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Renters: 5 Must-Do Tasks to Handle Before You Move

Measure — then measure again

Despite best planning efforts, such logistical issues are surprisingly common when people are moving familiar belongings into an unfamiliar space, says Blanton.

Knowing the dimensions of a room and the things being moved into it isn’t enough. “Think about the bottlenecks,” Blanton advises. “Not just where something’s going to go, but how it’s going to get there.”

He recalls a situation in which a young man moving into an apartment was able to get his loaded moving truck into a building’s garage, but found that once all his furniture was unloaded, the now-lighter truck was too tall to get back out without hitting overhead ductwork and sprinkler heads (more on this later).

The man and his friends spent hours filling the truck with weights from the property’s exercise room just to lower it enough to safely exit.

Make reservations

When moving into any multi-story building — especially one in a crowded downtown neighborhood — it’s important to make arrangements ahead of time with the building’s management team. More than likely, you’ll need to reserve the elevator.

“This isn’t something you tell them that morning,” warns Blanton. “If you’re moving on a Saturday at the end of the month, there could be four or five other people moving that day.” (Don’t forget to schedule use of the elevator at the building you’re moving from, as well.)

And if you’re bringing a moving pod or parking a moving truck on the street, make sure you have the proper permits. Most multi-family properties will be able to help with this, as will moving companies. “Moving companies do earn their money, especially in an urban environment,” says Blanton.

Document your environment

In the age of ubiquitous technology, it’s easier than ever to take photos of any pre-existing damage in your rental.

Before you get settled, pull out your phone and snap pictures of any damage such as scuffed floors, chipped countertops or bent window blinds — then send the photos to yourself so they’re date-stamped.

It’s easier to refer to the photos at move-out than argue with the building manager about who cracked the Formica and when.

Prepare to clean

When it’s time to move, few renters look forward to the deep cleaning that’s required upon vacating a unit. If you plan to use a cleaning service, Blanton suggest hiring the same company that your building uses — that way there won’t be a gap in expectations.

“There’s nothing worse than spending the entire day cleaning your apartment, then having someone come in and point out all the things you missed,” notes Blanton.

If you want to save money and do it yourself, keep in mind some of the things renters often forget to clean: window tracks, underneath the stovetop burner pans, beneath the crisper drawers in the fridge, the rim around the dishwasher door, and behind the toilet.

Stay insured

Most renters know that protecting their property with renters insurance is important, but many forget to update their policy when they move to a new residence.

Renters insurance doesn’t just protect your belongings, it also covers damage you may inadvertently do to the building itself.

Remember that overhead sprinkler mentioned earlier? Accidentally breaking that off with a moving truck could cause flooding — and a great deal of damage. Depending on the building’s insurance policy — and temperament of the manager — you could be on the hook for the building’s insurance deductible, if not more.

Contact your insurance company before you move. It’s an easy call to make, and it could help you avoid costly penalties later.


[H/T to Zillow]

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