Moving to your new home: When should you schedule the move?

October 19, 2018 - 5 min read

In this article:

Your escrow is proceeding nicely, your mortgage is in order, and moving day looms. But when should you schedule moving to your new home?

  • How much preparation is involved?
  • How sure is your closing date (Are there contingencies?)
  • But there are potential problems, and how bad could they be?

Moving a carload across town is different from taking a household complete with kids and pets across the country. Here’s what you need to consider.

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Is my closing date certain?

It’s much easier to schedule a move if you know what your closing date will be. If you must be out of your current residence on or before closing day, it’s essential you schedule your move for a specific date. Keep in mind rush moves or last-minute scheduling or rescheduling can cost you more in moving costs.

Related: When I buy a house, when can I move in?

If your closing date is not certain, negotiate with the seller to store belongings in a garage or storage on the property. If that’s not an option, you’ll have to find temporary storage for your belongings and temporary housing for yourself and any family you have.

Another consideration related to closing and moving dates is the time of year you’re moving. In most regions of the country, spring and summer are the busiest time of year for moves. But, if you’re moving to a college town or retirement area, that calendar might shift.

Where am I moving?

If you’re moving across town, you have more flexibility in scheduling a move, especially if it’s just you or you and a partner. You’ll probably have fewer belongings to move and getting packed and organized won’t take very long. In those cases, you’ll be fine scheduling your movers or a rental truck several days before closing.

Related: How do I get my mail at my new place?

If you have a larger household or one with members with special considerations like a disability, give yourself more time to schedule the move. It’s smart to get on a mover’s calendar several weeks to months before your intended moving day, in that case.

Moreover, if you’re moving across the country, particularly with a full house that includes kids and pets, schedule your move at least two months ahead. The best long distance movers might be booked up months That way, you’ll be less stressed when you move.

What should my moving budget be?

The primary cost is the move itself. Get some firm, flat fee estimates from reputable movers in writing to form the basis of your moving budget.

Then, include expenses for pet sitting or boarding and shipping of items you want to keep that can’t go in moving trucks, like lawn mowers. Make recreational or personal vehicle transport another line item in your budget. If yours is a long distance move requiring air or other public transit travel, include costs for those.

Related: Moving tips (How to move for less)

Pad your budget for contingencies like those like the need for storage or temporary housing in case your closing date gets moved. Carefully consider options for temporary housing, too. Staying at a “hometel” or booking accommodations in someone’s private home through a house-sharing platform doesn’t always work well.

You could arrive at the accommodation and find it’s poorly maintained, unsafe or otherwise unsuitable. That means making last-minute hotel reservations. This unexpected cost can be steep, especially for a family or an extended stay. So, weight the pros and cons of finding a super cheap deal at a non-hotel rental.

If you are flying to your new locale, consider paying more for refundable or one you can change without incurring fees. Another option is “change for a reason” insurance so you won’t get stuck losing money if you have to change your plans. Check with your credit card carriers to see if they offer that insurance or coverage for a do-it-yourself move.

Am I prepared to move?

Depending on what your move entails, it’s essential to plan your move carefully. That way, you can get moved from one home to the other more easily. How you do that depends on whether you’re downsizing or moving to a bigger house and who and what are going you.

It also depends on where you’re relocating. Here are a few moving preparation tips that make moving less stressful.

Get organized first

Structure your moving process in phases, starting with the spaces you use least. Separate items you’ll keep from what you no longer want. Focus on what you won’t keep, especially if you’re downsizing since that’s easiest to dispose of quickly.

Only set aside items you’ll keep, which means those you love and can’t part with or need to maintain your lifestyle. That includes any portable smart technology you didn’t sell with your current house or install permanently in a rental.

Related: Moving into a new house (what you need to know)

Remember, you’re paying to move whatever you take. Then, go through the house in order of spaces you use, organizing those rooms the same way. Finish the process with the rooms you use most.

Before packing anything, sell, donate or give away everything you’ve set aside that you’re not taking. Also, what your movers will allow on the moving van so you can make arrangements for things you’ll keep. Those things include gasoline-powered lawn mowers and recreation vehicles, perishables like food, pesticides, cleaners, paint, and other chemicals.

Have individual family members who are old enough handle their rooms and personal spaces. If you have challenges with being organized, get professional organizer help or use mobile apps.

Pack your house methodically

Going back to the least to most use room strategy, start packing things up according to what you’ll still use and what you won’t. Pack for your first few nights in your new home, particularly if you’re moving a long distance and will wait for movers to bring your belongings.

Related: New house checklist (things you never dreamed you'd need)

That means when you get to bedrooms, pack “open first” boxes for each household member. Include linens, toiletries, pajamas, several days of clothes, medicines and other daily necessities. Pack a similar box for your kitchen and baths and don’t forget pets.

See if you can leave clothes in dressers for movers to take to save time and packing materials. Set aside essential papers, canes, walkers, reading glasses and any cash you’ll need to carry.

Be ready to go when movers arrive

Be prepared to focus on only moving out what’s going on moving vans when the moving truck comes. Ship any items you can’t put on them. If you’re not flying or taking the train, put things going into your cars in the vehicles before movers get there. That includes like your “unpack first” boxes for the first few nights, food and your plants.

Put the things you’ll need immediately after the movers arrive at your new home on the moving truck last. That includes bedroom and kitchen furnishings, so those get set up first. You’re going to be too tired to locate those items and set them up when you’re done.

Planning your move and scheduling this way will make one of the most stressful experiences human have less so for you.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

Dahna Chandler
Authored By: Dahna Chandler
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Dahna Chandler is an award-winning business and finance journalist with 20 years of experience writing for major media outlets and top blogs. She is passionate about helping wealth-minded people thrive financially by reaching their wealth objectives.