Average Moving Costs and How to Cover Them

By Janet Siroto · December 19, 2023 · 5 minute read

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Average Moving Costs and How to Cover Them

Moving is part of most people’s lives. Maybe you’re heading to grad school a couple of towns away. Or perhaps you have a job offer hundreds of miles away that you’re excited to accept.

Whatever the reason, the logistics of getting your stuff from the old place to the new one will need wrangling. Here, you’ll learn more about your options for moving, how much it may cost (from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands), and how to afford the expense.

DIY Moving Costs

Yes, you could move yourself. This could be a smart move for a small, local move, and it can help keep costs within your budget.

Exactly how much this might cost will be based on several factors:

•   Cost of transportation (can you borrow a friend’s van or do you need to rent one)?

•   Cost of the packing materials you use (recycled boxes and old newspapers vs. the pros’ higher-end and job-specific supplies

•   How much stuff you’re moving (and if you need to figure out insurance for any pricey items)

•   How far you’re going

•   Whether you need to store some things temporarily.

As you might guess, packing up the contents of a dorm room and moving it half a mile away to the apartment you’re renting with friends will cost one amount. Supplies might cost, say, $65.

Loading up the contents of the sweet bungalow you’ve been living in for a couple of years and depositing your worldly possessions at a new place 1,000 miles away will be a much more involved and expensive undertaking. Packing materials alone could be a few or several hundred dollars, and renting a moving truck could be anywhere from $20 to $100 per day, depending on your local cost of living. Also, you will likely have to pay to stay somewhere overnight and also spend at least a couple of hundred dollars on gas, dollies, and insurance.

💡 Quick Tip: Some personal loan lenders can release your funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved.

Full Service Moving Costs

If you decide a full-service move best meets your needs, you’re probably going to want to gather some estimates, so you can nail down the details and be ready when it’s time to go. Some pointers as you do so:

•   Also, do check ratings and references carefully. There are plenty of instances of fraud and scams in this realm, and it’s wise to protect yourself.

•   Booking your truck four to eight weeks in advance is typically a good rule of thumb — maybe even further out if you’re moving in the busy summer months.

•   Professional moving companies can give you an estimate based largely on how many rooms of furniture you have. Most have websites, so you can often get a quick estimate online. A typical local (or fairly local, not long-haul) move for a three-bedroom home is about $2,100.

The average moving costs if you relocate cross-country can easily be twice that, or $4,300 for a distance of about 1,225 miles. Keep in mind, specifics will vary. Oversized or extremely heavy items might cost you extra — as could lots of stairs, or things that need to be taken apart and put back together.

Recommended: Average Personal Loan Rates

Extra Moving Costs to Think About

Then there are the extras that go along with getting out of one place and into another.

•   Transportation: If you’re taking your car across the country, you’ll probably want to get a tune-up before you go. And then there’s gas, hotel stays, and eating on the road. Having a car transported instead of driving it yourself could cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000.

If you’re in a hurry and decide to fly, that’s another expense. And if you’re taking a pet, you may have to add a little bit more to your overall bill, depending on the mode of transportation you choose for your furry friend.

•   Getting into your new home: Don’t forget about deposits you might have to make at your new location. That could be anything from first and last month’s rent and a pet deposit at a new apartment, to utility deposits at a new house.

•   Home repairs and cleaning: Be ready to pay for some home repairs on both ends of your move. You may have to make some quick fixes to get out of your rental without losing the deposit or maybe even major repairs if you’re selling a home. When you get to your new location, you could find some unexpected problems. Or you may just want to hire someone to come in and clean so you can cross that off your ever-growing moving to-do list.

•   Starting out fresh: You’ll probably need to buy some things at your new home (like curtains, curtain rods, hangers, bedding, etc.) that are easily overlooked. Then there’s that fridge to fill. All those little costs can add up.

•   Cash for tips: You will likely need to withdraw money from an ATM to thank people for their help when you move. Tips for the movers. Tips for the handyman or housekeeper who helps you get things in shape. Tips at your hotel. Tips for waitstaff at the restaurants you’ll be eating at until you get your new place up and running—or at the very least, tips for the pizza delivery guy.

Recommended: Typical Personal Loan Requirements Needed for Approval

Financing Your Move

If you have enough room on multiple credit cards, you could go that route, but should you? Interest rates can be considerable.

Or would a personal loan make more sense for you to cover all those costs, big and small?

Remember, even if you’ll be reimbursed by your employer or plan to take some moving deductions when you file your tax return, it’s very likely you’ll be paying at least some moving costs up front. And the longer those expenses sit on a credit card, the more interest racks up.

The Takeaway

Even if you have a small amount of stuff and aren’t moving very far, moving takes time, energy, organization, and money. With the average professional move costing a couple of thousand dollars, you may want to plan carefully for this expense. It’s likely not a good reason to dip into your emergency fund, so you may want to save in advance or consider a personal loan. If you qualify for a personal loan, your interest rate may be lower than a credit card, which can free up some cash and reduce your money stress.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

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