What To Do Before You Move

Whether you’re renting or buying, if you’re planning to move, you’ve probably got your hands full.

In addition to getting your home packed up, you’ve got utility accounts to close and open, change of address cards to complete, and dozens of other items on your “to do” list. Here are some things you’ll be able to do that will help make your move go a little bit easier:

Reserve the elevators.

If you’re moving to a condo, high-rise, or co-op, or are moving out of one, you’ll need to schedule the move day with the building’s management. Generally, large condos (those with an elevator) require you to “reserve” the freight elevator for your move. Do this ahead of time or the day on which you’d like to move may already be booked. There may even be fees for having the building maintenance men “oversee” your move. Ask your new building personnel about moving-in rules, and don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay for the privilege. If you’re hiring a mover, be sure to keep them informed about your reservation.

Discontinue delivery services.

Two weeks before your move, you’ll want to set the day to stop your delivery services, like newspapers, dry cleaning, or laundry. If you’re buying a home in a new state, your broker may be able to help you find new service providers in your new town.

Change-of-address cards

Around two weeks before your move, you’ll have to fill out and mail your change-of-address cards. Your local post office can give you some cards to fill out. If you receive Federal Express or UPS packages for your home-based business, you’ll want to inform these companies of your change of address as well.

Moving with pets

If you’re moving with pets, you may need to take some special precautions. Pets cannot be shipped on moving vans. They should travel with you whenever possible and wear special identification tags with your name, address, telephone number, and the name of a relative or other emergency contact in case you can’t be located. Some pets may become stressed or agitated by a move, and you should check with your veterinarian to see if a mild sedative can be provided if you suspect that this might be the case. If you decide to ship your pet by air, make the arrangements ahead of time. If you move across state lines, nearly every state has laws on the entry of animals. Check with your state to be sure you understand them. Most states require up-to-date rabies shots for dogs and cats. For example, if you’re moving to Hawaii with your pet, you’ll have to quarantine the animal for 120 days. Some pets must have an entry permit issued by the destination state’s regulatory agency. Finally, your new town (or condo or co-op) may have restrictions on the number of dogs or cats that can live at one residence. Always check with local officials where you are moving.

Moving with plants

You generally won’t have a problem if you’re moving houseplants, but some states do require you to have an inspection by an authorized state department agriculture inspector. Some plants that are permissible in some states will not be permissible in others, so you’ll want to find out in advance of your move. Also, keep in mind that plants are susceptible to shock when moving; moving may be dangerous for the plant if the temperature is below 35 degrees F (2 degrees C) or above 95 to 100 degrees F (36 to 38 degrees C) for more than an hour. Many plants can tolerate darkness for up to a week, but it’s best not to store them for prolonged periods.

In short, doing a little extra research can save you a lot of extra headaches!