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This is the time to go full on Konmarie - purge the heck out of your stuff!! Whatever doesn't bring you joy anymore or you haven't used it in a year, go ahead and sell, donate, or toss!! For inspiration, you can read or listen on Kindle to Marie Kondo's books "The LIfechanging Magic of Tidying Up" & "Spark Joy" (affiliate link) or you can watch her Netflix show "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo".
- Have a realtor set up a search for you on MLS. They will include your parameters for size, price, location and can have emails sent to you daily. You will most likely owe a full month's rental fee to your realtor, and if the landlord is using a realtor, the two realtors usually split that fee. Best to confirm with your realtor. Realtors can be extremely helpful negotiating and showing you properties (or as currently, coordinating virtual tours or for you to meet the landlord for a contactless viewing).
- Check Zillow daily. You can find great properties for rent by owner or by property management and save big by cutting out a realtor. However, many properties are fake and being used as a means for a realtor to advertise and get you to call them. Or they're old and haven't been updated to show they're actually already rented. Still, worth checking!
- Check Craigslist but be very very skeptical and careful. Many of these are scams. The very occasional hidden gem can be found.
- Join local Facebook groups to get a vibe for the area, ask about schools, doctors, buying stuff you need used, etc. You can even inquire if anyone has or knows of a home going up for rent soon. I had a few leads this way, a couple actually had their home listed for sale but were open to renting instead, and you wouldn't be able to find it as a rental by searching on any site!
- Stalk the heck out of the neighborhood and town via Google Maps!! You can virtually "walk" down streets, get 360 views, find out the distance to the nearest Target and Pizzeria, you name it!! You can also look around to see if there's a nearby high tension wires (advisable to stay at least 3/4 mile from these)
- Check FEMA to see if it's a flood zone.
Check your lease and make sure you are giving your landlord property notification. Most require one month's notice. If breaking your lease and leaving early, you may still be responsible to fulfil the full term's rental fees, even if you're not there!! This happened to us when leaving our last rental, but management clarified that if I found a new tenant we'd be good. Thankfully I posted the rental in a local Facebook parenting group and within 2 days found a new tenant for them. PHEW!!
There are TONS to choose from. Some are for local / same day service only, others specialize in long distance moves. Last time we moved within Brooklyn we were very happy with Shlepper's, and this time around they gave me the best quote again! Shleppers and Flatrate are both very popular and will give you a detailed quote (either coming to see what you have ahead of time or currently doing it all over the phone - you tell them exactly what's going, and be specific as you can). They don't charge hourly and won't hijack your stuff until you pay additional fees (yes, I've heard of other companies doing this, if you can believe it!!!). There are some companies going green, too, using biodiesel fuel and reusable boxes. You'll pay more but the Earth will thank you. And of course, if neither of your buildings have a stipulation about needing a licensed and insured moving company (mine does unfortunately), you can totally save $$$ by DIY moving - rent a Uhaul truck and pay some friends in beer and pizza!
Book your moving company first since some will provide boxes. Movers Not Shakers, for example, is a "green" moving company and will drop off reusable plastic boxes and collect after the move. You should also check craigslist and FB marketplace to see if you can get free or cheap boxes from someone local who just moved - this will save money and the Earth! Otherwise, you'll have to buy them. You can find tons of options on Amazon (affiliate link), with other popular sites being Uboxes / Box Engine (who has really convenient kits based on home size, including bubbles, packing paper, tape etc), Uhaul, Home Depot, etc.
If going from one rental to another, you'll probably be keeping the same insurance and just updating with new address. If going from ownership to rental or vice versa, it'll be more complex. For renters insurance, you're just covering your own property and liability. If you'll have a pool or trampoline or anything especially risky, make sure you're covered plenty (some companies cover these, some only if they're fenced in, and others not at all). During my own search, I found Allstate to have the best price (though that could be because we already have car insurance with them), followed by USAA (I'm a member thanks to my dad's military service), Lemonade, and Geico.
There are a tonnnnnnnnn you need to notify of your address change. As more and more things go paperless, this becomes less of a headache, but it's still a headache. Most important notification is probably USPS since they'll forward items from your old to new address for 1 year. But... some things don't end up forwarded. So, do your best to notify all of the following directly:
- Tax Agencies (IRS with this form, State Taxes)
- Your employer
- DMV (usually it's just online to update their system and they won't issue a new card, which is annoying since it's convenient to have as an ID when registering for school, library etc...)
- Car registration
- Social Security / Unemployment (if receiving benefits)
- Banks. Credit Cards, Investments, 401K
- Loan / Mortgage / Car Lease
- Insurance (car, home, medical, dental, life)
- Online shopping (you can do this as you use them but you might forget... Amazon, Paypal etc)
- Magazines & other subscriptions (including Costco)
- Friends & Family
To avoid getting slammed with loss of your security deposit, be sure to check with your landlord what condition you're expected to leave your home in. You probably have to remove all nails, patch up holes, and paint back to neutral colors.
You'll need to schedule the date to stop previous utilities and start new ones. Gas, electricity, water, sewer, trash, phone, cable, internet, etc. Note that most internet providers will not let you out of a contract simply because you're moving, but rather only if they don't have service at your new home.
This can be tricky depending on your insurance, but hopefully rather painless. You should be able to log onto your insurance's website to change your doctor and address.
You'll need to official unenroll from your old school and have them transfer records to your new school, where you'll need to register. Note that if you have younger children in Pre-K - 2nd grade, their birthday could mean they get held back or skip a year. For example, in NYC the age cutoff is December 31 and for most of New Jersey it's October 1. In some places children will be assessed and it'll be a discussion between parents and administration, but NYC public school system is very strict about not allowing a child to be held back when entering Pre-K, K and 1st grade - they MUST be turning the correct age Jan 1 - Dec 31 (turning 4 for Pre-K, 5 for K, 6 for 1st grade), no matter what grade they last completed.