The list of things to think about when preparing to move into a new home seems endless.
Labeling cardboard boxes, stocking up on packing tape, and hiring a moving service is only half the battle. More often than not, it's the things you don't think about ahead of time that cause the most frustration when you arrive in your new place.
We turned to some real estate experts for some advice on how to avoid unexpected hassles both before and after moving day.
BEFORE YOU MOVE
- Lighten your load. "The first mistake folks usually make is keeping too much stuff,” say real estate experts, Kim Soule and Lucy Perry of the Corcoran Group. “Moving is really the best time to reorganize your life, get rid of clutter and start fresh.” Consider tossing or donating at least 25 percent of your possessions before your move.
- Deep clean your new home. “If you can afford it, I recommend having your home professionally cleaned before you move in, because it’s never going to be empty again,” says Jennifer DuBois of Realtor.com.
- Consider switching phone carriers. “Depending where you move, you might have to switch carriers because they don’t have a good signal,” DuBois warns. Until your computers and wi-fi are setup, you’ll most likely be using your smart phone for things like work, locating services, places to eat or listening to music.
- Pack valuables together. “Your phone, computer, and other expensive gadgets should be kept with your wallet. Not at the bottom of box #34,” say Soule and Perry.
- Got insurance? It seems like a no brainer, but too often people don't look into getting insurance for their new home. Having the right policy will come in handy if you discover you're new home is in a flood zone or your basement has a mold problem.
AFTER YOU MOVE
- Unpack the most important room first. “People have different priorities,” says DuBois. If you eat out often, unpacking the kitchen is something that can wait, but if you work from home, you’ll need to have your office and computer up and running.
- Stock up on disposables. “No matter where you move, you will be “camping” for a while,” say Soule and Perry. If you’re having your mattress delivered, consider investing in an inflatable mattress or sleeping bag, just in case there’s a delay. They also suggest stocking up on paper towels, plastic utensils and cups until your plumbing is properly hooked up.
- Invest in felt pads. To save new hardwood floors from scratches, they also suggest putting felt pads on all furniture legs and bases. As Soule and Perry point out, felt pads also allow you to single-handedly move furniture twice your weight.
- Explore…outside. “Get out and talk to your neighbors,” says Dubois. Walking your dog or taking kids to a local playground will afford you the opportunity to interact with other parents or dog owners, say Soule and Perry.
- And…online. If you don’t have a child or a pet, they suggest checking out local blogs. “They will give you the tenor of the area and great references for shops and restaurants. “There are so many websites like Groupon or Livingsocial that have local deals that can help introduce you to services in the community,” says DuBois.
- Save money on energy bills. “Check nation-wide Energy Star to see if there are any special offers or rebates available," says DuBois. Energy companies will assess how energy-efficient your home is and give you guidelines as to what home improvements you can make to save energy. “If you make those improvements, you can get money back," she adds.