Everyone wants their move to go smoothly. Finding the right home movers is an absolute priority for any family or individual moving from one place of residence to the next. In addition to choosing the right and honest moving company, you also need to know how to spot a fraudulent moving company.

Fortunately, a lot of rogue movers are very telling because of so many red flags. One of the most telling red flags is the infamous lowball estimate

Identifying this red flag is essential to save yourself from some heartache, extreme inconvenience, and hassle that comes with being a victim to a moving scam.

How to Spot a Fraudulent Moving Company & Lowball Estimates

So what exactly are lowball estimates from movers? 

How to spot a fraudulent moving company? 

Lowball estimates are unrealistically low moving quotes that other moving companies offer. Unluckily, because the estimate given is so affordable and too-good-to-be-true, customers may naively say ‘yes’ to the quote and hire the mover.

And then it always leads to customers getting surprised by much more expensive final bills. Fraudulent movers who give lowball estimates give customers cheap quotes and then end costs double or triple the original move by the end.

Here are a few clues that will help you learn how to spot a fraudulent moving company that gives lowball estimates.

#1 They don’t inventory your belongings

Did the movers come to your house and check your household belongings in-person? Have they requested assessment of your items through photos or videos? 

If your answer is ‘no,’ then you might be dealing with a moving company who scams people and gives lowball estimates. Be mindful that any estimates given via phone or online are typically inaccurate. 

Think about it. How can a moving company provide you a true estimate when they haven’t even seen your belongings in-person?

Professional home movers assess the weight and number of your things. They will inquire about elevators, stairs, parking rules, and other concerns that affect the final estimate.

#2 Leaving out other costs and fees

An unfortunate sign of a lowball estimate is when you receive a moving quote that conveniently leaves out the miscellaneous fees. All moving estimates from an honest moving company will include services, fees, and add-ons. 

That means fees for transportation and gas, packing services, labor costs, unpacking services, accessorial services, insurance, storage services, and even packing materials. All of these estimated quotes should be included in your moving quote.

#3 Estimates are “non-binding”

Run from any moving company that gives you a “non-binding” estimate. This means that the quote is not set in stone and will likely change depending on the actual weight of your belongings.

The chances are good that the mover will give you a low-ball and non-binding quote. Afterward, they will surprise you at the end with a final bill that’s higher than the original estimate.

Accept binding estimates or a binding not-to-exceed estimate only. That way, you are aware of the maximum amount that you would end up having to pay, and then you can budget accordingly.

Other Red Flags to Spot a Fraud Moving Company

Lowball estimates are one of the biggest red flags to look out for when you’re hiring a moving company. Other common red flags you should watch out for include:

  • A moving company with no proper license or insurance.
  • Movers demanding to be paid up-front.
  • Unprofessional movers; meaning they lack business addresses, online presence, or business cards, and even rude behavior.
  • Moving contracts that don’t look official.
  • Movers refuse to put anything into writing.
  • Reviews that don’t exist or aren’t stellar. The Better Business Bureau or the FMCSA can help you.
  • Contracts that lack an option to choose valuation coverage.

One of the trickier parts of moving is knowing how to pack liquids. But here’s the bottom line: it doesn’t have to be!

Through a bit of planning and a little care, you can avoid spills while moving all together. In addition, you can also avoid damage to your moving boxes and the belongings that you’ve got inside of them.

That’s why we need to know how to pack liquids.

Tips for Learning How to Pack Liquids

Liquids spill during transport for plenty of reasons. There will be times when boxes tip over, and moving trucks hit bumps in the road. It ends up with things getting jostled around. Without much issue, if your liquids aren’t secured properly, it’s going to entail a whole lot of mess.

Nobody wants to deal with that!

For this reason, you need to take your time with packing liquids, and make sure that every spillable item is properly secured, so that something as simple as hump or a pot hole won’t result in a complete moving disaster. So how do you go about knowing how to pack liquids?

Well, follow a couple of these tips for packing liquids so that you can worry less about spillage, and more about how to pick the right movers.

#1 Do an inventory

Every type of liquid has potential to cause damage. That includes anything from water to any liquid cleaners. All of them can degrade your cardboard moving boxes and cause them to break. You need to figure out exactly what you’re working with in terms of these liquids.

This can also help you determine how much you need when it comes to packing materials.

Also, remember that there are some liquids that you aren’t allowed to stuff into a moving truck, even if it is one that you’ve rented and will be driving yourself.

#2 Pack all liquids together

One of the best ways to stop liquids from damaging valuables during a move is to pack them together to stop them from being able to cause damage. Everything must be well-contained. To minimize the risks, pack your liquids by tupe. 

Put cosmetics and toiletries in one box, kitchen-related liquids like cooking oil and sauces in another. Place natural cleaning products in another box.

Because you’ve started with taking inventory, this should be fairly easy.

#3 Discard what you don’t need

The less liquids that you have to move, the better. Aside from disposing of hazardous liquids, you really shouldn’t be packing liquids that you don’t have any use for. If it’s not going to serve purposes in your new home, it’s not worth the risk of packing. 

We always recommend going through and discarding stuff before packing anyway.

Some questions you need to ask yourself to help you make decisions include:

  • Is it expired?
  • Have you used this liquid in the past year?
  • Is the container damaged?
  • Are the containers pretty much empty?

For any liquids that you aren’t bringing along (as long as they’re not hazardous), dump the liquids, rinse out containers, and recycle or toss it as appropriate.

For the medications, hazardous liquids, and any other liquids with chemicals, call the waste management provider to find out how to safely dispose of them.

#4 Use correct packing materials

There are multiple ways of packing liquids, and the right materials that you should know include: garbage bags, packing tape or rubber bands, and plastic wrap. Of course, to save yourself some time with packing materials, you can always hire professional movers and get help with their packaging services.

#5 Make sure to label your liquids

Liquids can be considered as fragile materials, so be sure to label them as such. This ensures that the bins and boxes containing your liquids will be packed correctly for transport, ensuring right side-up and with care. It can also make your life easier when it’s finally time to unpack.

When it comes to unpacking, open your bins or boxes carefully on a flat surface. Because even with safe packing methods, your liquid containers are still likely to shift around.

The longer you have lived in one home, the more you’re likely to accumulate things without realizing that you’ve already got plenty of them. And do you know what’s a great way to get on top of your things, and donate them if need be? Why, a home inventory of course. And here’s how to do a home inventory.

If you’re going to do this though, it can take a few hours up to a full day depending on how thorough you want to be. When you know how to do a home inventory, it offers helpful benefits that go far beyond just having a basic accounting of what you own. 

So if you have enough time on your hands, put it to use by doing an updated and accurate home inventory.

A simple process doesn’t require much, and you’ll be happy later on because knowing how to do a home inventory can be a major time-saver later if you encounter any mishaps.

Why You Need to Know How to Do a Home Inventory

Home inventories are just complete lists of items that you own inside your house. That ranges from valuable items like furniture and jewelry to essentials like linen and clothing. The idea is to get a total breakdown of how much you own and what you own. This is so you’ll have a quick point of reference when you need it.

This is particularly for a move or for filing homeowners’ insurance claims.

There are plenty of reasons why you’ll want to know how to do a home inventory. There’ll be situations where having one is going to be a necessity.

  • Insurance claims: Home inventories make a difference when it comes to homeowners’ insurance reimbursement claims after a robbery or a disaster. It gives your provider a full breakdown of what was taken or ruined. They will know the value of those items as well. It’s easier to document your claims, and you’ll get proper reimbursement too.
  • Moves: When hiring a professional moving company, you’ll have to provide as accurate an inventory of your things as possible. This is for the movers, so they can give you a quote and ensure that they send over the right size of a truck and number of household movers. Yes, any moving company can do their own general inventory. But having your own can save lots of time for you and everyone else. Especially when you choose the right home movers.
  • Organizing & home maintenance: Loads of homeowners undertake the process as part of organizing and general maintenance. It’s very good practice to set aside time once a year to take an accounting of your possessions and donate or discard things that you don’t need or want anymore.

4 Tips for Doing a Home Inventory

In order to do your home inventory, you’ll have to go room-to-room inside your own home and log each item, as well as every general description and all of their estimated values. And as you go, gather all your receipts, purchase contracts, or other documentation that can help you with your inventory assessments.

Store these documents with your home inventory, so you’ve got all you need in the event where you’ll have to file a claim.

Take pictures of your belongings and store them in files that you can easily access later on, if you need to. Particularly, take pictures of your highly valuable items, since your reimbursement is based in part on their condition. You can also use a home inventory app, so you can catalog your every possession. You can reference them later on as needed.

Still, doing home inventories is an overwhelming process, especially if you’ve lived in your house for so many years.

#1 Store lots of copies

Home inventories aren’t much use if they’re destroyed, lost, or becomes inaccessible. So make sure you cover as many bases as you can, and keep multiple copies of your inventory. That includes both a paper copy and a digital one. 

Where possible, have at least one copy that is kept outside of your home as well, like in a safety deposit box. When it comes to home inventory apps, you should consider exporting the data to an alternate file. As you update your inventory, update your copies as well.

#2 Never forget the documents

Key documents don’t really have a price tag value, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to log them. Describe and list everything from titles to marriage certificates, and even taking images to reference later on. 

Make sure you note in the description where the items are stored as well, just in case you’re struggling to find something you need.

#3 Make updates and review

As mentioned previously, it’s important to update your home inventory with new items as you obtain them. In addition, you also want to review your home inventory list to remove items that you don’t have anymore.

If you sell your possessions or update them with something new, make sure it’s no longer logged on your inventory.

#4 Start on the larger items

When you start with larger items, you can make good progress right from the get-go. That way you’re motivated to keep going. True enough, value isn’t always directly correlated with size. It’s likely that a lot of the big ticket items inside the home are also big in stature. 

When you go room by room, make sure you inventory the big stuff first and then move onto small items in drawers and closets.

Packing boxes is one of the most difficult parts of moving, right after doing the heavy lifting, of course. It’s true that it’s more efficient to hire professional packers, but it doesn’t hurt to know how to DIY that. Or understand how the professionals take care of it. Today, you’ll know some mistakes to avoid when packing boxes.

It’s essential to pack all of your boxes correctly to minimize the strain and reduce the chances of damaging your belongings during transport. In addition, improper box packing entails more work on your end, plus a difficult move as well. 

Keeping that in mind, you need to know mistakes to avoid when packing boxes. Of course, in every step involved in a move, it’s easier to make it right the first time than go back and redo everything.

What are Mistakes to Avoid When Packing Boxes?

Packing boxes are a skill. (That’s why professional movers are trained to do them for you).

But even if it’s your first move or your twenty-fifth, you can still improve quickly and efficiently through a little bit of research and some practice before you jump into it. To get you on the right track, we’ve made a checklist, and a list of mistakes to avoid when packing boxes.

#1 Refusing to get rid of stuff

No matter how long you’ve lived in your own home, you’ve got to admit that there are things that you need to get rid of.

Organizing your belongings and tossing the items that you don’t need or want anymore is one of the best ways to make packing boxes a whole lot easier. Plus, it can save you time and money. And when you refuse and neglect to get rid of things, you just end up wasting both.

So before you start packing boxes, visit every room and pull out things that you aren’t planning to take with you to your next home. Sort your items carefully into three piles: recycle, throw, and donate.

Aim for donating as much as you can. Make sure you dedicate some time in your schedule for coordinating your donations or other methods of disposal. Yes, it’s a little bit of extra work, but you’ll be glad when it’s finally time to pack and unpack during and after the move.

#2 Failing to accurately assess needs

Before you even pack up a single item, you need to make sure that you have the right boxes, both in quantity and size. Lots of packers fail to do an accurate assessment before packing. In the end, they cram too much into each box. Also result in having to put items in boxes that aren’t the right fit for them. 

True, it’s one of the most common packing mistakes that people make, but it’s also quite easy to avoid.

Do an inventory of how large your space is and how much stuff do you actually need. You’ll also need to account for packing style.

#3 Not wrapping items before packing them

When you pack boxes, it’s as much about wrapping those items as it is about fitting them into a single place. As much as possible, avoid cutting corners. Fragile and sharp belongings must be wrapped, otherwise you’re in for a lot of object damages. 

That includes (but isn’t limited to), broken items and shattered objects. You don’t have a shortage of options when it comes to supplies for wrapping up items. In fact, there might be some things that are lying around the house already. Also make use of things like towels and linen. They provide lots of cushioning and padding where they’re needed the most.

#4 Refusing to set up boxes right

It looks like a really simple cardboard box right now, but it’s going to take on a lot of weight after you fill it up. A box that isn’t set up right is a box that would likely fall apart in transport. Of course, you don’t want that to happen. 

So it’s key to setting up your boxes correctly the first time around. Line up the sides closely when building them, so there’s no overhang. Afterward, use two layers of tape on the area where the sides meet the end of the box.

Do that for all of your moving boxes, even those that aren’t going to be keeping any particularly heavy items.

#5 Failing to seal liquids

Cardboard won’t hold up well to moisture. That means every single drop compromises the structure of a box. It also leads to some serious damage, and at the very least, a massive mess. So make sure to keep liquids secure in boxes by going for a triple seal.

#6 Avoid overstuffing

Packing boxes are capable of holding about 30-150 pounds. It also depends on their size and whether they’re single or double-walled. So another thing to remember is to stick to your limits. Lots of items packed in too small boxes are a recipe for disaster. 

Yes, they’re sturdy but cardboard boxes aren’t meant to hold more than their intended weight. When you overstuff boxes, it leads to a lot of dangerous moving situations and a high chance for breakage.

#7 Not labeling those moving boxes

True enough, it’s not the biggest packing taboo that you can make. But it’s going to cause a major nuisance whenever it’s time to unload and unpack. Of course, there’s no need to list every single item in every single box, but you need to label your boxes with what room they go in and whether there’s anything fragile inside. 

Are you planning to leave your current residence soon? Do you know how to do move out cleaning? Whether you’re selling a house or ending a lease, it’s important to leave that former home in tip-top (or at the very least, acceptable) condition.

If that means compiling a checklist or how to do move out cleaning, then you need to do it. Renters will highly likely need to conduct a deep clean to get their security deposit back. In fact, many landlords require their tenants to return the home to its original condition before moving out and going to another place.

For those selling their home, they’ll still need to give the house a good cleaning before handing over the keys to the new owners of the house.

Of course, deep cleaning isn’t a legal requirement, it’s still polite and customary for sellers to do it anyway when they’re moving out.

How to Do Move Out Cleaning: The Checklist

Finding the right home movers is important to nailing the efficient house moving. To accompany that, you also need to do your own part. Knowing how to do move out cleaning is one part. The other involves creating a checklist.

This particular checklist depends on the size of the property and how clean it is already. To help you, this professional moving company has compiled a comprehensive move out cleaning checklist that you can use as your starting point.

  1. Vacuum the floors: Give the home a once-over with a vacuum. Also, don’t forget to vacuum the stairs, the closets, the nooks, and other hard-to-reach areas.
  2. Remove your personal property: Remove all the personal property from your house. Obviously that means taking furniture and closet items away. Great packing services from moving companies can help you do this efficiently too.
  3. Wipe and dust surfaces: Use all-purpose surface cleaners or a roll of paper towels or clean cloth. Wipe down kitchen countertops, bookshelves, bathroom countertops, window panes, fireplace mantles, and along with other hard surfaces.
  4. Clean inside the cabinets: Don’t forget to clean inside of the cabinets too. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, in particular, always accumulate food crumbs.
  5. Wipe your appliances: Stainless steel appliances can become covered in markings and fingerprints. So make sure you wipe all of your appliances with some form of water and vinegar mixture, or all-purpose spray.
  6. Remove wall anchors and nails on the walls: Unless the buyer or your landlord asked you to leave nails, wall anchors, and hooks in the walls, it’s best to get rid of them before moving out.
  7. Scrub showers, bathtubs, toilets & sinks: After finishing with the vacuuming and dusting, time to roll up your sleeves and start on the bathroom furniture. Mold, rust, or mildew need to be eliminated from the bathroom before you move out.
  8. Clear out your closets: After removing all the clothes and accessories from the closets, make sure to wipe down those closet shelves and hanging rods. Vacuum those closet floors as well, and double-check that all of your personal items are removed.
  9. Fill up holes & repair drywalls: When you’ve taken care of the nails, hooks, and dry wall anchors, make sure to patch up the leftover holes in the wall. If drywalls need to be repaired, consider hiring a professional handyman to complete the job.
  10. Sanitize the freezers and the fridge: Empty the fridge and the freezer of any remaining contents and begin cleaning. Wipe them down with a disinfectant spray. Eliminate any and all remaining food stains and crumbs as well.
  11. Touch up markings and scratches with paint: Before you move out, head on over to your local paint store, and grab sample sizes of paints that match your wall.
  12. Wipe down stovetops and ovens: Food residue is prevalent in these areas. They can all be cleaned with simple water and baking soda mixtures. Combine the water and baking soda to create a paste and apply it across the oven. You can add vinegar as well.
  13. Mop the floors: After every surface has been wiped down and vacuumed, end your move out cleaning by giving those floors a good and clean mop. Safe floor cleaning mixtures include vinegar and warm water solution.

When Should You Do Move Out Cleaning?

If you’re not sure when to do the deep clean, we recommend cleaning the home after every furniture and personal item has been removed. Through this, you can clean every nook and cranny and make the entire cleaning process far easier.

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