5 Top Questions Realtors Are Asking About Moving (and One They Should Be)

People rely on their realtors for far more than just the real estate transaction. Buying a home is an important personal, emotional and financial decision so people often lean on their realtor for advice and important referrals. Even when the transaction is closed, there’s one remaining step before the client is settled happily in their new home – and that’s the move.

We reached out to some of our realtor contacts from across the country to gain an understanding of the most frequently asked questions regarding moving services, and how we can be a resource for providing answers.

1. How much should I tip movers?

As you’ll see on moving day, a professional moving crew works incredibly hard both physically and mentally to ensure you have a good move. It requires so much more than just lifting and moving items onto a truck.

It’s good to be prepared to tip your crew in an amount you see fit, however since most people don’t move very often, the appropriate amount is a common question.

A quick Google search comes up with what most people would consider standard when it comes to tipping – 10 to 20% of the overall price. However, if you’re moving long distance or internationally, and depending on the size of your move, this could be far too much.

Larger moves across a great distance can run anywhere from $15-35K and if you add a 20% tip on top of that you would have a happy crew, but a very unhappy pocketbook.

Luckily, Suddath has dedicated, hardworking and professional moving crews who provide a great client experience. This means clients are often inclined to tip them. This is what they say is typical:

Helpers: $25 – $50 per crew member (a 2-day move is typically $40 – $80)
Driver: $50 – $75 per day

Remember: This only includes the number of days spent loading or unloading, not days spent driving for a long-distance move. You can slide up and down that scale depending on these variables:

  • You had a local, long distance or international move
  • The size of your move
  • The scope of work included an unusual amount of labor or special handling

Aside from a monetary tip, it can also be a nice gesture to offer water or Gatorade to the driver and crew members, especially if you’re moving on a particularly hot day during the summer. While this is not at all required and the crew should come prepared with everything they need, your kindness and forethought will always be appreciated and noted by the crew.

2. How much notice do I need to give the movers?

This is a great question – especially as we are currently in peak moving season which is May through September of each year.

While the lead time varies depending on the type of move, a good rule of thumb is at least four weeks before a local move, and at least six weeks before a long-distance move. For an international move, you will benefit by enlisting the help of an experienced international mover earlier – at least eight weeks. They can help advise you on the moving, storage and customs process, saving you a lot of time and issues.

During peak moving season, we advise you reach out even earlier, as capacity fills up quickly, especially if you want to move on a weekend or towards the end of the month.

3. Can I coordinate my closing and moving dates?

This is a common question asked of realtors, and of course the answer really has to come from a moving company. When a closing date comes close to being finalized, we advise reaching out to at least three experienced, trustworthy moving companies (personal referrals are best) to gain insight into their availability and request a quote.

A quick and important tip is to look for an established, larger moving company. Many local movers may only have a few crews and trucks available, but more professional companies that have been working in your area for decades will likely have more capacity to accommodate specific dates.

One aspect of the moving industry you should consider is that it is based on supply and demand. Booking dates for your move works a lot like booking a flight – the price goes up when the available capacity goes down. This means that in the same way it might cost you more to fly out to your destination on a Friday during the busy summer months, moving on a Saturday during the summer may also cost you more. Movers like Suddath can council you on what options might work best for you and your budget.

When flexibility is limited, it’s important to choose a moving company that can provide you with the options to best meet your needs.

4. How much will a move cost?

Whether you’re moving locally or cross-country, moving quotes are typically based on these main factors, to varying degrees:

  • The weight and cubic dimensions of the items being transported
  • The distance of the move
  • Additional services such as full-service packing and storage
  • Third party services needed, e.g. auto transport, crating, and other specialized services

Because weight and distance are usually the biggest factors when moving across the country, it’s important you take the time to verify any additional costs relating to any special items you’re having moved. Examples can include large or complex furniture, any delicate items that require special wrapping, or any bulky items like pianos or pool tables.

Weight is one item that most people don’t usually consider. Because your moving truck can only legally drive while hauling up to a certain amount of weight, it is an extremely important factor to your moving company. If your moving company isn’t asking about weight, that could be a red flag.

What this means for you is that weight of certain items may be looked at or asked about during your home survey, and you should consider ahead of time if heavy items are worth bringing along to your new home. This is why purging and donating items ahead of time can save you a lot of money in the long run. Many items could cost more to move than to replace.

Because there are so many variables when considering moving quotes, it’s important to conduct a video survey or in-home survey with a move consultant – instead of simply getting a quote over the phone or via email.

5. What’s involved in a moving survey? Do I have to decide everything that’s going or staying ahead of time?

A moving survey is incredibly important (and legally required) so if any moving company says they do not need one, take it as a big red flag. This can be a clear sign of a rogue mover. A thorough moving survey is the only legitimate way a mover can give you a binding or guaranteed quote.

During a moving survey, your experienced moving representative will go through your home, ask questions, take measurements, learn more about your needs and identify services you may want to consider.

A professional moving survey that’s scheduled far prior to your move will give your moving company the opportunity to be as thorough as possible and prevent last-minute surprises. For example, the basement and garage are common areas that people tend to forget to mention to movers over the phone when they are getting initial quotes. A qualified moving professional will spot any inaccuracies or overlooked items before they become a stressful issue or cause a delay.

You do not have to have everything decided when you do the moving survey, but ensure you communicate which items you’re unsure about moving. Your move consultant will provide you with an estimate that would include all of those items, and then update it if removing them affects price.

During a moving survey, you should:

  • Show the consultant all areas of your home which contain items you may want moved (this includes closets, attics, basements, inside cupboards, sheds, etc
  • Show access points to the home along with any special considerations such as difficult to maneuver areas of your home
  • Ensure the consultant is aware of items that hold special value to you

After the survey, review the estimate in detail with the consultant:

  • Review the costs so you have a good understanding of what’s included
  • If getting multiple quotes, ensure you are comparing apples to apples (valuation, packing, shuttles, third-party, weight, etc)
  • Ask how long the estimate is valid, and how soon you’ll need to commit to secure your preferred move dates

Learn more about a virtual survey, or through this video.

The #1 question that should have been asked by realtors (but wasn’t) is… [drumroll please]

1. Can a moving company help stage a home?

Absolutely. Since home staging has become more common to help homes show well online as well as in person, Suddath has developed our Declutter and Store program to assist.

This offering is an easy, cost-effective temporary storage option for home projects like staging or remodeling. With this easy, safe and secure option for home goods, our professional crew will arrive to pack and load excess furniture and personalize items, and we will then store them in our local warehouse until it’s time to return post-sale and complete the move.

This is a flexible and affordable service for people who are unable to fully move out and professionally stage their home. Our team will essentially perform the move in two pieces in order to help easily stage the home with items already in the space, with the end result of hopefully selling the home quickly and for the best possible price.