Moving is daunting ... in fact a NY Post poll found that it's more stressful than going through a divorce or having kids!
As a renter, you are significantly more likely to move than a home owner due to factors outside of your control - be it the ownership of the property changing hands, tough flatmates or the owners wanting their place back!
To help alleviate some of the stress of moving, we've put together this step-by-step guide for navigating moving flats like a boss!
Step One: Know Your Notice Period(s)!
The first step to moving out? Make sure you can!
Most flats are on fixed term leases and won't have a notice period. When you signed the contract, you committed to renting the flat for the agreed term. Having said this, there is no harm in asking your landlord/property to break the agreement early
If you are on a rolling term agreement (often called a 'Periodic Lease'), make sure you are aware of the notice period associated with your lease. If you think you can move out whenever you want, but actually have to give four weeks notice you will find yourself paying double rent which no one wants to do.
If you are moving flats due to your contract coming to an end, you may think you have nothing to worry about here... but wait! You may have also have utility contracts tied to your current flat! Power, gas and broadband companies often have 12 - 24 month contracts - be sure your can break these without penalty, or see if you can transfer your plan over to your new property.
Step Two: Find the Right Flat to Move To
It may seem obvious that finding somewhere to move to is a pretty fundamental step to moving, but finding the right place for you is absolutely critical. If you do this step well, you won't have to refer to this checklist again anytime soon!
Make sure you consider all your options here, don't just rely on the staple property websites like Trademe and Flatmates Wanted. Finding a flat through a dedicated property management company is an excellent avenue as even if they don't have the flat you are after available now, they will be able to advise you of flats coming up for rent in the near future!
When you have found a flat you like the look of, be sure to ask plenty of questions of the property manager/owner/existing flat mates. Consider things such as:
Your future needs - are you likely to need to move soon, do you want a pet / to have children soon, etc
The personalities and work schedules of existing flatmates
The existing owners intentions - do they have plans to sell anytime soon?
Will this house be too hot in Summer, or too cold in Winter?
Get across what the move-out conditions are: e.g. notice period, final bill payments etc
If moving in with existing flatmates - get a feel for their personalities and work schedules + how payment of the bills is managed
Step Three: Get Packing Early!
Packing and unpacking when moving always takes significantly longer than you plan for. This is a huge part of the reason moving is so stressful, as the day just seems to disappear on you while you still have mountains of stuff to pack and move.
If possible, start packing weeks (and even months!) in advance of your move. Pack away anything you don't use daily until all that is left unpacked are the larger items (that can't really be "packed" anyway) and the items you need day-to-day.
This will significantly lower your stress related to the move plus give you a much better idea of how big the move is going to be and what size moving truck you might need to hire.
As an added bonus, you also are less likely to need a trip to the dump with the things you will inevitably throw out during the move process - you can simply put these in the wheelie bin week by week during the packing process!
Step Four: Get Your Utilities Sorted In Advance
It's very much a first world problem, but there is nothing worse than moving into a new flat and having to wait a few weeks for your internet to be connected. You don't realise how much data you use until your are restricted to mobile data for a couple of weeks, and those telcos sure know how to charge for mobile data!
Avoid this nightmare by getting on top of setting up your utilities as far in advance as possible - power, gas and internet are the main things to focus on here.
Step Five: Clean vigorously - and keep receipts!
If you are moving from one flat to another, you will need to clean your existing flat to a reasonable standard. Just exactly what is a reasonable standard? That's pretty hard to determine, so the best bet is to return it to at least the condition you took over the property in.
Landlords are quick to hire commercial cleaners to clean properties which can cost several hundred dollars even for a small flat. This is particularly offensive when you have spent a good deal of time cleaning the property yourself. If you do clean the property yourself, make sure you keep receipts of anything you spent on cleaning (especially things like a RugDoctor) to serve as proof of you cleaning the property. This will make disputing commercial cleaning charges significantly easier!
Step Six: Remember to Breathe...
Moving day can be very overwhelming, even if you have followed all the steps in this checklist so far.
If you are feeling like it is all to much, don't be afraid to take a moment to yourself and take several deep breaths. Don't think about everything that needs to be done all at once, just think about what you need to focus on at that particularly moment. Approaching the move in a calm methodical way will go a long way to reducing your stress.
If you do have a bit of a meltdown during moving day, don't sweat it too much. Moving is literally one of the most stressful things you can do!
Step Seven: Take lots of photos on Entry
Take as many photos as you can of the property as soon as you move in. This will serve as evidence of the condition you received the property in when it finally does come time to move out. Photos don't cost anything, so if you think you are going overboard with the number of photos you are taking - start taking more photos! You are not just capturing existing damage to the property, but also how clean the property is also.
Remember to clearly label the photos with the date they are taken, as send them to your landlord via email to create a written record of the condition of property.
Step Eight: Enjoy your New Flat!
That's it! Enjoy your new flat by celebrating however you know how to ... you've just gone through one of the most stressful events in your life and come out the other side!