Today, Kerri G. from Somerville, MA wrote in and asked “How far in advance should I plan my move?” This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve heard this question. Unfortunately, there’s not really a clear cut answer. A lot of things can change as you approach your move date. While we recommend making plans at least a month in advance, the real important thing is to maintain some flexibility with your moving plans.
Finding A New Home
This is probably the hardest step toward moving. You’re going to be spending the next year(s) of your life in this new home, and you’re not going to want to settle for something that you’re not comfortable with. Houses and apartments can come on and off the market at breakneck speeds, and it’s usually best to monitor the market as much as you can for months before planning a move. We’ve used Craiglist to find apartments before, and new listings show up every single day. We also have had success using Boston.com’s Real Estate section.
Closing or Signing Papers
One of the most important elements to any move is securing the house/apartment/condo/etc. You’ll either need to sign off with a realtor, or with the people who you are buying from or selling to. One of the biggest mistakes that we see customers make is to plan on signing these papers at the same time as doing the actual move.
Why is that a bad idea? These paper signings can take time. It’s highly likely that there will be some important questions to be answered from all involved parties. These papers signify the exchange of thousands of dollars, and the burning questions can cause a lot of stress.
We recommend closing on a new house at least a day before planning on moving. It will also give you a chance to see the empty house and decide on whether you need to do any painting, light renovations or even hire a cleaning service. Based on that, you might want to allot more than just a day in advance (painting could take a couple days to paint and dry).
Likewise, you’d be best off moving all of your belongings out of the currant house at least a day before signing papers to be out. Having the pressure of new owners moving in in a matter of hours can add unnecessary stress to the move.
Hiring A Moving Company
While many moving companies are able to accommodate a move on short notice, it is usually best to reserve your movers at least two weeks in advance. If you need to move during peak operating times for the movers (which tend to be toward the beginning and end of the month, especially over summertime), you should allow even more time.
Your movers will probably be able to set up an appointment for you regardless, but they probably will not have the exact time that you want to move available. By being a little flexible, you can find the best time spot for you and the movers.
Packing Items, Dismantling Furniture
Planning your move well in advance will give you a wide opportunity for packing your belongings. In the weeks before you move, you can pack up book collections, CDs/DVDs/etc, and other non-essential items. Any clothing, bedding, or other linens that is stored away can be packed and prepared for being moved well in advance as well.
More essential items, like your clothing dressers, food, toiletries, bed items, dish ware and other everyday items should be saved until the last day or two before moving. You don’t want to be without these for very long. Refrigerated food especially can’t be packaged until you are actually in the process of moving (unless you are able to move that over separately from the rest of your move).