MOV­ING DUR­ING A PAN­DEMIC

Set­tle into your new home as safely as pos­si­ble

Chicago Sun-Times - - DRIVE HOME - BY AMRITA JAYAKU­MAR

Mov­ing is stress­ful enough with­out throw­ing a pan­demic into the mix.

Many Amer­i­cans may be forced to con­sider mov­ing as fed­eral fore­clo­sure and evic­tion mora­to­ri­ums ex­pire.

In the first week of July, 32% of Amer­i­cans did not make a full, on-time hous­ing pay­ment, ac­cord­ing to a na­tion­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive sur­vey by the web­site Apart­ment List. Oth­ers may re­lo­cate to save money, be closer to loved ones or sim­ply leave a densely pop­u­lated area.

If you’re con­sid­er­ing mov­ing, here’s what to know from a fi­nan­cial stand­point, as well as tips to make mov­ing day safer. Bud­get for ex­tras

Aside from the usual ex­penses like buy­ing boxes, rent­ing a van or hir­ing movers, plan for ex­tra costs be­cause of the pan­demic.

You may need to buy heavy-duty sup­plies to deep-clean your old place, for ex­am­ple, or to san­i­tize your new ac­com­mo­da­tions. If you are mov­ing out of a rental unit, some land­lords may ask you to pay for pro­fes­sional clean­ers or take the cost out of your se­cu­rity de­posit.

Mov­ing across county or state lines? Check what the quar­an­tine re­quire­ments are in your new lo­ca­tion, says Jean Wil­czyn­ski, a cer­ti­fied fi­nan­cial plan­ner and se­nior wealth ad­vi­sor at Ex­en­cial Wealth Ad­vi­sors in Old Lyme, Con­necti­cut. You may have to pay for quar­an­tine ac­com­mo­da­tions like a ho­tel or Airbnb if your new apart­ment or home is not move-in ready, she says.

If you are re­ceiv­ing un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, check the rules on how your ben­e­fits carry for­ward in your new lo­ca­tion and what the taxes are if it is a new state, Wil­czyn­ski says. You can typ­i­cally find this in­for­ma­tion on your state’s Depart­ment of La­bor web­site, she says.

If you are un­em­ployed or your in­come has dropped as a re­sult of the pan­demic, you can also check whether you qual­ify for mov­ing as­sis­tance by call­ing 211.

You might not be able to re­ally get to know your new place un­til you’re liv­ing there, so pre­pare your­self (and your wal­let) for sur­prises like leaky faucets or bro­ken ap­pli­ances.

Land­lords and real es­tate agents may of­fer only vir­tual tours. And if you can see the new ac­com­mo­da­tions in per­son, you may be re­quired to sign a waiver, wear a mask and avoid touch­ing any­thing while in the house. Stay safe dur­ing the move

How to move safely de­pends on whether you are do­ing it your­self or us­ing movers.

Cur­rent guid­ance from the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion sug­gests that the main way the coro­n­avirus spreads is through res­pi­ra­tory droplets, says Lind­say Slow­iczek, phar­ma­cist and drug con­tent in­tegrity man­ager at Health­line.com.

That’s why wear­ing a mask and stay­ing away from peo­ple is im­por­tant to slow the spread of the virus, she says. San­i­tiz­ing sur­faces is also an ex­tra pre­cau­tion worth tak­ing. Mov­ing your­self

If you’re rent­ing a mov­ing truck, com­pa­nies like U-Haul of­fer con­tact­less pickup and drop-off op­tions. Slow­iczek sug­gests san­i­tiz­ing the door han­dles, steer­ing wheel, ra­dio and the metal tongue on the seat­belt in the rental van. Us­ing movers

Be­fore pick­ing a mov­ing com­pany, check its web­site or call and ask about its safety prac­tices in re­sponse to the pan­demic, Slow­iczek says. Ask whether the movers wear masks and gloves dur­ing the move.

On mov­ing day, she sug­gests be­ing pre­pared with a plan to limit in­ter­ac­tion with movers and main­tain so­cial dis­tanc­ing. This in­cludes pack­ing as many things as you can your­self, or con­sider us­ing a self-pack mov­ing con­tainer as Slow­iczek did for her own re­cent move.

If the movers will pack the truck, cre­ate a schedule for the movers. For ex­am­ple, ask them to start with a par­tic­u­lar room as you stay in an­other.

This is also par­tic­u­larly use­ful if you live with fam­ily mem­bers who are vul­ner­a­ble or im­muno­com­pro­mised, she says. Try to limit their in­volve­ment with the move as much as pos­si­ble.

“Plan out the way [the movers] are go­ing to move through the house,” says Slow­iczek. “If pos­si­ble, move all of [your boxes] to one area in your home so they don’t have to come through­out your house as much.”

Keep hand san­i­tizer or soap handy dur­ing the move so that you and the movers can use it pe­ri­od­i­cally, she says. (Check on the FDA web­site that your brand of hand san­i­tizer is methanol-free, Slow­iczek adds).

Af­ter the move, use dis­in­fec­tants reg­is­tered with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to clean sur­faces or fur­ni­ture.

“Just us­ing the prod­uct as-is is not enough — read the in­struc­tions on how long it should be wet on the sur­face,” Slow­iczek says.

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