Winter is a great time to move!
The rates for winter moving are often cheaper and you will find that you have an easier time renting a moving truck or hiring movers – but you should be aware of potential moving issues so that you can avoid them before they occur. Although the weather in the Houston and Central Texas is typically mild, the occasional winter storm does blow through and can cause delays if you are moving on one of these rare days. If you are moving from Houston or Central TX to another state that generally experiences colder, more severe winter weather you should plan ahead to ensure your journey is a smooth one. Here are some suggestions for moving during the winter.
Get Your New Home Ready for Winter Moving
Before moving day check with your real estate agent or rental property manager to make sure the new place is ready for you on moving day.
- Make sure you have heat and lights. Don’t forget this one! You need to be sure that your utilities are functional. If possible have the heat, water and electric turned on a couple of days prior to your arrival so that you can make sure everything is functioning and the house is warm when you arrive. While this is a good idea no matter when you move, in the winter it is even more important since the days are much colder and the sun sets earlier. Movers can work when it’s hot or cold, but without lights they won’t be able to get much done.
- Clear ice/snow from walkways. Make sure your driveway and walkways are clear. If you move locally try to stop by your new home the day before your move so you can check that everything is clear and free of ice. If needed, salt or sand the area. If you are moving out of town and can’t visit your new home prior to the move-in date, have your agent or property manager check the area for you.
- Check that parking area is clear. Regardless of what season you move you should always make sure there is parking available for your moving truck. This may mean negotiating with your new neighbors, or hiring someone (or doing it yourself) to clear the driveway or alley of snow.
Prepare Your Old Home
- Clear snow. Use salt or sand to ensure sidewalks, walkways and driveways are free of ice and snow. Parking area should also be cleared with ample room for movers to maneuver. Check the area on moving day in case it snowed or iced overnight.
- Protect inside spaces. Use cardboard or plastic sheeting to protect high traffic areas from snow, dirt and water. Tape plastic sheets to the floor or use cardboard for carpeted areas. Experiment first before the movers arrive so that you are sure the coverings are secure and will not come loose and trip up the movers.
- Keep sand or salt and shovels on hand. Stock up on winter supplies in case your vehicle or the moving truck becomes stuck or it starts to snow. Monitor conditions throughout the day so you can act on any changes as needed.
- Have hot drinks on hand. Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, make sure you have hot liquids available. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be most welcomed by everyone who’s helping with your move. Extra mittens and hats are a good idea, too.
- Keep an eye on the weather. While this seems like common sense, on moving day you’ll be so wrapped up in the move that you may forget that conditions might change. Check the weather well in advance of moving day, then follow it closely right up until the movers arrive. If there’s a possibility of inclement weather, keep the radio on during the move to ensure you’re receiving the latest updates.
What If a Storm Blows In?
- Have a back-up plan.If a winter storm is expected on your move date make sure you have a back-up plan in case you need to reschedule your move. If you’ve hired movers check with them to see what their policy is for inclement weather. Some movers are used to winter weather and may not be willing to postpone the move. If the movers do want to postpone, make sure you speak to your real estate agent or landlord to see if you can stay a few extra days. Typically, if you’re not able to move out, no one is able to move in, either. But arrange this ahead of time. If you can’t negotiate extra days, speak to the movers about your options. They may be able to still pick up your things, but not deliver them to your new home. If this is the case you will need short-term storage.
- Plan your travel route carefully. Know your travel route and make sure you contact the local authorities to determine if highways are open and safe to travel on. Each state or province has a phone number and website to check with regular updates provided. You should also know the location of overnight accommodation in case you need to stop.
- Get you car serviced and have all the necessary equipment with you. Make sure you have your car winterized, including all fluids topped up, and tires and brakes checked. It’s a good idea to carry chains (if allowed) and know how to put them on quickly. Practice in your garage before you leave. You should also carry a gas can, extra windshield fluid, and salt or kitty litter (works great if you get stuck). Have a good snow shovel, emergency blanket and membership to a roadside assistance service, too.
- Have an emergency contact list with you. Make sure you have all the necessary phone numbers with you, including roadside assistance, highway patrol and a number for reports on highway conditions. You should also ensure that someone who isn’t moving with you has a copy of your travel plans. Make a call-in schedule with that person so they’ll know where you are and when you should be arriving.