How Much Does it Cost to Relocate?
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You might relish the idea of moving to a new city for a better job with higher pay. But the cost to relocate includes much more than just the raw moving costs.
Here at Select Properties, we’ve helped hundreds of people relocate to the St. Louis area, and we have a pretty good handle on how much the entire process costs. Even if your employer is picking up the tab, it's good to have an idea of the costs involved—both in terms of dollars and in terms of time.
The Hidden Costs of Relocation
Moving your household goods and buying a new home are top-of-mind when you’re moving to a new city. Both belong in a relocation budget. To create a relocation budget, open a spreadsheet and label four columns:
- Home sale
- Home purchase
- Moving costs
- Cost of living
In the columns for selling your home, include lines for all expenses, as well as what you expect to gain from the sale of your house. Subtract the expenses from the sales revenue and you will be able to project your proceeds. Doing this will give you clarity on how much you have to work with to move your household and make the down payment on your new home. More details about moving costs are below.
Real Estate Transactions in Your Relocation Budget
Selling a house to relocate to another city can be financially rewarding when the value of a home has increased since first purchased. When a seller walks away with a nice sum, they are set for buying a new home where they move. An experienced real estate agent will help sellers
determine the value of their home while they are drafting their relocation budget.
Expenses related to selling your home include:
- Closing costs, which usually amount to 8% to 10% of the selling price, include the agent’s commission, title fees, title insurance, and prorated HOA fees.
- Repairs and improvements you make to prepare your home for listing.
- Repairs required after an inspection.
Closing costs are the main expenses related to buying a home in a new city. Closing costs paid by buyers run between 2% and 5% of the sales price. These include the lender’s administrative fees, title insurance, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, mortgage insurance, and escrow fees.
The Cost of Moving Your Household Goods
Moving a house full of furniture, appliances, and soft goods across the country runs thousands of dollars. The average cost of hiring professionals for long distance moves ranged from $2,200 to $5,700 in 2021. Based on the going rate for labor, these numbers might be higher today.
In addition to labor costs, moving companies consider the distance and size of the house when quoting a price for their services. When a family is moving a long distance and has a four-or-five bedroom home, professional moving services might exceed $10,000!
Granted, executives and other professionals might have employee relocation packages paying for professional moving services. But some companies limit how much they will pay, so make sure to check policies before accepting a position in another city. New employees benefit by negotiating for reimbursement for moving expenses before accepting a position.
Those who do their homework when it comes to hiring a moving company spare themselves some of the stress of moving. Two key things to find out when moving across the country are:
- Does the company have their own teams on the ground and on the road, or do they subcontract the job?
- Will the company come look at your household goods before writing the quote? This step leads to accurate estimates and eliminates what can be an unwelcome surprise when it is time to pay for the move.
Getting several quotes will help you know you’re getting the best deal for their situation.Additional One-Time Moving Costs
Moving expenses beyond paying the movers add up quickly. When making a moving budget consider whether to include these potential expenses:
- Deposits for utilities
- Storage units
- Cleaning services
- Airfare for house-hunting and relocating
- Shipping pets and vehicles
- Liability insurance
- Temporary housing and hotel rooms
- Eating out
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Consider the Cost of Living
The cost of living varies widely in American cities and between rural and urban areas. Many Midwestern cities, including St. Louis, have a lower cost of living than the national average. For example, the cost of living in St. Louis is 6% lower than the national average according to PayScale. St. Louis housing expenses are 27% lower than the national average, a major benefit for those relocating from expensive cities on the coasts.
For projecting differences in the cost of living, include things like medical insurance premiums from your new employer, property taxes, and the cost of gas, and food. If you’re moving to St. Louis, use this cost-of-living calculator to see how we compare.
Relocation Professionals Relieve Moving Stress
Moving is less stressful with help from a relocation professional. Relocation professionals with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties facilitate relocation for companies like Boeing, Anheuser-Busch, and Wal-Mart. When a corporate leader is relocating to St. Louis or anywhere in the world our Relocation Services team will:
- Find a buyer for their current home
- Find a relocation realtor in St. Louis to help with the new home search
- Gather information about schools and communities for the employee
- Set up travel and hotels for tours of St. Louis and available homes
- Negotiate the home sale and purchase on behalf of the employee
- Arrange for temporary housing or rental units if necessary
- Coordinate storage, packing, and the move
- Handle visas and other documents needed for international moves
Individuals moving without a relocation package from their employer are welcome to work with one of our relocation specialists, too.
Will Moving Pay Off? What’s Not Measured in the Costs
One final note: Not every cost or benefit of a move can be calculated in this way. So leave some room to consider the intangibles. Leave some time for taking a “big-picture” look at how the relocation will affect you and your family’s lives. Points to consider include:
- Will you be able to afford to travel to see your family when you live far away?
- Do people like you live in the new city? Will you be able to find friends?
- If you want or need to find a new job in the new city, will you be able to? Or is there too much competition or too few opportunities?
- Will you be able to do your hobbies, find a church you like, and have fun in the new city?
- Is quality healthcare available?
When you look at the true cost of relocation and make an educated, mindful decision, chances are you will feel successful in all areas of your life.
Next Steps After Deciding to Move
When you have weighed the pros and cons, and decided to make that move, give us a call. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, we know every corner of the Greater St. Louis region. We are happy to help you find the perfect neighborhood to call home.
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