In August, during the pandemic, I moved from Manhattan New York to Brooklyn New York. It wasn’t the biggest move, but it still involved the stressful process of moving that millions of Americans will experience. In fact, 14 to 23 million Americans plan on moving as a result of remote work, according to a recent Upwork report, so it’s important to know solid moving tips during the pandemic.
In the report, 20.6% people surveyed currently live in major cities and plan to move, which reveals that major cities will see the biggest out-migration. Why are people moving? The opportunities are enormous. People can get less expensive housing since the housing market was rocked, and with the benefit of working from home and offices closed, people don’t exactly need to be in a major city. People are also moving great distances, at least two hours away from their current location, according to the report.
I’m no stranger to moving. I’ve moved from Atlanta to Toronto to New York City to Los Angeles to New Orleans and back to New York, and I moved many times within those cities. Moving is demanding, but it doesn’t need to be agonizing. In fact, if you plan right, you can have a successful move, which is the priority during Covid-19, and I had perhaps one of the easiest, stress-free moves in my life.
Here are my two moving tips during Covid-19 that will help you have a successful move.
1. Research the heck out of the moving company.
Don’t look for the cheapest company, which is what I used to do in the past. In fact, I found myself doing the same thing out of habit with my recent move. I booked a moving company in NYC that was half the average price for my criteria (1 bedroom, 4th floor walk up, etc), and I booked them right away. They wrote back with vague information and didn’t ask me much questions. I knew the services wouldn’t be white gloved, so I didn’t question it right away.
As days went by, I didn’t have a good feeling in general. I’m not sure why, but I kept thinking about that really cheap rate. I went to the company’s Yelp page. They had more 1 star reviews I’d ever seen on a Yelp page, with horror stories like broken items, the movers taking 30-minute cigarette breaks, showing up hours late… No thank you.
As a result, I canceled, and I spent days going through the reviews of the top movers in NYC. I picked my top five and emailed them for quotes. Some wrote back right away while some didn’t even write back! Eventually, I went with Octomovers, a company that didn’t seem to have a lot of presence in the moving market, but had outstanding reviews. In fact, all five stars. I’m always suspicious of fake reviews, but the communication with them was excellent, and they called me a few days before the move to go over details with the move. When the three movers arrived at my East Village apartment on time, all wore mask and were professional.
These movers were fast. They also disassembled furniture carefully, wrapped them carefully, and got them to the truck in one piece.
It was a hot day, and the 4th floor walk-up is just a nightmare to move things up and down, but they did it professionally, fast, even gracefully and with no complaints or gripes (one thing I see common in some Yelp reviews is how some movers take breaks or complain about certain things).
I took a Lyft to my new place in Brooklyn, and Octomovers were there within minutes. Again, they worked super fast, putting all the boxes where I asked, assembling the bed and other furniture again, and putting some heavy boxes on top shelves in storage where I had requested, which they definitely didn’t have to do.
I am still in shock with how great they were, and this is why my No. 1 tip is to research the heck out of moving companies. If you hire a great mover, everything will fall into place. A great mover will take charge of your move so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
2. Negotiate the rent of your new apartment.
Even if it feels weird to you, you need to negotiate.
Due to Covid-19, rents in NYC fell to the lowest point since 2011, and there’s been an increasing surge in listings the city hasn’t seen in over a decade. In my former building in the East Village, pre-Covid, there was never available apartments for the two years I lived there. As soon as someone announced they were leaving, people lined up to take that apartment. There really was never a day or two when an apartment was empty.
By August this year, only half the building was occupied. Tenants were moving out—and nobody was moving in. I saw rents go from $3,300 a month to $2,950 a month—and they still couldn’t rent the apartments. However, one guy did sign a lease at the $3,300 rate (I saw on Streeteasy) in July and moved in. Had he negotiated, he could have gotten over $300/month off.
Point being: you have the advantage now. Landlords need you, and they will do anything to have you. You need to negotiate rent, no matter where you move. The beset thing to do is look at the building’s Streeteasy and see how rents have dropped and see how long the apartment you’re interested in has been on the market. The longer it’s been available, the better chances you have of getting a great deal or even added perks.
I moved into a two-bedroom (twice the size of my East Village apartment) for rent that people only dream of—and a rate that I never would have gotten pre-pandemic.
Do you have moving tips during Covid-19? Let us know in the comments below!
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