According to the infamous Murphy’s law “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. In fact, this pessimistic assumption turns out to be true quite often, especially when used in relation to some particularly stressful and challenging events – such as a residential move, for example. Ranked as one of the most financially- and emotionally-draining experiences in life, moving house is a complex and difficult process that involves too many uncertainties and risks. Problems may occur at every stage of the relocation process, resulting in lots of wasted time, money, and nerves. To avoid moving horror stories, you need to be really careful when organizing your forthcoming relocation – choosing an appropriate new home, hiring reliable movers, setting a beneficial moving date, making a realistic moving budget, preparing your items for shipping, etc. Circumstances beyond your control may ruin all your elaborate plans, of course, but if you know what to expect and prepare well, you will be able to deal successfully with the most common problems when moving house.
So, what can go wrong when moving house?
1) Packing problems (= damage to your goods)
Improper packing is the number one culprit in most moving disasters. Yet, it can be most easily avoided, provided that you steer clear of some common packing mistakes. Possible packing missteps include:
- Not having enough (or adequate) packing supplies – if you have failed to assess properly the amount and type of the packing materials you are going to need for your relocation or if you have decided to skimp on professional packing supplies, you may end up with a bunch of poorly packed items. Without adequate protection your belongings are prone to damage, so you are quite likely to receive them broken or in poor condition;
- Packing in the last minute – when packing frantically in the last minute, you will not be able to organize your items or ensure their safety. As a result, your belongings may get badly damaged during transportation. Besides, you’ll have no time to create a detailed inventory of your items and/or to label the boxes properly, so you may easily lose track of your possessions and not even realize it if some of them get stolen or lost in the relocation chaos;
- Packing the wrong items – if you pack non-allowables or items that you still need, you will have to open already sealed boxes and repack, losing valuable time in the process and risking damage to your belongings. Also, be careful not to pack valuables with the rest of your possessions (they may get stolen or damaged) or to forget to put aside the essentials it will be difficult to survive without;
- Packing too many items – the final moving cost is determined by the total weight of your goods, so the more items you pack for moving, the more you will pay in the end. Besides, there may not be enough room in the moving truck for all your stuff, especially if you have decided to take more items than initially stated. You may also have a problem with insufficient space if the movers have misjudged the volume of your goods and sent a smaller vehicle or if you haven’t rented the right size of moving truck, etc. In such cases, you may be forced to leave some items behind, make several trips or use shuttle services – all options result in plenty of wasted time and money, not to mention the headaches.
Packing issues, however, are not as catastrophic as some other moving misfortunes.
2) Furniture doesn’t fit through the doors
Unless you measure your furniture and the available space, doorways, staircase, etc. both in your old property and in your future residence, you may have quite a nerve-wracking experience on Moving day. If your large furniture pieces don’t fit through, you’ll have to disassemble them and remove the doors from their hinges in a desperate attempt to accomplish the impossible. In the worst-case scenario, even this proven strategy won’t work and you will be forced to leave some cherished furniture behind or request hoisting services that will cost you dearly and will delay your move considerably.
3) Property damage
When moving out, you will certainly want your old place to be in flawless condition so that you can get your security deposit back or sell it at a profit. If you (or the movers) drop a heavy item and damage the flooring, or scratch and dent the walls, or break the banisters or the stairs while taking your goods out, you will have to deal with expensive and time-consuming repair works. To prevent property damage, you need to provide adequate protective coverage for floors and carpets, install corner guards and foam paddings, wrap banisters and remove mirrors and paintings from the walls, etc. Also, make sure you use appropriate moving equipment, moving pads, and blankets to protect both your items and your surroundings when moving house. Remember that your new property needs proper protection, as well.
4) Adverse weather
Bad weather can affect your moving plans quite negatively and, unfortunately, there is little you can do to change the atmospheric conditions in your favor. Intense heat, heavy snowfall, ice, torrential rains, dense fog, hurricanes and storms will certainly slow down your moving inertia and force you to postpone your relocation with several hours or several days, depending on the severity of the weather. Before you decide to proceed with your residential move, make sure the roads are safe, your belongings are properly protected, and there is no risk for anyone involved in the moving process.
5) Traffic issues
Heavy traffic or road accidents may also cause severe problems when moving house:
- Traffic jams – the moving truck will be delayed;
- Traffic accidents – a traffic accident on the road to your home will certainly result in plenty of lost time and nerves. If it is the moving vehicle transporting your goods that has had an accident, however, you may even lose all your possessions or have them damaged while being transferred into another vehicle;
- Breakdown – if the moving truck breaks down on the road, you’ll have to wait for the moving company to send another vehicle and transfer your shipment, risking damage to your items in the process;
- Parking problems – if the moving truck has to circle around the neighborhood for hours until an appropriate parking space is vacated or if it has to park further than 50-75 feet from the entrance to your home, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for the delay or an additional long carry fee. Besides, plenty of valuable time will be irretrievably lost.
Without a doubt, getting hurt in the midst of the moving procedures is one of the worst things that may happen during your relocation endeavor. Safety should be your top concern, so take every precaution to prevent injuries and accidents on Moving day. You are strongly advised to plan your actions well in advance, clear obstacles out of the way, dress appropriately according to the climatic conditions outside, wear protective gear, use specialized moving equipment, keep pets and kids away from the moving chaos, and avoid rash and hasty actions.
7) Falling victim to moving scams
More than two third of the moving horror stories involve rogue movers and elaborate extortion schemes. You need to be really careful when choosing your moving company or some adept moving scam artists may successfully come up with deceitful ways to rip you off. Here are some common fraudulent techniques to have in mind when shopping around for movers:
- Rogue movers will come up with a very good offer but as soon as they get the money from your deposit, you will never see them again;
- When they appear on Moving day, rogue movers will request much more money than previously negotiated based on some alleged extra services;
- Rogue movers will load your household items on the moving truck and will never deliver them, stealing your more expensive belongings and just discarding the rest;
- Rogue movers will hold your belongings hostage until you pay a considerable extra “fee” as ransom.
To avoid unscrupulous moving scams, make sure your chosen movers are legitimate, bonded and insured, examine their credentials and find out if any problems have been reported in the past and how they have been settled.
8) Problems upon arriving in your new home
Even if everything goes according to plan on Moving day, some troubles may arise during the last chapter of your relocation journey:
- If your new home is not ready in time, due to ongoing repair works or renovation projects, you won’t be able to receive your shipment and the movers will take it to storage at your expense;
- If you haven’t transferred the utilities, you won’t have electricity, gas and water on move-in day which will cause great inconveniences;
- If there has been a mistake or a problem along the road, your delivery will be late and you’ll have to survive for some more days without your belongings.
The list can go on and on, so you should make every effort to avoid simple mistakes when moving into a new home.
9) Overspending on your move
You need to assess your finances and set your moving budget accordingly to make sure your savings will be enough to cover all moving-related expenses. Figure in all the hidden and forgotten costs, as well (such as travel expenses, charges for extra services, tips for the movers, etc.) and set aside an emergency fund, in case something goes wrong. If you end up paying more than you expected, you have probably made a costly moving mistake before (choosing a less than reputable moving company), during (packing improperly), or after your relocation (rushing to the stores before you have learned your way in your new city). You are strongly recommended to take advantage of some proven ways to save money when moving to avoid financial troubles and ensure a successful start of your new life!
May nothing go wrong with your residential move!