Moving is stressful. Packing up your possessions and taking your family to a new home requires planning, coordination, and a lot of time. But the most harrowing factor in moving is the cost. Buying or renting is expensive in the first place, but there are many more aspects to budgeting a move than just the down payment on your new place. If your moving budgets have always come up short in the past, here are a few hidden costs that may have caused the overdraw.
Realtors and selling your current home
Using a realtor to find a new place or sell your current one makes the process much less of a headache and sometimes far more profitable. However, this convenience has a cost, and it is quite a hefty one in many cases. Realtors can take anywhere from five to seven percent of what you sell your home for, which is more than it sounds like for such a large sum of money.
Upon selling your home, you may need to pay for inspections or resolve issues with the house or apartment’s legal documentation. Official inspections are more often than not a requirement. Lastly, to terminate your mortgage, you need to hire a mortgage broker who specializes in resolving such issues.
If you’re renting and not buying, there’s a whole other mess of deposits and fees. Landlords typically require some combination of the following, and in some cases, all four:
- Application fee
- Security deposit
- First month’s rent
- Last month’s rent
These fees can stack on top of your other moving expenditures and leave you breaking the bank while you break bread in your new home.
The cost of moving your vehicle is easy to overlook during the initial planning stages of a move, but it calls for more decision-making. Depending on how far you’re moving, it may be more cost-effective to hire a professional car shipping service like Guardian Auto Transport than it would be to make the drive yourself.
If you’re traveling cross-country or any significant distance at all, having your car shipped saves:
- Mileage, wear and tear on your vehicle, and gas money
- Time that you could spend working on other aspects of the move
- Potential for physical injury
However, this service isn’t free, so it can be an unexpected expense weighing down your relocation budget.
To transport your smaller belongings, you’ll have to pack them up yourself. Doing it yourself takes supplies, which can end up costing you hundreds of dollars depending on how many belongings you own. Before buying anything, ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have any bubble wrap or packing tape lying around. Grocery and liquor stores are another lead as they often give away moving boxes for free. Ask around at local businesses, and most folks will be happy to oblige.
It’s essential to research multiple options before selecting a moving company rather than just choosing the first one that pops up on Google. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s searchable database has details on every licensed moving company in the country, specifying each company’s:
- contact information
- safety measures taken
- policies for filing complaints
When you’ve found viable options, compare companies’ pricing and ratings. Once you’ve settled on one, negotiate to see if they’re open to lowering their prices.
Storage and temporary lodging
A relocation is a huge undertaking, and with so many moving parts involved, something unexpected will probably happen. In the case that you’re unable to immediately move yourself and your belongings from one home to another, you’ll need to have storage space to fall back on and a place to stay temporarily.
Losses and damages
Inconveniences may also arise while moving your possessions in the form of losses and damages. Insurance companies provide services specifically for moving to protect against the costliness of severe damage and forgotten belongings. But whether you choose to insure your move or not, always include wiggle room for incidental expenses in your moving budget.
Moving into your new place
When you, your family, and all your stuff finally settle into your new place, a considerable weight lifts. But you’re not done yet.
Decluttering your possessions before packing everything up makes for a much easier move. However, this trimming-down means you’ll need to invest in new belongings once you’ve gotten settled.
In most cases, you’ll need to invest in one or more new utilities for your new home. You may need to pay for Wi-Fi or a washer and dryer. Installation of said utilities costs time and money too. Look into potential costs of the utilities you’ll need and make the necessary allowances in your budget before moving. Otherwise, you could find yourself without Internet access or with an overflowing hamper.
A new home typically means a unique amount of space. Whether you have more room than before or you’ve downsized, your old furniture may not all work in the new area. The cost of new furniture should also be accounted for when planning a move. Figure out what you’ll keep and what you’ll need to dispose of before you start moving and start to shop for replacements and additions, so you know what to expect cost-wise.
Perishables, pantry items, and spices are some of the more inconvenient things to pack in a move. You’ll probably leave a lot behind when you pack up your kitchen, so prepare to make a huge shopping trip to fill the fridge and shelves at your new place.
The planning leading up to a move and moving itself both take up a lot of time, probably more than you’re able to take on while working a full-time job. If you have to take unpaid leave from work, you lose income from all the hours moving takes that you would’ve spent working otherwise. If you receive paid leave, you’re still losing precious vacation time.
Before you go
So, there’s a lot more that goes into moving than packing a few boxes and renting a U-Haul. Your budget should account for the cost of moving your possessions and vehicle, problems you may run into, and lost income, plus all the new belongings you’ll need to buy. At first, the planning required for a move can be overwhelming, but with patience and organization, you and your family will be living happily in your new home in no time.