Whether it’s for a career move, a significant other or the sheer sense of adventure, a move to a new city is full of possibilities. But it can also be full of dollar signs. Before pulling up stakes to experience life in another part of the country, get acquainted with some hidden costs so you’re not left out in the cold when you get there.
If you’re preparing to sign a new lease or close on a home, know that even if you think you’ve budgeted for a new lifestyle, a move can add several hundred or even thousands of dollars to your estimate. Before finalizing your plans, consider eight moving issues that can create financial challenges.
You’re moving from one place to another and plan to shift your belongings accordingly, so storage isn’t a factor, right? Well, maybe. Unforeseen delays in closing on a home or the availability of a living unit are common enough that some have parked their belongings in storage until their situation clears up. Or, maybe you underestimated the size of the new place, so you may need to move large and extraneous items into storage while coming up with a solution.
With an out-of-state move, you’ll want to research your new home’s tax situation. Understand the state’s sales tax rate and its impacts on your day-to-day budget, as well as variations in income, property or other state and local taxes. Even with an in-state move, your new community may have some local taxes that aren’t required in your current city.
When hiring movers to do the heavy lifting, don’t jump at the lowest price you see. Dig into the fine print to understand how they’re charging, how many movers will be on site and if you’ll be subject to additional fees for large items or stairs. Plus, find out how much you’d have to pay per day to leave items on the truck should any issues hold up your plans.
Ask around for recommendations and check company reviews. More experienced movers may cost a little more, but they may save money in the long-run with fewer damaged items that need replacing. If you decide to do the packing yourself, quality boxes, bubble wrap and tape will also set you back.
If you expect to move and set up a tranquil bedroom in your new home all in one day, it’s likely your ambitious plans may be just that. By the time evening rolls around, you may be ready to lock up and head to the nearest hotel to recharge in a fully equipped and decorated suite. Even if you are determined to sleep on the floor, be prepared with emergency cash should a hotel end up being a necessity due to a mix-up in getting keys or some other problem impacting your progress.
Utility costs can vary from region to region. If you’re working with a realtor, ask if they can procure utility bills from the past year to get a sense of seasonal fluctuations and average costs. Contact utility companies ahead of a move to learn if they charge additional fees for getting connected. The same goes for cable or satellite TV companies – and be sure to find out if you’ll be terminating any agreements early at your current home, as cancelation penalties could apply.
Moving into a new rental means you’re likely on the hook for application fees, first and last months’ rent, pet deposit (if applicable) and a security deposit. Does that security deposit sound familiar? It could be that your current rental may owe you. For the best chance at getting money back, clean your unit thoroughly and repair any damage after all your stuff is out, as landlords will look for any reason to keep the cash.
Like just about everything else, insurance rates vary from place to place. Auto insurance rates may reflect, in part, local accident and theft rates. Renters insurance will take into consideration where you live, and additional homeowner insurance is recommended in some parts of the country where events like flooding, tornados and earthquakes are a reality.
8. Cost of Living
While a modest salary can provide a comfortable living in a place like Boise, you’ll need to adjust your standards if you’re setting your sights on Seattle. In addition to higher costs of housing, you can expect to pay more in Seattle for things like groceries, personal services and medications. Check out cost-of-living calculators online to compare communities.
As with any big venture, investing time into research and planning can help eliminate costly surprises, and setting more money aside for moving will provide the financial security to deal should the unexpected occur. And if it’s all smooth sailing, you’ll have those extra funds on hand to make your new place a home.