What's vital to know when you're moving from your apartment
Next time you’re in a big city, cast your eyes up.
See the gleaming pencil tower in the distance: How does anyone ever move in, or out, of a building so compact and tall in the first place?
How does whatever company they hire manage the nuts and bolts of parking nearby, packing their belongings away and moving their furniture to a removal van?
To those who have lived in high-rises before, this question isn’t so academic. Moving from and to apartments in skyscrapers can be challenging to say the least. Now imagine doing all of this while moving overseas.
With this in mind - if you’re moving internationally from an apartment what should both you and any reputable relocation company know in advance?
What belongings should I take with me?
As far as problems go, this should be your first port of call. Walk around your apartment and itemize what you absolutely must move: Sentimental items, antique furniture you’re particularly fond of, consumer electronics you either don’t want to purchase again or those that would be impractical to purchase again.
Always bear in mind what is going to be done with these treasured belongings: taken out of your apartment itself, out of the apartment complex, loaded carefully into a truck, in all likelihood packed into a shipping container and taken to a new home overseas.
Also give consideration to what can be disassembled. Flat pack beds, bookshelves and other things make a lighter and more convenient load when broken down. Most professional crews, including Crown’s, will come equipped with an idea of what can be taken apart and accompanying Hex/Allen Keys to perform this.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that some flat pack furniture will not necessarily re-assemble as tightly as when it was first put together, so bear this in mind when deciding what to move.
Another crucial question: How easily can you, or others, get into your apartment? Some complexes often have a bizarrely confusing route to one’s residence, so this is an important consideration.
In certain larger, more sprawling apartment complexes – take London’s famous Barbican as an example – service lifts may not be immediately obvious. Sometimes they’re tucked away at the back of the building. You might even need to ask the building’s concierge where exactly it is located.
What floor you’re on is, as alluded to above, also critical. If you’re at the top of one of Hong Kong’s enormous, 80-floor apartment blocks for example, then it is an absolute necessity to ensure both service and residential elevators are capable of supporting crew and heavy loads. Moreover, you’ll want to optimize your moving window outside of rush hour - it makes things easier for you, and it shows concern for other residents too.
A final thing about access conditions - if you’re living in a multi-level apartment with a stairway of its own, you and the moving company you hire will also need to bear this in mind, especially if heavier items are upstairs.
Very large items
As already mentioned, you should have already taken at least a mental list of what you want to take with you. However, what if you have unusually large, heavy items - for example, a beloved full-sized piano - that you want to take with you?
In certain exceptional cases, moving something this large from an apartment may require both special processes and equipment. For example, temporarily removing the door frame, using a piano dolly or even, in extremely rare examples, using a crane. In the case of pianos, particularly professional firms will advise you on locating a piano tuner at your new home when moving something like this too.
It should be stated however, for the overwhelming majority of customers moving overseas from an apartment, this will never be a necessity.
On most international relocations, people want to take at least some of their furniture with them. So the next question concerns heavy goods vehicles. In simple terms: how easily can a truck access your apartment?
In certain apartment complexes, service lifts lead directly down to a parking lot. These are sometimes ideal, but bear in mind if it’s an underground lot, it likely has width and height restrictions which need to be noted in advance. It also needs to be noted that a reputable firm will let the building management company and concierge know of their arrival, and arrange any necessary paperwork, in advance of their using the complex’s car park.
If your relocation firm isn’t able to access the property from an adjacent or interior parking lot, then they’ll need to use a nearby road. In this case they’ll need to be aware of local by-laws and regulations governing Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). Depending upon country and local jurisdiction, these concern things like how long moving vehicles/HGVs can stop for loading, and so on.
As one example, in the U.K. in certain local authorities, your moving firm can apply for a moving permit to guarantee their right to park along certain, otherwise restricted roads.
What should my relocation firm be doing to help?
First and foremost, from the outset, your relocation firm should be identifying exactly what the access conditions of your apartment are.
Most professional firms will send a professional consultant to identify these conditions: access and service lifts, items you plan to move and their volume/dimensions, nearby roads, parking lots, local regulations, everything right down to the width and height of your apartment’s front door.
With Crown Relocations this is done either via an in-person home survey or via a mobile app we’ve developed. If you live in an apartment, are moving internationally and a firm isn’t doing these things, then you should have reason to worry.
When moving day arrives, a professional crew should have access to all of this information mentioned above, and should, as a matter of course, be employing protective material on the floor and certain parts of the wall of your apartment. They should also be taking note of your inventory of what is being moved, ideally through a digital system so the conditions of say, that beloved antique bureau, are comprehensively noted before they’re loaded.
In (very rough) summary, there’s a lot more moving from an apartment than simply shoving stuff onto a truck. Make sure you're prepared when you make a decision.
If you’re planning on an international relocation, then why not get in touch? We’ve helped move millions of people since 1965 and our expertise in carrying out specialist apartment moves is unparalleled.