Before You Move In

Once you have secured your new home by a signed contract and the payment of the deposit has been made you need to start preparations for moving in. There are a number of important tasks you should not neglect as everything needs to be working in your new home the day you move in. It is more practical to arrange most of the work to be done before moving day as once you are in the home you will be mainly preoccupied with unpacking and organizing. Supervising workmen puts an extra unnecessary strain on you.  

Control of Renovation and Repairs

You should have stated a date for completion of repairs and renovations but we advise you not to rush the landlord. You might regret applying pressure at a later stage when you find out that the work is shoddy and many things have not been completed to your satisfaction or at all.   Once you have moved in you need to expect and accept more repairs to be carried out resulting from those problems which only show when you live in your new home for a while. We advise you to not pay the full amount of your first rental before you are completely happy and satisfied.   Drive over to your future home frequently when work is carried out as you may be able to influence the style and material used for renovations e.g. colors and curtains. When it comes to curtains try to choose by yourself within a price limit set by the landlord. If the quality and design of the material available are not to your liking you may offer to pay a little extra by yourself. This is perhaps better than have curtains installed which you take down sooner or later anyway!   Look at the measurements of curtains, carpets and furniture and allocate them before the big move. Things will be very hectic and it helps very much to draw up a floor plan in advance.  

How To Order Your Curtains

When ordering curtains by yourself you need to follow some principal rules as to achieve the desired results: ●  Have the shop staff measure the windows. Do not rely on your own measurements. ●  See a finished product of the shop as a sample before ordering. Keep deposits as low as possible and have the deposit entered in your order form. ●  Specify the return of the deposit in case you are not satisfied with the sample work. ●  Specify the number of pleads you want. ●  Obtain several bids with the same specific requirements as to calculating panels or per foot run. ●  Do not assume anything. Specify even the color of the sewing thread to be used! ●  Ask the amount of fabric needed and allow for pattern matching. ●  Specify lining of curtains as colors fade easily. ●  Specify allowance for side returns and overlaps. ●  Specify everything in writing. ●  Specify a date for completion and installation of curtains. ●  Pay a deposit (about %20 of full price) when you engage a shop to make the curtains.  Make the full payment when last curtain is installed. ●  Do not rush the shop as the result may suffer.

Registration Of Utilities

The requirements for receiving gas, water and electricity vary from country to country. Many application forms have to be filled in. Inquire about payment procedures which may be cash, check, direct debit or Interbank Giro. Prepayments and deposits are common. Read the meter before moving in as not to pay the bills of your predecessor. Note down all numbers of the meter with the agent as a witness. Do not rely on the authorities to come in time.   Garbage In some countries you need to pay for the removal of garbage in other countries this service is paid with the rent. Often the garbage container is missing and you need to check in advance if your landlord has bought a new one.   Gas Gas is provided in form of bottles you may need for the oven and water boilers. There is a supplier tag on the bottles left in the oven or stuck on any place in the oven or kitchen. You need to call the supplier providing your name and address and mentioning if you need any other system to connect to your oven. Check if the gas installation is properly done and approved.
Water supply should be checked the day before you move in. Order a dozen or more water bottles for delivery on moving day just in case there is a problem with the water. You can always use it up for drinking or cooking and the movers may be very happy to drink it as well.
Electricity Ensure that your contract for electricity supply starts the day before you move in and supply is guaranteed. Check all light bulbs as unpacking may proceed until late at night and you do not want to work with insufficient lighting. Try all air-conditions at the same time one day before you move in. You may be in for a surprise! Cool down the house a day before move-in day to drive out humidity and smell of paints etc. Air the house in the evening while checking the density of mosquito frames!
Telecommunication Since it is common for everyone to own at least a mobile phone, it is optional to install a phone at home.  If you really need to, it is best to get a new phone number soon after you moved in. Check the availability of lines and plugs you require. You should be around when the technicians work in your home and install new lines. The same applies for Cable TV and Broadband (cable or fibre) connections.  Applications  can be made in advance at any telecommunications company like Singtel, Starhub, M1 or MyRepublic.
Cleaning And Pest Control Even if stated in your contract be prepared that cleaning does not meet your expectations as standards are simply very different from ours. Ideally you have a maid hired before you move in and have her clean the whole house again, usually bathrooms, cabinets, the kitchen and whatever is above one's head! Alternatively you can supervise the hired cleaning company and show them what you want to be cleaned. Insist on proper cleaning material and appliances but make sure they do not use chloride whenever inappropriate. Come with patience as they always pretend not to understand! At the same time you may ask the pest control to check your house (remember: this should be paid by your landlord!) and walk around through house and garden with them before they start their work. Let them explain the chemicals they use and particularly their effect on nature and humans. Make sure they do not throw the remaining chemicals into your toilet or drains!

Change Of Locks

Have the outside locks of your new home exchanged to security locks with special keys. Order a lock smith only the day before you move in as earlier workers may still need to enter the house with the old keys! Do not pass any new keys on to any worker!

Shopping For The New Home

As you have left many things back home and disposed all your food you need to get organized again and shop for household cleaners, basic food and other important items you may need in the first days. As your mind is probably racing with other problems you should first sit down and list what you need to buy.

Live-in maid's Needs

You need to provide a separate room for her with a bed, a cabinet a chair and a fan. The bed should have a new mattress, bed sheets, a light blanket and a cushion. These items are not expensive and should be bought new. Furthermore you need to give your maid towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo and soap. If the window does not have a mosquito frame the bed should be supplied with a mosquito net.

Hire A Guard In Time

You should make sure that if you need to hire a guard, he is watching your new home as soon as you move in anything. If not possible do not take any chances and have all outside lights switched on during the night. If curtains are available close them and keep one or two lights on inside the house. Switch on your security alarm if available and enter your own code!

Moving In

Inform the Moving Company. If your container isn't on its way by now you have to make sure it leaves home country as soon as possible. Your moving consultant needs to check the environment of your new home and assign people for the job of unloading and unpacking in advance. The sooner they get to know when and where you move in the better.Inquire if tipping for the moving personnel is common and how much one should provide.  Ask for specialists to reassemble furniture as not everybody is able to do this. This expert should be available from day one to the end!   Moving Day Kids and pets have to stay with baby-sitters and new friends on moving day. Make sure you can stay in your temporary home for a day or two beyond move-in as things still will be very chaotic and you will be glad to return to a quiet and cool place at night. Transport all your shopping to the new home, have fridge and freezer switched on and cool down the house. The maid may already sleep in the new home by then. Ask the moving company for transport of your bags and suitcases on the day you move out of the transition home. Confirm this service to be included in the price of the total shipment. Be at the house in time as packers start early in the day when it is still cooler and have a longer break at noon. Unpacking is very hard and strenuous work in the heat of the tropics! Do not expect to move in so fast. Have water and ice at hand for everyone. You may contact your new neighbors and introduce yourself and your family on this occasion. Southeast Asians are generally very friendly and will welcome you. If you do not have a maid eat out or take a sandwich and fruits along. Take a video or photo camera to record damages!
Organizing Unloading The foreman of the packers will do the organizing of this process and you should gladly leave this to him. But you can organize yourself and your partner! Have all room doors fitted with a name, preferably in the local language. Have your floor plan at hand and direct packers with heavy furniture straight to the right place. Ensure the place is not blocked by boxes. Have a look at the loading list a day before and assign a place to items and boxes. This helps tremendously when a quick decision has to be taken and will speed up the general process. Keep the kitchen empty but never leave boxes purposely outside the house. Do not load the storeroom - leave this place empty if possible to allow organizing storage later. Carpets should not be opened up for the beginning.
Organizing Unpacking Insist on total unpacking of boxes if this is stated in the contract. It is definitely possible to store unpacked china and glasses directly in assembled cabinets and not just on any table or shelf in the living room and books can end up in shelves too. You will have plenty of time to re-arrange those items later but get them unpacked at all means.   ●  Unpack in order of the basic needs of your family ●  Starter boxes: unpack bulbs, plugs, extension leads and tools ●  Kitchen ●  Bathrooms ●  Bedrooms ●  Living and dining room ●  Store room ●  Kitchen

▪ Start with the basics and leave less frequently used items for later. A set of pots and pans, the coffee machine, microwave and some plates and glasses are fine for the beginning. If this is your maid's territory she will have her own way of organizing the storage. Leave things to her and come back later if you want to have items and cabinets reorganized.

●  Bathrooms

▪ Unpack First Aid Kit and medication and store them in an air conditioned room or the fridge. Same applies to toiletries and cosmetics. Keep boxes with towels and linen in an air-conditioned room!

●  Bedrooms / Study

▪ Have beds assembled completely (check!), then cleaned by the maid and subsequently put clean sheets on. Check mattresses for humidity first. Unpack comforters and cushions. Clothes should be put on hangers, shoes and leather items stored into a room with air-condition.  

▪ Help the children unpack a few toys and books and leave the rest to them. Have the maid organize their clothes. You can organize the toys and books later.

▪ You will need files and your PC and want to enjoy the comfort of contacting your friends and family by e-mail as soon as possible. The assembly of your PC, Fax and telephones may take longer than expected as extension lines and plugs are missing and adapters are not easy to find.

▪ A copy listing your PC equipment and its plugs should be in your hand carried baggage as advised earlier. You can try to get the required adapter before you move in. Look for plugs and cables in your starter box! Some telephones might not work as expected and you need to keep a mobile phone loaded for the time being.

●  Living Room

▪ Check stability of cabinets and shelves adjustments first. Fill cabinets and shelves with books after cleaning then proceed to unpack decorative items. Unroll carpets last to avoid damage. Unpacked boxes with photos, books, files need to be stored in an air-conditioned room!

●  Dining Room

▪ The dining table needs to be assembled soon - check by all means before use! The table top is needed for unpacking glass and china. Provide table linen from your starter box!

●  Storeroom

▪ Leave to last and never store unpacked boxes in there! Store mirrors and pictures in a quiet corner and ask the moving company to send a handyman after a couple of days only. Same applies for lamps to install.

The Damages and Losses Ideally damages are recorded by the foreman with the number of the box and records of the damage. Make a photo/video. If you unpack by yourself you should not remove the damaged item from the box but leave it as it is to show to the moving company or/and the insurance agent. Be sure to monitor breakage and loss in writing and have damage countersigned by the moving company to evade problems with your insurance company.   Unpacking has to be finished within a stated time and insurers need to be informed accordingly. Never throw any damaged item before you have permission by the insurer as he may want to assess the damage. Repairs should only be started when confirmed by the insurer - they may have their own reliable repairer and restorer. Items that need to be replaced as repair is not possible will only be reimbursed on presentation of a receipt.   Tips When unloading and unpacking is finished you should thank the men and hand the tips openly to their foreman for all others to see. This ensures that the money is shared and not just taken by the foreman instead without his men knowing. Speak some local language to give them special recognition.
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