Last week, we revealed the first instalment of The Moving Diaries, with essential budgeting advice from our contributing writer Maja Davies. Throughout June, our readers will benefit from Maja’s insightful dos and don’ts of moving, gained from her own experience of moving home in the UAE, including advice on decorating and dealing with the emotions of moving. If you’re a renter, you’ll find today’s diary entry on dealing with the logistics of moving absolutely essential. Enjoy!
The Moving Diaries, Lesson Two: Logistics
You’ve heard it a million times before: failing to plan is planning to fail. The good thing about Dubai’s rental policies is that tenants normally have to make a decision about staying or moving from their property three months prior to the end of their annual contract date. This gives tenants time to not only go property hunting, but also to plan the actual moving process. So, pour some coffee, put on your project manager hat, and let’s get organising!
*DO keep a planner
A folder is great, but a simple spreadsheet on your laptop will do just fine. As long as you have one place where you can keep all of your key plans, contacts and copies of your documents, you’ll be able to find things easily.
Key items to include in your planner:
✓Contacts: Write down key contact details for all the people involved in your move (for example: the electrician, removal company, the concierge at your old and new properties, landlords, property management agencies, etc.) and make sure that you and whoever you are moving with have access to this information.
✓Copies of key documents: Scanned copies of your passport, Emirates ID, tenancy contract, DEWA, NOC documents and salary certificates. From my experience, you will have to present these documents to several people on numerous occasions, so keep them handy.
✓Timeline: Our new property did not come with kitchen appliances so we had various suppliers coming with a dishwasher, washing machine, oven, kitchen fan and fridge. On top of that we also had new furniture delivered, as well as lighting fixtures. It is easy to forget what is due to arrive on what day, so keep a list of the various delivery timings so you’re not caught off guard.
✓Budget: Keep your budget with the planner and make sure that you have written down any pre-agreed fees. This will save time and prevent any headaches if there is a misunderstanding with a supplier during the move. Write down what has been paid and what is outstanding for each supplier to help you keep track of payments. (For guidance on this topic, read Maja’s top tips for budgeting on Home Club ME.)
✓Local amenities: Do some research to find the nearest hospital, pharmacy, grocery store and ATM by your new property in case of emergency.
*DO keep your property management agencies informed
Make sure you tell both property management agencies when you are moving in and moving out of the respective properties or villa communities. You will need approval for this and it can take a few days to process. Several documents will need to be submitted including copies of your tenancy contracts, NOCs from both your current and new landlord, copies of the Emirates IDs of each individual mover as well as a copy of the moving company’s third party liability insurance. You cannot just show up with a moving truck and expect to be let in to the building or community, so as soon as you know your moving date, start the approval process. If you’re moving in or out of an apartment building, once you have approval it’s important that you ask the management in both buildings to book the service lift to prevent it from being booked by someone else when you need it.
*DO have a property overlap
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can give anyone looking for a stress-free move. Yes, it means starting your contract on the new property a little early and because of that your rent for that month will be slightly higher as you are paying for both properties, but having a week (or better yet, two weeks) where you can slowly get the place ready will save you so much stress. We got the keys to our new home 10 days prior to our actual moving out day. We spent the first four days repainting the property (read more about my lessons in decorating in the next instalment of The Moving Diaries), then we changed the lighting fixtures in the ceilings and, once all the handyman work was completed, we brought in a cleaning company to do a deep clean of the entire property. Only once this was done, we finally moved our furniture — and ourselves — into our new home. Not only did this 10–day window allow us time to get the property ready step by step, but it also enabled us to get a better sense of the space as the look came together, which helped us decide where to put the key furniture pieces.
*DO organise your electronics
Take a photo of the back of the TV, label your chargers and try and keep wires and pieces that go together in one bag. If you are anything like me, this will be the biggest headache of unpacking if you miss this step.
*DON’T choose the cheapest moving company
Three days before our move the company we had booked called to say they could no longer do the job. The management in our new building needed a copy of their third party liability document (which the moving company had assured us that they had) but as it turned out they were not fully licensed and were hoping the building’s management team wouldn’t mind. It caused us an incredible amount of stress. Luckily, we were able to find a replacement company called The Box on short notice and, despite being more expensive, they were worth every dirham. A team of 10 people showed up on the moving day and wrapped each individual item with care. They were professional, experienced, and made me feel at ease about the entire process. They even provided an electrician service at a small extra fee who helped us put the TV on the wall in our new home at the end of the moving day. Please learn from my mistake and go with a good company from the start; it is worth it.
*DON’T wait to connect your utilities
You want these up and running by moving day, which reiterates my earlier point about overlapping the end and start dates of your rental contracts. Due to the considerable amount of paperwork required, setting up utilities can take anywhere between a day to a week, so give yourself plenty of time to ensure there is electricity, water and working AC in the new property when you start your move. Similarly, don’t turn off your utilities in your old place too soon or you will be left moving in 30-degree heat with no AC — we made this mistake and I wouldn’t recommend it!
*DON’T buy last-minute groceries
You do not want to be left with a fridge or freezer filled with food when it is time to move. Go through your pantry and make an inventory, then try to plan the meals you cook in your last week or two based on the items you have left in your cupboards. This will help lighten the load and reduce the risk of frozen and refrigerated food going off or soggy on moving day.
*DO deep clean your furniture before moving
A fresh start means fresh furniture. You don’t want to find yourself in your sparkling new home with a dusty rug or a sofa covered in dog hair. Before our move we sent all of our rugs for a deep clean (Home Club ME recommends Champion Cleaners for this service in the UAE) and arranged for them to be delivered to our new property.
Stay tuned for more moving advice from Maja in The Moving Diaries series, exclusive to Home Club ME, where she reveals her essential tips for decorating, dealing with emotions and conflict, plus the moving day itself. Find more interiors and DIY advice with expert guides, and discover a number of companies that will help you with your move on our list of Home Club ME approved vendors.