It’s officially the first day of National Moving Month. Let’s celebrate as an industry by resolving to help our clients through their stressful, and sometimes emotional, moves.
Finding the home is the fun part, and then, reality kicks in — it’s time to move. If time is your client’s most valuable resource, moving creates a ton of additional time sucks. The least you can do is hold their hand and help them along the way. Not quite sure how to help? Check out our top 20 ways to help your clients move, in a natural order of progression through closing:
1. Put together a moving kit and deliver it to the client after the inspection. Include anything you think would be helpful – Sharpies, a tape gun, new boxes, lightly used boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, newspapers, plastic bags (great for holding small items like batteries or toiletries), garbage bags, measuring tape, beer boxes (perfect because the handles are built-in) and old towels and rags (cheaper than bubble wrap).
2. Hire professional cleaners to prep the home for sale. The last thing your client wants to do is clean a home they’re leaving. Offer to have it cleaned for them.
3. Digitize their relevant documents. For apartment-dwellers and urban millennials in particular, stacks of paper documents are just one more thing that can get lost in the move. Throw it onto a USB drive, and give it to them after closing.
4. Provide a list of trusted service providers. You hear this all the time, but be smart about it. Listen carefully to what renovations your clients want to start with, and make an introduction to the appropriate providers. Don’t forget movers, painters, handymen, contractors, floor refinishers and interior designers.
5. Help them with utilities, home services, movers/storage and mail forwarding. It’s a great way to stay-top-of-mind throughout the closing and long after parting ways.
6. Provide a list of charities that pick up unwanted furniture or arrange a pickup. Encourage your client to get rid of items they don’t want to pay to move. They can mentally sort items into three categories: pack, purge or donate. For donation items, go the extra mile and schedule the pickup — Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Vietnam Veterans of America and Hope Services (CA only) all pick up furniture with an appointment.
7. Drop off custom tape or labels for their moving boxes. Purchase color-coded tape to help your client assign boxes to different rooms — it’s easy for the movers and even easier for unpacking. Alternatively, you can customize the labels — kids will love it. Have labels made with the kids’ names, and let them decorate their own boxes with their custom “stickers.”
8. Assist with an estate sale. Add an estate sale planner to your list of trusted service providers, and help your client get set up — it’s less of a logistical nightmare than hosting a garage sale.
9. Don’t go dark on them. Your clients want to know that the inspection, closing and board interviews, if needed, are on schedule. Even if you have nothing particular to say, call to check in, and let them know everything is moving ahead as planned. It’ll help calm their nerves.
10. Suggest a day care service and pet care service for moving day. A move site is no place for children or pets. The last thing you need is the kids slipping underfoot. If you don’t know of any services, your client probably does — just remind them to keep the little ones busy on moving day.
11. Help your clients prepare a moving kit for pets. Hey, pets are part of the family, too, and moving is just as stressful for them. Make the transition easier by reminding your client to pack medicine, vet history paperwork, paper towels for the car ride, extra treats and toys, plenty of food and water, leash, crate and crate liner.
12. Share a solid, motivational moving playlist. Packing with no tunes is no fun. For a nice touch, share this playlist or create your own (think: “I Like to Move It,” “Take Me Home”).
13. Prep them with all the things they need. Think outside the box and pack a gift box of the essentials — paper towels, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, toilet paper, soap, matches, paper plates, plastic cups, Swiffer refills, etc.
14. Offer to have the locks changed. Introduce your client to the local locksmith or have a few spare sets of keys made in advance.
15. Make the keys memorable. Especially for first-time buyers, holding the keys for the first time is a special moment. Purchase a decorative keyring, put the keys in a gift box with a gorgeous bow or have custom keys made with your client’s favorite sports team.
16. Call your client the day before the move. Don’t wait until move day — your client will be too consumed with the move to chit chat. Call the day before, and wish them a successful and stress-free day.
17. Order pizza, salads, drinks/beers for move day. The last thing your client wants to think about on move day is, “What am I going to eat?” Let them know you’d like to order food for them and the movers — everyone will appreciate it. One less thing to worry about.
18. Give a moving day gift. It’s a great treat to have a surprise waiting for you at your new home. A few ideas: have flowers delivered with the vase included, stock the pantry with bottles of water and snacks for move day or leave a decorative carafe and glasses filled with cucumber water on the kitchen counter. This tiny gesture goes a long way for your client and the movers.
19. Take pictures along the way. Surprise your client with your creativity and appreciation for the experience by putting together a photo journal of your time together. Snap a few pics when you first go home shopping, when you’re signing your contract or even include a car selfie. Take a few final ones at settlement and moving day. After the move, head over to Shutterfly and create a photo journal of their experience with you. It’s especially thoughtful for first-time buyers and a great way for them to share their journey with friends and family.
20. Put together a thoughtful housewarming gift. Branded gifts are great, but if you listen, you can give your client something they need or want. Maybe you overheard them talking about that gorgeous vase set. Maybe it’s a beach home, and they’ve been pining over a new set of beach towels and chairs. Maybe they’ve always wanted an interior designer or a home organizer, but can’t afford it. Purchase the consultation for them. Maybe it’s a family membership to the local kids’ museum or zoo. If your client works out, a one-month membership to the nearest gym is a great idea.
Bonus: Nothing says “congratulations” and “welcome home” like a big bow on the new front door. There are DIY tutorials all over Pinterest; you can purchase one on Etsy or you can even try an oversized car bow available on Amazon.
With these tips, you are sure to make your clients’ moving day easier and forge a life-long relationship with your clients, not to mention probably pick up a few referrals.
Jenna Weinerman is the marketing director for Updater. With an extensive background in relocation, she’s dedicated to helping brokers, Realtors, and property managers deliver a consistently excellent client experience. Follow her on Twitter.