Once you're in the process of escrow and you know your closing date, you'll need to start thinking about the actual move. You know your budget, how much stuff you have, and how far you have to travel. So the question is whether you want to pack and move yourself or hire a professional moving company.

If you decide to hire a moving company, it can be nerve-racking trying to find someone you can entrust with your houseful of valuables. But once you do, it's one less thing you have to worry about during this hectic period.

Be sure you give yourself enough time to choose a mover. Consumer Reports recommends allowing six to eight weeks, especially if you're moving during the summer months - the busiest time of the year for moving companies. The American Moving and Storage Association says some companies offer discounts between October and April - the slow months.

But where should you start? Some of the things you'll want to consider as you select a professional moving company include:

  • Reputation. How long has the company been in business? Have any complaints been filed with the Better Business Bureau? Also, contact your local department of consumer affairs and ask if any complaints have been lodged against the mover you are considering.
  • Written bids. Request a bid and check written references. A bid is usually a non-binding estimate of the final price.
  • Packing is separate. Budget for more if you want the movers to pack your belongings.
  • Licensing and bonding. The Interstate Commerce Commission regulations protect customers on interstate moves and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers and movers. Call your local ICC office for a copy of the pamphlet, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move."
  • Local moving costs. Costs for local moving are generally calculated using the number of hours the truck is used, multiplied by the hourly for-hire rate.
  • Long-distance costs. Costs are calculated on the weight and distance of your shipment.
  • Storage. If your goods are to be placed in storage, make sure the costs, including loading and unloading, are explained to you.

    Once you've decided for certain that you're going to hire professional movers, you'll want to be sure to:

  • Obtain at least two or three estimates and compare the services offered.
  • Obtain a written estimate once a qualified estimator has viewed the contents of your home.
  • Book your move as far in advance as possible.
  • Try to avoid moving at the end of the month. These are the busiest periods for movers.
  • Try to ensure that at least three movers are assigned to your move - two to load and unload your items and one to remain with the truck to avoid potential theft.
  • Determine liability issues and make special insurance arrangements, if necessary.
  • Decide whether you want the movers to pack your goods.
  • Confirm your arrangements a day or two prior to the move.

    If you're still unsure where to begin, there's a good chance your real estate agent can refer you to a reputable moving company.

    Once you hire a company, it's a good idea to stay as organized as possible. One way is to create countdown lists that indicate what needs to be done at 8 weeks before the move, 6 weeks before, 4 weeks, on down to moving day. These lists will include everything from ending your newspaper subscriptions to registering your kids for school to defrosting your refrigerator.

    The more organized you are, the easier the transition will be for you and your family as you make the move to your new home.

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    Amy's Avatar
    Amy replied the topic: #12004
    Plan far in advance when you need to move from one home to the next. You would be surprised how much stuff you have to inventory and have packed and insured for a move from a home.