Moving Tips for Selling Your Home

Moving out of the house
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Moving out of a home is usually a large project, especially if you've been at one address for many years. Some people feel so overwhelmed a the thought of going through all of their belongings that they would rather just discard everything and start fresh in a new home.

You can fight the overwhelm with some preplanning, organization and effort applied well in advance of your move. If your moving timeline is tight because you are selling your house and have accepted a quick closing date, just push everything forward as necessary to accomplish your move as quickly and easily as possible. The following steps can take you through each phase of your move.

As Soon as Your House Goes on the Market

Now is the time to purchase packing supplies, such as tape, boxes, and wrapping papers or plastics. Buy stickers or red markers to flag fragile packages.

  • Start keeping track of all moving expenses, because some might be tax deductible.
  • Clean and organize all closets.
  • Clean and de-clutter every room in the house, including the garage and basement, discarding anything you don't want to pack or won't need in your new home.
  • Pack unused items that you plan to keep. Label each box's contents and store the boxes in a safe but out of the way location where they won't interfere with showings.
  • Donate unneeded items to charity or have a garage sale to get rid of them.

    Once You Have a Moving Date

    Decide if you need to hire movers or if you can handle the move on your own, which is easier if you're a single person living in an apartment or small home.

    • If you're hiring movers, get price estimates and a list of services. Place your order when you know you have a firm move date.
    • If you're moving everything yourself, check moving truck prices, reserve a truck, and find out about hiring help or recruiting friends or family to assist you on moving day.

    One to Two Months Before Moving

    Continue to pack up things that don't get used very often, start terminating services that you use each month, and start preparing the home for its new owner.

    • If movers will pack you, ask the moving company for advice on the best ways to prepare.
    • Contact people who work for you on a regular basis, such as pool maintenance companies, housekeepers, and gardeners, to cancel their services. Leave their business cards for the new owners.
    • Place reference manuals for major appliances in a kitchen cabinet or drawer where new owners will find them. Label extra keys and place in the drawer.

    Two Weeks Before Moving

    As you terminate services at your existing home, such as utility accounts, newspaper delivery, and other services, start setting them up for your new home. Start collecting important documents and other items that must not get lost or misplaced in the move.

    • Call utility companies and arrange for meter readings on the day of closing so that all services after that date are the responsibility of the new owner. The new owner should also notify utilities of the switchover and set up new accounts.
    • Have utilities disconnected at closing if the new owner does not establish accounts.
    • Stop auto delivery of propane gas or fuel unless it is really needed.
    • Arrange to discontinue your telephone service on the day of closing. Give your cell phone number or another contact number to everyone associated with the move and real estate closing, just in case they need to reach you after the home phone has been disconnected.
    • Arrange to disconnect your satellite or cable TV coverage.
    • Now do just the opposite to begin establishing services at your new home.
    • File a change of address notice at the post office, making it effective on your moving date or a few days before.
    • Notify your creditors, magazine subscriptions, friends and family, doctors, dentists and others of your new address.
    • Schedule a cancellation date or new address for newspaper deliveries.
    • If you're moving out of the area, start picking up items out for cleaning or repair. Return library books and rented DVDs and videos. Arrange to have your prescriptions transferred to a pharmacy near your new home.
    • Start an essentials box or two--all the things you'll need immediately after you unload at your new location, such as toiletries, a broom, towels, sheets, blankets, a change of clothes, and nightwear.
    • Find certificates verifying that your pets are up-to-date on required vaccinations. Gather other important documents and plan to carry them with you on the day of moving.
    • Open a bank account at your new location, or, if you're staying in the area, order checks with your new address.

    One Week Before Moving

    Check with your agent to make sure the transaction is on schedule, continue wrapping up service accounts, and do some cleaning.

    • Confirm that your closing is still on track and handle tasks required by your closing agent.
    • Confirm moving and delivery dates with movers or check your truck reservation. 
    • Clean each room thoroughly as you finish packing. Don't forget major appliances. Wait to pack your vacuum and other tools necessary for last-minute cleaning on moving day.
    • Arrange to cancel existing homeowner's insurance coverage after the closing is complete and you no longer own the property. If there's a delay, call your insurance agent immediately.
    • Arrange for someone to read the level of propane gas or fuel oil in tanks that remain on the property if your sales contract requires the new owners to pay you market price for the fuel.

    On Moving Day

    Keep an eye on the movers and make sure they take care to prevent damage to your belongings. Double-check closets and cabinets for left-behind items, and get ready to start setting up your new home.

    • Walk through every part of the house to find stray items, opening cabinet and closet doors.
    • Make sure you have keys to your new home.
    • Supervise movers as they load, then again at delivery to make sure boxes and other items go to the right rooms at your new home.
    • Watch for damaged items or damaged boxes. Note all damage on the mover's bill of lading and ask the supervising person to sign off on the notation.
    • Unpack your essentials box—then try to relax for a while before you start the big unpacking job.

      If you've ever moved, you know there's more to it than this! Transporting pets, plants, and people in a comfortable way should top your list, and nearly everything you cancel at your old home must be started again at the new location.

      While these tips offer a guide to get started, you can also create your own personalized list of moving tasks that need to take place on your moving day.