How to Prepare for a Move

Moving can be exciting, but it tends to come with a few drawbacks (like getting all your earthly possessions from one location to another). So, this column is about some important steps to take to make your move as smooth as possible.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re selling your house, it is best to remove about a third of your furniture before you begin showing your house to potential buyers. Depending on where you’re going after you sell your house (e.g., out of the area, stepping up to a bigger place to accommodate a growing family or downsizing as the result of an empty nest), you will need to decide what to do with the furniture you removed. Is it coming with you or not?

If it is, you’ll need to store things for a while. If not, it may be time for the granddaddy of all garage sales. If you’re off to Hawaii to live in a small beach house, you’ll want to liquidate more than just a third of your furniture. Moving is a great time to start fresh. Throw away the old and begin anew. It can be very liberating.

Most of us know we’re moving long before we go. As soon as you know you’re moving, begin gathering the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people to inform of your move, both personal and service-related contacts. A good way to do this is to collect envelopes as you receive them in the mail. Simply put them in a folder (a year ahead of time, if you can), so you don’t forget Great Aunt Mathilda who sends your children Christmas cards each year.

If you want your house to sell sooner than later, I recommend taking care of any maintenance issues you’ve been avoiding (see

Some vendors need a specific move-out date: utility companies (e.g., gas, electricity, water, sewer), the United States Post Office (USPS), your local newspaper, landscapers, cable/satellite service, and others. Be careful to orchestrate utilities with your realtor so utilities that need to be on to show the house are not turned off. At the same time, make sure they are turned off before the new occupants move in. You don’t want to be stuck paying the electricity bill for their new marijuana grow room.

As you move into your new home, the same cast of characters need to know you’re there: all your personal contacts, as well as your new utility companies, USPS, newspaper, etc. If you have school-aged children, you’ll need to enroll them in school. If you employ the services of housekeepers or landscapers, you’ll need to find new ones. Your realtor can be a great resource for recommendations.

One of the first things to do in your new home is to make a list of repairs and maintenance projects. Pull out those inspections you paid so dearly for, and decide which items are do-it-yourself projects and which ones will require professional help. Make a comprehensive list in priority order based on time, money, and urgency. For example, if you have a roof leak, it gets top billing.

Now that you’ve had a moment to breathe, and the USPS has your change-of-address order, you can start with Gr. Aunt Mathilda and send everyone a note to let them know you’ve moved. A fun way to do this is to take a family photo in front of your new home and send a photo postcard. Locally, Triple S Camera will give you 15 percent off a “We’ve Moved” postcard if you mention this column.

If you’re moving to a new area, ask your current realtor for a referral to a new realtor in that area. Your realtor will be happy to provide one and can even coordinate closing on your old home with the acquisition of your new one.

Next time I’ll write about Earth Day. If there’s something you would like me to write about or if you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at or visit our website at If you make a suggestion I use, I’ll send you a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery & Café. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.

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