The job offer has arrived in the form of a certified letter mailed to your home. You send back a gracious acceptance letter and then spend a little time with loved ones celebrating the good news. However, the festive nature of your party suddenly takes a slight turn downward.
The thought of making a long-distance move has crossed your mind.
Long distance moving requires much more forethought and planning than what a move across town entails. After all, you cannot go back to your former residence to retrieve something you forgot when you are hundreds of miles away from your former home. By a long distance move, we are not referring to relocating from Austin to San Antonio, Texas. We are talking about crossing through several states to reach your new residence.
Moving cross-country or long-distance requires the creation of a checklist that takes care of everything you need to make relocation as smooth of a process as possible. We are here to offer our thoughts on what should be a part of your moving checklist.
Checklist for a Long-Distance Move
- Decide What Goes with You
- Conduct Research on Long Distance Movers
- Request in Home Moving Estimates
- Early Bird Gets the Packing Supplies
- Get to Know Your New Home Town
- Another Reason to Visit Your New Home Before a Move
- The Joy of Packing
- Important Phone Calls to Make
- Change of Address: Forwarding Mail is not Enough
- Moving Company Confirmation
- Study Your Consumer Rights
Decide What Goes with You
Downsizing is not a good word in the corporate world, but it is a relevant term to use for performing long-distance moves. The cost of your move is determined by the weight of the personal belongings you pack in a truck. The more weight you transport, the higher the moving bill. A long-distance move represents the ideal time to take stock of what items you need to bring along and what items can be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. In fact, holding a garage sale helps defray the cost of a long distance move. Think about items that you will not use in your new home. For example, a family moving from Minneapolis to Phoenix can sell the snow blower and shovels.
Conduct Research on Long Distance Movers
Not every moving company performs out of state moves. Of the companies that perform such moves, many fail to provide outstanding customer service or worse, lose or steal some of your possessions. Researching long distance movers includes reading customer reviews and more importantly, visit the Better Business Bureau (BBB) web page dedicated to any moving company under consideration. The BBB rates each moving company, and you should consider only movers that have earned the highest BBB rating of A+. We encourage you to seek referrals from friends, family members, and professional peers. A moving company such as Mayflower or United Van Lines that has a large network of agents located throughout the United States owns the resources to perform long distance moves.
Request in Home Moving Estimates
Families crunched for time might opt for requesting moving estimates online or over the phone. Do not fall into this common trap. Request in-home moving estimates from at least three movers that specialize in long-distance relocations. With in-home moving estimates, a representative from the moving company stops by your home to see everything you plan to bring with you. The visual survey allows the representative to calculate a fairly accurate estimate. Make sure to ask for a non-binding to exceed the estimate, which means any estimate made by a moving company representative accurately reflects the final cost of performing your long distance move.
Early Bird Gets the Packing Supplies
It is important to get a head start on a long distance move to prevent last-minute changes from causing chaos. One thing you can do before you pack the first suitcase involves gathering packing supplies such as bags, boxes, trunks, packing tape, and bubble wrap. One of the most disruptive events that occur during a long distance move is to stop packing because you ran out of boxes. Whatever packing materials you do not use can go to a friend or family member. For convenience, shop for packing supplies online from the moving company you selected to perform the long distance relocation.
Get to Know Your New Home Town
We strongly recommend you spend some time in the new city you plan to call home. The chances are that if you interviewed for a new job, you already know where some of the points of interest are located. However, your current employer might relocate you to a new city, or you plan to move because you want to settle into your dream home in a state located on the other side of the United States. To get acquainted with your new home and city, take a few days off from work and visit the city and neighborhood you plan to call home. You should enroll your kids in school before a move, which means a visit to the new city is considered mandatory. Spend some time reading Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews of libraries, restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses and public buildings you expect to frequent.
Another Reason to Visit Your New Home Before a Move
Some people prefer to treat a move as a chance to start over, at least when it comes to furnishing a new home. The new home might look completely different inside, which means some of the furniture you now own might not be aesthetically appealing in the new kitchen or living room. You also need to visit the new home to confirm all the furniture you plan to bring with you fits through at least one of the doors leading into the house. Measure all the large furniture in your current home and extend the measuring tape across the width and length of the front door to your new home.
The Joy of Packing
With all the packing supplies you need placing in each room of your current home, you are ready to pack clothes, kitchen equipment, and living room decorative items into boxes and crates. The key here is to organize boxes and crates by the room where your things go in the new home. For example, it makes no senses to pack books and kitchen utensils in the same box. Clearly label each box to help you organize the unpacking of your things. For important personal documents like bank statements and credit card information, we suggest placing the documents in waterproof plastic folders that you can quickly access upon arrival to your new residence.
Important Phone Calls to Make
You might be surprised to read this, but because of the chaos a interstate move causes, some people forget to contact utility companies to have the gas, water, and electricity turned off. A few weeks after you relocate, you receive phone calls asking where the money is for the utilities you left on in your former home. Some people forget to pass on important contact information to friends and family members as well.
Change of Address: Forwarding Mail is not Enough
Although stopping by the post office to complete a change of address card is a good idea, it should not be the only way you communicate your new address with loved ones and business associates. Spend some time going through your contacts file stored on your computer and then shoot off emails to everyone you want to know about the new address. You also need to let your bank, insurance companies, and credit card companies where the next stop is on your life journey. If you bank with a company that has a nationwide presence, you simply change your mailing address. Changing banks require you to close out every account before the big move.
Moving Company Confirmation
One of the last things to do on your moving checklist involves confirming all the details with the moving company. You want confirmation on the date and time of the move, as well as the size of the truck you rented and the cost for performing the long distance move. Most movers email confirmation, but you should still initiate the email or phone call to give you peace of mind.
Study Your Consumer Rights
You can put this step at the top of the checklist or make it the last thing you do before the movers show up to pack your possessions on moving day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets and enforces all the regulations about long-distance relocations. Check out the agency’s Rights and Responsibilities handbook to ensure you enjoy protection as mandated by federal law. One of the most important rights you have is to receive full compensation for any of your items the moving company loses or damages during the entire moving process. The legal protections cover the transportation and the unloading of your possessions. Sign up for full valuation coverage to receive fair market value for lost and damaged goods.
A few more tips before we send you on your way to a new home. Although it is not feasible for some people, we recommend moving during the off-season, which runs from after to Labor Day to around the first of April. Moving companies charge higher prices for services when demand is at its highest point. You can deduct moving expenses on your income tax form. Therefore, save every receipt associated with a moving expense or purchase. Finally, do not forget to donate or throw out perishable food and products, such as paint, fresh vegetable, and household cleaners.