Tips for a Smoother Move
U.S. Census data estimates that most of us move about 11 times during the course of a lifetime, and the choices made during each move have lasting financial and personal effects. While moving seems to be an inevitable part of life, making mistakes during the process doesn't have to be. Here are some common moving mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Not researching the new area
A new location may seem exciting, but if you haven't done your homework you don't have the whole story. Before relocating, research the costs, culture and crime statistics. If possible spend a week or two actually visiting the area to make sure you feel at home. Check out local shops, restaurants and attractions, and take some time to talk with the locals.
Another important factor to consider is cost of living, which varies quite a bit around the country. Home prices, rent, gasoline and even groceries could turn out to be significantly more expensive in a new city than where you're living now, and what initially seems a step up or a lateral move could amount to a step down in practical terms. To avoid getting into a situation you can't afford, take time to use a cost of living calculator to compare any cities you're considering.
2. Not checking out the movers
Just because a moving company has an attractive website doesn't mean it's a good company or an honest one. Since you'll be trusting your mover with a lifetime's worth of your belongings, be sure to check out prospective movers before even calling for estimates. Start by verifying each mover's license at the U. S. Department of Transportation. You'll be able to access information about the company size, number of vehicles and even insurance carriers. If the mover has a DOT number, you'll also view records of crashes, safety ratings and inspection results. The Better Business Bureau is another excellent resource for details about movers' track records. They rate each company, give reasons for the rating and provide a record of any complaints that may have been filed.
3. Not saving receipts for tax purposes
Moving can be so hectic that it's easy to forget about paperwork. If you moved to start a new job, transfer at your existing job or return to the U.S. to retire after working abroad, your move is probably tax-deductible.
To qualify, your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job was. (If you're moving for your first job, it needs to be at least 50 miles from your old home.) You'll also need to work full-time for at least 39 weeks of the next year, which doesn't have to be at a single employer. If you're self-employed you'll have to work 78 weeks during the next two years, including 39 weeks the first year.
For a qualifying move you can deduct:
• Packing and transportation expenses for personal possessions, vehicles and pets. This includes items moved from a separate location, if this doesn't cost more than it would have to move the items from home.
• Storage and insurance for up to 30 days.
• Travel expenses such as flights or hotels (but not meals). If you drive to your new home you can deduct 24 cents per mile or actual expenses incurred. Parking fees and tolls are deductible in either case.
• Fees to connect or disconnect utilities.
4. Packing too much or too late
With so many things to think about, people often wait till the last minute to start packing. Try to allow at least four to six weeks to find packing supplies, wrap breakables carefully, organize items and label everything to help placing items in the right area of home when unpacking.
Another common packing mistake is to automatically box up everything in the house, which just creates a new house full of old clutter. Before packing, ask yourself if each item is either useful or brings you joy. If you haven't used something in more than a year, chances are you really don't need it. Donate some items or have a garage sale. You'll have less packing work and your new home will feel fresh and light.
5. Not scheduling your move in advance
If you wait too long to hire a mover, your choices may be severely limited. Movers book way in advance, particularly during their busiest times: summer, the beginning and end of each month or the exact middle of a month. Book your mover at least eight weeks in advance if possible. If you can schedule an off-peak date, you may even get a better price.
If you are in the market for a new house and would like information on homes for sale, or are first time home buyer not working with a Realtor and would like to schedule a consultation with a qualified Oakland County and Macomb County Realtor, please complete the Lang Premier Properties contact form to have a real estate agent contact you.
Lang Premier Properties are Birmingham Realtors specializing in Oakland County Real Estate. Stephanie is an agent with Max Broock in Birmingham, Michigan. See what past clients have to say about Stephanie Lang. Lang Premier Properties looks out for your best interests when you purchase a new custom luxury home. We always recommend working with an experienced luxury real estate agent when buying a new luxury estate.