinely require special handling and packaging.
  • Address Book
    Have address books readily available in case you need help.
  • Communication
    If you have a laptop computer with a modem, make it accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.