10 Local Moving Tips How to Prepare for Your Big Move

local moving tips


You have a new job that requires you to move to a new town or city. Or maybe you have finally saved enough money for a down payment to buy your dream home in a different neighborhood. Whatever the case, moving houses requires proper planning and preparation.

While the idea of a new address may be exciting, the process is never exactly fun. You might think, well, I am moving locally; it shouldn’t be too hard, right? Unfortunately, that can be just as stressful and time-consuming as long-distance. But worry not, though. Here is a list of ten local moving tips to help you make your big move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

1. Secure Your Mortgage Loan First

Financial preparedness is among the essential local moving tips before plunging into house-hunting. For the most part, this means securing a mortgage loan. But why would you apply for a mortgage before even finding a house for sale? Truth is, it’s easy to overestimate what you can afford and how much you qualify for. Yes, your new job pays well, but what about your creditworthiness?

Applying for a mortgage beforehand gives you a clear picture of what to expect in regard to interest rates and the maximum amount your bank is willing to provide you with. That way, you won’t waste time looking for houses far beyond your budget. It also lets you know the down payment (DP) you need before you can even start moving. The usual requirement for a DP is roughly 20% without private mortgage insurance. However, CNBC reported that the median DP would be 14.2% in 2024.

Start by consulting a mortgage broker or lender and get a pre-approval. Usually, you must provide proof of income, tax returns, and other relevant documents. From there, go to the next step.

2. Research and Find a House For Sale

Finding a house for sale in your desired neighborhood is among the first local moving tips. It involves researching online and offline. Just a heads up, this process is not easy and might take up more time than you would expect. Despite the USA having over 106,548 real estate brokerage firms, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), finding a property that checks all your boxes is challenging.

The challenge mainly comes from having to balance your budget, preferences, and the available options. When deciding, you must also factor in transportation costs, proximity to work, and social amenities. However, your best starting point is to check online listings from trusted websites such as Zillow and Realtor.

You can also go offline and check for physical ‘For Sale’ signs, especially if you have a specific neighborhood in mind. This option is great if you want to talk to actual owners and negotiate a better deal before the property goes up on online listings. However, it can be tedious since you’ll have to drive around. Also, bear in mind that scouting for a home this way can be risky, and you might meet cons. Therefore, if you’re taking this route, you should arm yourself with a real estate attorney.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Your New Home

An often overlooked but crucial part of the many local moving tips involves taking the time to familiarize yourself with your new home. Before moving in, you need to know every part of this new house will fit all your belongings. If the house was previously owned, you must find out if any problems need your attention.

Usually, an old house will have a problem or two, even if it looks great. The roof is one example. The most popular roofing material in the US is asphalt shingles, and according to Forbes, they have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. If the previous owner was in that house for close to that time, check whether the roof needs replacement. Replacement is not always the case, but at the very least, you may need to do roof repair or maintenance.

Another way to familiarize yourself with your new house is by measuring all the rooms. Can your furniture and electronics fit? Is there enough storage space for things you don’t need every day? If not, take this time to declutter before moving in. It’s pointless to incur transportation costs for items that you will dispose of later.

4. Remodel Your New Home’s Kitchen Before You Start Moving

Add kitchen remodeling to your list of local moving tips. Now that you have your own house, you can do as much as you want without seeking permission from a landlord. But you’ll have to do all the renovation work before moving, less you want to inconvenience yourself.

Kitchen remodeling takes time and will likely interfere with your other moving plans. If you have the time, get down to it and start planning early. And in case you’re wondering why kitchen remodeling specifically, this room plays an integral part in your daily life. You don’t want to start unpacking only to realize that your appliances don’t fit or the cabinets are too high for your reach.

Before you start the remodeling process, list all the things you want to change or add and determine your budget. That way, you don’t overspend. According to Forbes estimates, you can expect to spend anything from $12,000 to $60,500 if you want a complete overhaul. However, the exact amount you pay will largely depend on the labor cost of the kitchen remodeling company and the space’s size and extent of the remodeling.

5. Do a Floor Makeover Before Moving To Your New House

Many online local moving tips will mention proper planning, but very few talk about floor makeovers. That’s because it’s easy to forget that homeowners want to customize their living space. So, if you want a home that’s truly reflective of your personality and comfortable, consider doing a floor makeover before moving in.

You don’t want to start working on the floor after you’ve moved in. It doesn’t necessarily mean the floor is in bad condition, but chances are the material is outdated or just not to your taste. Therefore, to avoid hiring storage for your furniture and straining your budget, do the floor makeover before moving.

Popular options for floor makeover include hardwood, laminate, tile, and linoleum. You also have the option of floor carpeting if you want the softness, warmth, and texture it provides. Regardless of your preference, remember that this takes a few days, so plan in advance. Regarding pricing, how much you spend will depend on a few factors, such as material and floor footage. But you can walk into a flooring store and get an estimate.

6. Schedule Utilities For Your New Place

Planning for utilities should be on your list of local moving tips. Too often, new homeowners arrive at their new house tired, only to find electricity and water are off. Nothing is worse than getting there past working hours; you can’t call the utility company to help you. It worsens when you have small kids, and the house is cold with no lights.

To avoid such inconvenience, contact your utility providers and schedule an installation before moving in. If possible, have it done a day or two before the moving date. This period is also the time to have some kitchen services like gas piping done. If you wish to cook and heat your house with gas, schedule a technician before you move in. While at it, have them check that everything they need to install is present and working, from the meter to the switches.

Once everything is set, it’s time to call the utility company for your current address and schedule for disconnection. If you forget, the bill can accumulate to crazy amounts. With the average American household paying $429.33 per month, according to Forbes, you can only imagine how much you will rake up if you forget to disconnect. Besides, the company might attach it to your credit report.

7. Get Rid of Unwanted Items

One of the most helpful local moving tips involves the art of decluttering. Usually, an ordinary home has a lot of items the owner doesn’t actually use or need. The garage, for instance, is often the dumping ground for stuff. Those old bikes, rusty tools, and broken toys you’ve been holding onto for years can finally go.

The drawers, cabinets, and closets are also good places to start. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit, old paperwork, and outdated electronics. The less you have, the better since it translates to lower moving costs. Times Magazine estimates that the average move in the US weighs about 8,000 lb. That’s a lot compared to the rest of the globe with 2,500 lb. It would save you money if you cut this by removing the things you don’t need.

Consider opening a garage sale for items in good condition or posting them online. Alternatively, donating them to charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army is also a good option. If you have damaged items, toss them into the bin. For instance, furniture and electronics beyond water damage restorations or repairs are not worth moving.

8. Book Your Movers Early

Movers are sometimes overbooked and might not be available when you need them. So, add this to your list of local moving tips. It would serve your interest to book the moving company and tell them your expected moving day in advance. That way, you can have everything set for a smooth move.

Here, you will do some research to find one that’s reliable. You can ask friends, family, or neighbors for recommendations or check online. Talk to at least three and ask for a quote and compare them. You’re likely to get a good deal that way rather than just settling for the first offer. Also, ensure they have insurance, just in case something goes wrong. It’s not very uncommon for things to break during transit or when loading or unloading.

The cost here depends on several factors, such as the number of moving personnel and distance. However, according to US News, it should be anywhere between $800 to $2,500 for local movers. You can reduce the cost by doing some things on your own, such as packing and organizing them in one place.

9. Take Pictures Before You Pack Everything

Taking pictures is among the pro-local moving tips. And no, not your face or for memory but for accountability. Whether you are packing everything on your own or hiring professionals, have your phone ready and take a snap of everything.

When using a professional moving company, your belongings have moving insurance coverage. Therefore, it’s good to have proof of how your things looked before they moved them. It will make it easy for the insurance company to compensate you if anything gets damaged during transit. You can also use these pictures to check if everything is there and nothing is missing.

On the other hand, if you are packing alone, taking pictures can help you remember how you packed specific items. These photos are beneficial when you need to unpack an item quickly upon arrival. It can also help you keep track of fragile items.

10. Understand The Repair Liabilities For Your Old Address

Finally, before you pack and leave your old place, ensure you know your repair liabilities. Usually, if you are a tenant, your deposit caters to this. The landlord will hire a repair team to fix any damage and deduct the cost from your deposit.

Such damages are expected. Things like repainting scratched walls, removing nails, and filling holes in picture frames. After fixing them, the landlord will get a receipt and deduct the cost from your deposit. If it’s less than what you deposited, you get the remainder. If the lease contract includes floors and yours has a few dents, you can look for affordable concrete contractors to fix it before you leave. That way, you negotiate the price and hopefully get some of your deposit back.

However, some landlords may try to put the burden of repair on you for some things considered normal wear and tear. It’s best to familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant and understand what you are responsible for. It can save you from disputes and unnecessary expenses in the future.

Moving houses may seem easy initially, but you quickly realize the many tasks and challenges involved. You can’t just pack all your stuff and leave on the same day. A lot of planning, organizing, and decision-making goes into it. However, these local moving tips should help make the process smoother and more cost-effective.