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How much does it cost to move?

Children playing in an empty house on moving day
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images
Children playing in an empty house on moving day
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

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Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a mansion, the thought of moving all your belongings to a new address can be 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.

What’s the average cost of a move?

The typical cost to hire professional movers and rent a truck ranges between $868 and $2,383, with the average being roughly $1,624, according to data from HomeAdvisor.

If you’re hiring a mover for a cross-country trek, however, things get much more expensive, averaging $6,060, Fixr reports. Moving the contents of your two-bedroom house 1,000 miles, for example, can cost between $4,000 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 and 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.”

Tax implications of moving

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, though. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, the IRS has a helpful tool for determining whether you qualify.

Moving costs to budget for

Sometimes, even with the best planning, best movers and best intentions, things happen. You could still end up paying more than you thought you would. Beyond the price of the moving company itself, here are some other costs to consider ahead of a move:

  • Be sure to budget for packing supplies, like boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, markers for labeling, moving blankets and mattress bags. These costs can add up, and you’d be surprised how many boxes you can go through when stowing your belongings away.
  • 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.
  • Your auto insurance might change with a new address, which could impact your overall budget. Moving can affect your car insurance rate even if you’re relocating within the same city but to a different ZIP code. Furthermore, you’ll likely need liability coverage if you don’t already have it, so it’s best to check with your provider to confirm.
  • Expect the unexpected. You never know what might come up, so it’s best to leave room in your budget in case hidden moving costs you didn’t plan for arise.

Money-saving moving tips

The day and month you move can affect the overall cost. For instance, summer months are a popular moving window because kids are out of school, so your costs could be higher then 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 a few other ways to keep costs lower:

  • Ask for boxes from anyone you might know who has 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 you no longer need, or sell them to a consignment shop, before you pack up. The less stuff you have, the less your mover will charge to take it all to your new place.
  • 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 a new city, 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 know where and when you’re going, 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 — 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 at least part of the remainder before the company completes the move.

Lastly, during the time leading up to moving day, get everything 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 offers as an example. “That will make everything better for everyone.”

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
Senior real estate editor