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The Hidden Costs of Moving

Published On: January 16, 2020By

We’ve compiled some of the top hidden costs of moving to give you a heads up of what to budget for while planning for your move.

11 Hidden Moving Costs

We all wish moving was as simple as loading your belongings into your car and heading to your new home. Unfortunately, moving homes is so much more cumbersome. Things go wrong, closings are delayed, items break, weather is unpredictable, and so on. It’s virtually impossible to anticipate all of the costs that you will accrue during your move, but knowing a few hidden costs upfront can help you prepare for the inevitable. We’ve compiled some of the top hidden costs of moving to give you a heads up of what to budget for while planning for your move.


When preparing to move homes, choosing the correct moving company is one of the most important decisions you can make. It’s important to choose a reputable company over one that is offering rates that are too good to be true.

Hourly Rate:

Most moving companies charge by the hour. Check with the company to see how many movers they will be sending. A moving company may give you a cheap rate, but if they do not provide enough labor, you may end up paying for it in the long run.

Moving Insurance:

Even if you are super careful, accidents happen. Make sure to budget for moving insurance if you want to ensure that your items are covered for their full value. If you are using a moving company, you will be covered for $0.60 per pound for all of your items. This basic coverage protection will give you some money for damaged items, but will rarely cover the full cost. On the upside, it is already included in the bill from your moving company. To further protect your items, ask your moving company about full-value protection. It will cost more, but your items will either be replaced, restored, or you will be fully financially compensated if anything should happen to them.


As a rule of thumb, you should tip your movers at least $50 at the end of your move. If there is inclement weather, issues with the move, or difficult furniture, you may want to compensate them more.

Heavy item surcharge:

If you have items in your home that are heavier than standard furniture, you may be hit with a heavy items surcharge by your moving company. Check their specifications and make sure you aren’t surprised when the bill comes.


Most moving companies wait to charge you for fuel until after the move is over. Make sure to account for this when budgeting for your move.

Elevator and Stair Fees:

If you are moving into an apartment and are not on the first floor, you may be hit with elevator fees or stair fees. Some moving companies will charge extra if they have to transport your items up the stairs or elevator. This adds extra labor and extends the time it takes them to move you into your home.

Parking tickets:

If your moving truck will have to street park, especially in a city, they may end up having to park illegally. This could end up with a hefty parking ticket for you to pay. To avoid this expense, make sure to apply for a parking permit from the city offices a few weeks before your move.

Specialized movers:

If you own something like fine art or a piano that will require a specialty mover, you are looking at an additional $1500+ bill. Keep in mind that you will likely also want to add insurance to these items since they are expensive and hard to replace.

Overnight fees:

Sometimes things happen at the last moment and you can’t move everything into your home right away. If for whatever reason, your movers can’t get everything out of their moving truck before the end of the day, you will be charged an overnight fee. This will add about $300+ to your moving costs.

Self Storage

Many people choose to put their belongings in self storage while they move to their new home. You may choose to rent a storage unit to declutter while staging your home, keep your belongings between closures, or to store items while downsizing. If you have already planned to rent a storage unit, it should already be part of your moving budget. Many times, though, you may not have planned to store your items. You may find yourself in a scenario where the home you are selling and the home you are buying are not closing at the same time and you have nowhere to put your belongings. Renting a storage unit for the time in between moves is a perfect solution, but a cost you may not have planned for.


When moving to your new home, you will need to both cancel your current utilities and sign up for new ones. Depending on your contracts, you may be charged a cancellation fee. When signing up for new utilities, you may be hit with deposits and connection fees, which could add a few hundred dollars to your budget. Most importantly, you’ll want to remember to notify all utility companies of your new address so that any final bills are not missed.


As you pack up your home, you will be getting rid of a lot of things you don’t want to take with you like food, furniture, and cleaning supplies. One of your biggest expenses to replace will be food. Moving companies will not transport perishable items, so unless you will be personally taking them with you, almost all of your food with have to go. Once at your new home, you will need to spend the time and money restocking your fridge and pantry. You will also likely spend money on new furniture or decorations that better fit your new home.

Security Deposit

If you are moving out of an apartment or a rented home, you want to do everything in your power to get your security deposit back. This means cleaning your home, not leaving anything behind, fixing small holes in the walls, etc. If you can, attend the walkthrough with your landlord, as they can claim damages much easier if nobody is there with them.


Something you likely won’t think about is the cost of renewing things. Gym memberships, for example, oftentimes charge an application fee at sign-up. You will also need to pay fees for changing your license, and if you are in a new state, your license plate. If you do not use a national bank and need to transfer from your local branch, you may also run into bank membership fees.

Packing Supplies

It takes a lot of boxes to pack a house. Many people make the mistake of buying a few large boxes and trying to fit everything into them. This results in boxes that are too heavy to lift that break open easily. What you will end up needing is a large assortment of box sizes, with a few specialty boxes for things like dishes or TVs. A standard 2 bedroom will need approximately 40-60 boxes to fully pack everything. In addition to boxes, you will need packing paper, tape, sharpies, and bubble wrap. This can easily run you over a hundred dollars in cost.

Boarding Pets

If you are moving with a cat, dog, or other animals, you may end up needing to board them for a few days. The unfamiliar territory of your home getting packed up and all of your belongings being taken out of your house can be incredibly stressful for your pets. To get them out of the way on moving day and to relieve their stress, you may look into boarding them for a few days. Make sure to budget for daily boarding fees, plus the cost of any vaccinations if they are not up-to-date.

Hotel Stays

When budgeting for your move, make sure to schedule at least one night’s stay at a hotel. You may end up sleeping at a hotel between moves, the day after you pack everything up, the first night in your new home, or if anything gets delayed. Knowing a hotel stay is almost unavoidable, plan ahead and budget accordingly.

Unexpected Delays & Damage

While you are moving, something is inevitably going to go wrong. This may mean something gets broken or damaged, the weather is bad, the move gets delayed, or some other scenario. While you may not know what will happen, knowing that something can and will happen can help you prepare. When budgeting for your move, set aside a small amount of money toward the unexpected.

Closing Costs

Lastly, remember to include closing costs into your budget. They are typically around 2-5% of the cost of your home and cover a wide range of expenses.


There may be other hidden costs associated with your move that has not been covered, but these should be the most common expenses you run into. As long as you go into your move knowing that there will be things you hadn’t planned for, you should be set. Moving to a new home should be an exciting experience, and by preparing yourself for what you need to know for moving, you are on your way to being ready for this next step. For more useful moving and storage tips, sign up for our once-monthly blog newsletter.