How Much Does it Cost to Move? 16 Extra Costs to Account for in Your Relocation Budget
It doesn't matter if you're moving across the country or to the next town over, there's always a way to save on relocation costs. However, there are other "hidden" costs that could have you spending more money than you've bargained for. By setting aside an allowance to cover the costs associated with moving, you'll help the process go smoothly and ensure that when the big day comes you're well prepared.
1. Dining Out
You may already know that when you move you're going to be dining out or ordering takeout a bit more considering your dishes and cooking utensils are packed away. And frankly, you may be too exhausted to even think about whipping up a meal, no matter how simple it is.
There's nothing wrong with any of the above, but you could find yourself reaching for your phone to get food delivered or driving to the nearest restaurant a few days before and after the move.
To prevent going out as often, head to your nearest grocery store and grab some disposable cutlery and food — frozen goods and microwave meals absolutely count. There are even supermarkets that deliver groceries for free or at a low cost. That way, even if you're tired, there's still food in your home.
2. Professional moving services
When you decide to hire a professional mover, you’ve already weighed the pros and cons of doing it yourself vs getting a team of experienced professionals. But make sure to include additional costs that can be included with the overall moving costs. These can include additional fees for distance, packing services or supplies, additional fees for moving large or heavy items, stair or elevator fees, specialty movers or handling for artwork, for example, any parking fees, tickets or permits that may be applicable. You’ll also want to add in tips for service, and the potential cost of supplemental moving insurance.
When are you moving? This may seem like a small point but the time of day, day of week, holidays, or overtime hours used can all have an impact on your overall moving budget. The best advice is to plan ahead. Think about how much time you need to be ready to move and when you’ll need to actually get yourself and your stuff from point A to point B. The more advanced notice you have, the better.
How will you, your family, any pets and vehicles get to your new place? Think about whether your move involves flights and how you’re going to handle transporting things like cars. Make sure to factor in a rental car while your vehicles are in transit.
5. Hotel Stays
When you're transitioning from one place to another, you may find that you need to move out of your old place before your new one is ready yet. That means you'll need to find accommodation arrangements. You could be looking at hundreds of dollars just to stay at a hotel and even more if you have a pet and need to put them at a pet boarding facility. That doesn't even count the fees you may need to pay to store your items until you can move in. Your best bet is to see if you can ask friends or family to put you up for a few days. Another alternative is investigating various online services that will help you rent an entire apartment for a fraction of the price of a hotel room.
6. Cleaning Fees
You may have to pay for moving related cleaning and garbage disposal fees at your old home and your new one. Make sure to factor those potential costs in when you’re determining your budget for moving.
Sometimes people who are moving end up having overlap in utilities costs between their old and new homes. You’ll want to consider fees for set up and deposits or turning off utilities, and any change in monthly costs from the old to the new place. There’s no way around these expenses, but we have some ideas on how to save on utilities costs.
Depending on the details of your move, you may end up wanting to put some of your possessions in storage. Storage options range from pods, units, and can include potential overnight fees for multi-day moves.
9. Care Services
Moving is a big job and to make it happen you may need to enlist the help of babysitters, nannies, day cares, or pet sitters. Make sure to think about how much extra time and money you’ll need to allocate to services like these as you prepare to leave your old home and get settled in your new one.
If you’re buying new furniture for your new home, be sure to factor in the cost of assembly, if you need the help. You might save on moving if you disassemble some furniture before you go, but think about whether you want to pay to have someone reassemble it in the new place or if you’ll be doing it yourself. Also, items can get damaged during a move, no matter how carefully they’re packed. If they're sentimental items, you may need to head to a professional to get it repaired. Other items such as plates, small furniture, and electronics may need to be replaced. Furthermore, you may find that your furniture or other items may be too big or that you need to purchase storage items because there isn't enough closet space. If this is the case, you can save money by looking at your local thrift store or neighborhood yard sales.
11. Taxes and Insurance
Before you move, get an idea of how the taxes and insurance costs associated with your new home compare with what you pay now. The rates can differ based on several factors, like location, property type, income, sales and use. If you’re buying a new home, you’ve likely already considered this, but remember that costs can also differ based on these factors for your vehicles, health insurance and utilities.
12. Department of Motor Vehicles
If you live in the U.S and you drive or own a vehicle, you’ll need to include costs of updating your information with the DMV. Especially if you’re moving to a new state, you may need to update your registration, driver’s license, plates and inspection. Check the website for your new local DMV to get an idea of these costs.
When you pay dues to a gym, club or other member fee driven organization, you’ll want to make sure to cancel those payments at the end of the last month you’ll be using the services. Forgetting to cancel services you won’t use once you move can result in unnecessary costs and may incur an early termination fee. Double check the rules ahead of time and make sure to account for memberships you want to set up for the new location as well, since they may include up-front enrollment costs.
14. Renovations and Maintenance
From condo fees to paying for garbage removal or lawn care, costs add up whether you live in an apartment, condo or house. And even in a new place, you may want to make some changes or upgrades. Those costs can run from something as inexpensive as a small painting project – $100 or less for primer, paint and supplies – to a large renovation project like an addition or kitchen remodel – upwards of $10,000. If you purchased an older home, there's always the chance that additional repairs will be needed soon after moving in. Setting aside a reserve fund for home repairs is always a good idea when planning a new move. If a repair or renovation is not urgent, then take the time to shop around for contractors and materials. Work the prices into your budget.
Speaking of renovations and upkeep, it’s good to include repairs, too. When moving a lot of items, floors can get scuffed and walls can get scratches. It doesn't cost a lot to clean up some of the mess, but little expenses do add up. While there isn't much you can do to prevent dents and scratches, you can enlist the help of professional movers who can do the heavy lifting. These services don't have to be expensive either — you can hire by the hour.
16. Cost of Living
We covered this a little under taxes and insurance, but there are other costs of living that may change when your address does. Moving for your career might mean a shift in living expenses. Be sure to do the math before you accept a relocation offer. A cost of living calculator can help you make detailed comparisons, even down to the ZIP code. You might find a lower salary and lower cost of living puts you way ahead, while a higher salary with a high cost of living leaves you strapped for cash.
Simply knowing about these 16 areas that hold potential for extra relocation expenses is a smart start. Your next step is to ask questions about each, understand how the relocation package offered addresses each one, and make sure that you're aware of the costs of relocating before you make that jump. And although we’ve given you 16 cost-related things to think about, remember there are a handful of other tasks to complete before you move. Other considerations to remember include changing your voting registration to your new location, getting a new library card, forwarding your mail, finding new health and dental providers and switching banks, so you have a nearby branch and a convenient way to manage your money.
Relocation costs may stack up but, with a little advance planning, you can minimize them. That way, you can look forward to your new place without added stress.