No matter how excited you might be about moving—whether it’s for work, to be near family, to get a bigger house in a better neighborhood, or just for a new adventure—the logistics of getting your stuff from the old place to the new can be daunting.
Just timing everything so that you’re out of one home and into the next when you need to be is stressful enough. But you also have to figure out how you’re going to move all your belongings, how much it will cost, and how you’re going to pay for it. Even if your company is offering a relocation package, you may want to be prepared to pay a few bills along the way.
The challenging thing about making a big move is that it’s usually never just about getting your goods from Point A to Point B. Before you go, you’ll probably want to get all of your financial ducks in a row.
If you’re leaving family and friends behind, you may need extra time to say goodbye. And if you’re bringing a roommate, spouse, or kids with you, you’ll want to be sure they’re squared away and happy. Depending on your budget, your timeframe, and your desire to DIY, you have a few basic options for how you can choose to move:
• You can pack everything yourself, load a truck, drive to your destination, and unload your belongings in your new home.
• You can pack everything yourself, load it into a portable moving container and have it delivered to your destination, then unpack it yourself.
• You can pack everything yourself, hire a moving company to load a truck, get your stuff to your new home and unload it, then unpack your boxes yourself when you have time.
• Or you can hire a moving company to pack everything for you, transport it all to your new place, then unpack it for you.
DIY Moving Costs
How much any of those options might cost will be based on several factors—from the packing materials you use (recycled boxes and old newspapers vs. the pros’ higher-end and job-specific supplies), to how much stuff you’re moving, and how far you’re going. If you need to store some things temporarily, that also will add to your bill. Even a DIY move can add up by the time you pay for gas and insurance.
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. 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.
According to the American Moving and Storage Association , the average cost of a local, or intrastate, move is about $2,300 (for four movers at $200 per hour).
The average cost of moving cross-country is about $4,300 (for a distance of about 1,225 miles). Both averages are based on moving approximately 7,400 pounds of furniture, appliances, and boxes. 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.
Of course, the farther you’re moving, or the more stuff you have, the more expensive your move could be. If you’re single and just starting out, you might not have accumulated much furniture yet—or you may be ready to leave what you have behind. But if you’re going with a partner, maybe kids, and all that entails, your household moving costs could be much higher than the average.
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 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 possibly want to buy some things to make your new home your own, like curtains, bedding, or towels. Then there’s that fridge to fill. All those little costs can add up.
• Looking good—Okay, this doesn’t have anything to do with moving your stuff, but if you’re relocating for a new job, you’re likely going to want to start off with at least a few new work clothes. (Maybe buy them in the new city, though, so you don’t have to move them.)
• Cash for tips—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.
Financing Your Move
If you have enough room on multiple credit cards, you could go that route, but should you? 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.
But if you qualify for a personal loan, your interest rate may be lower than a credit card, which can free up some cash for tips, gas, and food. Because when it comes to bargaining, cash is king.
With an unsecured personal loan from SoFi, you can find your rates in minutes and apply online. You can also set up manageable payments and there are no prepayment penalties or hidden fees.
When you borrow with SoFi, you get all kinds of perks, including complementary career coaching that could help make your transition to a new job go more smoothly.
When you’re weighing the pros and cons of moving expenses—and wondering if your budget is built to pay for what you need and want—a personal loan could help. Having the cash you need on the front end can potentially help give you the flexibility and the freedom to focus on your future success.
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This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice about bankruptcy.