5 Tips for Managing Your Money and Stress When Moving Out
Every year, around 35.5 million Americans pack up their belongings, fill out some paperwork, load up a few trucks, and move into a new residence. There are many reasons why Americans move, from relocating closer to a new job to avoiding winter snow to finding a residence that can accommodate a growing family.
Moving out takes a lot of work but any mover can find some local moving companies who are ready and willing to help. This can also end up rather costly, and moving a lot of possessions may be fairly stressful, especially for a large family moving far away. Fortunately, some of the following tips can make a move easier and cut back on costs. How can a move be done in a budget-friendly and smooth manner?
Research the Housing Market
There’s no move without a new place to move into, is there? Many Americans are moving to and from apartments, such as young adults who cannot yet afford their own property. But many older Americans certainly can afford houses, and they will dive right into the real estate sector to find their new home. How far-reaching should your search be, though? Some movers are changing neighborhoods within their home city, while others are moving to a new county or even a new state entirely. Wherever you are moving, be sure to work with real estate agents who can give you a tour of local properties, and do some research online to narrow down the options. You can filter and sort houses by age, square footage, the number of rooms, or even the materials used to build them. Photos of the exterior and interior can give you a great idea of what a house looks like, but you should still visit in person.
Also, in a high-demand seller’s market, bear in mind that a fairly priced home may sell within three to 10 days, so you may want to act fast (within reason). Within a buyer’s market, by contrast, it may take a month or so for a house to sell. Either way, though, be sure to make use of CMA reports that real estate agents can offer, to gauge what a fair and typical price for a house should be, based on the prices of similar properties in the area. An overpriced house will struggle to sell, and an underpriced house results in major losses for the seller. For a buyer, these prices are a good way to avoid overpriced houses and find good deals for certain types of houses in that area.
Visit Before You Move
Online research is a must, and can quickly narrow down the options for a new house. But visiting in person is just as important, and there are many details that you will only learn upon visiting in the flesh. During a tour, you can “get a feel” for the house and try to picture where you would place your belongings and decorate it all. Also, this is your main opportunity to check a house (especially older ones) for wear and tear, both inside and out. There is a lot to check for, including creaking or scratched floorboards, leaking pipes, drafty windows or doors, drywall stains, termite damage, faulty electrical sockets, loose bathroom tiles, worn-out siding, clogged gutters, and much more. Some of these issues may be fairly easy and cheap to fix upon buying the house, but others, or too many of them at once, can be a deal-breaker. Personal preference and discretion are a must.
Bonus idea: if possible, take a vacation to the area you are considering moving to. This vacation may make you feel better at work when you return, another charming bonus for you. Ernst & Young found that among its employees, for every 10 extra hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8%. So, why not take an ultra-vacation where you relax, see some new places, sharpen your mind, and scout out new neighborhoods to live in, all at the same time?
Hire Professional Movers
It may be tough, or even impossible, to carry out the move without some experts by your side. Moving professionals offer their manual labor as well as truck and trailers, but bear in mind that some moving companies only deal with short-distance moves, such as from one side of a city to the other. Other companies, though, can handle a move from one state to another. This may become somewhat costly, so be sure to use good sense to hire movers without breaking the bank.
For one, try to find sources of cardboard boxes outside of the moving company. No move is complete without these boxes, and moving companies charge high prices for them. Instead, try to acquire them from your place of work, such as an office or even a retailer’s dock (there are bound to be many of them). Such boxes may be cheap or even free to acquire and don’t forget liquor stores. After all, their boxes must carry heavy bottles of liquor without breaking, so those boxes are built tough. For another thing, end some of your non-essential utilities at home early; that is, have them expire before you move rather than after. Don’t shut off your water, but you could end your cable or satellite TV this way, or even your Internet service, if you can afford to go without it.
Another idea: if you are moving a lot of books, try to box them up and send them to your new residence via USPS, which may prove cheaper than adding their weight and size to the overall moving load. Finally, try to plan your move in the off-season. The “on” season is summer, but a move during November or February may prove much cheaper since there’s less competition.
Sell as Much as You Can
Many households actually own many more items than they need or want, so you can carefully assess your own complete inventory and be very demanding about what you keep and what you don’t. One idea is to gather and sort items by category rather than room of origin since items of the same type tend to scatter about the home. Clothes are a major category, and you can do this with kitchen items, books, electronic devices, children’s toys (if any), hobby items, furniture, and anything else. Many of the undesired items can be sold at garage sales, donated to charity, or even recycled or sent to self-storage units. Large amounts of donated clothes can even result in tax rebates and other monetary benefits. You might store large items, such as a spare car or couch, in self-storage while unwanted clothes end up at Red Cross sites or similar charities. Don’t be surprised or alarmed if the “donation” pile of clothes ends up being one third or half of your total wardrobe!
Plan Everything Out Ahead of Time
Put simply, be sure you are not preparing too soon or too late. Instead, time your packing and moving efforts based on the household size, number of items to be shipped, distance to the residence, and so on. Pack too soon, and you’ll be unhappy having many essential items sealed in boxes so long. Pack too late, and you might run into trouble with the deadline, which could result in all kinds of issues. Overall, a good balance is to start packing on the weekend before the move. Two to five days should be a proper length of time for this. This may feel not unlike planning and packing for a vacation, except you have a lot of luggage to bring!
In short, an effective move entails smart navigation of the housing market to find a price-friendly house that fits your lifestyle, dodging expensive traps and mistakes during moving, trimming your inventory of possessions, and giving yourself a window of moving work that isn’t inconveniently long or dangerously short. Some parts of moving prep take place months or weeks ahead of time, such as buying and finding a house, while others (packing your plates and books) can wait just a few days before moving day arrives. Do all this, and your wallet and stress levels will weather the move just fine.