Managing a Short-Notice Relocation

Moving on short notice is seldom a choice, but sometimes it is a necessity. Perhaps you’ve received a job offer in another city and need to start work in a month. Or, maybe your house sold faster than you expected, or you’ve abruptly ended a relationship. Moving on short notice is challenging but doable.

Here are some ideas on how to make that quick move work for you.

Make a Plan

List all the tasks that you need to accomplish before you move. Then, working backward from the date you need to be in your new home, fill in dates by which each task needs to be complete. Tasks will include finding a new home, packing (or hiring packers), notifying landlords and utilities, reserving a moving company, then moving. 

If you can’t find a new home right away, you may consider storing your items and living in a small furnished apartment or with friends or relatives until you find the right place.

Notify The Necessary People

If you are renting, notify your landlord as soon as possible to avoid having to pay an extra month’s rent. Examine your lease and state laws to determine whether you are potentially liable for the months remaining on your lease and, if so, how you can avoid this.

If you own your home, contact a real estate agent as soon as possible to put your home on the market or to rent it out.

Develop a Realistic Budget

The more items you have to move, the more you’ll need to spend. If you are relocating for a job, ask about what type of relocation assistance the company might provide. Consider whether you will have the mover pack or do all of it yourself or with friends. 

If you need to store items, plan to build that into your budget as well.


Begin packing seldom-used items right away. As you are packing, sort through, and eliminate the things you don’t use or no longer need. You’ll save time and money by taking fewer items with you, especially if you’re going to need to store things.

Ask for help. Just one or two friends can make packing go a lot faster. You also may want to consider having your moving company do some or all of the packing. When you interview movers, ask how much packing services will add to the cost. In many cases, the additional cost is worth the time it will save you.

Browse New Homes

Begin browsing immediately to get a feel for neighborhoods and homes that will work best. If you have children in school, you might research local schools or school districts. Or, perhaps, being close to work or public transportation is critical for you. Determine what you want most in your new home, then use the Internet, real estate agents, and friends to help you find a suitable home within your budget.

Interview and Book Movers

Begin by asking friends for recommendations. Interview at least three movers, and be sure you understand each estimate or quote and what it includes so you can compare accurately. If possible, plan to move midweek. Companies are more likely to have time available then rather than on weekends.

Once you’ve decided on a company, make your reservation as soon as possible to ensure your first-choice mover is still available.