10 things you need to know about moving during the pandemic

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On a normal day, moving tends to be a real pain. During a pandemic, it can be an all-out mess. However, experts say there are several things you can do to make the process as painless as possible — and you can tackle many of these tasks before the moving truck even arrives. Here are 10 things you need to know about moving during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1.Your survey may be virtual. If you’re preparing for a significant move, don’t expect a moving company representative to come out to survey your belongings. “We’re probably doing 95 percent virtual surveys,” said Paul Nelson, president of Canton-based Marathon Moving Co. The company will ask you to join them in an online meeting and take them on a virtual walking tour throughout the home. “It gives us the ability to go back after and look at the video and calculate and make sure we didn’t miss items as we walked through,” said Nelson.

2. Don’t schedule a move too soon after closing. Since there are so many moving parts to real estate transactions, it’s not unusual to face delays, especially during the pandemic. Mike Sokolowski, a Boston-based broker with Torii Inc., suggests leaving plenty of time between your closing date and your moving day as a precaution. “Schedule the move a week after the closing to give yourself some breathing room in case last minute things come up,” Sokolowski said.  “It’s much less stressful when you prepare for hiccups, and it’s sweet relief when they don’t come up.”

3.  It’s your responsibility to prepare the house. Moving companies will request that residents thoroughly clean the home before the move. This means wiping down surfaces with disinfectants and leaving closet and cabinet doors open so movers don’t have to touch them.

4. Expect a health call from your moving company. Before moving day, your company may make a confirmation call to ensure nobody is ill. “We ask if anybody has been sick in the house for the past 14 days, and if anyone is high-risk, that they remove themselves from the situation if at all possible,” Nelson said.  If anyone is sick, expect the company to reschedule. “We’ve had two customers contact us through that process that they were currently awaiting testing results, and we had to reschedule their move.”

5. Protect yourself if you’re doing the moving. If you didn’t hire movers to do the heavy lifting, it’s still important to protect yourself. This means using only new boxes, wiping down surfaces, and keeping a mask on at all times. “If you rent moving trucks, don’t forget that door handles, seat belts, steering wheels, and keys have been touched by someone else and need to be cleaned thoroughly,” said Dr. Leo Nissola, a San Francisco-based physician, scientist, and an investigator at the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, who suggests following the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips for cleaning your home.

6. Think smiles, not handshakes. Moving day will look quite different than it did prepandemic. You should limit the number of people home on the day of the move, and those that are present will need to keep their distance from the crew. “Ideally, it’s in a separate room,” Nelson said.

7. You may need a letter to stay in a hotel. If you’re moving our of state, you may need a letter from your moving company in order to stay in a hotel. “Some hotels are requiring proof that they need to rent a room, that the trip is not leisure,” said Nelson. In these situations, your moving company can provide you with a letter that explains your possessions are on hold and that your stay is a necessary one.

8. The price of moving should not increase. No moving company wants to spot a review online saying they overcharged during the pandemic. That’s one reason prices are staying the same, even though companies are purchasing personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for their staff.  “We are not [increasing prices],” Nelson said, “but there are a lot of things on our end that are certainly driving the cost.”

9. Junk removal will be harder. If you’re getting rid of a lot of stuff, it’s not unusual to have local charities or folks from Craigslist pop by to pick them up. But that’s complicated to do with limited contact. Joel Bleier, who recently moved from Massachusetts to New York, found someone through mutual friends to pick up the pool table, couches, and dining room he wanted to get rid of before his move. “My son and I hauled the items out to the front porch,” said Bleier, who had the person pick it up there without entering the home. “I also made MANY trips to our town transfer station.”

10. If you’re sick, the movers can leave. “If the crew arrives and you’re showing visible symptoms of being sick, then the crew has been permission to cancel the move,” Nelson said.

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