Believe it or not, even Realtors® have to move and even Realtors® have moving horror stories. And perhaps the meaning in all this is that I share my story with you so that hopefully you will never have to experience what I – and apparently so many other clients of this company – did. Here’s my story.

We are planning a major renovation of our Westside home because we’ve decided that’s where we’re planting our roots, for a long, long time. So rather than buy the home of our dreams, we’re going to try and make the current one into it. The renovations are so major that we’re moving out for the remainder of this year and hopefully moving back in by Christmas – fingers crossed.

So about a month ago, I began looking for a mover and had visions of an army of movers sweeping in on white horses, wearing white gloves, and lovingly wrapping and packing all of our stuff while I comforted the children and closed high-powered real estate deals while parked at the dining room table. Well, that’s not what happened!

It all seemed so simple at first; I called a moving company, they told me how much the move would cost based on my square footage and scope of the job, they had my moving date available; I took a cursory glance at their reviews on social media and voila, I was scheduled. I checked that task off my very long moving prep checklist and went on about my business.

Then it all went wrong, wrong, wrong! Here’s the short version: the movers didn’t show up on our original move date, then they didn’t arrive until 5:30 – pm!! – for a 12-hour job on the rescheduled move date. I fired them, they talked me into letting them come two days later – really early – to get it done with their best crew. I agreed. No crew ever came. We were blown off THREE TIMES! My husband and I had to do all the packing and moving ourselves. It has been a nightmare! It wasn’t pretty as you can see in the picture above.

This is what I learned:

Lesson #1: ALWAYS have an Estimator come out from the moving company.  I didn’t know this and didn’t know that I had to ask for it. One might think it would be a standard step for the moving company to send a representative to walk through our home, see all of our stuff and discuss face-to-face what we needed to have done. As a result, every time I spoke to the moving company on the phone they were surprised to hear that they were packing us and that we would be moving items to two locations – our temporary home and a storage unit. They didn’t listen to my requirements from Day 1.

Lesson #2: Do your homework. I took a quick look at some reviews of the moving company, but I didn’t dig deep enough or look in enough places to see the extent of others’ dissatisfaction with their service. Apparently, now as we’ve done more research, they had been a great company and in recent months gone quickly downhill. So, the older reviews I read were pretty good and I stopped there. I saw their trucks frequently in our area so I thought that also was a good sign.

Lesson #3: Book early and keep checking in. I thought I was booking early, but obviously not. As soon as you think you may be moving get the movers to come out and start the plan with them as early as possible so that if schedules, size, and scope of the job changes you have time to work with. Also, I wish I would have made it a point to keep checking with the movers to confirm my job. Each time I spoke to them it was a different person and I had to explain the job over and over from the start, like they had kept no notes on my job. In hindsight, I should have taken the poor communication as a warning sign and moved on to a different company.

Lesson #4: Be prepared to be the foreman. Even if you have hired the top-of-the-line company and the most extensive services, you will need to be on-site for the packing and moving from beginning to end.

So, I hope you’ve made it this far in this long post, that could’ve been three times longer. The end of the story is that we are almost done with our move, we’ve found a moving company to help us with the big stuff and learned lots that we will not forget when we move again in December, back into our renovated home. My hope for you is that this tale will prevent you from ever having to experience what we did and I wish for you many smooth, pleasant moves!