Is your moving budget road-worthy?

November 30, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Real Estate

No matter how well you plan your move, chances are there are going to be a few bumps in the road. There will be costs and complications you didn’t anticipate. If you’re making your first big move, here are a few of the detours and potholes you might experience along the way. So expect the unexpected. And learn from those who have moved on down the road before you.
Boxes: No matter how many you get, you will always need more.
Simply put, it seems like you can never have enough-especially if you have a lot of breakable things. So here’s what to do: When you get estimates from movers, ask them how many boxes you’ll need. Then go with the highest estimate. But don’t be surprised if you exceed that when push comes to shove!
Cleaning: The never-ending story. More than likely, you’ll have to clean up your old place before you move. And you might have to clean up your new place before you move in. (Yes. Life Can Be So Unfair!) If you do the cleaning yourself, it will cost you time and cleaning supplies. If you use a cleaning service, you’ll need to factor in that cost. Just be realistic about your time, money, and energy when you make your choice of which way to go.
Transportation Costs: They just keep on truckin’ these days.
If you’re using a moving company, you’ll be getting a knowledgeable estimate from them. However, if you’re doing it yourself, there’s more than just truck rental to consider. You may need insurance-so check with your auto insurance carrier and/or credit card company-you may already be covered. Gas, of course, is another factor. Most truck rental companies require you to return it with a full tank. And those big tanks are awful thirsty! Another thing to check out-some truck rental agreements limit the number of miles. Go to the internet and MapQuest your journey to make sure you’re within their limit. And here’s one last word to the wise when it comes to rental trucks: They’re not usually in the greatest of shape. No, you probably won’t have to pay for the truck if it breaks down on you, but you may have to pay for any dents and dings that the rental company says you put there. So be sure to inspect the truck and document any pre-existing damage; make sure the company knows that you know the state-of-the-truck BEFORE you take possession of it.
Bad Packing: It can pack a whole lot of trouble for your wallet.
Unfortunately, here’s the way it can sometimes work: Movers who are paid by the job are more likely to rush, which means they might not be as careful with your stuff as they should be. So you might end up paying for replacing things that get broken. Consider insurance!
The Grand Total: How movers come up with it.
Movers can bill by the hour or by the job. If they move by the job, they’ll probably move you really fast. If they’re getting paid by the hour, well, they won’t be breaking any land-speed records. Plus, they’ll also be billing you for the breaks they take and for driving, so be sure you know what those charges are beforehand. You should also be aware that some movers charge extra fees for going more than 75 feet from truck to door, for moving large bulky things like pianos, and for moving furniture up flights of stairs. The time of the year can also affect a mover’s estimate. Summer and the end of each month are always the busiest time for moving companies, so they usually charge higher rates then, If you can move other times, you might be able to get a better rate. Helpful Hints: If you’re pretty good at negotiating, you might try to get a flat, guaranteed rate. Essentially, what you want is a price quote with a maximum ceiling so that you can avoid getting an ugly surprise when your bill is added up at the end. And, if you belong to an organization like AAA, check to see if they offer discounts when you use specific movers.
Friends: Getting by with a little help from them will still cost you.
Asking your friends and family for help when you move will save you a bundle on labor costs. Plus, the clock certainly won’t be ticking as loudly. But you’ve got to consider the costs of food and cold drinks for as many days as they help you. Remember, moving is hard work, and it makes for big appetites and big thirsts. Another thing to think about: if your friends break something, you can’t really expect them to pay for it. Which means you’ll either have to pay for it yourself, or file a claim against your homeowners insurance. And that brings up something else: before you move, talk to your home insurer and find out what you are and are not covered for when you move.
Tips/Gratuities: Your movers expect more than a thank-you.
Moving is a service industry, and the movers probably expect tips at the end of each day. A decent tip would average around $20 cash per mover, per day. Accompanied by a grateful smile and a sincere, appreciative thank-you for their hard work, of course.
Long-Distance Moving: Don’t forget your own Road Warrior expenses.
You’ll be eating out in restaurants, paying for gas, hotels, and you might even have to shell out for some highway and bridge tolls. And consider this: you may find it easier to continue eating out and paying for hotel rooms while you’re unpacking and getting your new home in order.
A Very Moving Story: If you do it right, you’ll have a happy ending. You’ll be all settled in at your great new home. And the hassles and expenses of moving will go away. Out of sight and out of mind. Just like all those cardboard boxes.

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