It may be obvious that buying a house will be a very large — and expensive — decision. Even if you calculate your monthly mortgage payments, evaluate the overall price tag, factor in future maintenance and repairs, and consider any commute and renovation costs, you may forget a few things that can add up to more than a few (hundred) dollars. From closing costs to movers, you can end up spending more than you expected to in your first year of homeownership. Check out some tips below to help you keep those relocation costs down.
1. Plan Ahead
Getting organized before crunch time can help you save. Change your address with all of your creditors and the post office ahead of time so nothing important will slip through the cracks. A missed or late payment can do serious damage to your credit scores and will end up costing you in the form of higher interest payments down the line. (You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
It’s also a good idea to create a budget for all moving expenses so you can evaluate what other aspects of your lifestyle you can cut back on that month to help fund your relocation. It usually adds up faster than you think — so try not to leave anything (from truck rental and mileage charges to gas and electric setup) off your list. You may want to consider investing in movers insurance to protect your belongings. In addition, it’s important to secure all important documents in a safe place so they do not get lost during the commotion and you will have them whenever you need them.
2. Time It Right
The price of moving can vary greatly based on when you move and whom you hire. It’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping. Research a few options and get multiple quotes before you choose a moving company or truck rental. If possible, avoid moving in the summer, when it is most popular. Rates are lower between September and May when these companies are less busy. Similarly, you may find lower prices on weekdays as opposed to weekends and further from the beginning of the month when many rental leases change hands.
3. Mix DIY & Professional Help
Moving on your own is almost always the cheapest option. This requires more time and sweat, while calling in the professionals can make it easier. Of course, there are some options that combine the two. You can pack boxes yourself or even prep the furniture and just pay the movers to physically move your belongings between homes. You can move all the smaller items and boxes and hire movers for only the heaviest objects, like your couch, bed and dresser.
4. Come Prepared
When the movers or moving day comes along, it’s important to be ready. If not, you can end up paying the movers to watch you organize your things. Collect packing materials, like tape, boxes and bubble wrap as soon as you know about the move. See if there are old boxes available at work or your grocery store. Ask friends or neighbors if they can pitch in with the packing. By starting early, you can take your time and possibly even choose some things to sell or give away before the move. This way you de-clutter and don’t pay to move things you don’t want anymore. You may need parking permits or, if you live in an apartment building, insurance permits. It’s a good idea to get those ahead of time.
5. Get (Financial) Help
Track all your moving expenses so you can get some of the money you shell out back. If you are moving for work, ask your employer to cover some of the costs. Even if your employer will not pay for the expenses, you can deduct some of the costs on your income tax return. It can be a good idea to consult a tax adviser before the move and through your filing process to be sure you do this properly.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.