How Long does it Take to Move?

There are several elements that will influence how long it will take to move your home or apartment. You will need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you buying or renting?
  • Will you need to sell your home or end a lease?
  • How much stuff are you planning on taking with you?

If you are selling your home, some states can close real estate transactions faster than others. Then it comes to the moving companies, some can be quicker than others, but speed is not always a good thing. Despite all the differences between states and moving companies, there are some general timelines that you should consider if you are about to move, no matter if it is into a new home or apartment.

Buying and Selling Timeline

When you start to move, there are two key aspects that you will need to deal with: selling your current home and buying a new home. It most cases these timelines will overlap in some spots. There is always the possibility that you may close on your new home earlier than the sale on your current residence. What happens then?

When working with a real estate agent, they will help match up the closing dates. If it cannot be done, then hopefully you will have as much warning to be able to plan next steps accordingly. Here is what to expect.

Buying a House

Depending on the state your home is in, closing times can differ from state to state. Some states will let you close within a couple of weeks if you decide to pay cash for the home. But that is not always the situation, and for most people they will need a mortgage, this is how we are going to base our scenario.

Home Buying Timeline

On average buying a new home from start to finish takes around 10 weeks.

  • Mortgage approval: two to four weeks
  • Transfer of ownership: six to ten weeks

There are many possible roadblocks and hold ups that can happen during this process. During the approval process of the underwriter may need more information for income paperwork. The worst part is that nothing can continue moving forward until this initial approval. Another holds up can come from title transfer and survey.

Remember, that a closing date that you have been given can change, so make sure to have some flexibility and always stay in contact with your lawyer and realtor.

Selling a House

When you are selling your home, you will need to consider selling time and closing time. Your home can sit on the market longer than you expect, so what do you do if this happens? Your realtor should have a knowledge of the market and be able to recommend if you should sell or buy a new home first.

There is always the possibility that your dream home will pop up, and you will want to jump on it, even if you have not sold your current home yet. If this does happen, hopefully you will be able to sell your current home in a reasonable timeframe so that each home will be able to close around the same time.

Home Selling Timeline

When selling your home, it is done in stages. These 3 stages combined can usually take up to three months.

  • Stage home: one to two weeks
  • Evaluation and listing: 1 week
  • Viewings and contract: one to three weeks

Depending on if it is a buyer’s or seller’s market, or if your home is overpriced, then the initial selling time can be extended.

In general, is should only take about ten weeks to close on a home once it has been sold.

Renting Timetables

When renting, the timetable can be mixed. For instance, you could be moving form a rental property to an owner-occupied, or it can be the other way around. No matter the situation, make sure to plan your calendar accordingly.

Breaking Lease

Take note that breaking a lease can take anywhere from two weeks to two months, even if you already have a month-to-month style lease.

When it comes to moving out of a rental property or breaking a lease, most landlords require ate least a 30-day notice. Your rental contract will have the details for how many days’ notice you must give. Also, some landlords require that the notice be given at the beginning or ending of the month. For example, if you put your notice in on March 15, you may be required to wait until April 30th before you are able to move out without penalty.

Securing a Rental Property

Most rental properties move in time is quick, some in as little as a week. In some more extreme cases, it can take up to one to two months.

A rental property is a lot easier in the timeline to acquire than a home. If the property is vacant, the landlord will probably want you to move in ASAP, that is if no repairs must be done. If repairs do have to get done, then your move in date will be scheduled upon completion.

How Long to Pack a Home?

Depending on the size of your home, each process may take a different amount of time. If you are buying a home, then your timeline will be shaped by the closing process. This means that from the contract is drawn to the time it closes to pack your home. If you are closing is going to take ten weeks and you are in in two weeks, then great. However, if it takes eight weeks to close and you have not packed anything during that time, you are going to put a great deal of stress on yourself and other.

General Packing Timeline

In most cases you will want a least to put aside a month to pack boxes.

  • Studio or one bedroom: 10 – 15 hours
  • Two bedrooms: 15 – 20 hours
  • Three bedrooms: 20+ hours
  • Four bedrooms: 40+ hours

You will want to start packing as early as possible. Make sure to devote as much time early in the process. Remember, the stress will only build the closer you get to the moving date. When you pack under less pressure you will be more efficient and pack your moving boxes carefully.

If you do not know where to start, then check out some of these resources:

Professional Movers

You will be able to save a lot of time if you hire professional movers.

Finding and Hiring

You will want to book your movers anywhere from six to eight weeks out. This will ensure that you can have them available on the moving day date.

Do not wait to hire movers! The sooner you can book them the better. This is especially true if you are going to hire an in-demand moving company. If they are fully booked, ask to be placed on a cancellation list.

Related: How to Choose a Moving Company , How Much does it Cost to Move

Moving Times

Moving companies are quicker than amateurs, they usually will only take half the time. They will also be able to move your heavier and more fragile items safely. You will want to get a quote for the move before you even hire a moving company. Get quotes from different companies, the cheapest is not always the best.

Professional Movers Timeline*

*This timeline only consists of loading the truck or rental container, does not include travel time.

  • Studio or one bedroom: 2 - 4 hours
  • Two bedrooms: 4 - 6 hours
  • Three bedrooms: 6 - 8 hours
  • Four bedrooms: 8+ hours

Moving Day Timeline

The above professional mover’s timeline is based on have two to four movers. You will be able to get close to the same timeline if you have four to six people helping you move and if everything is packed ahead of time.

When Moving on your own, consider the following:

  • Distance between homes
  • Total number of moving boxes
  • Number of helpers available
  • Number of appliances and larger items
  • How many trips to complete the move.

How Long to Unpack?

Woohoo! You are on the final step of the move. There really is no average or general timeline for unpacking a home. Some people are fine with living with boxes in their homes for a week or even a month. But really, it should take half the time to unpack then it did to pack your home. Unpack your essentials first. Then take your time, there is no hurry to unpack.

Related: How to Unpack Your Moving Boxes

Photo by Handiwork NYC on Unsplash