How much does it cost to move?

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Whether you have a one-bedroom apartment or a mansion, the thought of moving all of your belongings to a new address can seem daunting — not to mention the cost to pack and transport them. If you’re considering a move or preparing for one, here’s what you can expect to pay.

How much does it cost to move?

The typical cost to hire a mover fluctuates between $720 to $1,940, with the average being roughly $1,300, according to HomeAdvisor.

If you’re hiring a mover for a cross-country trek, however, things get more expensive, averaging closer to $5,200, Fixr reports. Moving the contents of your two-bedroom house 1,000 miles, for example, can cost between $4,500 and $6,000, according to the home remodeling website.

Keep in mind that every moving company has its own pricing, and costs are generally based on the size of your home and the distance you’re moving, as well as the weight of your furnishings and whether you’ll need them stored for a time while you relocate.

There are always extra expenses, too, like gas and lodging or replacing items damaged during the move.

“Most clients I work with don’t think about moving costs,” says Lutalo McGee, owner/managing broker of Ani Real Estate in Chicago. “They don’t think about the transition costs into their new place, such as buying brooms or a lawnmower if they are coming from an apartment to a house.”

Unfortunately, most folks who move won’t be able to take advantage of the moving expenses tax deduction, which was pared down significantly by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The deduction is still available for active-duty service members who’ve been transferred. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, the IRS has a helpful tool for determining whether you qualify.

Account for the unexpected

Sometimes, even with the best planning, best movers or best intentions, things happen, and you can end up paying more than you thought you would. Here are some things to think about ahead of your move:

  • Your auto insurance could change with your new address, which could impact your overall budget. Note that moving can affect your car insurance rate even if you’re relocating within in the same city but to a different ZIP code.
  • Whether it’s the home you’re moving out of or the one you’re moving into, you might need to pay for a professional deep cleaning. That can take a bite out of your wallet, anywhere from at least $100 for a smaller home (less than 1,000 square feet) to $300 or more for a larger one, according to HomeAdvisor.
  • If the homes you’re moving between are only accessible via a tight road, you might have to pay the movers to transfer your stuff from a big truck to a smaller one. That could cost between $250 to $500 more to get everything reloaded.

Money-saving tips

The time, day and month you move can either raise your costs or lower them. For instance, summer months are a popular moving window because kids are out of school, so your costs could be higher due to demand.

Moving anytime between October and April can be less expensive, as well as during November through the New Year’s holiday. Moving mid-month and mid-week can also get you a deal, because it’s often much more convenient for folks to move on a weekend or at the end of the month.

Here are other ways to move on the cheap:

  • Ask for boxes from family or friends who’ve recently moved.
  • If you’re relocating for work, ask your employer if they’ll reimburse you for some or all of your moving costs.
  • Check your homeowners insurance policy to see if it covers your move. This can save you from paying for coverage you already have.
  • Donate or give away items, or sell them to a consignment shop, before you move. By reducing the amount of items you need to relocate, your mover will charge less to haul them to your new place.

 Another tried-and-true tip: Get your family or friends to pitch in.

“Get a couple of cases of beer and some Uber Eats and be cool with your family members,” McGee says. “That will definitely keep your costs down.” 

Preparing to relocate

If you’re contemplating a move to somewhere else in the country, start by determining the cost of living in the area. Bankrate’s cost of living calculator can help. You simply input the city you currently live in and the city you’re thinking about putting down roots in.

Once you’ve decided where and when to move, do your research and look up moving company profiles through the Better Business Bureau. Check out how long they’ve actually been in the industry — you don’t want a fly-by-night company.

After choosing a mover, inquire how much it’ll cost (preferably get this in writing) and when the company expects payments. You may be on the hook for a 10 percent deposit to hold your moving date, according to the BBB, and then have to pay for the remainder before the company completes the move.

Lastly, in the time leading up to moving day, try to be as organized as possible. This is your journey, and moving can be tumultuous.

“Remember to make sure your boxes are labeled for what rooms they go in,” McGee says. “It will make everything better for everyone.”

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Written by
Lee Nelson
Contributing writer
Lee Nelson is an award-winning writer specializing in mortgages, home improvement, real estate, financing and budgeting.
Edited by
Mortgage editor