What to know if you’re moving during the pandemic


Moving is – even at the best of times – a complicated process. Whether you do it all yourself or hire professionals, packing and unpacking for hours on end can be frustrating. Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus has made the moving process even more complex.

While quarantines and stay-at-home orders have put some moves on hold, the real estate market continues to move forward. We will cover some of the biggest questions about moving during the pandemic as well as offer tips to keep yourself and others safe during your move.

Is moving essential?

Some families chose to put their plans to move on hold because of the pandemic. However, others did not have that option; whether the lease ended, a previously listed home was bought or sold, military relocation orders were finalized, or a closing date is approaching, many families have faced a move during the pandemic.

In most states, moving and storage companies are considered essential services. This can vary by city or county; check with the local area you are moving from and to before renting a truck, hiring movers, or finalizing other plans.

DIY vs hiring movers

The choice between doing a move yourself and hiring professional movers has pros and cons on both sides of the argument. However, this has become even more nuanced during the COVID-19 pandemic. While family and friends may have previously been able to help with the moving process, social distancing may now limit those interactions. Likewise, other families may be worried about the risk of having movers touching all their belongings as they are packed and unpacked.

Moving yourself

DIY moves are almost the same as they were before the pandemic – minus the ability to have friends and family help with the move in exchange for cold drinks or pizza. Make sure you have the equipment to move heavy objects yourself; many rental companies will rent dollies, furniture blankets, and more. Likewise, keep paper towels, hand sanitizer, and soap out and easily accessible.

Hiring movers

Before hiring movers, ask what coronavirus-related safety precautions and protocols they are using. Are they monitoring the health of crew members? Will supplies such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer be provided? How many crew members will be in the home at a time?

Likewise, settle on the specifics of the unpacking process. Do you want all the boxes unpacked? Will all items be left in the garage until they can be sanitized? Discuss your preferences with your movers to make the unpacking process in your new home go safely and smoothly.

Other tips

Go paperless. Ask for contracts and documents to be sent electronically whenever possible. This prevents passing the virus on papers, pens, and other surfaces.

Use contactless payments. Instead of tipping movers in cash, ask to pay with a credit card online or use other contactless payment methods such as Venmo to tip crew members directly.

Limit exposure. If hiring movers, limit the number of family members in the house interacting with the moving crew.

Drop off keys safely. Renters should discuss with their current and new landlords the best way to drop off keys, collect security deposits, or pick up new keys for a safe move out and move in.

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