5 Unexpected Moving Costs Seattle Buyers and Sellers Should Be Aware Of

Moving is expensive and at a time when you are already scrimping to pay for your next home, unexpected moving costs can sink tenuous finances all to easily.

Changing your residence can be full of unexpected moving costs, and the numbers can add up quickly. To properly prepare, both home buyers and sellers – as well as tenants – need to know about these costs so no one is surprised by them, at the last minute. Here are 5 unexpected moving costs Seattle buyers and sellers should be aware of.

New House – New Insurance Rates?

Bills, deposits and other unexpected moving costs can create stress in an already busy and expensive transition.

Did you have insurance when you were a tenant, renting your home? If so, you probably paid $10 or $15 per month to insure the CONTENTS of your home – just the stuff you take with you in the moving truck when you leave. When you purchase a new home, one expense you’ll have to pay at closing – when you move – and annually or semi-annually thereafter is insurance costs.

All homes must be insured if they’re mortgaged, but going from one home to another can really change how much you pay for that insurance.

If you move from a smaller home into a bigger home, your insurance cost will increase because you’ve got more to insure. If you “moving up” in home, and a more expensive house, chances are your insurance will go up as well, because it will cost more to replace the home, in the event that you suffer a loss.

If you are moving to a different part of the country, make sure you check on pricing with your insurance agent – one surprising thing that I have found with my rental properties in various states is that even a comparably sized and priced home can vary quite a bit in insurance expense in different areas of the country. Insurance adjusters take into account the crime and weather in the area, in addition to the cost of the home, when they are deciding on insurance rates, it seems.

When you are ready to start getting quotes on your new home, be sure to carefully check over your homeowner’s insurance policy quotes before selecting the carrier you want to go with, and double-check that you’ve got the right amount of coverage for your home before purchasing. You can often get discounts for things like having a built-in sprinkler system, a security alarm, or living close to a fire station, but the insurance company may forget to give you these discounts unless you ask for them.

Utilities – What Will It Cost To Heat This Home?

Many people moving to Seattle are in for a good surprise when they take a look at their utility bills. The mild weather makes it very fuel-efficient to heat homes in the winter, and in the summer – heck, just open a window. You may be surprised that many of us do not have central air conditioning because it rarely gets too hot here.

In addition, because of the many hydro-electric dams on the Columbia River in Central Washington, we have cheap and affordable electricity rates, too!

However, if you’re already living in Seattle, and just moving across town, these little benefits are not likely to shock you. Instead, you may have some unpleasant surprises with your utilities. Whether you’re moving in or out, differences in the types of utilities you use – and the fees to disconnect or hook them up – can be among the most unexpected moving costs for people.

If you’re moving out of a home with a propane tank, for example, do you need to pay to fill up the tank so there’s heat? What about when you’re moving in?

Many utility companies require a deposit or other utility hook-up fee, the cost of which can vary greatly depending on location. Before you get ready to move, call the local utility companies to find out what this fee will be so you can budget properly for it.

Replacement Items: How Does My Old Stuff Look in My New Place?

Moving to Seattle
Even if the last owners left the home clean and tidy, they may have overlooked something that you will want to fix or change.

Have you heard of “Murphy’s Law?” Whatever can go wrong will. Sometimes it seems to strike new home owners, right after they’ve purchased. The old appliances or water heater that you hoped to wring a few more years out of has given up the ghost. Or, the washer and dryer left by the previous owners that “worked great” suddenly isn’t working so well, and it’s either purchase new or get very friendly with the laundromat.

Then there are those aesthetic issues that need to be addressed… all the furniture you dragged over from your last place now looks shabby in your new home. The art that matched the old wall paper is NOT a fit with the paint colors in your new pad. Or, you’ve gotten inspired by Pinterest or Houzz and are just committed to re-doing the whole thing. Period.

Most moves have some degree of unexpected moving costs, and many of those costs center around replacing items that no longer work in the new space or that get broken during the move.

From things as small as a cracked picture frame or missing set of dishes to larger pieces like entire bedroom sets, plan to budget for these expenses – whether you will incur them up front when you move in, or wait for a few years and upgrade as you go.

How Smoothly Will Your Furniture Make It To Your New Home? Storage Costs.

Pack your boxes and move to Seattle, WA
Moving takes a lot of work – you may have to shoulder it all yourself or pay someone to help you.

Unless you have the privilege of a very smooth move, where you just pack up the U-haul and drive from House A to House B, chances are your things will need to spend some time in storage as part of the transition. Whether you hire a moving company, put a storage POD in the driveway, or schlep all your things into and out of a mini-storage facility, it is very common for people to have to pay for storage as part of their costs of moving.

If you’re planning to downsize your space, you may need to account for storage costs long term, or else sell or give away many of your possessions before or during your move.

If you’re moving from a four-bedroom home into a two-bedroom, you’ve got two extra rooms’ worth of stuff that has to go somewhere. And even if you plan to sell your furniture, finding buyers who can move it all out can take some time, so this is a good project to start on well before you hope to move.

Although in some places you can get your first month of mini-storage unit rental free, storage unit costs can add up quickly. Preparing for these expenses in advance or asking a friend to help store your things in a garage or basement temporarily during your move can help you avoid one of the more common unexpected moving costs.

What Am I Forgetting? Budget For Miscellaneous Expenses

Selling Your House During COVID 19
“If you need help facilitating your move, just let me know how I can be of service!” Emily Cressey, Real Estate Broker

Even the most careful planners and budgeters will run into some unexpected moving costs when they move into their new home.

When you move in, you may realize that there are a few things you just don’t like or didn’t notice before, like the color of the paint in the living room at a certain time of day, or a cracked toilet seat that wasn’t caught on the property inspection. When I was a landlord, I always gave tenants 3 days after they moved in to make a list of things that might be wrong with the property that they needed to be fixed.

As a home owner, it’s always best to leave at least a little cushion in your budget for the “just in case” items that you’ll run into as you go through the process of moving into a new home. Some other things that can fall into this category include having to break contracts on gym memberships, or paying to get your driver’s license and registration updated with your new address.

When you move in to your first home, friends and family may throw you a house warming party, and this is a great time to mention if you need to change the color of some curtains or get new bath mats, maybe someone will bestow you with a gift that is just what you needed.

Even if that doesn’t work out, it’s better to have the money and not need it, than the other way around. Plan ahead and make sure you get into a house you can afford so your new home is a blessing to you – both as you move in, and for many happy years to come.

Do you need help planning for those unexpected moving costs in Seattle? Contact our team of professionals today at (206) 578-3438!

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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