No matter where you’re at in the moving process, we can help make sure everything happens seamlessly. A little careful preparation at every stage can make your move manageable and smooth. From finding a place to rent, to picking the right movers to getting ready for the big day, we break out tips to create an ideal timeline of activities for the best possible moving game plan.
Starting your search for the perfect home to rent should begin with a very frank internal conversation. First ask yourself what you want and then assess what you can afford. Only about 30 percent of what you make each month should go toward rent, which may mean prioritizing amenities and compromising where necessary. Once you have a rough idea of where you want to live, what type of home you’re looking for and what you can spend, let the search begin.
The best place to start looking is online, where you’re able to filter results based on the parameters you’ve just created for yourself. Cast a wide net over the general area you want to live in at first, then narrow down your search using your requirements. It may surprise you how many available units are out there, but don’t let the results overwhelm you.
It’s best to take it slower when visiting apartments so you’ll remember what you see. Any more than four per day is probably information overload. Take notes as you tour locations to keep track of pros and cons for each apartment, noting things beyond what’s new and shiny like the number of outlets in each room, how bright the apartment is and whether you get a cell phone signal inside. Also make sure to take lots of pictures and videos so you’re sure to remember each property accurately.
As you go out to look at apartments, you should also take into consideration how property managers will view you as a potential tenant. If red flags come up when you fill out a rental application, even if you love the place, you may not get approved. A few quick steps, taken in advance, can help improve your appearance as a tenant, including:
Finally finding the right apartment always feels wonderful, but don’t let the excitement overshadow a cautious approach to finalizing all the paperwork. You want to make sure everything looks good and feels right. It takes time to get through the process of approval. Some property managers will require an application fee in order to run credit checks on all the adults moving in, and you’ll have to wait at least a few days for them to get results.
After your application is approved, the next step is to review and sign the lease. Don’t sign anything without reading it closely. While many leases contain the same basic language, each has variations with regards to pets, rent due dates, late fees and other rules. Because rental agreements can be lengthy, prepare to invest some time in reviewing the document. Don’t hesitate to speak up if something is confusing or you disagree. Your new property owner should want to clarify any issues and may even agree to make small changes.
Now that you know you’re moving, the last component to securing the perfect place is notifying your current property manager you’re leaving. Check your lease to make sure you give the right amount of notice, but most call for 30 days or more. You’ll want to submit this information in writing as well, saving a copy for your own records.
There’s a lot you can do, well in advance of a move, to prepare. This early on it’s best to focus on getting and staying organized. The closer you get to your moving day the crazier things naturally become. This means setting up the details of the move itself, as well as beginning to think about what items need special attention.
Throughout all this preparation, you can also begin packing. Try to pack at least two boxes each night, starting with the things you use less frequently. Label each box and designate a moving spot in your current home where you won’t trip over anything in the middle of the night. Start using up the things you’d rather not move as well, like perishable food and cleaning supplies.
Now it’s crunch time. With one week to go, ready the final details for your move. Pack a suitcase for yourself with about three days worth of clothes and toiletries. It will save you time hunting around in boxes those first few days for necessities like PJs or shoes. Prepare an itinerary for moving day to share with family or a good friend or two in case of an emergency. Make sure people know where you’ll be that day and how best to contact you.
You’ll also want to spend a little time on final tasks in your current apartment, mostly giving it a final cleaning. Don’t go crazy since your property manager will probably do a deep clean after you move out, but do your best to get the apartment looking as close to what its appearance was when you moved into the unit. Fill any holes you’ve made in the walls, remove scuff marks, wipe down surfaces and dust. Your lease may have terms about what you need to do as far as a move-out clean, but this list covers the basics.
Walking your kids through the sometimes stressful process of moving isn’t always easy, but like with moving prep, starting early helps. As soon as possible, sit your kids down and make sure they understand why you’re all moving. Stay positive and get them excited about what they’ll have access to in their new neighborhood. As you pack, make sure the toys or personal items that give your kids comfort stick close. If they fit, load them into a backpack your child can carry with them, or create a special box for their room that they’ll know to open first. Pack up a suitcase for them as well with a few days worth of clothes to make the transition easier.
On moving day, consider hiring a sitter to occupy your kids. They’ll get curious during the move and want to explore, or at the very least try to help. Having an extra pair of hands to ensure they don’t distract you during the move will make things easier on everyone.
Lastly, when moving your whole family, make sure all the appropriate records come with you. If switching your children’s schools, make sure you have copies of their academic records. If going far enough away where you’ll need new doctors, be sure to get copies of everyone’s medical records to take with you.
Keeping pets safe and calm on moving day should be a high priority when moving with furry friends. Remember, they won’t have any idea what’s going on, and the stress of so much new stimulation can make them nervous. It’s not uncommon for pets to accidentally get out and run away during a move, so consider getting a pet sitter or boarding them for the day. After the move is complete, make sure you have a transportation plan for getting your pet safely to your new place. Update your pet’s tag and the contact information associated with their microchip.
As you settle into your new place, try to keep your pet’s routine intact with normal feeding and walking schedules. Even though the environment has changed, maintaining a routine will help with the transition. You may also want to hand-carry their favorite toys so they’re ready and waiting at your new apartment. If you’ll need a new vet, be sure to get your pet’s medical paperwork to bring along. You’ll want proof your pet is up-to-date on their vaccines.
Moving day is going to be a busy day, but it’s finally here. Here are the highlights of the day, if you’re making a local move. If you’re going further this will all still take place, but over the course of a few days instead.
With your move complete, it’s now time to unpack and settle into your new apartment. Work at a pace that still gives you time to get to know your new neighborhood and new neighbors. Start thinking about how you’ll decorate and what items you’ll need to buy, and enjoy making your new apartment a home.