I have a realtor friend from one of my local networking groups who shared this presentation a few weeks ago and I LOVED it! I asked Mary Ann Alig of Berkshire Hathaway if I could share her presentation and her answer was simple. "Ken, you can share it ONLY after you finish it with the cleaner's perspective!" It's a deal Mary Ann! I have been in the cleaning industry for over 15 years and have worked with a ton with families, their realtors, and movers to help them transition to their new home. So here you go Mary Ann, I've added my two cents to your list to make it an even 20 tips! (Note: Mary Ann wrote #1 - #17)
Get rid of items you are not moving. Separate into piles – donation, family/friends, and trash. Do this at least 2 weeks prior to your move.
Pack your items and label boxes. If your moving company is not packing for you, pack by room and label each box. Kitchen, BR 1, BR 2. It is also helpful to label your bedrooms when you arrive at your new home.
Clean your home and dust your furniture. Don’t drag dust from one house to the next. Also, be kind to the movers so they aren’t breathing in all that dust.
Gather all small valuables, jewelry, medications, etc. Do this prior to putting your home on the market, secure all valuables before buyers come in for a tour. Prior to moving, take those valuables and place securely in the trunk of your car, or let a responsible party hold on to them until after the move.
Clear pathways inside the home. Movers will pad and protect your home, make sure they have clear pathways and stairways. Pick up your junk.
Find out where the moving company plans on placing their truck. Move any of your vehicles out of the way. If you live in an apartment, ask management if there are specific times for the movers.
Hire babysitters and pet sitters. The last things you need are kids or pets running around. Pets will be stressed and can escape from the house since doors will be open.
Take pictures and inventory all your items. Doing so gives you the assuredness that you did, in fact, have that item or there wasn’t damage before the move. Also, take a picture of how your electronics are hooked up, so you can re-hook it up at your new home.
Create boxes for “Last Load” items. These are things you will need first access to in your new home. Toiletries, shower curtains, towels, first aid kit, TP, cleaners, trash bags, dish towels, portable tool kit.
Disconnect your appliances and unplug the refrigerator. Most moving companies will not disconnect or reconnect your washer, dryer, refrigerator, or other appliances. They don’t have the liability in case something goes wrong. If you are not sure, hire a professional to disconnect and reconnect. Make sure you unplug the refrigerator at least 24 hours before movers arrive. Turn off ice-maker and throw ice away.
Dispose of Hazardous Materials. Movers will not move some materials, like filled gas cans, etc. Drain the lawnmower, snow blower, and gas from a motorcycle.
Disconnect the propane tank from the BBQ. Movers will not move a propane tank. You can move it yourself, give it away, or have a professional move it for you.
Know the weather. If it’s raining, get plastic runners to put on your carpets, or ask the movers if they provide that. If it’s snowing, ensure the driveway, walkways, and pathways are clear, at your current home and at your new home.
Be present on moving day. You don’t need to move anything, but they do need to know where the sofa is to be placed, where do you want the bed to go, etc.
Know where everything goes in the new home. Make a simple floor plan for the movers (multiple copies please).
Make sure you have cold beverages on hand for the movers. Getting a hoagie tray will take you far with the moving guys. Treat them like gold.
Clean the house you are leaving for your new buyers. You want it to look perfect when they come through for their pre-settlement walkthrough. [Ken's input: This tip seems so simple, but I have seen it misunderstood and messed up for years. My next few tips will clarify and provide a sound strategy for your cleaner and mover.]
Most homeowners DO NOT want to clean their house before they leave and most contracts have an ambiguous "Broom swept" one-liner on the cleaning expectation. I have had hundreds of people ask me how I define "broom swept". I laugh and explain it this way. To meet the letter of the law, you can literally touch up the bathroom sinks, toilet, kitchen & bathroom counters, and sweep up any dirt as you see it. This is NOT a quality cleaning and isn't stewarding your home well for the next owners. This is a fast and cheap way out, but it meets the contract. Most homeowners want to do better. I recommend a basic move-out cleaning which includes a full cleaning of the bathrooms and kitchen, plus a light dusting and floor cleaning of the entire house. If you want to leave the house immaculate, hire a cleaner to do a detailed deep cleaning. I will add this. If you haven't sold the house yet, you will need to have a 'Sale-Ready Presentation Cleaning' done. This prepares the house for pictures and open houses with maximum sparkle in the first impression areas and helps you sell your home faster.
What about the cleaning of your new home? This will require a strategy. Will you arrange to have the cleaner complete the deep cleaning of your new home BEFORE you move in, while you're moving in, after you move in, or a combination? Did you even know there was a choice? Here are a few things to consider: (1) The movers will stampede all over the house and the clean floors will get dirty. (2) In this post-COVID world, the movers and high-traffic in your new home will need to be re-cleaned and disinfected after things settle down. (3) You definitely need the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, closets, and shelves cleaned and disinfected prior or during your move-in. You need to have places to put stuff. (4) Many of my clients have hired me to complete this move-in detailed deep cleaning & disinfection in two visits. The first visit completes the storage areas, bathrooms, and possibly the kitchen. The follow-up visit completes all the areas where boxes, furniture, and movers were.
If you're bringing your current cleaning service from your old home to your new one, build a cleaning schedule with them a month before the move to cover the final move-out cleaning, move-in initial cleaning #1, and move-in initial cleaning #2, and the new recurring schedule from there. They will be grateful you thought enough of them to keep them and give them time to plan.