Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure filled with anticipation for the fresh beginnings that lie ahead. However, moving also involves the chaos of packing boxes and coordinating logistics — and then there are the moving costs to consider. Most people planning a move try to set up a moving budget that’s realistic and takes into account all the costs of moving.

However, it’s easy to overlook certain expenses, which can quickly add up. While you may diligently budget for obvious costs such as hiring movers, renting a moving truck and purchasing moving supplies, there are many unexpected moving costs that often go unnoticed. To help you navigate your move with financial savvy and foresight, we are shining a spotlight on the top 11 hidden moving costs that should definitely be a part of your budget.

1. Cleaning costs

Move out cleaning home interior person with mop

Leaving your old home in pristine condition is not only polite but may also be a requirement outlined in your lease or sale agreement. Whether you are hiring professional cleaners or doing it yourself, it still costs money. The average move-out cleaning cost hovers around $360, but it can go up or down depending on the size of the home and other factors as well. Cleaning supplies, particularly if your home requires deep cleaning or specialized treatments, can be quite expensive. If you’re the one doing the cleaning, you might even have to take time off from work, which can also count as a cost.

2. Extra insurance

Many moving companies or truck rental companies offer basic insurance coverage as part of their services. However, this might not fully protect the value of your possessions. To ensure adequate protection, especially for expensive and delicate items or long-distance moves, it’s recommended that you purchase additional coverage. This can typically be arranged through the moving company or a third-party insurance provider. Additional insurance options may include full replacement value coverage, which provides reimbursement for the full cost of repairing or replacing damaged items, or separate insurance policies specifically tailored for moving-related risks.

3. Self storage costs

While moving, you may find yourself in need of temporary storage for your belongings. This can be due to stars not aligning in terms of lease dates, delays in move-in arrangements or remodeling plans you may have before moving in all your possessions. Renting a storage unit provides a convenient solution, but, obviously, one that comes with associated rental fees.

Renting a 10’x10’ storage unit hovers around $122 per month nationally, but prices can vary significantly depending on where you live. For example, this size storage unit in New York City costs around $246 per month, while the same size unit in Austin, TX, is significantly more affordable, at $113 per month. To help you set up your budget, you can see below the self storage street rates in some of the country’s largest cities — or, if you’re moving somewhere else, you can look for the local self storage prices yourself.

4. Handling fees for special items

Piano packed for moving

The moving company might impose additional charges for the transportation of large, bulky items or specialized items that require extra care, extra packaging or more labor to move safely. Special items usually include antiques, fine arts, collectibles, large musical instruments such as pianos or organs, pool tables, and large home appliances. If you are planning to move such items (or others that are equally challenging to handle), you should discuss it with the moving company so that they can provide an accurate budget. This will help avoid last-minute surprises in terms of costs. If you are planning a DIY move, it’s still recommended to hire professionals at least for these specialty items to minimize the risk of damage during handling and transportation.

5. Utility setup and transfer fees

Switching your utilities to a new address often entails setup and transfer fees that can catch you off guard. Whether it’s activating new utility accounts, transferring services or disconnecting existing utilities, these fees can vary depending on your location and service providers. Be sure to contact providers at both your existing address and the new one and ask about those expenses so that you can budget properly.

6. Pet relocation costs

If you have furry or feathered companions, don’t forget to account for the expenses associated with their relocation. Whether you’re transporting pets via air or ground, there are costs involved in securing pet-friendly accommodations, obtaining health certificates and complying with transportation regulations. Additionally, consider the potential need for pet-boarding services during the moving process. It might be a good idea to book your pets in a pet hotel for a night instead of having to keep an eye on them during the chaos of moving day.

7. Food, refreshments, and accommodation

Amid the hustle and bustle of moving day, it’s easy to overlook the need for sustenance. Whether you’re enlisting the help of friends and family or hiring professional movers, providing food and refreshments is a thoughtful gesture that can help keep everyone fueled and motivated. Budget for snacks, drinks and meals to ensure a smooth and efficient moving experience. Also, if you are driving the moving truck long-distance yourself, you should budget for food and accommodation during the road trip.

8. Vehicle maintenance

If you’re embarking on a long-distance move or transporting your belongings using your personal vehicle, don’t forget to factor in the cost of vehicle maintenance and fuel. Long hours on the road can take a toll on your vehicle, necessitating routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations and fluid checks. Additionally, budget for fuel expenses based on the distance of your move and current gas prices.

9. Tipping costs

Although not mandatory, it is customary to tip the movers if you are hiring a moving company. Tipping is a gesture of appreciation for the hard work and professionalism of the moving crew who are handling your belongings. The amount you choose to tip can vary depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the move, the level of service provided and your satisfaction with the overall experience.

As a general guideline, it’s recommended to tip each mover individually rather than giving a lump sum to be divided among the crew. The typical range for tipping movers is between $20 and $50 per mover for a standard local move and between $50 and $100 or more per mover for a long-distance move or larger, more complex move. If you’re unsure about how much to tip, consider factors such as the difficulty of the move, the distance traveled and any additional services provided by the movers, such as packing or heavy lifting.

10. Replacement and upgrade cost

Moving presents an opportunity to go over your belongings and determine what items you may need to replace or upgrade in your new home. Whether it’s outdated furniture, worn-out appliances or mismatched decor, budgeting for replacements or upgrades can help you create a fresh and functional living space that reflects your personal style and preferences.

11. Miscellaneous expenses

Finally, don’t overlook the myriad miscellaneous expenses that can arise during the moving process. From parking permits and toll fees for the moving truck to unexpected emergencies, it’s important to set aside a contingency fund to cover other unforeseen expenses that may arise.

Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, it’s smart to consider all potential expenses that could impact your budget. Proactive planning and foresight are key to a successful and stress-free move.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

Write A Comment