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This post was contributed by Real Estate Unlimited, an agency serving clients in the Los Angeles area.
We know that moving can be hard on your wallet, especially when you factor in the costs associated with buying a new home! In this post, we’ll give you some tips on the best way to control the expense of moving, so that you can safely pack and transport your household without tearing down your budget.
Do Your Homework
Savings-savvy homeowners know the value of comparing estimates from different companies, but it’s a good idea to look at relative costs across service menus as well. Most people assume that DIY, van rentals, and other “self-serve” options are cheapest, but this isn’t always the case. It may not be significantly more expensive to hire a full-service moving company, especially when you consider the opportunity cost of packing and transporting everything all by yourself. Of course, it’s also a good idea to look for customer reviews – a discounted price isn’t worthwhile if it nets you shoddy service, broken possessions, or long delays on arrival!
Review Your Contract
Whichever option you choose, take time to look carefully at your contract. Consider whether the offered insurance is adequate to the value of your possessions, and whether it includes all likely scenarios. Go over the list of extra fees and add-ons to make sure that you’re not being gouged for a service you won’t need. If you do see a hefty penalty for a likely outcome – an extra day on a cross-country move, for example – it might make sense to pay up front for more leeway. Your individual situation will determine whether an hourly or flat rate is your best bet, but don’t let sticker shock dissuade you. If you’re moving out of state, or if you’re worried about unpredictable weather or other emergencies, a flat rate might save you money in the long run.
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Ask Your Realtor
The best way to find a trustworthy moving company is to ask for a referral. Friends and family will be able to give you their reviews, but you can also get a professional perspective. Your realtor will probably have a “rolodex” of local vendors – decorators, construction companies, mortgage specialists – and they may be able to steer you to a reputable moving company. They’ll also be a valuable resource for scheduling concerns, and they can help you set up a timeline for the move that will help you prevent overdue feeds and emergency costs. Speaking of scheduling, if you have any leeway, stick to the “low season” that starts in September and ends with the school year in late May. Moving companies will be motivated to cut you a deal.
Find Boxes for Free
Moving companies take advantage of customers by charging exorbitant prices for boxes, but that’s no reason you should shell out. So, how can you build up your supply? Start by asking friends on Facebook – someone in your circle has probably moved recently and will have a store in their garage. You may also want to take a look around your office to see if there are some used boxes you can borrow. Community message boards are a great place to post requests, and chances are, you can find a set of gently-used cardboard boxes for much less than you’d pay to buy them from a moving company. Local merchants might also be willing to let you take used boxes at little or no cost, and some will even set aside boxes destined for recycling if you call ahead.
If you get rid of it, you won’t have to pay to move it. As real estate agents, we recommend decluttering as a useful first step for clients prepping their homes for showing and sale. The upside for moving is obvious: less to move! You may be surprised by how much of your stuff you’re prepared to toss or donate – especially when you’re thinking about trucking it across the country. Many local charities work hard to make donation easy, arranging to pick up bulky items like furniture for free.
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If you’d like to discard some extra possessions and make some extra money, consider a garage sale. A few dollars apiece for a closetful of stuff can add up. If you’re having a hard time letting go of some treasured possessions, you may feel better about “rehoming” your stuff. Depending on the season, you may be able to recruit your neighbors into a multi-yard event to attract more attention. Earn even more cash selling items like books and clothing to stores like Plato’s Closet and Crossroads. If you don’t have time to stage an in-person trunk sale, look for local message boards where you can post items for free or for sale – these sites can help you get rid of furniture, exercise equipment, and other items that would be costly to transport.
Moving house can be expensive, but there are definitely ways to reduce expenses. These strategies can help you pare down the final total so that you can concentrate on settling into your new home.
About the Author: Real Estate Unlimited is a boutique real estate agency serving clients in the Los Angeles area, including the historic neighborhoods of Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Los Feliz, and Silverlake. Our digital marketing expertise and strong local connections combine to form an outstanding level of service for all our clients.