Preparing for Common Move-in Expenses
While moving into a new home can be an incredibly exciting time, there are also expenses to keep in mind.

The costs of relocation can put a serious dent in your wallet and run far more than you may have anticipated. For those who skip out on the associated planning and budgeting for common (and not-so-common) moving expenses, it can be a genuine rude awakening.

That's not to say that everyone reading this needs a tremendous amount of counsel or a laid-out battle plan for when the big day arrives. But, it’s in the best interest of any renter or homebuyer to know what to prepare for.

We're not just talking about the packing supplies, a U-Haul, and insurance. We're shining a light on all the little things that can really add up when it comes to the cost of moving.


Costs You Can Probably Cut Down with an Honest Conversation

Many of us belong to or have family members enrolled in a health club, sports facility, gym, public pool, community association, daycare, and more. Most memberships, especially those paid on a year-to-year basis, may not consider moving as a qualifying event to break the terms of a contract.

This is the part where you can't assume you'll be able to void your deal and get your money back. You can, however, ask to speak to the folks in charge and offer up proof of your move by photocopying an agreement of sale or a signed lease.  It might be enough to get out of your contract without a hefty fee involved.

The same goes for utility companies and associated fees you might encounter coming and going.

Yes, service connection and disconnection fees do apply to residential utility accounts that are new, transferring or reconnecting.  If you're a customer in good standing, however, you can probably just ask to have the fees waived. Most companies will oblige if you've been paying your bills on time, especially for basics such as gas, water, and electricity. Fees for cable and internet might also be waived, especially if you're staying local and transferring service; either way, it's always best to ask.

It's Your Duty to Perform Diligent Inspections (or Else!)

Maintenance and repairs are often viewed as an inherent part of homeownership, but it can affect renters too.

Let's say that as a new homebuyer you discover a property defect after closing and not before. Many times, the seller's liability for any pre-existing problem is limited. To hold them responsible, you'd have to prove they withheld material facts about the home's condition. That's why buyers have a duty to perform diligent home and property inspections prior to closing.

The same thought applies to renters who put their name on a lease without inspecting the property first. You should always schedule a walkthrough of the property with the landlord before moving in. This way you'll know if they've glossed over defects in order to collect your security deposit, and first and last month's rent. If the damage isn't discovered until after you move in, the landlord can accuse you of causing it and keep your deposit to pay for repairs later.

Replacement Items Can Add Up

It may seem trivial at the moment, but you should keep in mind the cost of replacing any items you throw away, leave behind, or can't use when you move. These small items can add up to a big expense.

Everything from cooking spices to cleaning supplies can end up in the trash as you're packing up and shipping out. Other items more commonly replaced include worn and dated small appliances, such as toasters or coffee makers. Basics like toilet plungers and old brooms are usually tossed out and repurchased. And let's not forget window treatments for your new digs, which can be a budget-breaker. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average for new window treatments is more than $500 per window, and it's likely you'll have a window or two that doesn't meet the previous specs and measurements in your old home for blinds, shades, or curtains.

Don't Forget the Essentials

There are a few things you should do when you move into a new space that are incredibly easy but slightly costly.

If you own the home, changing the air filter is a task that takes just a few minutes and should be done right after you move in — even if the previous owners tell you it was just taken care of.  The same goes for that water filter that might be installed in the refrigerator or the cartridge filter in your kitchen faucet.

Changing out the air filter not only improves the performance of your heater and air conditioner, but the U.S. Department of Energy says replacing a dirty filter with a new one can lower your energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

Your first days in a new place are also the best time to test and change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, along with swapping out light bulbs in fixtures and appliances. Remember, if you're a renter in someone else's home, these costs may fall on your shoulders instead of the landlord.


No matter what your situation, it's best to plan ahead to make sure everything goes smoothly with your move. You may have a budget in mind for the necessities, but there are also some common costs that shouldn't become an afterthought.