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What are the hidden costs of moving house?

By  AAMI

Moving in with friends or a partner, or just to a place with cheaper rent or a lower mortgage, can be a good way to save money.

But we often forget about the immediate costs of moving. These hidden expenses can add up.

If your mind is set on moving, check out these tips on how to avoid hidden moving costs.

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Connecting utilities

If you’re moving locally, you may be able keep the same utility providers and transfer your plan to your new address. Relocation fees vary between states and between different distribution networks but are over $80 in some places.

If you need to request an urgent connection, it could attract extra fees. So organise your connections well in advance before you move in.

But if you’re moving interstate, or you’re a renter moving in with new flatmates, you might have to set up new utility plans. This could mean a connection fee for the new place and/or a disconnection fee for the old one.

In some states such as Victoria, landlords must pay for installation and initial connection fees for water, electricity, gas and oil, where the service is being connected for the first time. This may vary depending on the state or territory you live in.

You’ll likely be charged a fixed network service charge if you don’t disconnect your previous house’s energy. And you can be charged for gas supply, even if you don’t use any gas. So, it’s important to disconnect your utilities as soon as you move out.

Removalists

If you’re pushed for time or unable to lift heavy items yourself, hiring removalists might be the way to go.

But if you’re able to, and you want to cut down moving expenses, could you do it yourself? Or, hire removalists for the big pieces, like your fridge and furniture, and do the smaller bits yourself.

Or you could enlist a group of friends to help you out — just be prepared to return the favour!

New furniture and appliances

If you want to redecorate your new pad, buying brand new furniture, appliances, and decor will quickly add up. If you’re hoping to save, why not try buying second-hand things online, or from an op shop? One person’s trash is another’s treasure, after all!

Try using social media neighbourhood groups, garage sales, or even the discount section of the furniture store to score a bargain.

Parking

If your new place doesn’t have a car space, you may need a parking permit, which there may be a yearly fee. A place with a parking space may also mean you don’t need to do multiple laps of your block searching for a parking space every day.  

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Food and accommodation

A big move might mean a stay in a hotel or other temporary accommodation. And that usually means buying meals out or ordering in. Those expenses can add up.

If you can, plan ahead. Either move all of your essentials in first, or last, so that you can still live in the place you’re moving into or moving out of. Things like your fridge, plates and cutlery, cooking utensils, beds, mattresses, some clothes, etc, mean you can live at home during the move.

Storage

If there’s not enough bench space for your collection of antique vases, or the balcony on your new apartment doesn’t fit your outdoor setting, you might decide to put a few things in storage. This is another recurring expense.  

One way around this is looking for a house that has a shed, attic or other storage space. Or you could look for a bigger place that fits all your things. It might cost a little more, but would mean you won’t have to pay for a storage facility. And you get to keep your things on display!

If downsizing is a must, try a more ruthless approach to decluttering. If the home gym set you bought five years ago hasn’t made its way out of the box, selling it and using the proceeds to sign up for a gym membership might be a good way to save space and avoid storage fees.

Moving house doesn’t have to be expensive if you’re able to plan ahead and keep costs down. Think about where you can cut on small costs, which could add up to big savings.

Of course, replacing damaged items could undo any savings. So, remember to get cover for your belongings at your new place with contents insurance.

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This article is for information purposes only and is not legal or financial advice. The information is intended to be of a general nature only. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.