10 Hidden Expenses That’ll Bite You When Moving

moving truck

In my adult life, I’ve moved twice. I moved into the home my husband and I built when we were engaged 10 years ago, and we just moved into our dream home 10 months ago. I’m not big on change, so moving is not for me – even though I think I might be the best mover around. I am not a keeper of ‘things’ so packing our entire house (there are 6 of us) took less than two days, and unpacking our entire house, painting all four of the kids’ rooms, hanging all the art and photographs and emptying every single box and setting up the entire house took one day. One day; that is all. I don’t like things undone, and I don’t care for disarray. I also don’t care for the unknown.

Having not moved much in my life, I’m probably not the best source on hidden moving expenses. However, I’ve moved twice in my adult life, when things were my responsibility, and I have learned that there are always hidden expenses that you must be prepared for. If you’re not, they can bite you in the bottom and cause some serious stress. Hopefully none of the following happen during your next move, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if they do. Hence, it would be best to clarify all charges with the movers before you hire them.

Distance Charges

If you hire a moving company, be sure to ask them about their distance charges; and I’m not talking about how far they have to drive. I’m talking about how far they have to walk. Did you know that many companies will charge you a substantial fee if movers have to walk more than 75 feet from the truck to the door of your home? It’s a problem if parking is an issue or if your landscaping makes it difficult for a big truck to enter your property.

Heavy Item Charges

That baby grand piano, that amazing bed or that antique whatever that you love so much might cost you extra when movers have to carry that thing. If it’s too heavy, you’ll be charged for it. Have no doubt about that one. As an alternative, you may hire a penske truck rental instead.

The Cost of Turning on Utilities

In some instances, this is not something that will cost you any money. However, if your credit is less than stellar, many companies will charge you a connection fee to have your utilities turned on, and that fee is sometimes very expensive. You have to have them turned on, though, so you’re going to want to make sure that you have the funds available.

The Cost of New Furniture

Here’s where we start talking about things that I have encountered. When we moved into our new home, we realized that we just did not have enough furniture to fit in here. Our new home is approximately three times the size of our old home, and that means we had to buy new furniture for several rooms, even though we weren’t really expecting to have to do this.

The Cost of New Items

Maybe you didn’t notice that the ceiling fans in every room of your home are gold with bright aqua green polka dots when you bought the home, but now they are a problem. Moving into a new home sometimes means having to buy new things you did not anticipate, like new faucets or shower heads (we didn’t notice that our master bath shower was missing a shower head when we first moved into this house, or that the bathtub in one of the downstairs baths (our daughter’s bath) was missing a drain to allow her to take a bath. Those things can really add up.

The Cost of New Appliances

Something we didn’t consider when we bought our home was appliances. We noticed right away that the brand new kitchen was filled with gorgeous name brand stainless steel products – a double oven, a cook top, microwave range and dishwasher. Somehow, we did not notice the very large space in the middle of the kitchen where the fridge goes. We’d calculated our down payment, our moving expenses and all of the above, but we forgot about the added necessity of a fridge.

The Cost of the Unknown

It was 7 pm the night we moved in – 12 hours after I’d arrived to begin painting. Almost everything was complete and our friends and family were over watching the Gator game that evening after helping us move all day when I heard the commotion from the master bath. Turns out, our septic tank was full and it decided to regurgitate what was in it into our showers, baths, toilets and just about everywhere. It was a mess, and it was bad.

And septic tank pumpers do not work after dark on Saturday nights. They also charge a Sunday fee to come out first thing in the morning on top of their regular fee, and then they tell you things like, “You’re affordable no-big deal septic pumping clean out you called for is actually just the tip of the iceberg because it appears that some roots have grown into your drain field and that needs to be replaced and that’s going to cost you a lot more,” and you realize that you’ve lived here 24 hours. You just put tens of thousands of dollars down, bought a ton of new furniture and then you have to spend thousands fixing stuff outside? Nice.

The Cost of Food

We have friends and family help, and we have to feed them all day long. It’s not that cheap to feed a dozen people three meals in one day and also provide them with snacks, beer and all the good stuff required when helping people move.

The Cost of Replacing the Broken

Broken lights, broken toilet lids, broken door handles, broken alarm sensors….it just adds up. We have eight exterior doors on the first floor, 30-something windows and all of them needed new alarm sensors and 6 doors needed new handles. All the doors needed new locks. Those things really do add up – a lot. Our light pole out front was missing, and that was expensive to fix. The garage door panel outside the garage was broken that required fixing. We got a garage door opener repair for that.

The Cost of Damage

Bringing the beerator into the house from the garage was a problem. We wanted it in the laundry room, and my dad and brother accidently knicked a corner with it and tore the paint right off – right in the middle of the mudroom off the kitchen and laundry. To fix that, we had to take the paint to the store, get them to match it and then it did not match all that much. Additionally, we realized that the paint in the entire house – entire house – was matte and you cannot clean matte walls. You cannot – especially with four kids. That meant we had to then buy enough semi-gloss paint to paint everything – and that was really, really expensive.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images


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