So you’ve decided it’s time to move. Whether you got a new job, want to be closer to a loved one, or just need a change of scenery, here are three important questions to ask yourself when trying to calculate the costs of relocation:
1. Why are you moving?
This may seem obvious, but the first and most important factor to take into account when relocating is how said move will affect your income. If you’re not moving far, are you planning to keep your current job and simply commute? If so, consider the change in distance and how that can impact fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance. Are you planning to get a new job? If so, start looking sooner rather than later, and make sure to take into account any potential increase or decrease in your income or benefits.
If a new job is the reason you’re moving in the first place, your employer may be willing to cover or at least split your relocation costs. Some employers will offer to do this upfront, but even if they don’t, don’t be afraid to ask. If they want you enough to hire you over all the other applicants, there’s a good chance they want you enough that they’re willing to help get you where they need you to be.
2. Where are you moving?
Whether you’re relocating one mile away or one hundred miles away, never assume that your new home is going to cost the same as the one you live in now, because it won’t. Property values can fluctuate wildly regardless of distance, and every area’s taxes, utilities, and basic living expenses are different. That’s why knowing your financial limits is so crucial.
Something important to consider is whether you’re looking to rent or buy. If you’re hoping to buy, a home affordability calculator can be vital in helping you figure out your budget. Such tools are capable of taking your annual household income, the amount you spend on monthly bills, and how much of a down payment you’re willing to make, and compare all that information with the current costs of real estate in the same area you’re moving to.
3. How are you moving?
One of the final decisions you’ll have to make before relocating is whether you want to use a moving company or handle the move yourself. Of course, the two biggest factors in making that choice are generally how far you’re moving and how much stuff you have to move. In any case, each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages.
If you opt to go the DIY route, your peace of mind in knowing your belongings are in good hands comes with a price, and not just a financial one. Sure, you’ll have to calculate the cost of renting a moving truck and paying for gas, but you’ll also have to invest a lot of time and physical energy. Hiring a moving company costs more, but that money goes towards paying someone else to worry about that stuff for you. If you’re concerned about entrusting your most prized possessions to someone else, comparison shop and browse consumer reviews on websites like Yelp, or research a moving company’s complaint history via the Department of Transportation’s mover search tool. You always have options; don’t hesitate to explore them.