How to Decide Your Move Out Date When Moving Houses

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Before you decide the date of your move out and move in, there are some questions you need to ask yourself first. These questions act as a checklist to ensure you don't forget any important considerations, such as a rental lease, job start dates, mortgage agreements or school timelines.

If you're moving without fulfilling the initial term of rental, often for one-year, you may also incur penalties. It's something to consider if you only have a couple of months remaining on the lease—you may decide to postpone your move to avoid extra costs.

And if you're planning on moving into another rental, you'll need to know what date you're able to move in. Timing is key here—you want to make sure you're not left without a place to live. Or if you are in between living spaces, you'll need to ensure that the moving company will hold your things, or you have adequate storage space until you're able to move in.

Ask yourself the following questions. 

Do you rent your current home?

A lease agreement can limit your flexibility in when you move. If you've recently signed a lease, make sure you check the stipulations for moving. Many landlords require at least a month's notice and during the final month, may allow potential renters to view your apartment. It's essential that you read the fine print of your agreement to avoid any penalties or to lose any deposit you provided when you first moved in.

Are you selling your current home and buying a new house?

This is always tricky—buying a new home before your current home is put up for sale. A real estate agent can help you plan and set the terms of agreement for both the house you're buying and the one you're selling. Just like renting, the close-date of your new home will determine when you can move in.

Are you starting a new job that has a defined start-date?

It might seem like a no-brainer, but when you add it to a rental agreement or sale date, things start getting a little tricky. Your new boss may be flexible on when you can start, so remember this when you're signing your new contract. Negotiate the contract as best you can, and if you need to be at the job on a specific date, this will take priority over a rental agreement or home sale date.

Does any member of your family attend school?

School start-dates are probably the most flexible in terms of the timeline than the other questions asked so far, in particular, if you have children in grade school. However, it may be difficult emotionally for children to move during the school year, although there are ways to help them adjust. High school students have less flexibility as they really can't get too far behind, however, if the curriculum in the new school is similar to the old, then there's the possibility of a mid-year move without too much disruption. College students have the least amount of flexibility in terms of when they can start. It's best for college students to be on campus at the beginning of the semester. If this isn't possible, they should wait until the next semester begins as most colleges won't allow a late start date.

If You Answered Yes

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions asked above, then your move out and move in dates need to revolve around a specific situation that's unique to you and your family. If you answered "yes" to more than one question, then determining your move out and in dates are less flexible and a little more complicated. But that doesn't mean it's not doable.

Instead, decide which date is the least flexible and let that determine when you move. For example, if you're starting a new job and you can't wait to leave your old one, and that's the most important determination of when you move, let that factor dictate when you move.

Once you've decided what your priority is, then you'll need to assess just how doable that move date is, including any penalties you might be charged for breaking a lease or having to move into a hotel (and store your things) until your new home is ready. Such a decision may have a financial cost, and it's a good idea to figure that out now before you set your move date.

Calculating How Much Time You Need to Move

Now that you've decided which date you'll be moving, now you can use that date as your endpoint and calculate at least eight weeks before that date to see when you need to start your moving plan. Eight weeks in the minimum amount of time required to move. However, it is possible to move in less than four weeks, but that is extremely stressful and not recommended.

So, a twelve-week schedule is ideal, and an eight-week schedule is a minimum time suggested. Schedules of four weeks or less are what you call "planning a last-minute move," will cause you significant stress and possibly cost you more in terms of moving company rates, as well as penalties on leases, plus you may need to take time off work to organize and pack.

Remember, if you have a flexible schedule, consider choosing a move date that's not during high season or at a time when your kids can make a smooth transition to a new school. Also, you can pick a time of year when the snow won't impede your travel—all of which are important things to consider when deciding when to move.