Moving house is not only difficult and expensive, but also very time-consuming. No matter how much you may wish to, you can’t just up and move – you need to plan the process and make a myriad of moving preparations before the Big day comes. You can’t complete the actual move over the weekend either (unless you’re moving locally) – loading your belongings on the moving truck and transporting them to your final destination may take up to a week, depending on the relocation distance. Then, you’ll still need to unpack and settle into your new home.
So, how much time do you actually need to organize and perform your move? How long does the moving process take? How quickly can you move house?
The time it takes to relocate depends on the specific circumstances of every individual case, yet the average time to move house is estimated to be about 8-16 weeks. This is the sum total of the times needed to complete the different stages of the relocation process:
How long does it take to buy and sell a house?
Your first step when moving house is to find an appropriate new home to move to. (Of course, if it’s an emergency move or if you prefer to get to know your new area better before settling in permanently, you can move into temporary housing first. In this case, however, you’ll have to move twice, even though the second move will be just across town.)
The time it will take you to find the perfect home for you may vary from a couple of days to a couple of months – you need to research the housing options in your new area and view several places that seem to suit your requirements and preferences in order to choose the best one for you and your family.
If you’re going to apply for a mortgage on the property, keep in mind that it will take at least 4 weeks to get a mortgage approval. Then, you’ll need about 10 weeks to complete the transfer of ownership (making the offer, completing the conveyancing process, getting a house survey report, and closing the deal).
If you’re renting, the process will be much faster and easier – once you’ve found the right place for you, signing the lease contract will only take about a week (until your future landlord performs a background check on you and the details of the lease are agreed upon).
While looking for a new home, you will also need to arrange the sale of your old one – it will take you a couple of weeks to stage the house for sale and get a few valuations, then there will be viewings and negotiations with potential buyers, home surveys and various other details to be taken care of. The entire process usually takes about two months, but it may be much longer, depending on the type of your property, its location, and the price you request.
If you’re moving out of a rented property, you need to review the conditions for ending your lease agreement and notify your landlord about your move a month in advance.
How long does it take to get movers?
Once you know where you’re moving to, it’s time to organize your relocation. Your first task is to enlist the help of respectable and experienced moving professionals who will ensure the success of your relocation endeavor.
Finding the best movers for you will take a week or so – you need to research your options, get recommendations, fill out a moving quote to get contacted by several reputable moving companies in your area, check their reputations (read moving reviews left by previous customers of the companies, verify their USDOT numbers, review their websites, check their ratings with the BBB, etc.), ask three or four movers that seem to best suit your needs and requirements for on-site estimates, interview them to get as much information as possible, discuss the details of your move, compare the offers, and choose the right moving partners for you.
Good to remember: The earlier you book the services of a trustworthy moving company, the better, so it is advisable to do your research and make your choice about 6-8 weeks before your desirable moving date.
If you’ve decided on a self-move, you’ll also need about a week to find an appropriate (and affordable) moving truck to rent and get all the necessary moving equipment.
How long does it take to get ready to move?
While scheduling your move, you’ll need to take care of a number of other moving tasks as well:
- It will take you about a month to put the necessary paperwork in order: collecting and organizing your personal documents and financial records; obtaining yours and your family’s medical records; obtaining your pets’ health certificates and vaccination records; obtaining your children’s school records; changing your address; transferring your drivers’ license and obtaining a new registration certificate for your car; transferring utilities; cancelling subscriptions and memberships; etc. You need to allow some time to review and organize your papers, as well;
- You will need from several days to a couple of weeks to sort out and organize your belongings (depending on the size of your household). This has to be done about 6-8 weeks prior to your move, so that you have enough time to deal with the things you’re not going to relocate – sell or donate your no longer needed items that are still in good condition and throw away any useless, worn out, or damaged ones;
- Allow yourself a day or two to create a moving inventory of the items you’re taking to your new home. Your moving inventory list will help you keep track of your possessions, will double as a packing list, and will serve as a proof of the pre-move condition of your belongings should any of them get damaged during the relocation.
Good to remember: Keep in mind that it will take a lot of time to sell your unwanted items at a profit – you’ll have to organize a garage sale or list the items online and arrange payment and delivery.
How long does it take to pack a house for moving?
Packing for moving is a laborious and risky task that needs to be performed with utmost care. You need to have enough time to ensure the best possible protection to your items – packing in a hurry may result in damage to your belongings as you won’t have the time to take proper care of each and every item. So, you’re recommended to start packing as early as possible and spend a couple of hours a day on the task so that you can ensure the safety of your belongings.
If you’re packing your items yourself, you are going to need about:
- 12-16 hours to pack a studio or one-bedroom apartment;
- 25-30 hours to pack a two-bedroom house or apartment;
- 40 hours to pack a typical three-bedroom home;
- 50-55 hours to pack a four-bedroom house.
Keep in mind that packing the storage areas in your home – garage, basement, attic, etc., will require more time and effort than packing a standard room, so it is advisable to deal with them first – while you have still plenty of time and energy. Also, make sure that you have all the necessary packing supplies at hand as running to the store for more in the middle of the packing process will be a waste of time.
If you’ve hired professional packers to do the job for you, they will complete the task in about:
- 2-3 hours – for a studio or one-bedroom apartment;
- 3-4 hours – for a two-bedroom house or apartment;
- 6 hours – for a three-bedroom home;
- 8 hours – for a four-bedroom house.
How long does it take to load a moving truck?
The time it will take to load your belongings on the moving truck depends on several factors – the number of boxes and household items you have for moving; the required or necessitated extra services; the flights of stairs your items will have to be taken down (or the free access to an elevator); the distance between the moving truck and the entrance to your home; etc.
If you’re well prepared and no unforeseen obstacles occur, a team of four professional movers will load the moving truck in about:
- 2 hours – when moving a studio or one-bedroom apartment;
- 3 hours – when moving a two-bedroom home;
- 4-5 hours – when moving a three-bedroom home;
- 6 hours – when moving a four-bedroom house.
How long does it take to get to your new home?
If you’re moving across town, it will take only several hours to transport your items to your new home. If you’re moving across the country, however, the delivery may take several days or even a week. The actual transportation time will depend on the traffic and the weather conditions at the time of your move as well.
Regarding your own trip, you may arrive at your new home after several hours (if you’re moving short distance or if you’re flying to your new city) or after several days (if you’re driving from coast to coast).
How long does it take to settle after moving?
You will need a few days to unpack your items and arrange your new house or apartment, but it may take you several months to really settle in and feel at home in your new place.
You can always take advantage of some time-saving tricks if you’re pressed for time or if you’re moving on a short notice. Yet, it is better to take your time and pay attention to every detail of your move – this will ensure a safer, smoother, and stress-free relocation.