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How to Avoid Losing Money When You Move

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How To Avoid Money Loss When You Move


Even if you’re moving locally, shifting into a new home can put a pretty big dent in your bank account. That dent can be much bigger than necessary, however, with a lack of good planning. These are the most common costly moving blunders—and how to avoid them.

1. Booking the rental vehicle or company within hours of your intended move

Setting up your moving service on such short notice means there’s no time for you to compare moving companies well. You might not even realize there’s a better deal available, which means you have zero leverage to negotiate your rate.

Short notice also means you might not have as many options left with the company you pick. For example, you might have to take a larger truck because that’s all they have available, which will cost more both to rent and fuel.

The fix: Schedule your move as soon as you can—months ahead is not too early. Ideally, pick a weekday or winter time to move. Both are cheaper because the moving companies have more demand when the weather is good and people are off of work. Check in with the moving company at least once after you book to make sure you’re still on their calendar.

2. Not telling the movers details about the properties involved

Are there stairs to navigate? Is there an especially big or complicated piece of furniture like a piano or waterbed? These scenarios are no problem for professional movers to navigate—they see them all the time. The issue is that addressing those details can force the movers to spend extra time getting your belongings on and off the truck.

They also might need to go back to retrieve specialized equipment they didn’t know they’d need, or you might even need another staff member to get involved for safety reasons.

The fix:Do a walkthrough of both your old and new properties. Make a list of any issues you’re concerned with, such as the inability for the truck to be parked near the door. Take measurements if needed. Then call the moving helpers and ask about each item on your list one by one. Keep a communication log so that, if a preventable problem arises during the move and charges are in question, you have a record to demonstrate the movers should have been prepared.

3. Waiting to assess property valuation or insurance needs

What insurance companies cover by default varies considerably. For example, some businesses will cover only items they pack, and many simply offer “Valuation Protection” that pays around $0.60 per pound. In the same way, not all renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policies cover items in transit to another property.

You might need to purchase more coverage, depending on your situation. The only way to know what you need is to tally valuations for your belongings and talk to your movers or insurance agent ahead of time. Don’t assume that your quote from the movers includes the insurance coverage!

4. Working without a budget

If you don’t know what your moving costs are going to be, you’ll likely end up paying for some or all of the move with credit. Alternately, you might end up using credit to make ends meet after paying for the move out of your savings. Either way, what comes with credit? Interest payments.

5. Buying too few supplies

If you underestimate the supplies you need for your move, you might end up having to pay a higher price to get them on short notice from whichever company has them in immediate stock.

The fix: Buy more supplies than you think you’ll need and then simply return what you don’t end up using.

6. Not donating, selling or recycling

Whether it’s having to rent a larger truck or pay more in insurance, carting what you don’t want or need with you (presumably to sort “later”) will cost you extra.

The fix: Eliminate duplicates and ask yourself what has true functional or sentimental value as you pack. Get cash for what you can, then give to charity. If there’s anything charity can’t take, haul it to a recycling center. Two good decluttering techniques are to hone in on what’s in the bottom of piles and drawers, and to measure out a space to mimic what will be available—anything that doesn’t fit in that space has to go.


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