The pandemic has undeniably impacted how we complete mundane tasks and celebrate major milestones. Although 7,000 couples get married each day throughout the U.S. and 35% of weddings take place outdoors, COVID-19 has put many of those nuptials on hold. Graduations have gone virtual, funeral parties have been severely limited, and family vacations have been canceled.
But when it comes to moving to a new home, you might not necessarily be able to wait. Around 11% of the nation’s population relocated in 2017 — and while some people might decide to wait a year or two before they go house hunting, others may not have that luxury. Whether you’ve managed to land (or lose) a job, are going through a separation, or have a lease that’s about to expire, you may not have time on your side.
If you aren’t able to wait until the pandemic cools down to move to a new home, you’re certainly not alone. But how can you schedule your move in a way that’s safe for your family and others in your area? You might want to keep these tips in mind.
Ask For Virtual Showings and Moving Quotes
Although many prospective buyers are eager to get back to normal, many of them have been taking advantage of virtual technology during the house-hunting process. Realtors have started offering live showings online, allowing potential buyers to take a tour of a house using their digital devices. Even before the pandemic, virtual reality tech was being utilized for these purposes — which is especially helpful if you can’t travel to a certain area without quarantining for a period of time.
Even if you toured your home in a more traditional way, you can take advantage of technology when it comes to squaring away all your moving details. Many moving companies will offer virtual quotes or allow you to fill out paperwork through digital means to cut down on unnecessary contact.
Follow All CDC Guidelines
It should go without saying that you follow all COVID-19 recommendations on moving day, but it’s easy for many people to forget all of the details that normally necessitate face-to-face contact. Be sure to maintain social distancing, particularly with your movers or any help you’re getting outside your own household. Masks may need to be worn if you aren’t DIYing your move, especially if you’re trying to remember not to touch your face. Although gloves aren’t actually recommended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, frequent hand-washing is. Set up some hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of your home and direct movers to use it frequently. Obviously, you shouldn’t shake anyone’s hand or hug anyone outside of your direct household.
Ask Pertinent Questions of Movers
Before you hire a moving company, you’ll need to do even greater due diligence than usual. You should be sure to ask your movers about the precautions they’re taking to prevent COVID-19 and to protect employees (including temperature-taking measures, health screenings, and more), what their plan of action is if there’s a confirmed case of exposure, and what other precautions they might recommend that you take before, during, and after your move. You’ll want to inquire whether trucks and movers are equipped with masks and hand sanitizer and whether moving vehicles will be cleaned and sanitized prior to your move. It’s also a good idea to find out what their cancelation or rescheduling policy is, as it’s not a good idea for you to forge ahead with your move if you’re feeling ill or someone in your home might have been exposed to COVID-19. If you don’t receive the answers you’re looking for, keep looking for the right moving company.
Use New Boxes (And Pack Yourself)
Although homeowners remodel 10.2 million kitchens and 14.2 million bathrooms each year, we don’t always think about how much stuff we accumulate in these spaces… that is, until it’s time to move to a new house. It’s often easy to borrow old boxes from a friend or to ask local stores for their extras — but it’s not a great idea during a pandemic. Since the coronavirus can technically live on cardboard for as much as a day, you should bite the bullet and buy new boxes for your move. While you’re at it, you should pack all of your belongings yourself. You might be tempted to hire movers to pack for you too, but this increases your family’s risk of potential exposure. Play it safe and handle as much packing as you can on your own.
Disinfect Before and After
Of course, you’ll need to be on your cleaning game when you move during a health crisis. Since hiring professional cleaners may not be a desirable or available option at the moment, you’ll need to get your DIY on. The CDC recommends you clean frequently touched surfaces — such as tables, countertops, doorknobs and handles, light switches, faucets, electronics, desks, and toilets — with EPA-approved disinfectants and cleaners on a frequent basis. You’ll want to clean while you pack, after everything is out of your house, and once you arrive at your new digs. You should disinfect your furniture and belongings, as well as the interior of the home itself. Be sure to dispose of your packing materials properly and to wash your hands throughout the process. Obviously, you should keep hand sanitizer, soap, and cleaning products readily available (not packed away!) during the moving process.
Moving to a new home is never a stress-free process — but with a dangerous virus to worry about, it’s easy to start panicking. By keeping these tips in mind, you should be able to house hunt and move with greater peace of mind.