It’s relatively common for families to move to a new home when they’re in need of more space or have an exciting employment opportunity. But while moving can be stressful even under the best of circumstances, the pandemic has taken things to a whole new level.
The good news is that COVID-19 hasn’t had too many adverse effects on the housing market thus far. In 2018, the typical U.S. home spent anywhere from 65 to 93 days on the market from listing to closing. But in many places, homes sold more quickly this summer than in previous months and years. And while it’s not yet clear whether this trend will continue into the fall, it can be an encouraging piece of news for families who intend to make a move in the coming weeks.
That said, having interested buyers will be just one piece of the puzzle. Despite the fact that 75% of all homes on the market in 2018 were predicted to sell below asking price in 2019, you might end up getting higher offers during the pandemic. But once you sell, what should you do to make sure your move is a success? And how should families with young children, in particular, prepare so that moving day is as safe and stress-free as possible?
Give More Thought to Hiring Movers
The healthiest way to move is to go the DIY route to minimize transmission risk. However, that may not be an option if you’ve also got to keep an eye on your kids. Around 33% of people prefer to hire professional movers, which may be the only way to go if you have a lot of heavy furniture. If you do decide to hire a moving company, do your due diligence and ask a lot of questions about how they’re responding to the ongoing pandemic. Find out what specific procedures they’re following to keep their workers and clients safe; if it seems like the bare minimum (or you’ve seen reviews that their policies aren’t being followed), keep looking. At the very least, you’ll want to inquire about social distancing, mask wearing, and frequent sanitizing. It’s a good idea to work with a company that offers contactless moves or that will provide you with digital means of taking care of paperwork.
Be Smart About Packing and Unpacking
If anyone outside your immediate household will be moving boxes and furniture, you’ll need to take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. While contact transmission seems to be relatively rare, preliminary studies suggest that the novel coronavirus can live on materials like cardboard and plastic for up to a few days. While you might not like the thought of spending more than necessary on boxes and packing materials, you should spring for brand-new options (rather than borrowing from friends or picking up used options from stores in the area) for your move to keep risk levels low. You should make it a point to wipe down boxes and furniture both before and after moving — and provide anyone helping you with wipes and hand sanitizer. When it comes time to unpack, take that job on yourself. While it might take you a bit longer to get everything settled, you’ll be able to have a higher level of control over your new environment if you minimize the contact others will have with your belongings.
Decide Whether to Involve Your Kis
Depending on the age of your children, moving day can be made more stressful by their involvement. If your kids are older than five or six, they might be able to help out to varying degrees. In some cases, this can make moving day go much more smoothly. But if you have a toddler in tow, you might have to deal with crankiness, crying, and other urgent needs that can make moving day that much harder. Under normal circumstances, you might be able to drop your kids off with a relative or a friend until everything is packed and everyone is ready to go. But considering the risks of viral transmission, this might not be the best option. If it’s feasible for your family, it might make sense for one parent to bring over some basic items to the new house with the kids in advance, allowing the other parent to supervise everything else at the old house and interact (at a distance) with the movers. This can potentially keep your kids out of trouble and help you minimize contact with those outside your immediate family, which can be a win-win during these uncertain times.
Planning a move is never easy — especially when you have kids at home. But during our current health crisis, you’ll need to be even more diligent about planning ahead and preventing potential problems before they happen. With these tips in mind, you might be able to reduce stress on the day of your move and get the help you need without presenting risk to anyone’s well-being.