Thursday, October 26, 2006

Get to Know the Moving Industry

In today's economy, it's not unusual to be required to pull up stakes and move because a new assignment or a new job.

That's why it's important to be familiar with the professional moving and storage industry and understand your rights and responsibilities when you move.

First, there are important differences between intrastate moves - which take place within the same state - and interstate moves between one state and another because only interstate moves are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (International moves are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission.)

Local and other intrastate moves come under the jurisdiction of your state government. About 30 states have various degrees of regulation - some more than others - and the rest are unregulated. So, if you have a problem with a local move or intrastate move, you may find yourself on your own in getting the problem resolved.

Local moves are generally based on a per-hour cost for the personnel and the number of vehicles that the mover provides up to a certain distance with longer distances based on your shipment's weight and the mileage it's hauled. Also, the level of liability for loss or damage is generally less than it would be for an interstate move.

When you are looking for a mover, it's important not to believe everything that you read when it comes to advertising. For example, anyone can buy an ad in the Yellow Pages, it doesn't mean they are licensed or insured.

If a mover includes its license (DOT or ICC) number in its ad, check it out first. For interstate movers, you can find out this information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The Internet can be even trickier. Just because a mover or a broker has a professional-looking website, that doesn't mean it is licensed or insured; it only means that they had enough money to pay for the site. If a mover includes its DOT or ICC license number on a website, check it out first with the FMCSA.

Some movers even display the logo of the Better Business Bureau or AMSA even though they are not members of those organizations -- so check first. You can verify AMSA membership by contacting the Better Business Bureau to confirm BBB listings.

Additional practical, objective tips on how to plan your move and how to safely choose a mover are available at the AMSA's consumer advice website.

AMSA represents 3,500 companies that provide household goods moving and storage services throughout the United States and the world.

Source: American Moving and Storage Association

Friday, June 30, 2006

Helpful Tips for Moving Season

With moving season now in full swing, here are some moving tips to help companies and families deal with the stress, uncertainty, and challenges of moving.

* Keep a copy of the bill of lading and inventory for yourself before the driver leaves.

* Prior to the mover's departure, complete a final walk through of the house to make sure nothing was forgotten.

* Provide the driver with your contact information in case he needs to reach you along route.

* Give the driver the correct address of your new home or storage facility.

* For long distance moves, the name and telephone number of a contact person currently at the destination should be given.

* Provide the moving team with a fresh supply of water and restroom facilities.

* If possible, arrange for the house closing to be a day or two after the loading day in order to reduce the stress of trying to load and close your house at the same time.

* Get a good night's sleep and have a hearty breakfast the morning of the move to be prepared for the day.

* Always keep in mind that no matter how prepared you think you are, things occasionally go wrong; expect this, and accept it as just part of the moving process.

* Introduce yourself promptly to your new neighbors. You never know when you'll need to quickly borrow some item that'll help with moving.

* Relax and be patient.


Ten Tips for a Sane Move

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 43 million people move every year, with almost half packing up and relocating between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Moving is considered one of the top three most stressful life transitions. The following tips can help tame the chaos.

1. If you don't use it, leave it.
Packing time is a blessing in disguise. It's the perfect time to get rid of items that have collected in your home. Look at each item and think to yourself: "Do I use this? Do I need it?" Be honest. If you don't use or need an item give it away, sell it, or throw it away. PS: Some charities will pick up your donations.

2. Consider hiring help.
Sometimes it's best to leave the job to those who do it best: the professionals. Interview and get bids from several moving companies. PS: Your best bet is to get recommendations from friends.

3. Order plenty of packing supplies.
Don't skimp on packing materials. Be sure to have plenty of boxes, tape guns, tape, marking pens, bubble wrap, etc. PS: Moving companies will often let you return what you don't use.

4. Mark boxes clearly.
Don't overfill boxes. Keep the weight of each box manageable so that one person can easily carry it without help. Mark boxes "HEAVY: BOOKS" to warn the box lifter. To avoid spills and breakage, write "FRAGILE" and "THIS END UP." Write the destination room and contents to make unpacking easier. PS: Pad items well, and consider drawing a diagram of the new house for the movers.

5. Take photos.
Take pictures of your cabinets and drawers in the old house so you will be able to put things back the identical way when you unpack.

6. Locate a central zone.
Designate a place in the new house for the immediate necessities you need while you set up the other rooms.

7. Keep snacks and beverages ready for break time.
Keep your workers happy and well fueled. Be sure to have plenty of beverages on hand, especially in warm weather. PS: Turn on heat or air conditioning to keep movers comfortable.

8. Clear paths in the house and yard.
Make it easy for the movers to maneuver. If necessary, take down stairwell handrails, trim bushes and trees, and prop open gates to aid access. Make sure to tie up the dog, and keep the kids and toys clear of the movers' path.

9. Vacuum furniture before moving day.
It's more pleasant to move a chair or couch that isn't overly dusty or covered with animal hair.

10. Check the nooks and crannies.
Take one last look through the drawers and cabinets. Wipe all surfaces and clean out crumbs as a courtesy to the people moving in, and be sure you haven't left anything of value behind.

Yes, moving can certainly be hectic but, hopefully, these tips will help make it a little less so!

Source: Organizing Expert Rosemary Chieppo for

Positive Attitude Helps Cope with Stress of Moving

Fact: Moving is stressful. In fact, moving ranks right behind divorce or a death in the family as a major source of stress. Learn how some families - including one who has moved eight times in the last 12 years - deal with the stress of moving by keeping a positive attitude.

Some interesting takeaways: The children have displayed more angst about moving as they've grown older but they've grown closer as siblings. Moving forces you to "reorganize and set new goals".

Tips: "Pre-plan; make moving an adventure; frame moving in a positive light and quickly involve yourself in the good things of the new community". Subscribe to the local newspaper the day you arrive in your new location. Volunteer at a school or with a local/community organization. Host a neighborhood party for families living in the area. Start a reading club. Explore the local parks and trails.

Six Week Plan to Keep Calm when Moving

Keep in mind the following moving tips from professional movers and consultants in order to reduce the chance of panic when preparing to move to a new home:

Six weeks ahead

• When your job requires relocation, verify what the company covers and your responsibilities.

• Establish moving dates, and reserve the truck and crew.

• Determine whether you or the movers will pack. If you're packing yourself, order moving boxes and packing supplies.

• Reserve a move-in date at the new home.

• List everyone you need to notify of the move. Update your contacts/address book.

• Obtain the post office’s change of address kit and use it to notify creditors, friends, family, doctors, lawyers, subscription companies and anyone else of the new address.

Five weeks ahead

• Arrange disconnections and new connections.

• Sort items you don’t want. Set a garage sale date or pickup/dropoff of donations.

• Contact the IRS or your accountant regarding forms and information about tax-deductible moving expenses.

• Check school schedules and enrollment requirements.

• Determine new driver’s license requirements and whether license plates and/or registration should be transferred.

• Apprise your insurance agent of the change or find a new agent for home, contents and automobile coverage.

• Select a bank, establish accounts and obtain a safe deposit box if moving out of the area.

• Sketch the new floor plan. Take room measurements. Determine how things will fit.

Four weeks ahead

• Arrange for records transfer.

• Hold the garage sale or donate items to charity. You might need more than one sale or gift trip.

• Verify time schedules with all concerned, including mover, real estate agent and/or landlord.

• Make arrangements for pets.

Three weeks ahead

• Confirm all dates.

• Arrange cleaning of new premises.

• Start packing and continue every day, a few boxes each time.

Two weeks ahead

• Devise a back-up plan in the event something falls through, such as the new location not being vacated on schedule. Find out whether lodging will be readily available and if the mover is flexible.

One week ahead

• Defrost the freezer. Give or throw away perishables you won’t eat in the next few days.

• Give away plants you can’t take with you.

Two days ahead

• Wash all laundry.

• Pack clothes and toiletries for however long it will take to regroup, a week or longer to be safe.

• Pack disposable plates and flatware, can opener, knife and non-perishable snacks and drinks.

• Use disposable plates and flatware and only those household items you absolutely must, such as towels, pans and a few tools.

• Do final confirmations, including utilities.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summertime is Moving Time: Moving Tips for Kids

Many families with school-age children move to a new home during the summer. In fact, more than 10 million kids in the United States relocate each year. Moving can be exciting, but also a bit scary - especially for children. With that in mind, Allied Van Lines worked with a child psychologist to develop tips for a smooth move:

Communication is key. Mr. Olkowski advises parents to tell children about a move as soon as possible. Present the move in a positive manner, even if parents don't always see it that way.

Give children a chance to say goodbye. Consider hosting a moving party. You can give your children address books and scrapbooking material so they can keep connected with their old home, friends and community.

Move in together. Parents should take time to explore the new neighborhood with their children. Also, check with schools about testing, attendance and extracurricular activities.

Encourage children to be part of the moving process. That means packing, unpacking and even decorating. Something for kids to consider would be if they want to develop a broad concept for their bedroom - perhaps a jungle safari or underwater adventure.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

How to Pick the Right Mover

The first thing you need to do when preparing to move is to determine how much you want to do yourself -- everything, nothing or somewhere in between. Your budget and desire to save some money will likely impact your decision. When selecting a moving company, make sure to ask friends and family for suggestions. Whatever you do, don't simply go with the lowest bid. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always ask for (and check!) references before selecting the moving company that is going to help you move. Quick calls to your local Better Business Bureau and State Moving & Storage Association will also be well worth your while.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Terms Commonly Used in Moving Estimates

Good planning will help reduce the stress of your move. Choosing a mover wisely, knowing your rights and understanding moving terminology can save you time and money.


Extra Labor and Waiting Time: Charges for extra workers you request on the job, such as "maid" service, accessing attics/crawl spaces, holding the truck because you are not ready for delivery, etc.

Fuel Surcharge: Percentage adjustment to compensate mover for higher fuel costs.

Overtime Loading and Unloading: For work on weekends, holidays and between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays.

Packing and Unpacking: These charges are based on the shipment's weight and include containers the mover provides, with the exception of specially constructed crates for fragile items. With full-service packing, the mover packs most or all of your shipment. With custom packing, the mover packs only what you designate. Most full-value-replacement insurance does not cover what you pack yourself.

Pickup or Delivery Stop-off: For delivery or pickup at more than one place.

Storage-in-Transit Service (SIT): Storing a shipment at the mover's storage facility while waiting for further transportation and/or delivery. Charges apply if you request it, but not if the wait is for the mover's convenience.

SIT Pickup and Delivery Service: Charges for transportation between SIT facility and residence.

Tariff: The mover's list of rules, regulations and rates for transportation charges and any additional moving services (packing, storage, unpacking, etc.). The mover must publish these and furnish them for inspection upon request.

Third-Party Services: These are for charges the mover incurs but is not liable for, such as local sales tax, recycling fees, bridge and ferry fees, agricultural quarantine inspections and services you request, such as those of a craftsman.

Valuation: Worth of shipment. Liability protection is offered automatically at no additional charge, and provides minimal coverage of 60 cents per pound per article. Full (replacement) value protection, for which an additional charge applies, is the most comprehensive and applies automatically unless waived. It replaces, repairs or makes cash settlement for items damaged, lost or destroyed.

Weight Additive Charge: For irregularly shaped items such as a boat or trailer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Serial Movers: Always on the Move

Moving is stressful so most people move as seldom as possible. Other people seem to always be moving. Why? Some crave excitement ... a new neighborhood to explore. Others are re-enacting stressful childhoods or simply looking for a fresh start. Some are just looking for the right "fit". Whatever the reason, these "serial movers" are growing in number ... leading to numerous theories on what motivates their peripatetic ways.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Weakening Real Estate Environment?

Most residential moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day. So - amid talk of a weakening real estate environment - how is this moving season shaping up? In New York City, apartment sales are holding their own but there are some troubling signs. Recent activity shows an annualized 5% to 10% gain in both transactions and apartment prices. Good, right? Yes, but not compared with a 25% increase in both areas in the same quarter last year. Also, apartments are taking longer to sell (with averages up to 130-140 days compared to 90-100 days in 2004-2005) and the number of listings have ballooned (6,900 co-ops and condos on the market versus 4,300 a year ago). Sound like a good time to buy? Perhaps, but consider that average apartment prices in New York City have remained roughly the same: $423,659 for a studio; $700,201 for a one bedroom; $1,491,060 for two bedrooms; $3,295,963 for three bedrooms, and $7,175,170 for four bedrooms!