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Moving into a new home

By Snow
October 28th, 2010 - 9:28 AM

U-Pack welcomes our newest guest blogger, Snow Conant of MyNewPlace.com.  Snow has completed many moves on her own and could be considered an expert in apartment hunting.  Read on for some of Snow's best tips and tricks.

Things NOT to do when you move into your new place

As a veteran of many, many moves, I like to think that I have gotten somewhat decent at packing up my possessions, carting them to my new place, unpacking, and subsequently getting on with my life. However, in the process of transferring my possessions from one apartment to another there are always a few things that go missing, get broken, or generally go wrong that are beyond my - or anybody's - control.  Just as it is not the moving company's fault if I pack my collection of 863 porcelain kittens* in a box marked 'rocks and bricks', it certainly isn't my fault if my boyfriend neglects to pack his life-size wall-mounted wart hog head and we lose it forever.

Or if the Subaru gets a flat tire because we roll over some San Francisco hippie's street-clogging art installation - TOTALLY unpredictable! I could go on for a while here, but I am a lowly guest blogger so I will get to the point.

The point is, when moving there are always certain elements that are out of your control and a random stroke of bad luck could always send an open-top fertilizer truck crashing into the mattress you'd lovingly strapped to the back of your moving van. Moving companies and professionals really do help control the unexpected - but what can you do to guarantee your move to your new place is as painless and successful as possible in both the short- and long-term? At MyNewPlace.com we have heard any number of horror stories (seriously - I should write a book) so here I've compiled three of my personal solutions to help you on your way.

1. Make a List!
What about a new apartment is most important to you? Because I have learned the long and hard way that "cheapest choice" almost never means "best choice"! When my boyfriend and I chose our latest place we both ranked the most important amenities and compared lists - turns out 'walkable location' and 'back yard' were both on the top. In our price range this meant we had to pass on a washer and dryer, hardwood floors, and a dishwasher - and I often have to remind myself precisely why we did that, particularly when the laundry accumulates to such a level that we need the car to cart it the one block to the Laundromat. But when we sit on our back patio and watch the dog come in and out at will - or walk 5 minutes to any of 30 excellent restaurants and bars, I am glad we prioritized. At least when we gripe about the ratty old carpet we don't point fingers!

2. CHECK OUT THE LANDLORD and READ THE LEASE!
Does the landlord seem like an inherently reasonable individual - or do they seem like the slithery sort that might hide additional 'lost pages' to your lease in the back of your closet stating that 'they can evict you for any reason at any time' (happened to us!).  Is the lease full of odd rules and restrictions? Are they 40 years old and living with their mother? All of these are things to check on prior to signing an official document or you could be subjecting yourself to twelve months of misery. There is a reason they make you initial every paragraph of the lease - be sure you aren't signing your life away! And less specifically but more importantly, be sure they are somebody you can interact with in a professional manner.

3. CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBORS and THE BUILDING CONDITIONS

The other tenants in and general condition of the building are very indicative of the sorts of problems you might encounter in the long term.  Is there a charcoal grill right next to the gas tanks? Is the back yard littered with broken bottles and garbage? Is there obnoxiously loud music blaring out of every crack and crevice? We have either pleasant or non-existent relationships with our fellow tenants currently, but this has not always been the case. Your home will be your sanctuary - so do yourself a favor and make sure your sanctuary won't be wedged between animal hoarders and pyromaniacs!

*hypothetical! I swear!
**sadly, actually NOT hypothetical

Check in regularly with the U-Pack Moving Blog for more advice from Snow!

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