Moving during COVID-19
As if Covid-19 wasn’t already annoying enough now you have to read about if from me too...! Sorry. But I do have first hand Covid moving experience that I need to share.
My family and I last moved at the end of July 2020. Mid-Covid, mid-shutdown, mid-stuck-at-home. Under normal circumstances I would have called this a small move (interstate, same coast, end of school year, easy peasy…) but as you might imagine even I have never moved during a pandemic so this was new and I was scared!
It all started off easy enough: the movers I contacted replied and seemed just as busy as during any other summer period. Nothing exceptional to note especially because most moving companies already use apps to conduct your moving inventory. This time all three quotes were based on an app survey, which I personally prefer: it saves you lots of time and no one needs to come to your home. You download the app and essentially you are video-showing-off your home to a stranger over a Zoom-like app. They record your virtual tour and use it to calculate your volume. The quotes came in quickly, a winner was chosen and dates confirmed. All as good as it gets.
The paperwork involved in this move was straight forward (or at least not more complex than it usually is… btw watch out for next week's article titled Now – get organized part 1? It gives you all the details and tips on where to start!!). Actually, some administrative tasks were even easier: school for example. Due to Covid school admin personnel were all working from home and therefore the whole school transfer paperwork could be done and submitted online rather than having to go to the old and then the new school to provide these.
We decided not to sell our house but to rent it out. The initial panic of having to fix up everything we had not gotten around to in two years got only spiked by every single contractor being super busy with everyone’s new home improvement passion. We did manage to get it all done in time for our property manager to take pictures and put the house on the (rental) market. Lucky for us we only had to have one potential tenant’s inspection who signed the lease and wanted to move in right away. Covid, for once, actually really help us as there were practically no houses on the market in the suburbs at all and demand was extremely high.
A few days before the movers were scheduled, the moving company confirmed the dates and laid out the Covid ground rules: isolate in one room and have only one person interact with the crew, wear a face masks, maintain your distance, no shaking hands or sharing pens, dedicate a bathroom to the crew. These made sense - even during normal times I would have 4 sweaty men use a designated bathroom… one person answers questions and give directions, stay out of the way. The isolating part seemed hard to do with two little kids but I would designate my husband to that task and hope for the best J. The moving crew wore masks but as you would expect after hours and hours of packing and lifting some masks might have slipped just a little…Within 2 days, everything was packed and loaded and even the cars were on their way to Florida.
That’s when the scariest part began… we had to leave our pandemic safe haven, take an Uber to the hotel for the night, then on to the airport, flight, followed by another taxi and we would arrive at the hotel for an undetermined duration.
Our cars arrived just a few days later and the kids and I started venturing out of the hotel to explore the new city and scout for a future neighborhood and home.
It was quite hard to get an inspection for a potential home with Covid limiting dramatically how many rental homes were on the market. Agents used combination locks on the houses and we would conduct our own inspection. That felt weird but at least you can run out of a horrible house quickly without having to explain yourself. Fortunately we got lucky and found our new happy place after only a few inspections!
Finally, moving into the new house was very much the same as always – wearing a mask has become a part of our new normal so I won’t even mention that anymore.
My verdict: Moving during a Covid-19? Not as scary as it sounds. Still as stressful as always!! Hah!
This article wouldn’t be complete with a personal note - I want to mention that the hardest part of leaving behind an old life during a pandemic is that you do not get to say all your good byes. You do not get to spend the last wonderful moments with friends who made your time there special or give all the hugs and kisses you usually would give. That was incredibly hard and made this move more difficult to digest for all of us.