Moving can be a very expensive proposition. There are moving costs like truck rental, charges to connect utilities, and hidden costs like broken or damaged belongings that don’t survive the move. Long-term, you may also be moving from a low-value housing market to a higher one, meaning you’ll either increase your mortgage payment or decrease your home size.
While you’re making plans for a new place to call home, look beyond the obvious factors like school districts and traffic congestion. These things come to the forefront quickly, but don’t get a narrow view. There are a lot of other considerations that can cost you money, time, and inconvenience for as long as you stay in your new home.
We often consider the costs of electricity in terms of our usage, favoring better-insulated homes with energy-efficient appliances. But we can also save money on the other side of the electricity bill, namely the rates we pay for those kilowatt-hours.
Certain areas have deregulated electricity markets, giving you more energy options. In those locations, you can actually take advantage of competition between utilities to lower your electricity rates.
Not only do you need to give careful consideration to which company you choose, you may also have the option to move into a deregulated market instead of a regulated one. These areas are defined by state lines, so cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Chattanooga may straddle the two types of states. A little homework can reveal that you should cross that state line daily for the benefit of your utility bill.
We all know there can be considerable variation in mortgage rates. There’s also a lot you can do to improve your credit and qualify for a better rate. Keeping your financial house in order prior to a move can help with that as part of your overall mortgage strategy.
Keep other factors in mind, too, such as property taxes and insurance. If you’ve been a lifelong resident of higher ground, make sure you check flood plains before buying. Any move to the west coast should include earthquake insurance, while the northeast calls for protection from snow and ice damage.
Tax rates can vary dramatically. Talk to local officials about the particulars of tax bills in the various areas where you’re shopping. Individual taxing entities like school districts can change in a matter of a few feet, so get a true profile before deciding.
It’s tempting just to call a company and say, “Come box it up and take it to 488 Main Street in Anytown.” But that can be very expensive. The labor to pack everything and the truck space to transport it will add up, and reckless movers can easily break valuables.
Start with materials. Save up newspapers and boxes for packing. Anything that may be discarded from your workplace should be kept, such as inflatable packing bags and styrofoam “peanuts”.
Then strategize what to actually take with you. Have a moving sale to eliminate unneeded cargo while simultaneously raising funds for other expenses. Pack your most delicate and valuable items in your car instead of a moving truck, and take a few loads yourself when you’re going to the new town to job hunt or perform other tasks.
Moving can be complicated, frustrating, and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. There is a lot you can do to help your bottom line before you ever start to pack. Spend some time doing some research on these topics and make your move smoother.