Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.
If you are moving in to an apartment or condo in Arlington, chances are it is a high-rise, or at least a mid-rise building. Moving in to a building can be challenging, especially if you aren’t prepared. We have a few suggestions so hopefully the only worry you have on moving day is trying to find the box with your coffee mug.
Before Moving Day
- Find out the building’s move-in policies. This is a question to ask prior to lease signing. Most buildings have some rules about scheduling move-ins, especially private condo buildings. Remember, you probably aren’t the only person hoping to move in on a given day, but most buildings only allow use of one elevator, so you want to reserve early. You wouldn’t want to sign a lease for a place only to find out you can’t move in until two weeks later.
- Learn if there are move-in fees. Apartment buildings should provide you a list of fees when you apply. When working with an independent landlord or agent, be sure to find out if there are fees involved to move in. These fees are generally to cover administrative costs for the building management. You may have to pay an elevator fee or deposit as well, to cover any damage to the elevator.
- Check out the loading dock. Most buildings have a loading dock area, and a special freight elevator for residents to move in. Make sure your moving truck will fit near the loading dock or find out where you will need to park your moving truck. If you need street parking, you will have to arrange that with Arlington County early, at least a minimum of 72 hours in advance. The fee is $34 for the permit, plus additional fees for meter closures based on size of the space needed.
- Make sure you start on time. As stated above, you may not be the only person moving in that day, and if someone is waiting on you to finish your move, you don’t want to cut in to their time. Nothing worse than starting out on the wrong foot with the neighbors.
- Keep an eye on the clock. Some buildings are very strict about cut off times. If they tell you that you need to be done by 5:00 p.m., don’t assume that means they will let you go to 5:30 p.m. They may shut you down with your bed still on the moving truck. And many places will fine you if they catch you trying to move items in after hours or in an undesignated elevator. Get the big stuff out first, and maybe you can move a few boxes or suitcases later.
- Make sure all helpers/movers know the rules as well. And if you have a tight window of time to move, make sure they aren’t taking too many pizza breaks. Also, make sure they are careful, not just with your stuff, but with the elevator and common areas. That deposit you pay may go to damage of common areas as well, if your coffee table just happens to put a big scratch in the hall paint.
- Have fees on hand. You may need to pay move in fees and elevator deposits ahead of time when you schedule your move, or you may just need to pay them on moving day. Come prepared with your checkbook or check ahead of time if they accept other forms of payment.
It goes without saying, but we’ll still say it: be courteous to other residents and your new neighbors. Keep noise to a minimum, and respect the designated hours. Many of these rules and restrictions are bit more lenient in managed apartment buildings versus private condo buildings. So be sure to ask any questions you have early. And of course, check out the local take out places so you can grab a quick meal after a day of hard work.
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