Moving House Costs Explained

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So, you’re moving house. Whether it’s your first time leaving the nest and you’re renting a share house with friends, flying solo in an apartment, a couple looking for a family home, or anything in between, moving out can be stressful for everyone, particularly when it comes to costs.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different; a family with three young children and a joint bank account will have different expenses to worry about than university students living in a share house, although there are some costs you’ll have to endure regardless of your living situation. To help you with the big move, Canstar Blue has put together a guide on what costs you can expect when it comes to moving house, and how you can potentially save some money down the line. Read on to find out more.

How much does it cost to move house?

Woman moving house

When it comes to moving house, the cost will ultimately come down to your individual circumstances, as there are multiple areas to factor in. While the final dollar amount will vary, costs can generally be categorised into upfront and ongoing, which we’ve outlined below.

Moving house upfront costs

A lot of costs that accompany moving houses are (unfortunately) unavoidable, and (equally as unfortunate) require you to pay them upfront, or at least have them organised before you even set foot in your new accommodation. As a result, you’ll have to have a bit of money on hand to ensure that moving day goes smoothly, but how much do you need, and what exactly are you paying for? Common upfront costs when moving house include:

  • Rental bond
  • Rent in advance
  • Removalists
  • Furniture, fixtures and appliances
  • Utilities
  • Bond clean

Rental bond

A rental bond, also known as a security deposit, is a one-off payment required when you first lease a property. This is paid directly to either your landlord or real estate agent, and can be used should certain circumstances arise, such as if you break the tenancy agreement and owe rent, if you damage the property, or to cover any costs at the end of your lease. Although the price of a rental bond varies, the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) states that if your rent is less than $700 a week, you cannot be charged more than the equivalent of four weeks’ rent, whereas if your rent is more than $700 per week, the landlord or agent can charge any amount they deem necessary.

Rent in advance

When you’re leasing, the first two weeks of rent are generally due in advance as another form of security deposit for the owner, meaning you’ll have to factor this into your budget. Your rent can vary depending on the suburb you live in, and the size and quality of the property, so ensure that you pick a property within your budget.

Removalists

Removalists loading van

Moving your personal items can be an expensive venture, and can be especially true if you’re moving out from a home you’ve been living in for a longer period of time, as you’ll have accumulated more than you think. And the more ‘things’ you have, the more you have to physically move from one property to another.

While you can always rope in a friend who owns a ute or truck, most of us will look to hire a removalist, and these don’t come cheap. Usually charging by the hour, hiring a removalist can cost between $300 – $3,500, depending on the size of your property and the amount that needs to be moved. To save money, think about donating some appliances, furniture or items that you don’t desperately need, or doing some of the work yourself.

Furniture and appliances

For first-time renters, purchasing furniture and appliances can be a lot more costly than expected. If you’ve moved around a lot in the past, you’ll have a leg up here — owning the majority of your own appliances and furniture will cut down some major upfront costs. However, if this is your first big move, think about checking out garage sales and online second-hand sites in order to save some costs.

Utilities

A lot of costs that accompany moving houses are unavoidable, like setting up utilities. When you’re accepted into your new home, many real estate agents will offer to have your utilities automatically connected on your behalf. These can include electricity, gas, internet and even pay TV. While this can be incredibly convenient, putting your utilities in the hands of someone else can lead to extra expenses, or a plan that simply doesn’t suit you. If you’re tight on money, consider doing your own research to help cut down costs. We’ve outlined what to look out for with utilities providers below.

Phone and Internet

Setting up modem

We couldn’t live without our phone and the internet — that’s why it’s so important to get this one right. Firstly, examine what sort of internet and phone connection you had at your previous property, and if your provider is available in your new area. If yes, ask yourself if you still want to stick with that service and provider, or if you want to change.

If you’ve been putting off researching providers and plans, now is the perfect time to review to see if you’re still getting the best deal. Upfront internet costs will be anywhere from $0 to over $200 depending on the retailer and connection type, as you may need to purchase a new modem to get up and running.

Electricity

Some properties will already be connected to the electricity grid when you move in. From here, all you have to do is call up your retailer to setup an account and you’re good to go. If your property is not connected, all you need to do is call your retailer or visit their website. The connection fee will generally cost you between $10 – $100 depending on the retailer, however your ongoing electricity bills can easy spiral out of control, so make sure you research, plan and budget to avoid a nasty electivity bill.

Gas providers

The process, and cost, of connecting natural gas to a new property is similar to electricity, although not every property has a gas connection, so some of you might dodge a bullet here! If you do need gas, call or visit the website of your natural gas retailer and you can arrange a day for them to connect your gas for as little as $10 – $50. Again, like electricity, your ongoing gas bill will vary depending on how much natural gas you use and how many people you’re splitting utility bills with. If you’re currently unhappy with your gas provider, moving would be the perfect time to compare and re-evaluate your provider. Check them out here:

Bond clean

Bond clean

A bond clean, also known as an exit clean, is a legal requirement that must be undertaken by tenants at the end of their lease. Before you leave, your landlord or real estate agent will inspect the property and ensure that it has been restored to the original condition when you first moved in. If, and only then, tenants will receive back their bond that was paid when the property was first leased. If you’ve been renting for a while, an intensive clean will need to be undertaken — and sometimes professional help needs to be enlisted. Costs for professional bond cleaning will vary, depending on the size of the property and the state it is in.

  • While not a traditionally upfront cost when moving into a new property, and only relevant to those moving between rental properties, it will be a cost you have to pay around the same time as the other above costs, meaning you’ll have to factor this in to your moving budget.

Moving house ongoing costs

Now that you’re settled into your new property, you’ll have to keep on top of a few key ongoing costs to keep the household running smoothly. Major ongoing costs include:

  • Rent
  • Utility bills
  • General living expenses and repairs

While these areas may have been covered earlier in the upfront costs section, you’ll still have to pay for the ongoing use of these services in addition to the upfront setup costs, otherwise you’ll be left without energy, or even kicked out if you fail to meet the required rental payments.

How much money should you save before moving out?

Couple moving couch

The general rule of thumb is that you should have the equivalent of three-month’s worth of living expenses (including rent, utility bills and groceries) saved up before moving to act as a safety net should something happen. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but having a savings account stashed away with a few thousand dollars may make the prospect of moving out for the first time a little bit less scary.

How to save money when moving

While moving house will require you to part ways with a few dollars, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend big to get the job done. Again, saving money will come down to your personal circumstances, but here’s a few ways to help you save:

  • Do it yourself: Hiring someone during the move is definitely easier on your muscles and free-time, but it’s not as easy on your bank account. By looking to do parts of the move by yourself, cleaning parts of the apartment or setting up your own modem can all help cut down your overall costs.
  • Shop around: As mentioned earlier, by shopping around for your utility providers, you can not only save on upfront costs, but save on your ongoing costs too, giving you more money to spruce up your new place. Which takes us to our next point.
  • Buy second-hand: While this option may not suit everyone – and may not suit every situation (try to avoid second-hand mattresses) – buying second-hand goods can save you on upfront costs while still giving you that homely feel.
  • Get insured: Spending money sounds like something you should be avoiding, but getting insured in the form of home and contents insurance before a move can potentially save you money (and heartbreak) down the line if something should happen during moving day, or after you move in. However, you’ll have to check the fine print of any insurance cover you take out, and update the details and cover once you’ve properly moved in, but knowing everything you own is protected may be worth the cost.
  • Do up a budget: While doing a budget may take the excitement out of moving, properly budgeting for your expenses could help ensure there aren’t any surprises that pop up, and potentially reel back some over-zealous decorating expenses.

While the sheer amount of areas you’ll have to organise (and pay for) might seem daunting, if you do your research, you can find the best deals and save yourself some money, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your new digs and organise that house-warming party.

Photo Credit: PH888/shutterstock.com, Dmytro Zinkevych/shutterstock.com, Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com, Proxima Studio/shutterstock.com, Monkey Business Images/shutterstock.com

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