Tips for a successful move
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI

Purchasing a home is a wonderful adventure---unfortunately, the fun starts AFTER the move! The following tips should help make your move as pleasant as possible and give you suggestions on how to save precious time and energy setting up your new home.

Begin your planning at least a month in advance of your move. Depending on how far you're moving and who's moving you, you may need to schedule a moving company earlier than that. Your REALTOR® will help you coordinate the move based on when your new home purchase is closing as well as the closing date of any home you may be selling. If you're renting, you'll need to give notice that you're moving. Make sure that the date you will vacate the rental coincides with the date of occupancy on your new home---you don't want to be moving twice!

No matter how far away you're moving, this is a golden opportunity to clean closets and basements and get rid of items you no longer need. Schedule a yard sale BEFORE the move so you won't have to move unnecessary items. If you're donating items to charities, be sure to ask for a receipt. This will be important come tax time.

You'll need to change your address early with magazines you subscribe to--four to six weeks notice is advised. Most of your monthly bills (like credit cards) have a change of address form on the monthly statement. For all other mail, visit your local post office to fill out a change of address form. To prevent postal fraud, many post offices request that you provide identification in person to change your address.

You can begin the chore of packing early, particularly with those seldom-used items. If you've hired a moving company, be sure to ask them for boxes and paper. If you're on your own, start early to round up boxes and designate one location in the house to keep the packing material and the packed boxes. This will eliminate confusion and clutter throughout the house.

Keep important papers such as medical records and insurance policies in one place where they can be retrieved quickly. If you need to access them before the move, put them in a safe deposit box so there's no chance of losing them.

Packing to move is one of my least favorite things. But there are strategies that can help streamline the process.

Before you begin packing, make a list of items to pack separately including those things you'll need on the road such as maps, medicines and toiletries. Also make a list of cleaning supplies you'll need handy---both for cleaning the place you're moving from and for touching up the home you're moving in to.

Next you'll want to determine which items are fragile and need special handling. You may be able to find special packing boxes to ensure their safe move; if not, consider moving fragile items by hand. One trick is to wrap them in heavy blankets and place them in the back seat of the car for safe transportation. Or roll them up in an area rug, bath towels, or heavy tarp.

If you're moving clothes, keep them on the hangers and lay them flat on bedsheets. Then pull the diagonal corners of the sheets together to create a manageable bundle.

Don't let your creative packing lead to confusion when you're unpacking. Label all boxes in more than one location--especially on the sides and the top. Use a different colored marking pen for each room you box--that way you can easily maneuver unpacked boxes into the correct rooms.

Two weeks before moving day, contact local utility companies to let them know when to disconnect service at your old home and connect service at your new one. Closer to the moving day, transfer other services like your newspaper, your cable service and your trash service.

Once you arrive at your new home, take a quick tour of the house to make sure things are as you thought you'd find them. Prior to closing, your REALTOR® probably assisted you with a walk-through inspection to make sure everything was fine. If you have concerns about fixtures or the condition of the home at this point, make sure you let your REALTOR® know prior to the closing.

With strategic planning and a solid game plan for your move, you'll be happily relocated before you know it!

Remember, home ownership can be fun as well as financially rewarding, especially when you're "A Frugal HomeOwner™"!