Nearly a quarter of Americans have moved from one city or area to another in the past five years. In the five years between 2005 and 2010, as many as 15.4 million people moved out of the nation’s principal cities alone. In that same time period, 8.8 million more movers moved in or out of the suburbs than previous years.
With such a constant moving traffic it’s hardly surprising that moving tips have popped up in abundance across the internet. Taking advantage of this free resource – – from finding the best moving services to realtors when buying or selling a home – – is a great first step when planning a move. It’s also a resource which should be used with caution, however. The trick to successfully using the internet for moving solutions is to know where to look and what to look out for. Here are two moving areas which can reap the greatest benefits from internet research but also pose the greatest risks of misinformation:
Moving services companies
Do: Use the internet to research companies offering moving services but only after you’ve received a referral
The internet is a great resource for information on moving services companies. Not only can you get a feel for the company itself, but you can also read reviews and at times get a free moving quote. The inclination is to start by searching for terms such as “Chattanooga moving services” or “moving company Chattanooga.” The risk with this strategy is the information you receive may be unreliable. Anyone can start a website claiming to be a moving company just as anyone can post a review on most review sites.
Rather than conducting a blind internet search, ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations of companies they have used. After you have a list of prospective moving services in hand, then turn to the internet to learn more. But don’t stop at the moving company’s website.
Do: Use trusted sites to learn more about the company
Leverage sites such as SaferSys.org, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website which allows consumers to view safety information about a moving services company and any orders to cease operation or other infractions it has received. Another great resource is the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating consumers about the trustworthiness of local businesses.
Don’t: Let the internet choose your moving services company for you
Whatever you do, don’t base your decision on the company’s website alone. Nor should you base it on an advertisement or the cost. In fact, savvy movers won’t rely on a moving quote provided sight-unseen at all, especially not for larger moves. Most professional moving companies will provide in-home estimates free of charge. Try to receive in-home moving quotes from at least two prospective companies before making your final decision. Only after meeting with a moving services employee face to face should you agree to use their service.
Finding a realtor
Do: Use the internet as a means of researching prospective realtors
Buying and selling a home is often the most challenging, time-consuming, and expensive aspect of moving. A professional, experienced realtor familiar with your area can make a huge difference in the course of buying or selling. As such, you should take the time to learn all you can about a realtor and real estate company before agreeing to do business. As with moving services companies, the internet can be a great place to begin looking for realtors in your area or who specialize in a certain niche. Also like moving services companies, however, you can put yourself at risk by too readily trusting the information you glean from the internet.
Don’t: Base your choice of realtor on internet research alone
Most people’s first meetings with a real estate agent are not face-to-face and that’s okay. The important thing is to always schedule an in person meeting with prospective realtors before hiring them. You can meet at their office or your home to discuss the buying or selling process. Choose a realtor who takes the time to walk you through all aspects of the buying or selling process and is able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.