You may have an addendum attached to your lease or sales contract to allow for any delays caused by the pandemic. Unanticipated allowable delays include processing a financing application, government actions to quarantine, availability of the parties involved should they become sick and the availability of building inspectors, attorneys and land record offices.
Once you have secured a home for rent or purchase, you will have some new items on your checklist because of the pandemic:
If you are planning a move across state lines, you will need to check with your local elected officials to see whether your move has been affected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning frequently used items and surfaces. Refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for a list of disinfectants. To disinfect your new home, follow the CDC’s guidelines for household cleaning and sanitizing or hire a cleaning service that follows those guidelines.
Movers are an essential service, so you should be able to find one to work for you. Most moving companies can give you an estimate by doing a virtual walk-through or from viewing a video you send them. Ask the moving companies you are considering about their policy regarding delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ask whether they would be able to store your furniture and whether you would be charged for storage. You should also ask about rescheduling fees.
Make sure to allow enough time to transfer utilities from the previous resident, owner or landlord. Call the utility companies to find out how much time is needed to be sure the services will be up and running for your move-in day, or earlier if you have hired cleaners or contractors who will need working water and electricity to do their job before you move in. For Internet and cable services, ask whether starting service with them can be done virtually or whether they need a service representative to enter the home.
If you are moving into an apartment community, a condo, a co-op or a homeowners association, check with the management when you schedule the move to see what the policies are if you need to reschedule because of the pandemic. Ask whether there will be any additional fees.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, if you were moving into a rental home, in many cases a property manager or owner would do an in-person walk-through to note the move-in condition and to check that everything is in working order. Make sure the landlord or property manager will instead approve a virtual walk-through, or video or pictures taken on the move-in day. Taking a video or pictures of your new space on the day of your move is always a good idea, but doing this on your own will be safer. Ask the landlord or property manager to email you the walk-through form so you can note the move-in condition and email the form once it has been completed. Document the condition of the home on the day of your move so you won’t be blamed for damage caused by a previous tenant, and date the video or pictures you email to the landlord or property manager.
Check to learn how you will get your keys on the move-in day. Ask whether keys can be left in a key box at the property that you can access with a code given to you on the moving day. Have disinfecting wipes to clean the box before and after accessing the keys. If you must collect keys from a front desk, there should be a system in place for you to retrieve them at a safe distance.
Anything you are doing these days seems to take longer and will require more planning and patience. Thinking ahead about potential delays and how to follow social distancing guidelines in your move will help to make your transition as smooth as possible.