How to Survive Cross Country Move with Kids and Dogs
Updated: May 13
These are some of my lessons learnt moving cross country with kids and pets:
1) Sell a property, not a home. If needed, stage with existing furnitures
In order to receive the highest and best offers, it is crucial to turn a home into a sale-able property, and detach emotionally. One key step is to stage the home and decorate in the eyes of the buyers, depending on your circumstances, sometimes it might make more sense to stage with existing furnitures.
These are some key takeaways that will make staging an owner occupied home easier:
1) Start with de-personalizing and decluttering the space. Go through the house room by room, closet by closet, and separate your items into three piles - to keep, to donate, to toss. For the things that you want to keep, pack them into boxes and store them neatly in an unobscured area (i.e. garage or a corner in basement).
Pictures below shows a bedroom before staging. Depersonalizing the space with a new coat of paint allow potential buyers to see themselves in their new home.
2) Give each space/room a clear purpose. The pictures below show a living room, before and after. For the longest time it was enjoyed by two big dogs, and the furnitures and colors were all over the place. We staged by bringing sofa from other parts of the house to create a cozy seating area facing the fireplace (as the focal point), We also repainted the wall and fireplace with a neutral color so the room will show better on photos.
2) Find a moving company that can work around your schedule
Find a moving company that specializes in cross country move for cars and furnitures, and contact them when an offer on your home is accepted. For anyone unfamiliar, it is very important to get binding quote for long distance move. Here's the reason:
A binding estimate is when the mover guarantees a fixed cost estimate based on the approximate weight of the customer’s belongings. If the customer agrees to a binding estimate, then they will pay exactly what they were originally quoted. The mover will not be allowed to ratchet up the price whatsoever.
Closings sometimes could delay for days or weeks. Make sure the moving company can schedule services within a short notice. Also, ask if they will pack whatever is left behind, that will take a lot of pressure off your shoulder.
3) Fly with Alaska Airline if you are moving with dogs
Alaska charges a flat fee of $100 per dog regardless of size and weight (the other airlines will charge by kennel size and weight. love how straight forward and easy to follow their online booking, instructions, and other requirements are.
Look at their smiling faces. Alaska Airline is a win.
4) Rent before you buy
This is probably the most difficult part during our moving marathon.
I did not want to rush into making a purchase, especially from thousand miles away; also, I wanted to increase our bargaining power. With that in mind, the most important criteria for our temporary rental would be 1) it has to allow dogs; 2) it needs to offer flexible lease with a 30 days notice to break lease; 3) it has to be in the same school district where we intend to buy.
We managed to find a professionally managed townhome in Lafayette, California weeks before our move, the only drawback is that we have to downsize from a 5-bedroom into a tiny 2-bedroom apartment. I must admit that I have a near nervous breakdown the day our 300 boxes plus a house full of furnitures arrived.
There are so many moving parts when it comes to buying and selling a house, and moving long distance will make it even more challenging. I have only covered some of my strategies to survive a cross country move in this blog, I have moved 10 times in the past 15 years across 6 major cities, there are so many other tips and strategies I can share. I will be happy to walk you through the process. Please get in touch to schedule a free consultation.
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