The temperature is slowly rising. The rain is easing up. Spring is coming to a close. What does this mean? For a lot of home buyers who purchased a house this Spring it means that possession day is fast approaching and the big task of moving awaits.
What Happens on Possession Day?
Possession day is a big day in your real estate journey. Other than getting the keys and physical access to the house there are a number of other detail oriented tasks that take place:
- Your lawyer will send the money to the seller’s lawyer in the morning.
- Your real estate agent will stay in close touch with you to make sure everything is progressing as planned and on schedule.
- Once the seller’s lawyer receives the money transfer, the seller’s agent will notify the buyer’s agent to ‘release the keys’ (this typically occurs late morning or early afternoon).
- The buyer’s agent will arrange to drop off the keys with the buyer.
- The buyer takes official possession of the home and can begin moving in.
To make sure moving days goes as smoothly as possible follow these simple tips I’ve gathered over the years of helping my clients move into their new homes.
Don’t Plan to Move on Possession Day
As you can see from the list of tasks that must take place in consecutive order it is best to plan to move the day after possession day. If one step held up the entire process comes to a halt. You may be excited to get everything into your new home but it can be a lot easier to plan your official moving day for the day after. Use the afternoon and evening of possession day to do any personal cleaning of the space, any painting and planning where big furniture will go. This should help to save time and energy on moving day.
Plan Possession for an “Off” Day
The first day of the month, last day of the month and Fridays (especially before long weekends) are the most popular days to take possession. This means that lawyers, mortgage brokers and professional movers are busy. If something goes awry during the process of taking possession on a Friday you may have to wait all weekend until Monday for the issue to be resolved – bringing your moving plans to a stop.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Pack
The most organized moves are ones that start weeks before the official possession day. Start packing up off-season items (ex. winter coats) and items you will not need before the move. By packing at a relaxed pace you will be much more organized. When packing consider donating any unnecessary items you don’t use anymore or extra items you won’t have room for at your new house.
Label Boxes as Clearly as Possible
This may seem obvious but make sure your boxes are clearly labeled with a system that works for you. Although you may know where every box goes you may not be available as they are being unloaded; clear instructions of where it should go can save you from having to move the box again. If the box does not have a proper room (ex. kitchen or master bedroom) label it as Misc and have one designated area on each floor for miscellaneous boxes.
Use Luggage or Colorful Totes for Personal Items
A great tip, especially for young families, is to pack each member’s personal and important possessions in a bright colored box or tote. This may include a few days’ worth of outfits, a toothbrush, medications and so on. At the end of along moving day these boxes will be easy to spot. At the end of the day you will have everything you need to get ready for bed without having to dig through a number of boxes.
Dust Furniture and Boxes Before Bringing Inside
Your possessions can get very dusty and dirty after being loaded into the moving truck. Keep a box of wipes or a cloth handy to quickly wipe items off (especially furniture) before they are brought into the house. This can help cut down on cleaning time after.
Keep Close Tabs on Valuable Items
Even the most trusting people should keep valuable items under close watch. Either personally move these items or stash them away in a box marked Miscellaneous, especially if you are using a moving company. Compile all your important documents and paperwork (birth certificates, passports, bills and phone numbers and real estate related paperwork) in one location and keep them with you to ensure they don’t get lost.
Keep Boxes Out of the Way
When unloading it can be easiest just to put boxes wherever there is space. If you take the extra time to stack boxes in the closet or in out of the way nooks it can make it that much easier to walk around the house and start unpacking. It will also make it easier to unpack the important stuff first, leaving the less important items out of the way until you have time.
Book Hook Ups for a Later Date
Yes it can be hard to go without cable for a few days but it’s best to wait until you have official possession to schedule a hook up. If things are held up at the lawyers’ office and your cable guy shows up before you have the keys you will have to reschedule for a later day anyways. When physically moving in it can be hectic with a lot of people around, making it difficult for the service person to get in and do their work.
At the end of possession day and moving day all you’ll be left to do is unpack your boxes, arrange your rooms and start the next chapter of your life in your new home.
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