Moving is quite common across the U.S., and there are plenty of places where any individual or family can choose to move. Across the United States, there are some 136.57 million housing units, and in the 2018 census, the homeownership rate clocked in at 64.4%. Who is doing all this moving? Younger adults, such as recent college grads, are probably living in apartments while older Americans tend to buy their living spaces instead. Whether you are a Millennial looking for a place to rent or an older adult looking for a property to purchase, you should make absolutely sure that your budget is secure before, during, and after the move. How can you keep a tight rein on that budget when preparing to sell your home and hire moving companies? Selling your home might be a little faster and easier if some remodeling is done first.
Remodeling and Landscaping
It may sound paradoxical, but a good way to protect your budget may include spending money on home renovation and lawn care before putting your property on the market. Whether you bought this house used or hired a custom home builder to make it, there should be some rooms and features that need touching up. Be sure to assess your budget and make sure that spending money on remodeling crews will not harm your finances seriously in the short term, and if you can indeed afford to hire some crews, consider this option strongly. The same is true for hiring landscapers for the front and/or back lawn.
Bear in mind that remodeling your home and landscaping work does not just benefit you; they also make the property more appealing to home buyers, and they may make quick offers to buy (and will be willing to pay more for the property). If your home’s asking price is low enough, you can attract many buyers, but at a loss. Instead, once you invest in remodeling and landscaping work, you can generate a serious ROI, or “return on investment,” to justify that expense. Remodeling the kitchen and master bathroom, for example, can yield an ROI as high as 70-80% or so, and investing 5% of the property’s value in landscaping often yields an ROI of 150%. Not only that, but your options for buying a new home may be broader if you can get your old home sold faster, as opposed to waiting a long time to find a buyer. Homeowners invest in remodeling/landscaping not only for the ROI but the speed, too. This gives them time to find a more budget-friendly new home to buy and move into at their discretion.
Streamlining Your Inventory
Another way to bolster your budget before making the big move is to assess how many possessions you own, and what their value is. Modern statistics suggest that the typical American household contains around 300,000 items in it, from large furniture pieces to books, children’s toys, electronics, and kitchen utensils. You can save money and time alike before your big move if you slim down that inventory, and figure out what you really want to keep and what you do not. You do not have to perform a hard reset of your inventory; just be sure you are bringing along what you really value and use.
Pawn shops sometimes have a shady reputation, but the good news is that nearly all pawn shops out there are regulated, and they will not attempt to trick you or rip you off. Finding “cash for electronics” shops or places to sell custom jewelry can help you get a little pocket money for the move itself, and reduce how much stuff you need to pack before moving out. Often, pawnshops act like miniature banks, giving customers loans, and using the pawned items for collateral. But you can find pawn shops or similar businesses to sell your extraneous items.
In addition, you can donate old clothes, books, your children’s toys, and more to local charities or to people whom you know, and this can slim down your inventory as well. But of course, it is possible that once you move, you begin to build up a huge inventory again, so you are encouraged to adopt a mindset of deliberation and minimalism. Minimalists are thought of has living hermetically, with near-empty houses, but that is not true. Instead, a minimalist attitude means owning exactly as many items and decorations as you like and use consistently and owning nothing beyond that. This can help curb reckless or mindless spending, eliminate clutter, and help you feel gratitude toward the items you have. It is not vital that you become a minimalist before and after your move, but using this mindset to some degree can help control your budget all year round.
We Buy Houses Companies
Suppose your budget does not allow for home remodeling, and you are having trouble getting your home sold on the market. If this is the case, calculate your budget carefully, and see if you can settle for a cash for home company in your area. These companies, once contacted, will send an agent who inspects and assesses your home in person, then calculates the value and makes an offer. That cash offer will only be a fraction of your home’s actual value, but if this is your only viable option, it can help, and the cash can go towards your budget for financing a new home or apartment. Just be careful about this kind of budget; make sure your income can cover all expenses without the use of reckless loans by the side.
Credit And Debts
At any stage of moving out, but especially before moving, it is essential that you have a grip on all of your current debt, loans, and credit score. If you are trying to get a home loan for a new property but have a lot of existing loans, you may not be able to afford all that interest. And if your credit score is low, you may not be able to secure a mortgage at all. So, your budget will thank you if you check your credit score and do anything and everything possible to raise it in the weeks or months before moving, such as paying off credit cards or auto loans. A good credit score can save you a lot of money for your budget in the long run not only because you can get loans more easily, but you get lower interest rates on those loans.
As for existing debt, tackling that is not something to put off, even if your budget is tight. When it comes to current debts, time is not on your side, since interest rates will work against you, no matter how much you owe. Be sure to carefully run the numbers and make some predictions on debt repayments and your income, then make a clear plan for paying off your debts as soon as you can. The sooner they are paid off, the less interest you pay, and that is good for your budget. And having some outstanding debts can simplify your expenses going forward when you get a mortgage and hire a moving company to help you.
What about basic health needs, such as prescription drugs, asthma inhalers, and dental coverage? You should not be too cheap or too extravagant about this since health is indeed important, but you might end up paying too much for it if you are not careful. For example, if you have a family dentist and you are not moving out of your home town or city, by all means, keep that dentist and don’t change anything. But if you are moving to a new city or state, you will want to look up local dentists and find one whose services and costs match your own needs and budget.
Suppose you move to a new state and want a good dentist to visit, like a family dentist or a pediatric dentist. Unless you have reliable personal references for finding a good dentist, you are encouraged to go online and conduct a search and be as specific as possible. For example, “best-rated family dentists Dallas TX” and enter your ZIP code to find local results. Doing this will eliminate poorly rated dental practices, and you can peruse your options among better-rated ones. Bear in mind that “best-rated” and “most expensive” are not always the same thing, and for any budget range you may have, there should be a few dentists who are the best for you.
Make a shortlist of the most promising dentists in the area and visit them one by one, to interview the staff and get a fair impression of what each one is like. If you are looking for a pediatric or family dentist, be sure to bring your child along too, so he or she can get an impression, and you can double-check that your child feels comfortable there.
Your Cars and Other Vehicles
It is likely that you own at least one car, and perhaps one or two beyond that, and you might also own a recreational vehicle like an ATV, boat, or RV. If so, you do not necessarily have to sell or downgrade them to make your moving budget work, but then again, be prepared for that to be the case. Add in car repair expenses, gas, insurance, and auto loan repayments into your budget, and see how many of your vehicles you can afford during and after your move. You may be surprised to learn that your luxury car is just outside your budget for the near future, so you must sell it or downgrade it for a different car. An extra car can cost you a lot in many ways, after all, but getting rid of it can free up a lot of money. Whether that is worth it is at your discretion, but you should have the attitude that every vehicle in your possession must justify its cost.
When it comes to the move itself, you are encouraged to be proactive and find your best options well ahead of time. Depending on your area, you may have many options, but some of them might be unavailable when you are too close to your intended moving time. By looking online, you can compare moving companies by visiting their website, and you can and should ask them about any extra fees or charges based on the weight or size of your items, how far you are going, or perhaps even the time of year. For reference, summer is the most popular time for moving, and winter (December in particular) is the least popular time to move. If there will not be any unsafe snow or ice, you might consider late autumn or early winter move, when business is slower for moving companies.
Also, be aware that you might need (or want) to rent out self-storage space before the move, and factor those costs into your budget as well. After all, your new place might be smaller than your current one, and you may have some items you are unwilling to give up, such as a spare car or certain furniture or hobby items. If so, you can find and rent out a self-storage space, and move the excess items there. Smaller items can go inside the building, while a vehicle (cars, boats, RVs, etc) can be parked in the storage facility’s parking lot. Look online to find a self-storage facility that fits your budget, and make time to relocate the desired items there. A good self-storage site will have good reviews, fences, and walls to keep out intruders, security cameras and personnel, and adequate lighting all over the facility. Visit in person and see if a storage site suits your needs, and be sure to figure out how long you will continue to use that storage space after you have moved.
Even after the move is done, you are not finished spending money, so be sure to set aside something in your budget to buy a few new items you need to take care of your new places, such as tools or cleaning supplies, or lawn care equipment. To make room for all that, you may choose to cut back on leisure spending at first, such as fast food and going to restaurants or buying hobby items. With the hassle of moving and starting a new job (if that’s the case), you ought to be too busy to go buy recreational items anyway. Right now, keeping everything stabilized and within your budget should be your #1 concern.
In short, a proper moving budget means reassessing everything (big and small) in your inventory and trimming away what you don’t need, taking care of outstanding loans to protect your finances, finding an affordable dentist/family doctor, and minimizing recreational spending during and after the move. All this can and should make moving smoother and much more affordable.