Pre-move Survey Guide: Essentails for Smooth Relocation

So you’ve decided to move.

It’s an exciting step, but also one that requires careful planning to ensure your belongings arrive safely.

A crucial part of this preparation is the pre-move survey.

This guide will explain what it involves, its benefits, and how to get ready for it, helping you manage this important process smoothly.

A pre-move survey is a comprehensive assessment conducted by moving companies before the actual moving day.

This survey involves a professional surveyor visiting your home or conducting a virtual walkthrough to evaluate all items that need to be moved.

The primary purpose is to create an inventory list, estimate the total volume and weight of your belongings, and note any special requirements or considerations for the move.

The importance of a pre-move survey in the moving process cannot be overstated.

It serves several crucial functions:

  • Accuracy in Cost Estimation: The survey provides detailed information that enables moving companies to offer an accurate quote for their services, reducing the likelihood of unexpected costs.
  • Customized Planning: Each move has unique aspects; the survey allows movers to tailor their services to specific needs, such as identifying items that require special packing or handling.
  • Efficiency and Safety: By understanding the scope of the move, movers can allocate the right resources, such as manpower and equipment, ensuring the move is efficient and safe for both the belongings and the moving team.

An in-home pre-move survey is the best way to ensure accurate moving costs and tailored planning, reducing the likelihood of unforeseen issues on moving day.

What Exactly is a Pre-Move Survey?

A pre-move survey is a detailed evaluation conducted prior to a relocation to assess all items to be transported.

This crucial process is typically carried out by a professional surveyor either through an in-person visit or a virtual walkthrough.

The surveyor’s task is to catalog each item, noting its condition and any special handling requirements it might need.

This information is crucial for preparing an accurate moving quote and planning the logistics of the move, including the appropriate packaging materials, transportation mode, and manpower needed.

Detailed Explanation of a Pre-Move Survey

During a pre-move survey, the surveyor will:

  • Inventory Each Item: Each piece of furniture, box, and special item is listed to ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Assess Item Condition: The surveyor notes the existing condition of items to manage expectations and handle claims if damages occur during the move.
  • Measure Volume: Estimations are made to determine the total volume of the goods, which influence the size of the transport vehicle and cost.
  • Identify Special Requirements: Any items needing special care, such as antiques, artwork, or electronics, are noted for special packing and handling.
  • Discuss Moving Details: Dates, special instructions, and preferences from the homeowner are discussed and incorporated into the moving plan.
MobiSurvey is the industry standard for in-home surveys.

What is the Difference Between Virtual and In-Person Surveys?

In-Person Surveys:

  • Pros:
    • More accurate assessment, as the surveyor can physically interact with and measure items.
    • Better for identifying special care items and discussing specific concerns directly with the homeowner.
  • Cons:
    • Requires scheduling a specific time when both parties are available.
    • Might be intrusive for some homeowners.

Virtual Surveys:

  • Pros:
    • Convenient and can be scheduled more flexibly.
    • Quick and less intrusive, as no one needs to physically enter the home.
  • Cons:
    • Relies on the homeowner’s ability to effectively show every item via camera, which might miss hidden details or misjudge item conditions and sizes.
    • Potential technical issues, such as poor internet connectivity or inadequate video quality, could impact the accuracy of the survey.

Both methods have their merits and can be chosen based on the homeowner’s preference, the complexity of the move, and the level of detail required.

Virtual surveys offer a modern, flexible approach, especially beneficial during times when health concerns or distance make in-person evaluations challenging.

In contrast, traditional in-person surveys provide a depth of accuracy and personal touch that can be crucial for large or complex moves.

Based on widespread positive customer feedback, Yembo is a preferred choice among movers for conducting virtual surveys.

An in-home survey is generally the best option because the surveyor is responsible for assessing the volume of goods to be moved.

What Are the Key Components of a Pre-Move Survey?

A pre-move survey includes several critical components that ensure the moving process is well-organised and efficient.

Each component plays a specific role in preparing for a successful move.

Inventory List

The inventory list is a comprehensive catalog of all items that need to be moved.

During the survey, the surveyor systematically records each item, typically using a digital device or a clipboard.

Items are categorized by room and type – for example, kitchen appliances, bedroom furniture, or living room electronics – to streamline packing and unpacking.

High-value items are often listed separately to ensure they receive extra attention and care.

This detailed listing helps in organizing the packing process and ensures that all items are accounted for during the move and upon arrival.

Condition Report

The condition report is a critical document that records the current state of each item before the move.

This report includes detailed notes and, often, photographs of items, especially those that are fragile or valuable.

The purpose of this report is twofold: it helps in managing the expectations of both the moving company and the homeowner regarding the condition of each item, and it serves as a baseline for any insurance claims for damage incurred during the move.

By documenting the pre-move state of items, both parties are protected, and disputes can be resolved more efficiently.

Volume Estimation

While weight is not a significant factor in New Zealand moving practices, estimating the volume of items to be moved is crucial.

Volume estimation involves measuring the cubic space that items will occupy in the moving truck.

This measurement is essential for determining the size of the vehicle needed, which in turn affects the logistics and cost of the move.

The surveyor uses tools and experience to estimate the space that furniture, boxes, and other household items will require.

Proper volume estimation prevents issues such as insufficient space on moving day or the unnecessary cost of an oversized vehicle.

Each of these components – the inventory list, condition report, and volume estimation – are integral to planning and executing a move that is as stress-free and efficient as possible.

They ensure that all aspects of the move are transparent and well-documented, leading to a smoother transition to the new location.

What Are the Benefits of a Pre-Move Survey?

Conducting a pre-move survey is an integral step in the moving process, offering significant benefits that can transform a typically stressful event into a well managed and predictable experience.

Here are the key advantages of completing a thorough pre-move survey:

Accuracy in Quotation

One of the primary benefits of a pre-move survey is the accuracy it brings to moving quotations.

By assessing the actual volume of goods and understanding specific requirements firsthand, moving companies can provide homeowners with precise and transparent cost estimates.

This eliminates surprises on moving day related to unexpected costs for additional space or special handling needs, allowing both parties to agree on a fair price based on realistic expectations.

Accurate quotes not only facilitate better budget planning for homeowners but also build trust and credibility between moving companies and their clients.

Planning and Logistics

Effective planning and logistics are essential for a smooth moving process, and a pre-move survey significantly enhances these aspects.

With detailed information on the volume and type of items to be moved, as well as any special requirements such as disassembly or special packaging, movers can allocate the right resources, such as the correct size of moving trucks and the appropriate number of personnel.

Furthermore, knowing the layout of the new location can help movers prepare for challenges such as narrow doorways or lack of elevators, ensuring that all logistical aspects are considered and planned for in advance.

Risk Reduction

A pre-move survey helps in significantly reducing the risks associated with moving day.

By identifying fragile items, valuable goods, and special handling needs during the survey, movers can take necessary precautions to protect these items.

Additionally, the survey provides an opportunity to discuss and plan for potential obstacles at both the old and new locations, such as small entryways, complex property layouts, or restricted parking.

This proactive approach minimizes the likelihood of last-minute issues, damage to property, and personal stress, thereby ensuring a smoother and more secure move.

How to Prepare for a Pre-Move Survey

Preparing for a pre-move survey can significantly streamline the moving process and enhance the accuracy of the survey results.

Homeowners can take several steps to ensure the survey is as efficient and thorough as possible.

Here’s how to best prepare for the visit from a surveyor:

Steps Homeowners Should Take Prior to the Surveyor’s Visit

  1. Clear Access: Ensure that all areas of your home are accessible. Remove any obstacles that might hinder the surveyor’s ability to see and record items. This includes clearing clutter from around furniture, opening cabinets, and ensuring that attics, basements, or storage areas are accessible.
  2. Organize Your Items: Group items that you plan to move together, and consider separating items that will not be moved or are to be discarded. This helps in creating a more accurate inventory and ensures nothing is mistakenly listed or omitted.
  3. Create a Checklist: While the surveyor will conduct a thorough check, having your own checklist of items, especially valuable or fragile items, can help ensure nothing is overlooked during the survey.
  4. Identify Items Needing Special Handling: Clearly mark or set aside items that require special packing or handling, such as artwork, antiques, or electronics. Inform the surveyor about these items in advance so they can prepare accordingly.
  5. Prepare Questions: List any questions or concerns you may have about the moving process. This could include questions about transit insurance, the moving timeline, or packing procedures.

Information You Should Provide to the Surveyor

  1. Special Instructions: Communicate any specific instructions or preferences you have regarding the move. This may include your preferred moving dates, any items you intend to move yourself, or specific instructions for handling certain belongings.
  2. Details of the New Location: Provide information about the new location, especially if there are potential challenges such as narrow stairs, limited elevator access, or restricted parking. This helps the surveyor plan logistics more effectively.
  3. Inventory of Non-Visible Items: If there are items that won’t be immediately visible during the survey, such as items currently in storage or lent out to friends, provide a list or description of these items.
  4. Past Moving Experiences: Sharing insights from any past moving experiences can be useful, especially if there were issues that could be avoided this time around.

Choosing the Right Survey Method

When planning a move, one of the initial decisions to make is whether to opt for a virtual or an in-person pre-move survey.

Both methods have their unique advantages and considerations, and choosing the right one depends on several factors related to your specific situation.

Comparison of Virtual vs. In-Person Surveys

Virtual Surveys:

  • Advantages:
    • Convenience: Can be conducted remotely at any convenient time, reducing the need to coordinate schedules.
    • Speed: Typically quicker than in-person surveys, as they can be conducted via video calls without the need for travel.
    • Safety: Ideal during situations where health concerns (like pandemics) make in-person interactions risky.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Less Detail: Relies on the quality of the video feed and the homeowner’s ability to adequately showcase their home, which might result in less detail and accuracy.
    • Technical Requirements: Requires a stable internet connection and a capable device on the homeowner’s part.

In-Person Surveys:

  • Advantages:
    • Accuracy: Allows the surveyor to physically inspect and measure items, leading to a more precise assessment.
    • Personal Interaction: Facilitates a better understanding of specific needs and preferences through direct communication.
    • Problem Identification: Enables the surveyor to identify potential issues that might not be visible through a video, such as access difficulties or fragile item conditions.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Logistics: Requires scheduling a specific time when both the homeowner and the surveyor are available.
    • Intrusiveness: Some might find the physical presence of a surveyor in their home to be intrusive.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Survey Method

  1. Size of the Move:
    • Larger moves with more items or complex requirements (like antiques or custom furniture) might benefit more from an in-person survey to ensure all details are accurately captured.
    • Smaller or straightforward moves could be sufficiently handled via a virtual survey.
  2. Location:
    • If the current home is located in a remote area, a virtual survey might be more practical to save on travel time and costs.
    • Urban settings with easy accessibility might favor in-person surveys for better precision.
  3. Availability:
    • Busy schedules might necessitate the convenience of a virtual survey.
    • If both parties can easily coordinate a time, an in-person survey could be more beneficial.
  4. Personal Preference for Interaction:
    • Some homeowners may prefer direct, personal interaction to build trust and express specific concerns more clearly.
    • Others might favor the less intrusive and quicker option of a virtual survey.
  5. Health and Safety Concerns:
    • Current health guidelines and personal health concerns can also dictate the preferable method, with virtual surveys providing a contactless option.

Common Challenges and Solutions in Pre-Move Surveys

Pre-move surveys are essential for a smooth moving process, but they can encounter several challenges. Here’s how to address these issues effectively:

Common Challenges

  1. Incomplete Inventory: Sometimes, items may be overlooked or not properly recorded during the survey.
  2. Miscommunication: Differences in expectations between homeowners and surveyors regarding the move details.
  3. Technical Issues (for virtual surveys): Poor internet connectivity or inadequate video quality can hinder the accuracy of virtual surveys.
  4. Access Issues: Restricted access to certain areas of a home can prevent a thorough assessment.

Solutions and Tips

  1. Thorough Preparation: Homeowners should ensure all areas are accessible and all items are visible to the surveyor. Preparing a list of items beforehand can also help in not missing anything.
  2. Clear Communication: Discuss all aspects of the move with the surveyor beforehand. Clearly communicate special requirements and confirm all details in the survey report.
  3. Technical Check: For virtual surveys, test the technology before the survey to ensure a stable connection and functional equipment.
  4. Prior Notification: If there are known access issues, notify the surveyor ahead of time so alternative arrangements or additional tools/equipment can be planned.


What should I do if I can’t be home during the pre-move survey?

If you cannot be present during the survey, consider arranging for a trusted friend or family member to be there in your place.

Ensure this person is well-informed about your belongings and any specific instructions you may have.

Alternatively, for virtual surveys, you could provide a detailed video tour of your home in advance.

How long does a pre-move survey typically take?

The duration of a pre-move survey depends on the size of your home and the volume of items to be moved.

Generally, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes for a small apartment to several hours for a larger house.

Virtual surveys might be slightly quicker but depend on the efficiency of the video walkthrough.

Is there any cost involved in a pre-move survey?

Most reputable moving companies offer pre-move surveys free of charge as part of their quote process.

It’s advisable to confirm this upfront as policies may vary between companies.

Can a pre-move survey help in reducing the cost of my move?

While the survey itself does not directly reduce moving costs, it helps in obtaining an accurate estimate which can prevent unexpected charges on moving day.

Moreover, it allows you to discuss different service options and perhaps choose a more cost-effective package based on the survey results.

What happens if items are added or removed after the pre-move survey?

Notify your moving company as soon as possible if there are any changes in the inventory.

Most companies are fle xible and can adjust the plans and quotes accordingly.

However, significant changes might require a revised survey or an update to the moving logistics.

Should I pack my belongings before the pre-move survey?

It is not necessary to pack your belongings before the survey unless you plan to move them yourself.

The surveyor needs to see your items to assess their condition and plan for appropriate packing materials and methods.

If you are self-packing, mention this during the survey so it can be taken into account.