Do you have a long distance move, maybe even across the country, coming up? You’re certainly not alone. Every year, about 14% of the population relocates to a new location and a new home. And for most of them, moving long distance is a dreaded and onerous undertaking. It doesn’t have to be like that, though, if you know what to expect and prepare accordingly. So be sure to check out these 5 tips for handling a long distance move in Alameda County.
1. Downsize Ruthlessly
The first thing to do in preparing for a long distance move in Alameda County is to downsize – ruthlessly. The cost of your move will be determined in large part by the weight and volume of the items you ship. So the more stuff you move, the more it will cost you.
Here’s what the moving pros recommend: “Itis usually a good idea to take the time to go through your belongings and decide what you still use and what you can get rid of. Consider holding a garage sale before your move or donating unneeded items to the Salvation Army. Also, take a moment to consider if you will no longer need certain items at your new home. If you are moving from Michigan to Florida, you most likely don’t need to move your snowblower, and you can probably donate that box of old sweaters as well.”
A good rule of thumb for downsizing is the one-year rule. During packing, when you come across items that you haven’t used (or even seen) within the past year, get rid of them. The idea here is that if you haven’t use something during the last year, chances are good that you never will. So jettison that item to reduce to the cost of your move.
2. Thoroughly Research Moving Companies
Also, keep in mind that not all moving companies are created equal. Some don’t have the experience, some don’t have the best equipment, and others just don’t do a good job. So be sure to thoroughly research any moving companies you’re considering.
You could begin your research with, say, Angie’s List, the BBB, and movingscam.com. Also, be sure to check out reviews on reputable third-party review sites. And don’t forget to talk to former customers of the moving company, especially family and friends.
3. Get an In-Home Estimate
Another thing you should do to successfully handle a long distance move in Alameda County is to get an in-home estimate on the cost. “With an in-home moving estimate, a move representative from the local moving company will come to your home to do a visual survey of all the items you are moving. This allows them to give you an accurate price for your move. It also helps you get a feel for the moving company you are considering selecting.”
Beware of movers that are reluctant to or refuse to perform an in-home survey and give you an estimate. Such a company may actually be just a broker and will farm out the actual moving to another company for a cut. Not only can this cause problems, but will likely cost more because there’s a middle man involved.
4. Understand Your Rights
A long distance move in Alameda County also demands that you know and understand your rights. You need to know exactly what you’re entitled to regarding charges, services, and liability. Long distance moves and movers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose booklet details both your and the moving company’s responsibilities.
An important concern here is the valuation for damaged or lost items. The kind of valuation makes a huge difference. “Released valuation protection, which comes included in every move, only holds the moving company liable for $0.60/lb. of each item, so if a 30 lb.item is damaged you would only be compensated $18. Full valuation protection fully covers your items from moving damage, but you pay an additional fee for the increased coverage. With full valuation protection, the mover will repair or replace any item that is damaged during the move. Ask your mover questions about valuation so that you know you are making the best decision for yourself.”
5. Try to Move During the Off-Season
Another way to cut the cost of a long distance move is by moving during the off-season (if you can swing it). If you move during the period when business is slow for movers, you’re likely to get a discount. Moving companies need to keep their employees working, so they’ll probably offer special off-season rates.
According to the U.S.Census Bureau, most people move during July and August. Your best bet, then – if you have a choice – is to schedule your move between September and May.
Ask Your Agent
These are some great tips for handling a long distance move in Alameda County, but there really is more you should know. That’s where your Alameda County real estate agent can be a great asset. Your agent can help you understand all the ins and outs of a long distance move. To find out even more, send us a message or give us a call at (408) 893-1866 .