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5 Things To Do Before You Close

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

As if the purchase process wasn't stressful enough, the homebuyer also must plan the move ahead of time. From scheduling a moving truck to turning on utilities, everything must be in place. Use these five surefire pre-closing tips to ensure a smooth move come closing day.

1. Plan Moving

Make moving arrangements with friends, family, moving truck rental companies or professional movers. Schedule the move at least four weeks before the closing date or eight weeks before if the closing is toward the end of the month (the busiest time for movers). If you have a lot to move or have antiques or pricey items, hire an insured/bonded moving company. Many will even pack up belongs in the old home and unpack them in the new home to make the move a little easier. Moving prices vary and can be set or priced by weight, depending on distance of move and other factors. Get a written estimate from a few companies and do your research before trusting any moving company with your possessions. A contract with professional movers is essential, so read it over carefully, and be certain to get an inventory form to check each item and its condition at the new abode.

2. Get Packing

Whether hiring a moving company to pack belongings or doing it yourself, here are some tips to help bring it all together.

  • Start packing weeks before the closing date.
  • Pack garage and yard items first, as they are easily forgotten.
  • Box up needed kitchen items last to eat at home and save money you may need after closing for those unexpected moving expenses.
  • Wrap items in plain brown or white packing paper.
  • Plan beforehand where all furniture should be placed and draw a furniture floor plan for movers.
  • Label all boxes with room placement and contents and keep them in the room being moved from.
  • Bring flammable items (cleaning products, hair spray, lighter fluid, motor oil) with you, as they may explode inside the moving truck.
  • Donate any items no longer used to charities and ask for a donation form for tax time.

3. Eat Food

Food is difficult to pack and often goes bad before it reaches the new home destination, especially if moving to another town. It's best to plan meals around what you already have in your refrigerator and freezer a few weeks before the move so that it all gets eaten and money is saved. Canned goods do keep, but are heavy and bulky to move and easy to dent. Best to eat all food or give it away to make cleaning out refrigerator, freezer and cabinets easier.

4. Switch Utilities

Who wants to move into a cold, dark home where needed electronic items cannot be recharged? Not someone who is tired and just moved. A few weeks before closing, transfer or start all utilities (electric, gas, water, sewer, trash, recycling, telephone, cable/satellite, Internet) at the new home address. Do your research so you know what companies to contact for the area you are moving to and what utilities each covers. A deposit and/or transfer fee may be required.

5. Change Address

Keep mail flowing by putting in a moving notice online with the post office ($1 for each separate last name) one week before closing. Notify creditors and others of your new address three to four weeks before moving. Complete an IRS change of address form to make tax time easier, especially if you run a home business.

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