In this 7th edition of our Moving Mom series, we address the next challenge: finding a mover you can trust. Here, word of mouth goes a long way. Check movers out with the Better Business Bureau, and do an on-line search to make sure they are legitimate. Ask for their website address, and be concerned if they do not have one. Do they have a physical address or are they a fly-by-night company…here today and gone tomorrow? Do they have their own moving trucks? Google them and check to see if they have a series of complaints filed against them, and if so, obviously you should consider a different company.
Have you heard of road side sales? That’s where the movers don’t make it to your final destination with all your belongings, and they have no idea where they are. It happened once to me, when after the movers had completely loaded the household furniture, they headed to my office to pick up my office furniture. It was very nice high-quality mahogany, and included an executive desk, credenza and a wall of matching book shelves. I watched them load it onto the back of the truck, and the move was proceeding smoothly as planned. I drove across country and waited to meet the movers. Low and behold, my office furniture had mysteriously disappeared.
Ironically, that particular mover warned me about road side sales! He was the brother of a high school buddy and I thought I could trust him. I should have known something was wrong when they showed up in rental trucks, instead of company owned moving vans. It is virtually too late to find this out on moving day, and it is not something they will tell you in advance. It’s a huge red flag, but at that point, it was too late to delay the move and find another mover! After all, my plans were all made, and I had an exciting trip ahead visiting friends on my tour across country. Unfortunately, I learned my lesson the hard way. Beware! Do your homework and trust your intuition. While not common, road side sales do happen.
If a mover’s bid price seems much lower than every other company you interviewed, ask yourself why. I have a friend who moved out west, and was thrilled she found a mover who was significantly less expensive than the others she had interviewed. Her belongings were delivered a month late, only to be held up at the other end with a demand for more money to unload the truck. That was just the first truck, and she paid hundreds of dollars extra because she was so desperate to get her belongings. The second truck arrived months later, and that was after many frustrating phone calls, more failed delivery dates, and threats of a law suit. You can’t believe what happened next!
My friend had called the police to tell them what was happening, so they fitted her with a wire to monitor the inevitable conversation with the moving truck driver. The police positioned themselves close by and waited. When the truck arrived, the movers tried their shenanigans again and made another demand for more money to unload the truck. The police arrived with guns drawn, made them unload the truck, then charged them with extortion and took them to jail! While this experience makes a great story to tell all your friends, you don’t want this to happen to you!
What about moving automobiles? A client called me week ago to tell me about an auto transport company she had engaged to pick up and deliver her car to California. As per her instructions, once the transporter arrives in Savannah, I am to release the car for transport. It now appears the transporters have pulled the same type of shenanigans: they promised a pick-up on a certain date, and have yet to pick up the car. They already have their money since she paid in advance, and now they want another $500! The scheduler actually told her that sometimes this happens when the transporters know the customer is desperate to get their automobile! I groaned when she told me she paid the transporter in full, plus she paid the additional $500 because she IS desperate! As I write this article, I am still waiting for the car to be picked up. Who knows when the transporters will arrive, if ever.
The lesson here: NEVER pay the movers all the money up front!!!
I tell you these stories not to scare you, but to give you some warning signs, and to encourage you to use a reputable mover. No matter your age, these things can happen to anyone. Seniors are especially vulnerable to unscrupulous business practices, and some Seniors have not moved in many years. An inexpensive mover that seems too good to be true usually is! If you feel unsure what to do, a good Move Manager can manage all these details on your behalf, plus take the stress off your shoulders.
So now for the good news! You are packed, have chosen your mover, and are ready to go. As we have discussed in previous articles, your floor plan is ready, and the list of everything that has been packed (with corresponding box numbers) is in your Move Manager’s hand. The movers have come and gone, and we are now ready to meet the mover at your new home.
What about the pets? Keeping track of dogs and cats is not something anyone needs to be concerned with on moving day. They will be nervous in their new surroundings, and may try to escape. Equally important, having them underfoot is a tripping hazard and dangerous for all concerned. It’s best to find a friend or family member to keep them during the move, or board them at a kennel.
As a Move Manager, on moving day, I simply direct traffic. At this point, my sole purpose is to tell the mover where each piece of furniture should be placed, and where each box belongs. When I orchestrate a move, my crew is waiting and ready to unpack each box, break it down, and then remove it from the home. We have pre-determined where everything will go, and everything goes in its place. We know what to do to prepare for your homecoming!
While we are handling the move, I like to have my clients go out and have a good time. Go shopping, out to dinner, to a show, and then return in the evening to a beautiful home and a good night’s sleep! The beds are made, fresh towels and soap are in the baths, the refrigerator is stocked and the house is set up! I’m not kidding!
Believe it or not, moving day should be the easiest step of the move! Move Managers plan for this day, and it is choreographed for a smooth transition. In the following couple of days, the art work is hung, and the clothing that is hanging in the closet gets organized. A few tweaks here and there, and voila! It looks like you have always lived there, and it’s finally over. Or is it?
Sometimes life deals some hard blows. Often, an immediate move to an assisted living community may have been necessary for a Senior’s safety and well being. If that is the case, the Senior or their loved ones may now face another step, as many Seniors must sell their homes after they move. Regardless, whether the sale occurs before or after the move, the issues remain the same. Because Seniors may not have sold a home for many years, this is when a professional Realtor® and Move Manager should be engaged to handle the preparation and sale of the property.
Some common questions to consider:
• What are the long range plans for the house?
• Will family move into the house, or does it need to be sold?
• Before it is listed for sale, is the property in need of repairs and some TLC?
• Are there family members who can get the house ready for sale?
• If not, who will oversee the work?
• Who will clear out what has been left behind?
• Will items need to be shipped to family members?
• Does the house need to be staged?
• While it is waiting to be sold, who will watch over it and keep it in showing condition?
• Does the Senior need the proceeds from the sale to ensure they will have the necessary funds to cover living expenses at their new community? If so, is there a time frame in which the house must be sold?
• How do you find out the property’s worth, and at what price do you list it for sale?
• If the Senior is unable to manage the sale, who will handle it on their behalf?
These and many questions will be addressed in next week’s article, so stay tuned.
Coming next week in the “Moving Mom” series…Preparing the House for Sale.
By Brooke Bass, Associate Broker with Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners and owner of Gracious Moves LLC, a Savannah based Staging and Move Management Company.
A nationally award winning Realtor, Brooke has been successfully selling and staging homes since 1985. She holds the National Association of Realtors, “Seniors Real Estate Specialist” certification, and memberships in the National Association of Senior Move Managers, and Greater Savannah Coalition on Aging. For more information, contact Brooke at 912-655-9299 or visit www.GraciousMoves.com.