Your clients have been approved for a HECM, and can now downsize to that darling little house they discovered on a recent trip to their new neighborhood. You’re delighted. They’re ecstatic, and ready to start packing. All that’s left to do is to call a moving company — and sell some of the old furniture that won’t fit in their new place. Piece of cake, right?
Actually, the movers can make or break someone’s initial happiness. And it’s not just a matter of how well they wrap the china.
Preparing to Pack It In
Here are some important questions seniors might want to ask before they start packing (or contracting with someone else to do it). Feel free to share what follows in your mailings, business newsletter, etc.:
In order to avoid the Relocation Blues, seniors preparing to move would be smart to ask:
- Do you offer full-service moves? Unfolding and taping boxes, wrapping valuables, placing everything in boxes so it won’t get broken, sealing the boxes, labeling them with the appropriate room of the new house and contents… it can be exhausting just to think about, let alone handle.If the H4P holder wants a smooth move, where they only have to unpack, setting their beloved knickknacks back on the shelves and placing cookware in the kitchen, they’ll want to ask whether the company offers full-service moves, which means the movers will bring (or instruct you to purchase) the appropriate boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.
- What are your packing protocols? Ask who will pack your delicate items such as glassware and TVs, not to mention precious antiques, and how these people are trained. Is furniture separated into component parts? How is it protected to prevent scratches or chipping? You’re paying for this service; it’s not intrusive to want details about how your belongings will be handled.
- How do you price your services? Some moving companies charge a flat rate; others charge by weight or distance. Knowing this at the outset means there will be no surprises later on. The three types of estimates typically offered are a binding estimate (you pay just the stated price, regardless of weight), a not-to-exceed estimate (a binding estimate based on weight, with built-in price protection), and a non-binding estimate (based on actual weight, so it might end up being lower than a binding estimate).
- Do you carry liability insurance? This question is really a no-brainer for any reputable moving company, but… it pays to ask. And to get it in writing.
- What is your cancellation policy? Life happens. You may have everything set in what you think is stone, and for some reason need to delay the move. If possible, choose a moving company that offers some reimbursement if you give them sufficient notice of a cancellation or date change.
Packing Tips from the Pros
Whether a senior is planning to handle the packing on her own or rely on professionals for most of the work, there are several tips to make packing, if not a breeze, at least not a hurricane.
- Purge before you pack. Hold that garage sale. Make a trip (or two or three) to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. The latter will even come to your house to pick up donations — including the old car that’s been sitting by the backyard tree for months.
- Organize and separate. Belongings to be packed should be separated by bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, etc., so that later, you don’t keep finding items such as hairclips and slippers when you’re looking for a spatula and saucepan.
- Emulate Santa. Make an itemized list, and check it twice, to be sure you know what’s going to be packed where.
- Set precious items aside. Even if you have complete trust in the moving company you’ve selected, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep your family heirlooms, other valuables, and fragile belongings aside to pack yourself. Just be sure to note where you pack them!
- Pack the truck (or ensure the movers do so) in the order you’ll unpack it, so you can find those kitchen items first, when you want to eat, and not two days from now.