6 tips for moving during the COVID-19 pandemic

Moving during a pandemic
Moving during a pandemic(Melynda Schauer)
Published: May. 6, 2020 at 5:31 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Moving even under the best circumstances can be a long, tiring ordeal, but there’s even more to think through if you decide to move during the COVID-19 pandemic. Postponing a move may not be a realistic option for many people who need to relocate because of a job, lease ending, or their own house selling.

Since moving and real estate are both considered essential businesses, you’re still allowed to move, but encouraged to follow local guidelines and CDC recommendations during the process.

Here are some tips if you’re planning to move during the pandemic:

  • Start planning and packing as early as possible. You can use a packing calculator from moving.com or a home improvement store website to estimate how many boxes you’ll need. Try to buy all the supplies (boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc.) at one time or have them delivered. Since COVID-19 can survive on cardboard, new boxes or ones you already have at home are recommended for packing.
  • If you’re using a moving company, ask about a virtual estimate. Many moving companies are trying to limit the amount of in-person contact they have with clients by doing a virtual estimate of the cost to pack and move your belongings.
  • Call your bank to talk through the financial details. If you need to access documents kept in a security deposit box, call ahead to see if the branch is open or if someone can let you inside. Most of your banking information should be accessible online or over the phone, but it may help to have a direct phone number of someone you can call quickly for last-minute concerns or questions.
  • If you’re using movers, offer them hand sanitizer and access to a sink with soap and water so they can frequently wash their hands. It’s a good idea to keep disinfectant handy for wiping down doorknobs and other frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Talk with your realtor and lender about your options for closing. Some are offering curbside or drive-up closings where you can sign inside your car, and some people are opting so close over Zoom or online. With a digital closing, certain documents may still have to be notarized, so make sure all parties are on the same page.
  • Limit who helps you move. If you’re planning to move by yourself, check with the local government about the number of people allowed to gather under social distancing guidelines. It may make for a longer moving day, but it’s safer to limit the number of people touching boxes and helping you load or unload a moving truck.

If you’re over 60 or in a high-risk category for COVID-19, consider postponing your move if at all possible. And if your move involves traveling out of your local area, check out the CDC guidelines on travel here.

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