Moving homes during COVID-19

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While moving to a new home – whether it’s down the street or in another state – can be an exciting experience for some people, the circumstances surrounding a move can make the experience extremely heartwrenching for others. Either way, if you’ve ever had to move or you know someone who has moved, then you know that the challenges, frustrations and stress that come with moving are unmatched by other life events.

Moving is hard enough on its own, but to do it in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of obstacles and feelings. Yet, if there’s any bright side to moving during the pandemic, it’s that you’re not the only one that’s going through it. With some useful tips at your disposal, you can learn how to move safely and comfortably with minimal stress.

Americans are relocating during the pandemic

Although people have had to stay in place during some months over the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders, there have still been many people who have had to move regardless.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, one in five US adults say they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did. Reasons for moving include to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, to relocate to more affordable housing and other causes.

Some people may have had to move simply because their lease was up. Others have decided that it’s time to move out of the cities where the risk of contracting the virus due to the large, crowded population could be minimized by living in the suburbs. This has led to other issues, including a housing market oversaturated with buyers.

Whatever the reason may have been or will be for your move, 22% of people having to change their living situation during COVID-19 is not a small number. With so many people moving, how can you keep yourself and others safe and reduce the spread of the virus?

How to safely move during COVID-19

If you find that you need to move during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are ways to go about it safely. Follow your state and county’s orders, keep an eye on updates from the CDC and follow protocol to keep yourself and others safe if and when you need to leave your current home.

Do virtual tours

See if it is possible to look at new homes virtually so you don’t have to expose yourself or others. A virtual tour may not be the same as seeing a home in person, but it can help you eliminate any homes that are not worth exposing yourself over in the first place.

Keep your moving team small

When it’s time to move, see if you can move your belongings on your own or with the help of the people in your pod so you can minimize exposure yourself and others. It’s okay to take your time.

Discuss expectations in the new home

If you’re moving into a new home as somebody’s new roommate, discuss the expectations you have of one another before moving in together. Both parties should consider getting tested and self-isolating before the move.

Find out where you can get a COVID-19 test if need be

If you’re moving into a new home — unless you’re going to be living by yourself — it’s a good idea to know where you can get a COVID-19 test, and how long it will be before you can get results. Learning this information ahead of time can prevent any delays in an already stressful moving process.

Clean and disinfect

See if it’s possible to have a cleaning crew come in to disinfect the home before you move (the home you’re moving into as well as the home you are leaving, as to be considerate to the next occupant). If not, clean and disinfect your spaces yourself, especially any surfaces another person may have touched.

Other things to consider

No matter the reason why you are moving during the pandemic, there are some other things you should consider in an effort to stay as safe and healthy as possible. Before you start making moving plans, be sure all of these things are in order.

Give yourself plenty of time

Moving into a new home during the pandemic can still be done in one day, but getting your home to where it needs to be —⁠ for instance, having your internet set up so you can work —⁠ can take time due to slow downs. The same goes for getting a parking permit or fixing anything that’s broken in your new home. Give yourself plenty of time before moving in to schedule these things.

Self-isolate as much as possible

Keep interactions with others to a minimum two weeks before you move. This is especially true if you’re moving into a home with other people already living there.

Speak to your insurance company

Call your insurance company to see what’s covered and what’s not during the pandemic. You may want to cancel, change or update your policy for Covid-19 specific issues. You will need to at least tell your provider your new address so you get coverage at your new home.

Hold off on decorating

Furnishing a new place can be exciting, but to reduce the risk of catching the virus, consider waiting until things settle down before going to stores to buy new items for your home. If you want to start, order online as much as possible.

Keep invitations to a minimum

Housewarming parties should be postponed, depending on your state’s guidelines. It may be customary to have a lot of people coming over once you move, but this can be dangerous.

The bottom line

In general, moving is an exhausting experience for anyone who has to do it. Even if the circumstances surrounding your move are positive, the packing, unpacking, paying new bills, changing over your utilities, getting internet setup, etc. is tiresome. Moving during the pandemic can add extra stress and even risk. Thankfully, the tips in this article can help you take precautions to lower that risk.

Written by
Hana LaRock
Insurance Contributor
Hana LaRock is a home insurance and auto insurance writer for Bankrate. Though she has written in many niches in her seven years as a freelance writer, Hana enjoys writing about personal finance and has appeared on Business Insider, Pocketsense, The Billfold and Benzinga, to name a few. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, reading or scrapbooking.