If you’re looking for a new job, flexibility is key. Candidates who are willing to relocate increase their options and chances of getting hired by casting a net outside their immediate area. However, along with expanded possibilities come increased costs. Even if you downsize your belongings before you move, you’ll still need to account for expenses like airfare, packing supplies, insurance, and storage.
Be in the know before you accept an offer and be ready to negotiate salary and relocation costs with your prospective employer. Educate yourself on what your up-front costs to move to and pay for daily life in a new city will be. From paying the movers to planning for storage, learn how to organize your budget for a more affordable relocation.
New Area, New Cost of Living
Cost of living varies widely in the US, and an annual salary of $50,000 will go much further in Twin Falls, Idaho than in Miami, Florida. To maintain the same lifestyle in a move to Miami from Twin Falls, you’ll need a salary boost of $12,000. Some of the biggest factors that affect the cost of living are:
Housing costs are one of the biggest differences between these two cities, but you may be surprised by some of the sneakier price differences. You’ll spend an average of 16 percent more on groceries in Miami. If you’re a Miami-dweller planning to move up the coast to a city like Philadelphia, your cost of living won’t be much different, but the widely different climates in those two cities may result in changes to your utility bills.
Major Moving Costs
Moving costs may seem less important than cost of living changes. It’s true: moving is a one-time expense, but relocating a household is no small process. Some companies offer relocation stipends, but offers that sound generous may only cover a portion of your move. Let’s break down what the average person spends in moving costs and what that includes.
- Moving your belongings – $3,000 to $10,000
We based these costs on two factors: weight and distance. The heavier your belongings are and the farther you need to take them, the more it will cost. Most movers will give you an estimate, but you won’t know the true price until everything is on the truck. You have a few options when it comes to moving your belongings:
- Hire a full-service moving company. They will pack everything and transport your house’s contents to your new place, then unpack it all for you. Full-service movers are the most expensive but easiest option. You can also pack yourself, then hire movers to do the heavy lifting and transportation.
- Rent a truck. Pay by the day to rent a truck from U-Haul or a similar company and drive your belongings yourself. Be sure to confirm what the company charges for a one-way trip and don’t forget to factor gas, food, and lodging into your budget.
- Pack a container and have it shipped. Container companies will deliver a large pod to your house, which you then fill with your items. They’ll pick it up and deliver it to your new home, where you can unpack it.
- Storing Your Stuff – $100 to $200
Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. You likely won’t arrive in your new city the same day you can move into your home; you may need to factor in the cost of a local storage facility in your new city until you get your keys.
Storage costs vary greatly based on location and whether the unit is climate controlled. If you’re moving to Miami, you’ll be looking at around $160 a month for a 10×10 unit with climate control. In Philadelphia you might not need climate control, so you could get away with paying $112 on average for a 10×10.
If you know your dates won’t match up, consider renting a storage pod. These units are easy to store at a local facility until you are ready to receive them.
- Moving Supplies – $70 to $800
Full-service moving companies will supply everything you need, but if you are going other routes, you’ll need to factor in the cost of supplies:
- Boxes or plastic containers
- Bubble wrap
- Packing tape
We suggest investing in durable plastic containers to pack your belongings. These reusable containers produce less waste, and they do a better job of protecting your belongings in than cardboard boxes. Look for used containers and other packing materials on sites like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace to cut costs. Don’t forget helpful extras like furniture pads and covers, and a dolly or hand-truck to help take the burden off your back.
- Insurance – $400 to $600
Do everything you can to make sure your belongings stay safe as they travel cross-country. Check if your homeowner’s insurance covers moving and see what coverage your moving company offers. Basic insurance will probably cover 60 cents per pound. For “full-value” replacement coverage, you’ll pay about 1 percent of the value; if your belongings are worth $60,000, you’ll pay $600.
Don’t forget to budget for incidentals like airfare for your family and any pets to your new city. You’ll need to put down a deposit as well as first month’s rent on your new apartment or house. Then there will be deposits for utility companies, car registration fees, and taxes in your new city, as well as all the costs to get started in a new place.
Preparing for a new job and a new city can be both exciting and intimidating. Whether you’re moving to Miami, Philadelphia, or small-town Idaho, educate yourself on what it costs to live there and what you’ll pay to move your life. Armed with this information, you’ll be better prepared for salary and moving stipend negotiations. You’ll also be able to set a realistic budget and move confidently toward your new life.
Sandy Newman is a Texas-based real estate agent for Owners.com, where the process of buying and selling your home is made simple. Sandy enjoys educating homeowners on relocating. In his downtime, Sandy is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, hiking and more. He has three kids, two dogs and three cats.