Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 10 Moving Mistakes That Can Cost You

#1: Moving Without a Plan

Whether you're trekking across the country or simply shifting across the street, moving is a big job that takes considerable preparation. If you think you can throw everything in boxes and onto a truck at the last minute, you're bound to overlook important details and make costly mistakes. To alleviate the stress of last-minute planning and packing, stay on schedule with a moving checklist. As early as 60 days before your move, start getting estimates from movers, gathering packing supplies, and making travel arrangements. Be diligent in checking off the tasks on your list; time will be at a premium on the days leading up to your move, so the more you can get done in advance the better.

#2: Hiring the Wrong Moving Company
A quality moving company can save you a lot of the time, stress and muscle strain it takes to tackle a do-it-yourself move. However, not all movers are created equal -- hire an undependable company, and you might actually add stress to your move. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make sure your movers are legit. Use these tips to choose a reliable moving company:
  • Ask your friends and family for recommendations.
  • Check out the company's licenses, credentials and track record. Look for the company's U.S. Department of Transportation license and their Motor Carrier number on their website. Find out if the company is a member of the American Moving & Storage Association or another industry trade association. Check with the Better Business Bureau for many unresolved complaints about the movers.
  • Get in-home estimates from at least three companies. Movers need to see your stuff to give you a truly accurate estimate, so skip estimates over the phone or internet.
  • Don't hire a mover that offers a too-good-to-be-true rate.
  • Avoid movers that require large deposits or down payments.
#3: Not Setting a Budget. 

It's easy to get caught up in the costs of selling your home and buying a new one, but don't overlook the costs associated with moving. Besides the obvious expenses -- a moving van or crew, boxes and tape -- there are lots of little expenses along the way that can wreak havoc on your wallet if you're not prepared for them. For example, while you're calculating the costs of moving your stuff, keep in mind the cost of moving yourself: If you're traveling a long distance, factor in costs for transportation, lodging and meals on the road.

And don't forget to save your receipts -- they might save you money after your move. If you relocated for a new full-time job at least 50 miles away from your previous home, you can deduct the cost of packing, transporting or storing your household goods from next year's tax return. 

#4: Packing Poorly
Let's face it: Packing is a pain. But so are the last-minute hassles and possible property damage you'll face if you don't take the time to pack your belongings correctly. If you can fit it in your budget, your moving company can save you time and stress by packing your items for you. But if you choose to box up your own belongings, follow these quick tips to pack like a pro:
  • Invest in quality packing materials. Boxes designed specifically for moving will help keep your belongings safe and secure.
  • Label your boxes. Make unpacking easier by labeling each box with the room it belongs in, plus a short description of its contents.
  • Know what not to pack. Movers won't touch flammable items, perishable foods or plants.
  • Pack a moving survival kit. This box should contain toiletries, medications and other necessities and should stay with you -- not with the moving truck. You should also transport valuable and irreplaceable items yourself, such as jewelry, family heirlooms and important documents.
  • Don't wait until the last minute. Pack a few boxes a day so you don't get overwhelmed.
Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty

#5: Not Understanding Your Insurance Options

Even with the most careful movers, accidents can happen -- and when they do happen, typical moving insurance may not be of much help. Basic carrier liability, which is the minimum coverage required by law and is included in the price of your move, pays about 60 cents per pound for damaged goods. That means if your 20-pound plasma TV breaks in transit, you'll be reimbursed $12 -- even if you paid $800 for it last year. If you want the peace of mind that your goods will be replaced if broken, you'll need to purchase additional coverage. First, check your homeowner's insurance to see if it covers damages that occur in transit. If it doesn't, explore other options to find one that fits your needs and your budget.

For an accurate estimate, show your movers 
everything you plan on taking with you.For an accurate estimate, show your movers everything you plan on taking with you.
#6: Withholding Details From Your Moving Company
You can never be too honest with your movers. When getting in-home estimates, show them everything you plan on moving so they can give you an accurate quote. If there are any factors at your new home that might affect the move -- say, a narrow driveway or a steep set of stairs to the front door -- be sure to disclose these details to your movers as well. Most obstacles are not insurmountable, but you'll be charged extra for them later if you don't tell your movers upfront.

Before signing off on the moving 
inventory, do a thorough check to make sure all your belongings made it 
to your new home.Before signing off on the moving inventory, do a thorough check to make sure all your belongings made it to your new home.
#7: Hastily Signing Off on the Moving Inventory

This important document proves that all of the items from your old home were packed and put on the truck. When the movers arrive at your new residence, check every item on the inventory sheet before you sign off -- if you hurriedly confirm that everything arrived intact, you'll have a hard time backtracking when you notice your favorite flatware is missing. If you notice any damages or missing items before the movers leave, alert them and make a note on the inventory sheet or Bill of Lading. If they offer to settle on the spot, politely decline. You may end up underestimating the damages.

Your four-legged friends may need 
special travel arrangements on moving day.Your four-legged friends may need special travel arrangements on moving day.

#8: Forgetting About Fido

If you're moving with pets, don't forget to make any special arrangements needed for your furry friends. Make travel plans well in advance: If you are flying, reserve a space for your pet at least three to four months prior because flights have limits on how many pets they can carry. If you are driving, make sure your dog has somewhere to sleep at night -- you don't want to start searching for pet-friendly lodging after a long day's drive. The commotion of moving day will likely be stressful for your pets, so consider asking a friend or a professional to care for them while you're loading up the moving van. At the very least, designate a safe spot for your pets where they'll be out of the way of the movers.

Before you start packing, hold a garage 
sale to pare down your possessions.Before you start packing, hold a garage sale to pare down your possessions.
#9: Moving Things You Don't Need
Whether or not we admit it, most of us are packrats. Rather than parting with all the junk we never use before a move, we'd rather box it up and haul it to our new homes. But transporting items you don't need will make your move more expensive if you're using a moving company (movers often base their price on how much stuff you're shipping) and more difficult if you're moving yourself (why lift extra boxes if you don't have to?). Before you start packing, get rid of anything you don't currently use or won't be necessary in your new home. You can hold a garage sale to make some extra cash to put toward moving expenses, or you can give your things away to friends, family or charity.

If possible, schedule your move during an 
off-peak season, such as fall.If possible, schedule your move during an off-peak season, such as fall.
#10: Not Timing Your Move
Summer is the busiest time for moving, and the best moving companies get booked well in advance. Waiting until the last minute to plan a summer move can mean getting stuck with a second-rate mover -- or no mover at all. If you can postpone your move to the fall or winter, you'll have a much easier time hiring a great mover at a low rate. But if a summer move is unavoidable, don't procrastinate on planning. Start getting estimates from movers three to four months before your moving day.

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