The One Thing You’re Probably Not Doing When You Move (But Definitely Should!)

published Jan 26, 2017
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(Image credit: Lumina/Stocksy)

Find boxes? Check. Pack your entire life into said boxes? Check. Hire movers to get said boxes to your new home? Check. You’ve got everything for your upcoming move totally covered, but there’s one small-but-important step you might be forgetting: Take photos!

When you’re leaving your current home, it’s important to take photos—seriously, you never know when you might need them to save you later on—and it’s also a good idea to take photos of your new place while it’s still empty. It’s as simple as taking advantage of your smartphone’s camera—your new photo album can help you make the most of your new home and potentially save you money.

When you’re moving out…

It’ll back you up in case of discrepancies

Hopefully this is never the case for you, but if an issue with your previous landlord ever arises, having photos could be the back-up you need to deal with it successfully. When you’re moving from one place to another, take photos of everything in your old apartment after you’ve packed up but before you leave, including close-up details of anything that might be damaged. Be sure to back the images up somewhere safe so you don’t lose them, and that the files show the date and time. If your landlord tries to blame you for any damage or cleaning fees that you know you didn’t cause or deserve, you’ll have proof just in case.

When you’re moving in…

It’ll help you get your deposit back later on

Much like taking photos when you move out, taking photos before you actually move into a new place can help you avoid any possible future issues with your landlord. If there’s damage to the apartment that you didn’t cause, make sure you get photos of that damage in detail so you can prove that it was already there before you moved in (again, make sure the files are timestamped). That way, if you eventually end up moving out, you won’t get charged for issues that were already there. (By the way, it’s best to bring these to your landlord’s attention right away, not when you move out.)

Aside from documenting issues you didn’t cause, taking photos before you move in can help you get your full security deposit back later as well. If you have photos on hand of what the apartment looked like before you moved in, you’ll be able to fix up any damage beyond normal wear-and-tear that you did cause during your stay (think holes in the walls, carpet stains, etc.) and you can compare to make sure everything’s as good as new.

It’ll make planning your decor a lot easier

If you’re anything like me, you probably start planning how you’re going to furnish and decorate your new space before you even get the keys. Even if you measure the apartment before you move in, it can be hard to visualize everything without photos. Sure you’ve probably got the photos from the listing to refer to, but often there aren’t many and they’re taken from weird angles. Take your own photos (I’ve even found having a walkthrough video of the space works well, for seeing all the angles) so you can really get a feel for the space when you’re dreaming about everything you plan to do when you move in.