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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When the Moving Budget Blows Up

My husband and I move often. Most of the time we moved for his job, but sometimes we moved for other reasons, like when we chose to build our houses. This time we're moving for a combination of reasons. Last year, my husband changed positions in his company, doubling his commute time. We figured if we were going to get closer to his work, we should do it now. (And, for the record, yes, we'd like to stay put this time!)


Moving Day
Photo by gavinmusic

Once we signed the contract to sell our home, we switched to high gear to either a. find an existing home to purchase, b. find a home/apartment to rent so we could build a house. We had two non-negotiables--school district and price. It took a month (a very stressful month!!), but we finally found the house perfect for our family, in the school district we wanted, and at a price that would keep our living expenses in check.

The house isn't move-in ready. We're tackling several expensive, time-consuming remodeling projects this summer, and we're excited about it. My husband is extremely handy, and we've done projects on every home we've owned. The big issue? Keeping our costs within our budget.

We prefer to spend money on things like quality carpet for the new house rather than on hiring someone to move us, so we're packing everything and moving with the help of a few friends. We've done this several times in the past, and it's worked great. Plus, this method helps us weed out the stuff we're no longer using and donate or toss it.

But there are costs with a move that can and will blow up, and there's not a whole lot we can do about them.

Things we typically shell out money for in a move:

- Earnest money to "hold" the contract on the new house until closing (this money is returned to you when you close on the house).
- Appraisal fees
- Inspection fees
- Homeowner's insurance for the new house
- Moving supplies (boxes, packing tape, Sharpies, moving truck, possible storage units, etc..)
- Fees to transfer the utilities in our name
- Fees to hook up cable/satellite, phone, high speed Internet, etc...
- If moving out of state, new license plates, registrations, etc...
- Additional food costs. We eat more take-out meals the week before and after the move.

Murphy's Law costs (these are things we've paid for this month that we didn't see coming. Life keeps chugging!):
- Car repairs
- Annual HOA fees when we'll only be in our current house 2 more weeks
- A large dental bill
- Air conditioning repair
- Sports physicals

We've also been getting quotes for the work we're hiring out on the new house. Until every bid is in, we won't know for sure the scope of what we'll be able to accomplish. We've put a few projects on hold for a later date. We've dropped a few others altogether. And we've had to add a couple for maintenance issues.

My husband and I like things a certain way. We both have perfectionistic tendencies, and we are good at making decisions together. Sure, we bicker over stupid things like the timeline or whatever, but we also agree on the big things, like staying within budget and what we can and can't live without.

Every time we've moved, it's been expensive no matter how much we tried to keep costs down. By keeping our expectations realistic, and by knowing there will be 2-3 months of bloated bills, we've been able to keep our sanity intact. And, you know, we always make it through!

I wish I could say that moving doesn't have to be killer on your wallet, but I'd be lying. It always equals plenty of extra expenses for us!

What do you think? Is moving expensive? How do you keep moving costs down?

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

33 comments:

  1. I haven't had to move too often, but just reading about it exhausts me. :) But yay for you having experience, knowing what to expect and going into it with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm...that's half the battle right there! Praying all continues to go well with the move!

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    1. Melissa, it is exhausting, but it's always been worth it. It's fun getting to know new areas and meet new friends. There's usually a 3-6 month adjustment period, though!

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  2. Eek! Moving! Definitely not my favorite thing to do. But when you're settled in your new home, it will all be worth it :)

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    1. I agree! It IS worth it once the dust settles. :)

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  3. We haven't moved in almost 10 years, but we are planning to do it in the next year or so. We didn't have to worry about the costs last time since we were moving from a townhouse rental property. We won't be so lucky this time.

    I hear you about the unexpected costs. Our porch is being rebuilt because the home builders did a crappy job. The porch was falling into disrepair. Can't sell a house when it looks like that. Then there's the new water heater we had to buy last year when the other one died. And the expensive part for the furnace . . . . :(

    Good luck with the move!

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    1. Stina, oh, I'm feeling your pain! Last fall we spent several hundred dollars just finishing projects and updating to get the house ready to sell. The house we're buying, while lovely and solid, will need costly maintenance projects soon.

      If it helps at all, know you're not the only one who is dealing with this! And best wishes when you decide to list and sell. We had a good experience. It took a while, but we had plenty of showings along the way. Also, the area we're moving to is experiencing a minor housing boom. Everything is selling like crazy there! We had a hard time finding a house. You just never know what the market will be like!

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  4. Expensive and stressful, no matter how prepared and well-planned. On the other hand, it can also be tremendously rewarding - a chance to start fresh! And as you said, moving every few years is a wonderful way to cut down on unnecessary possession. Or if you're me, the occasional necessary one that gets thrown out accidentally with the junk.

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    1. Louise, love your attitude--mine is the same! Once I got over the decision making part (do we move closer to his work or stay in this area?), I was able to handle the nitty-gritty stuff. It helps that it's summer and we were able to say goodbye to our friends and close out a school year. :)

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  5. Well, I can relate to it all since we moved ten months ago and are moving again in two months--add in cost to fly a friend to help out, hotel costs for long distance moves and snacks and meals out--it adds up! I am praying God will make your move smooth and quick and easy!

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    1. I can't believe you're moving again! And those are good points about additional costs. Long distance moves definitely get expensive quick!! I am praying for your smooth move too, Terri. Can you believe we're both doing this?? Ha!

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  6. Get your boxes from liquor stores. They are sturdy and small enough for the average person to carry easily. Also check out the Free section of Craigslist. There are usually dozens of ads to give away moving boxes.

    ref: hiring movers
    I did a lot of BBB checks before I hired our mover. Because of a snafu with the bank who sold us our house, we had to cancel our movers and move ourselves at the last minute to a storage facility until the house was ready. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

    We normally move ourselves, but this time we had a lot of heavy furniture and we were much older. Despite my best effort, I blew out my knee lifting something way heavier than I should've attempted. That knee has cost us far more than if we had hired a dozen movers. Not worth it.

    If you use friends, feed them well. :o)

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    1. Ooo, good tips, Maria! I didn't think of Craigslist for boxes! Nice!!

      I am so sorry about your knee and the moving snafu. My heart clenched when I read you had to move everything into storage. What a nightmare! We discussed using PODS if necessary, but so far it looks as if we'll be able to move in okay.

      My husband and I moved ourselves with no help once, and it was ugly. I'm not a body-builder. Moving couches and dressers about killed me! We know better now!!

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  7. We have moved a lot too. We had three apartments in four years, and then finally moved to a house! Yay! I'm so grateful to be in a house and to actually have counter space in the kitchen now, LOL.

    And yes, every time, we asked for our friends' help in moving. They've told us we're not allowed to move again any time soon. We don't plan to. I hate the process. And yes, part of that is because there can be so much money involved. But it helps that now we're more aware of what those are, so next time we move, we can handle it better.

    Good luck as you do your projects!! I want to see before and after pics!

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    1. I'm so glad you have a house!! There's something so wonderful about having a yard and not sharing walls. :)

      I plan on including plenty of before/after shots! So much fun!

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  8. Absolutely. We factor way over what we think we'll spend b/c of all the extras that add up. Scary how little things can add up.

    Exciting times for you, Jill!
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! It's easy to forget the "little" expenses. They sure add up quickly! It's helped us so much that we have experience with it!

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  9. Ugh. I have a similar-yet-different problem. My hubby had a slight midlife crisis and decided he wants to move out of the city now instead of when our kids are our of school (they're teens). We've bought a house (half an hour's drive) that is move in ready (completely reno'd in fact), but to keep our kids in the right school, we can't 'move' for another year. Supporting the bills for two houses? Yikes. Not quite as bad as big renos, but close, cash-wise. And that means two houses to clean!

    Angela, who hates cleaning.

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    1. Ooo, Angela, that's rough. A year can feel like forever when you're in transition (and paying double). I'm sorry! I hope the time passes quickly and that it isn't too stressful!

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  10. There is so much to think about when moving! We only ever moved from apartments to other apartments until we moved into this townhouse. It's exciting to think we might be able to move somewhere else that suits us better in the future, but I know it's going to be stressful. Can't wait to hear more about your new place!

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    1. Honestly, Cindy, the stress is worth it. The only things I really stress about are the ones not in my control. All the other things are just another item on my to-do list!

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  11. Replies
    1. I'm staying put for life. Or at least 10 years. (But that's what I said last time, too!) :)

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  12. That's a huge transition and so much work! Good luck to you! We thought we were going to move and I packed 30 boxes a year ago, but our house didn't sell and my hubby ended up being transferred back closer so luckily we didn't have to. But I still have 25 boxes to unpack. :) And definitely donate much of it since we didn't use it in a year!

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    1. Kelly, are you tempted to just hand all the boxes to Goodwill? Ha! I would be!! Actually, packing and unpacking isn't too hard for us. We're really good at paring down our belongings! I'm glad it worked out okay for you. :)

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  13. Moving is so stressful. My husband and I are military, so we move all the time. Even with the Army packing and transporting our things for us, we often don't know where our next residence is. It's scary moving cross-country and knowing that when you reach your destination, you still have to find a house.

    As for expenses, we also set aside funds to hold the contract and for pet fees. We also set aside money for food, gas, hotels. Usually, it helps to start saving as soon as we get word that we're moving.

    Best wishes with your move! I hope you enjoy your new place :-)

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    1. Whoops, I replied in the wrong place! It's below Gabrielle's comment--sorry!

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  14. As a child we moved quite a bit, so I've tried hard to stay put as an adult! My husband and I owned our first home for eight years and just a year ago we upgraded to a larger home on the river - just a mile away from our other house. I. hate. moving. So I hope we're here to stay, unless God has a different plan. :) Good luck!

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    1. I love the sound of that, "a larger home on the river." Sounds perfect! I hope you're there to stay too!

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  15. We could compare notes for hours, Brandi! Ha! Great tips about extra moving expenses like pet fees, food, gas and hotels. We moved to the east coast several years ago, and we dealt with all those expenses!

    Thanks!!

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  16. I feel for ya, Jill! One thing that we always keep in mind when building/remodeling is to put our money into things that can't easily be changed. For instance, when we built our house we had the piping put into the basement for a bathroom. We didn't build a bathroom for years later, but because the plumbing went in at the time of construction instead of later, it saved us hundreds of dollars. Things like faucets can be replaced years down the road, but a front door - not as easy.

    Good luck!

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  17. I guess I'm lucky. My husband doesn't like to move. So we just don't do it. I never thought that would be a blessing. Good luck, Jill.

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  18. I'd have to agree with you. Though I haven't moved in years. I can see how it would be good to weed out stuff! Best of luck!

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  19. You and your husband seem to have the whole moving thing down to a science.

    I've moved once in the last 28 years, so I can't answer your question.

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