Moving: DIY, Hire Movers or Somewhere in the Middle? - Trademark FCU
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Moving: DIY, Hire Movers or Somewhere in the Middle?

Our very own Jessica, in Scarborough, recently moved and decided to hire help. She learned a lot through the process and thought, with all the selling and buying of homes, someone else out there may be moving. We cannot tell you which to do, but Jessica has some good tips if you are considering doing it yourself, getting movers or maybe something in between:

If I count the very first place I lived, I have moved 16 times. That is a lot of moving. Some moves were “pack up your car and drive across town” moves, but some have been across state lines, “should have purchased stock in packing tape” type of moves.

The best thing about moving is the new place. Everything outside of that is a lot of work – connecting utilities, changing your address, forwarding mail, packing and then the act of moving.

In 2020, more than 5.64 million existing homes were sold. A lot of people moved last year. As my husband and I have gotten older, we decided we did not want to do all the physical work of moving. It zapped some of the fun out of the process, added more stress and more physical recovery time. The question was, do we get movers this time? That is not a simple question – there are so many options; you can do it all yourself, you can have someone pack up or unload a truck you provide, you can have someone pack, drive and unload and there are companies that will pack all your stuff – you do nothing (expect pay).  

Prices vary depending on the service that you select, but once you have decided what level of service you want – from packing to shipping – here are some handy things to consider (or ask) before you commit.

  1. Estimate – Get an estimate of costs (fuel, manpower, mileage included etc.) before you agree to anything. Also, ask how long the company expects the job to take.
  2. Timing – Ask if the dates are flexible. If you need to move the date up or out, can they accommodate? Is there a cost for such a request?
  3. Storage – If you must move out but your move-in date changes, can they store your belongings? If they can, is there a cost and how much notice do they need, etc.?
  4. Insurance – What does insurance cover (e.g., damages etc.)?
  5. Packing – How do your belongings need to be packed? Some require everything to be in boxes. Others will take a mix of bags, boxes, and loose items (think golf clubs, vacuums etc.). 
  6. Will the truck fit? – Not all spaces are created equal. Some roads and driveways cannot accommodate large trucks.  Ask if they are familiar with the area / space if there is any concern on your part. If you have a hard to access area, you could pay extra.
  7. Broker or Carrier – This one was new to me, and I made the mistake of booking a broker. I did some research only to learn some unsettling things. I got lucky. I canceled the move, got a full refund, and avoided that potential nightmare. I thought the company I booked was the company I would work with but that was not the case. Ask!
  8. Google – Google is your friend! Search for consumer reviews and look at the Better Business Bureau for ratings, complaints, and resolutions. Also, search for other questions to ask. If you are new to moving, you may have questions that someone else doesn’t. 
  9. Negotiate – A price is just a starting point. For example, I bought mattress bags and boxes specifically for packing TVs. On the estimate I received, there was a line item for packing and unpacking for nearly $700.00. When I asked about it, I was told they would pack my mirrors, TVs and mattresses. 1. I did not have any mirrors and 2. I had the materials I needed for the TVs and mattresses. They insisted they must pack those items because it was their policy not to move TVs or mattresses without proper covering. I asked if I could pack my own with the understanding that if I failed to do so by moving day that I would pay for them to pack and unpack the items. They agreed. So, I spent less than $100.00 on the materials and did it myself.

I asked all these questions and still had some level of stress. After seeing bad reviews about the initial company, I had booked, I replaced them with a more reputable company. In the end, it turned out exactly as they said it would. I was very happy with the process, their work and that my family did not have to worry about the labor end of the move – or the drive.

National Association of Realtors. (2020, November 11). Quick Real Estate Statistics.