Hire a reputable mover

mover checklist
Moving Checklist (from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration fmcsa.dot.gov)

Moving is stressful enough without having to deal with a rogue mover.  Before your hire a mover, do your research and know your rights.  Your rights may vary depending if your move is intrastate or interstate.  An intrastate move is within the same state, while an interstate move is between states.  Although intrastate movers are not licensed by the state of Maryland, there are a rules and consumer protection laws governing their business.  However, interstate movers must comply with Federal regulations.

Hiring a mover to move within Maryland (intrastate)

The Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General published The Consumer’s Edge: Hiring a Mover? Protect Yourself!  The publication outlines your rights for a move within the state of Maryland (marylandattorneygeneral.gov). The pamphlet advises that estimates must be written, and must specify if it’s binding or non-binding.  Binding estimates are prohibited to change, while non-binding estimates in Maryland are capped and cannot exceed 25 percent of the original estimate.  Be wary of low-ball estimates, or a mover who does not ask a lot of questions about your possessions.  Don’t sign a blank or incomplete estimate.

Hiring a Mover? Protect Yourself!
Hiring a Mover? Protect Yourself! (from marylandattorneygeneral.gov)

If your move is within Maryland, consult the Maryland Movers Conference.  The MMC is a non-profit organization that is part of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and works with “governmental authorities and consumer groups to promote the highest standards for the moving industry in Maryland.”  The organization established a Registered Mover Program, where movers abide by a code of ethics and other rules.  You can view valuable consumer info and the MMC’s list of member movers at their website (mdmovers.org).

Hiring an interstate mover

mover pamphlet
FMCSA Ready to Move Brochure

If your move is interstate, your mover is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation.  The FMCSA website “Protect Your Move” (www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move) provides an abundance of information to help you choose a reputable mover as well as tips and a checklist to help make your move less hectic.  The FMCSA maintains a registry of legitimate interstate movers from which you can search and view licensing, insurance, as well as complaints.

During the planning stage of your interstate move, Federal regulation requires your mover to provide you with a copy of the booklet “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” and a copy of FMCSA’s brochure “Ready to Move.”  These publications (available on the FMCSA website) offer insight to make an informed decision, as well as understand your consumer rights in case something goes awry.

The FMCSA suggests that estimates that sound too good to be true are often a way for scammers to get your business. What are the red flags for which to be on the lookout? Be wary of:

  • Estimates given without onsite inspection of your possessions
  • A demand for cash or a large deposit
  • Blank or incomplete documents
  • Refusal to provide a written estimate
  • Movers who claim to be insured without providing proof
  • A mover who generically answers the phone “movers” instead of using the company’s name
  • No address or insurance info on the company’s website
  • Use of a rental truck instead of a company branded truck.
Moving Rights and Responsibilities
Rights & Responsibilities Booklet (fmcsa.dot.gov)

Movers must deliver your possessions.  Call the police if a mover threatens to not deliver for any reason.  Interstate movers may be in violation of Federal law if they hold your shipment “hostage.”  The FMCSA offers some recourse if you feel victimized by an interstate mover or broker.  The Protect Your Move Website has an online tool to make complaints.  A complaint may trigger a Federal enforcement investigation against the mover.

By Dan Krell.
Copyright © 2018.

Original published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2018/08/29/hire-reputable-mover/

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Unpacking is part of the buying process

unpacking tips
Unpacking tips (infographic from visual.ly)

People don’t really give it much thought until they’ve already moved.  Maybe that’s the reason for a lack of information and guidance about unpacking.  I estimate that for every six articles about packing and moving, there’s probably one about unpacking.  And like buying a home and moving; there should be more thought to unpacking because it’s the first activity that makes your new digs feel like home.

Unlike packing for a move and decluttering, unpacking seems to get left out of the home buying process.  Many believe that you instinctively come home after settlement (or signing a lease) and just unload all the boxes and just begin living as you did in your previous home.  But the reality is that unpacking can be just as, if not more, overwhelming than the move itself.   And this applies to whether you’ve hired a moving company or concierge service to unpack for you, or you do it on your own.

That’s correct, you can hire someone to unpack for you.  However, just like packing house, it can get expensive.  Of course, charges vary.  However, if this is the way you decide to go – get multiple estimates from insured and bonded companies.  Once the service unpacks for you, consider taking the time to review where they stored items.  This will save you time later when you need to find something in a hurry.

Unpacking a house on your own may seem overwhelming (even with the help of friends), but don’t give in to procrastination.  Extreme procrastination can lead you to living out of moving boxes for a prolonged period.  Instead, make a simple unpacking plan and prioritize.  Although the chore of unpacking seems to be the physical aspect of unloading boxes; there can be an emotional drain of deciding where to best place and store items.

When packing your previous home, you most likely packed each room and labeled each moving box for their destination room.  And although unpacking each room in sequence may seem logical, you most likely won’t get it all done in one day.  The result can leave you frantically digging through boxes searching for items you use on a daily basis.

To avoid this trap, consider unpacking essential items first.  Having the essentials put away first will help you feel as if there is continuity.  You will find it easier going about your daily routine without disruption – even if you don’t unpack all the boxes.  Of course, it helps if you’ve marked the boxes containing essential items when you packed.  However, if you didn’t, that’s ok too.

If you’ve unpacked the essentials first, you’ll notice that you’ve become aware of the available storage spaces.  As a result, you’ve set the tone for each room, and the entire unpacking process becomes easier.  You’ll be able to go through your room priority list quicker and get through storing items where they belong with less deliberation and angst.

When unpacking essentials, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms first.  Chances are that you will need to use these rooms throughout the day as you unpack.  Then go through your priority list of rooms, unpacking the essentials.

Once the essentials are put away, you may feel at ease and in control.  You can then unpack rooms in sequence or as prioritized.  You may also decide to go through the remaining boxes at a leisurely pace.

Copyright © Dan Krell

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Are the kids are all right; how kids cope with moving

Buying and selling a home is surely an exciting time, but it’s also a stressful time. Even the most organized person can feel the pressure. Of course, most people tend to redirect their energy into the practical aspects of buying, selling, and moving; such as ensuring their loan documents are in order, packing, and/or lining up a mover. If you have children, then additional things to worry about may be added to your already full plate of “to do” items, such as school matriculation and finding summer camps. But how are your kids coping with the move?

Like most things in life, moving to a new home is a process; the emotional process of moving involves various feelings that are expressed in no specific order and can sometimes be felt simultaneously. To complicate matters, your reasons for moving can also amplify this stress (divorce, job, etc.). Most children and their parents cope adequately during this time, but some may need additional attention and assistance.

Once you realize how hectic the pace can be while home searching/selling combined with moving, your attention to your kids may be slightly different. Although your children can experience the same feelings you may feel, their expression of those feelings can be vastly different. Some children may not be able to verbalize their feelings and their coping skills can vary.

Change can elicit both welcome and unwelcome feelings. The excitement and anticipation of a new neighborhood and school, and the sadness of leaving friends behind are just some of the feelings that children may experience while going through the process of moving to a new home. However, some kids may be more affected than others by the stress of the process and may seem more anxious, angry, and/or exhibit other behaviors.

Because children do not articulate their feelings like adults, some experts recommend that you “tune” into your children to determine how well they are coping. Of course, depending on your child’s age, indications that they may be having difficulty may vary: younger children may have increased incidents of bed wetting, incontinence and thumb sucking; while adolescents may become truant, defiant, and/or agitated.

Experts discuss the benefits of being open and honest with your children about moving, as well as informing them as soon as possible. Child experts have also recommended increasing your availability to your kids as well as acknowledging their feelings during the process. Younger children may need more comforting than usual, while older children may need to talk about the process.

Additionally, establishing continuity and allowing involvement in the process (when appropriate) can make the transition easier on children. Before the move, depending on the distance, you may be able to have your children visit the new school and possibly meet some of the kids in the new neighborhood. Have children help in packing and/or engage in other appropriate activities.

Many resources exist to assist you and your children cope with the process of moving to a new home, as this article is not intended to provide medical or psychological advice. Besides the many books written about the subject, school counselors, teachers, and pediatricians, are just a few professionals who may be able to assist you during this process. Of course, you should consult a medical, psychiatric, and/or a psychological professional if you have concerns about your child.

by Dan Krell © 2011

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Moving day does not have to be stressful

by Dan Krell © 2010.

If it’s not the negotiating, the inspections, the mortgage process that makes you uneasy about the buying/selling process, then it’s the thought of moving. Yes, thoughts of moving and all that may go along with it can make even the most stable person break down.

The two main pieces of advice most professionals offer about moving include planning and organization. Planning your move will keep everything in perspective as you create parameters within which all the activities of your move will be completed. Organizing allows you to keep track of your activities and belongings during your moving period.

Much of the stress that is felt during the move stems from feelings of being overwhelmed by thoughts of everything that must be accomplished during your move. Mitigating the stress and emotion of the move is easier when you have a timeline (of actions and goals) that ends on the day you vacate the home. Having a daily goal will allow you to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted. Each day’s goal can be determined by going into each room noting what needs to be accomplished, including any ancillary activities that need to be completed.

An important aspect of a move is organizing what items are coming with you and what items can be thrown out or donated; this should be easy if you have already de-cluttered your home prior to selling. Staying organized during unpacking can be accomplished by making notes of room destinations for boxes; the notes can be detailed to include whose belongings are in each box as well the contents.

Moving to a new home is not a cheap endeavor; you are sure to spend money on the move even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer. The cost of moving can vary depending on the moving company and services you choose. Doing it yourself is not always the least expensive route; the total cost of a truck rental, packing supplies and your time may compare to the price of a limited service mover. If you’re busy, then you might appreciate a full service moving company that will do all of the packing for you. À la carte moving services may be easier on your pocketbook and also eliminates services you may not need. When shopping for a moving company, make sure they are reputable by checking their credentials and ensuring they are bonded and insured.

Portable storage units have become the “hybrid” of moving because it allows you to do all the work of loading your possessions into a container, but the delivery of the storage unit is carried out by a moving company. The storage unit can either be delivered to your new home or placed in storage until you are ready to unpack.

Moving into a new home is often associated with life events- the good ones and sometimes the not so good ones. Besides having to move, life events have their own challenges; so it’s often helpful to recruit as much help as possible, not just for the physical labor but for the emotional support too.

Although planning and organizing can minimize stress and drama, your plan may need to be flexible to adapt to any unforeseen obstacles; as Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse testifies: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men…(often go awry).”

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of June 14, 2010. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2010 Dan Krell.