For whatever reason, I get the urge to move every few years.
I don’t know if the urge appears because I grew up in a military family and we were only in the same spot for two to four years at a time or if it is just a natural human urge.
Regardless of the reason, I can’t remember ever living in the same house for more than four years.
Moving has cost us a massive amount of money.
Moving Costs Are Outrageous
Since I have moved multiple times throughout my life, I can safely say that moving is outrageously expensive.
If you’re renting your home, the costs aren’t quite as high as if you own a home, but they’re high none the less.
The Physical Act Of Moving Stuff Isn’t Cheap
When you move, you have to either pay movers to pack and move your stuff or pack and move it yourself.
Either way, you’ll have to spend a crazy amount of time packing your whole house and moving it from one location to the next.
You may be able to find free boxes and packing supplies or you might have to purchase them. You may have to rent a moving truck if you don’t have a truck and trailer or a friend who you can borrow one from.
These costs, while high, are just the tip of the iceberg.
Travel Costs Add Up
Don’t forget, when you move you actually have to travel to your new destination. If you’re moving yourself, the trip will take longer than you anticipate. This means more meals at restaurants and more nights in hotels than you would probably plan for.
Security Deposits Add Up For Renters
If you are renting your home, you’ll have to pay a security deposit on your new rental before you get your security deposit back from your previous landlord. However, if there is any damage to the previous property, you won’t be able to rely on getting all of that money back.
Real Estate Fees Eat Up Money For Owners
If you own your home, you’ll have to sell the house and pay all sorts of real estate agent fees and closing costs. That doesn’t even include any repairs you may have to make after the new buyer provides a list of deficiencies their home inspector found.
To top it off, if you’re buying a new home, you’ll have to pay some closing costs on the new property, as well!
Everyone Pays Utility Costs
Regardless of whether you rent or own a home, chances are you’re going to have to pay for utilities. First, you may have to pay disconnect fees for your old residence. Next, some utility companies require you to put down a deposit prior to starting service at your new residence.
Other utilities, such as cable and internet, require you to pay installation fees and technician visit fees just to get service set up. These fees add up quickly when you consider how many different utilities you’ll be setting up.
While budget billing can make your bills more predictable, these one-off costs typically have to be paid separately.
Costs You Don’t Think About When Moving
While all of the above costs seem rather straightforward and most reasonable people should expect to pay them, there are even more hidden costs that most people don’t factor into their moving decisions.
Your Cost Of Living Will Change
The cost of living in the new area is the biggest potential long term change to your finances. Depending on how far you move, you may be shocked to find out that things like groceries, taxes or insurance costs may be drastically higher in your new location.
I always look at these costs before I consider a move, even just down the street as many of these costs are sadly now determined by your zip code.
Decorating Your New Home May Surprise You
Even though we’ve covered the basic housing costs, one thing very few people consider is the cost of decorating your new home.
While your old furniture and decorations may have fit perfectly with your old space, they may not physically fit in your new space or they may just be visually unappealing due to the characteristics of your new home.
If this is a big deal to you, you may spend thousands to completely change the furnishings in your home and decorate your new house in the way you see fit.
Even worse, you could get stuck paying for furniture for years if you use 0% financing.
Replacing Items Gets Annoying
When you’re moving, some items just don’t seem like they’re worth the effort to move. Normally, we end up throwing these items away, selling them at a garage sale or donating them at the local thrift shop. However, once we arrive in our new home, we figure out that we need many of those items once again.
Whether it is restocking your pantry or buying a kitchen gadget that you realize you miss more than you thought you would, you’ll easily end up spending a good chunk of money on these types of purchases shortly after moving into your new home.
Kids Even Cost More When Moving
Of course, if you have kids, moves can be even more expensive. You’ll have to find new childcare providers and adapt to the new schools your kids will be attending. You may have to buy new uniforms or other supplies that don’t match what your old schools required.
Many Movers Get Trapped With Costly Storage Units
Finally, the last major expense I could think of has never been a big expense for me but has been a huge expense for some people. If you’re downsizing, chances are you’ll end up with a storage unit that comes with a hefty monthly fee.
Most people plan to rid themselves of the unit as soon as they sell or find a place for their stored goods, but few people actually get rid of their units. Sadly, this extra monthly cost could follow you for years after your move.
As a self taught expert in the field of moving, I’ve realized that moving is never as cheap as you think it will be. By the time you’ve lived in the new location for a few months, you’ll realize that additional costs still pop up from the move when you least expect them.
If you’re just moving because you feel the need for change, consider changing something in your home that costs much less than a move would. Even if you spend a few thousand dollar, it may still be cheaper than the full cost of moving.
How often do you end up moving? Why do you move? Did your realize moving costs so much money? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below so others will realize just how much moving costs.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.
Sunday 21st of May 2017
A retiree, I can rent furnished units in different countries. No car, furniture, lawn care or repairs. This is the life for me as long as I am able.
Sunday 21st of June 2015
We moved two years ago, and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Our new neighborhood is great, with lots of friends for the kids living right nearby. The schools are awesome, and the property values are on the upswing.
With that said, we wouldn't move again just because. Your assessment of the costs of the whole thing are dead-on, and increase even beyond that when you get real estate agents involved.
Friday 19th of June 2015
Although the advice makes sense, I don't think it's always a possibility for people to "not" move. Life kind of dictates that sometimes.
In Tokyo, to ensure that you will move frequently as a renter, you are asked to pay an additional month or two of rent every 2 years, as a "present" to your landlord. This ensures that people will switch apartments every 2 years, making the moving companies and real estate businesses happy.
Friday 19th of June 2015
Tokyo seems like an interesting place as far as renting goes. I think a lot of people move to upgrade and those are the people who have a choice. For others who move because of a job or some other factor, they need to make sure that whatever they're moving for is worth it.