Home Insight - Property Value and Home Price Check
Moving: How Much Will It Cost You?
Written by: Lankarge/Nahorney for HomeInsight

Maybe you've done your analysis of whether it makes more sense for you to Remodel or Move and "move" is the right answer; or perhaps you've just accepted the perfect job - 1,000 miles away. Whatever the reason, you now have to nail down just how much this move is going to cost. But where do you begin?

First of all, you need to get an accurate picture of your expenses in a different location. If you don't already know where you'll be living, you must start looking for a new home - or a least a rental from which to launch your new home search while getting accustomed to your new surroundings. But it isn't just the new mortgage and property taxes you will need to consider.

You should also investigate the kinds of bills you are likely to incur year-round. Are you moving to a town where cable television is extremely expensive? Is there a palatable but less expensive alternative such as a satellite dish? How much does gas and heating fuel cost per gallon? If fuel prices are high, is there access to reliable public transportation?

Most folks underestimate what their new life in a new location will cost them. To better prepare yourself, you can use the worksheet below and fine tune it to suit your needs. First add up your income, including salaries and investments. Then add up your future expenses, using the worksheet below as a guide. Estimate as accurately as you can. From your total income, subtract your net expenses. Do the same for your current location and compare your results. This will show you whether, in the long run, your new lifestyle will cost you more, less, or remain about the same.

Estimate the Cost of Your New Lifestyle:
Where to Get the Best Information
  • Go to HomeInsight.com to get real estate listings and home prices.

    While you're there, get important statistics (e.g, financial, civic and weather) for selected cities.

  • At least three real estate or rental agents. Ask them to research home prices for you.

  • The local newspaper. Temporarily subscribe to your future hometown journal. The classifieds will clue you into to home prices and jobs if you happen to be looking for a new one. You can also get a good idea of the cost of living in your future location by perusing grocery and department store flyers.

  • If you are moving due to a new job, see if your employer offers a concierge service that will make calls on your behalf to line up realtors, moving companies, or air travel if necessary.


Monthly mortgage or rent
Security deposit
Condo fees
Homeowners insurance
Trash collection
Property taxes


Commuting cost/parking
Auto insurance
Auto maintenance
Auto registration fees

Everyday expenses

Restaurant meals
Lawn service
Cable television
Hair care
Medical care
Dental care
Kids' activities
Pet care (grooming and veterinary)
Family vacations
Long-distance phone bills

Total = ___________

You Haul? Or Movers?

According to moving professionals, the average move typically costs between 10 to 15 percent of the value of your home. You may save some money by renting and packing your own truck, but again, it pays to research your options carefully. How much your move will ultimately cost depends on many factors, including the time of year when you relocate. The prime moving months are during the summer when children are out of school and at the end of any month. That's when movers and moving equipment will be solidly booked and the most highly priced. If you have the luxury of waiting, a move during January or February could save you significantly.

Moving professionals charge about $25 an hour. Because the industry is regulated when it comes to interstate transit charges, you can use a moving calculator that uses standard industry cost information to help you derive an estimate for long-distance moving. However, keep in mind that each company may have additional charges for various circumstances, such as moving furniture up/down flights of stairs, carrying boxes more than 75 feet from the main door, and moving large items like pianos. Make sure you ask a potential mover about all the possible charges you may incur.

If you do decide to move yourself, don't overlook "hidden" charges you may not have considered. Don't just factor in the charge for the truck, but also make a list of the expenses associated with any extra equipment you'll need, such as dollies, furniture pads, and packing material. And what about gas for the truck as well as lodging if you will be traveling for more than a day? Also include the cost of keeping your possessions in temporary storage while you figure out what to do with all your stuff and the cost of corporate lodging if your new home isn't ready when you are.

When getting estimates from professional movers or from self-service rental truck companies, make sure the companies are licensed and listed with your local Better Business Bureau. Ask for references and check them. Moving is stressful enough when everything goes relatively smoothly; you don't want to fall prey to a fly-by-night operation that will not treat your most valuable possessions with care and respect.