With an average of nearly one dozen moves during life, most Americans have a fair amount of experience packing up and settling in again. Now, imagine how many moving-related tips and tricks a Realtor® learns while watching clients move every week: We’re talking expert-level status when it comes to making a smooth transition from home to home.
While helping countless clients buy and sell homes, Krista Zobel, a Realtor in Lincoln, Nebraska, has amassed a set of pro tips for moving—whether someone is relocating from across the country or just from around the corner.
“As a real estate agent, I guide my clients through small, manageable steps,” she says. “I see a variety of reasons people move. My goal is always to be an asset to the transaction and make the process smooth.”
Here are her top suggestions for moving:
For Full Control Over Your Timeline and Budget, Go DIY
Zobel recognizes that moving is a chance for many sellers to cash in on their equity. To keep as much of those earnings in their pockets as possible, going the DIY route by packing, loading, and driving to the new destination is a great choice.
“If they are able to move their belongings without professional movers, Penske has a reliable and well-maintained truck,” says Zobel.
Zobel personally has used Penske Truck Rental a number of times through the years, going back to when she knocked out two moves in one weekend: She and her husband-to-be got their first place in Lincoln—with her coming from Des Moines, Iowa, and her fiancé relocating from central Nebraska. Although it made for a busy weekend, she said she appreciated the full control over the timeline and budget with Penske’s free unlimited one-way miles offer.
Prep for the Move Before Listing the Home
As soon as the idea of moving even crosses someone’s mind, Zobel says it’s wise to get a jump-start on the sorting and decluttering process. Even if plans change, most of us always have items to sell, donate, or toss. Then, right before putting a home on the market, she tells clients to pack away anything they won’t need for the next three months.
“I like a house to have a little personalization, but not stuffed with all seasons of clothes and decor,” she says, explaining this is a good way to accentuate a home’s square footage. “Most buyers are looking for a new house in order to gain more space.”
And while you’re already taking stock of what is and isn’t making the move, it’s the perfect chance to let Penske help you determine what size truck you need. It’s a simple way to get a customized recommendation based on the items you’re planning to move.
Because moving can feel like a bit of a marathon process, Zobel encourages taking breaks when possible. Fortunately, one of the perks of DIY moving is the ability to define your own timeline. “I recommend getting a moving truck for several days,” she says. “Load what you can, as you can. Chances are, the first boxes in are things you can live without and the last boxes are things you can’t.”
Working with clients who are new to the greater Lincoln area also gives Zobel a chance to play tour guide—and help them find time to relax on move-in day. From recommending the best ice cream spot in the downtown Haymarket district to pointing out a favorite local coffee shop in one of the small towns that encompass the area, she said she loves helping clients get a sense that their home is part of a wonderful community, not “just a place to sleep.”
Get Creative with Finding Moving Help
Even DIY-style moves don’t have to mean truly doing it all by yourself.
“I haven’t had to use professional movers yet in my personal life. Pizza and drinks have power,” says Zobel. “I have also contacted my local fire department to find some off duty firefighters willing to load heavy items for some extra cash.”
She doesn’t shy away from pitching in on her clients’ moving days either, whether that’s by walking a client’s dogs or sacrificing her manicure to finish the clean-up process at the old home.
“Without a doubt, one of my favorite ways to help with a move is by having my client’s kiddo play with mine,” she says. “Sometimes parents need a break so they can focus on the task at hand.”
Take Time to Celebrate
In the chaos of moving, it can be easy to neglect the opportunity to celebrate. By giving clients personalized closing gifts, such as a family photo shoot with a favorite local photographer, Zobel hopes to remind clients to appreciate the transition.
“A new house is always an exciting new chapter. It’s where the best moments happen—the ordinary days that add up to make a house a home and the extraordinary days that will hold fast in our memories,” she says. “It doesn’t matter the budget. A home is a financial investment that hopefully builds wealth, but it is also the place that best reflects our character and passions.”