Moving Costs Money: How to Budget for Moving Expenses

Moving Costs Money: How to Budget for Moving Expenses

Nothing like stating the obvious, right? Moving costs money. But it’s not just the cost of a down-payment on your mortgage or security for a rental. There are quite a few hidden costs associated with moving that can really add up.

Insurance Changes

We’re talking about both automobile and homeowners. You need to call your insurance agent right away to make sure things are set up for your move. If you are buying a new house, you’re going to need to have a new policy written. If you’re a renter, you’ll need to have your address updated. The same goes for your automobile insurance. Unfortunately, a change of address means a change of “territory.” For some that might mean a decrease in premiums but for others it may equal an increase. Find out early so you can shop around, if necessary.

Fixes to the Old Property

Odds are you’ll need to make at least a few repairs to your old residence, whether you own it or rent. The agreement you made with your buyer, or the terms of your lease if you rent, will dictate what needs to be done. Do you need to hire a plumber for a repair? Do you need to steam the carpets?

Utility Changes

The utility industry often charges at least a small fee for transferring service from one area to another. Make sure your existing company serves your new area because you may have to start with a new company. Consider your water, sewage, electricity, gas, and even internet, cable, and phone services.

Boxes and Packing Supplies

We often think we can get enough packing supplies from stores and friends, but there never really are enough boxes to go around. Plus, you’ll need some specialty items to keep your fragile pieces safe – like bubble wrap or special containers. While you may be able to borrow, and your mover may provide some supplies, you’ll likely need more than you can initially get your hands on. Put some money in your budget for extras so you don’t end up losing any of your valuables.

Hiring a Mover

It’s not a necessity, but if you are making a big move with children and pets you may find it’s simply safer (and saner) to hire a moving company to help. Yes, it costs money but they will also insure your move against damage and do all of the heavy lifting. This means lower potential for injury for you, less stress, and an overall more pleasant experience. You’ll want to get quotes from different movers in advance; and check reviews.

Leaving your old place and buying a new home isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it in the end. Add a few of these line items to your budget in the months before your move and you won’t have nearly as much sticker shock as you get closer to the big day.

Flood Insurance Just Got More Affordable for NJ Residents

President Obama just signed a flood insurance relief bill that will make flood insurance more affordable for American homeowners, especially those living along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. About two years ago, coastal homeowners saw their flood insurance premiums spike so high, it threatened their financial stability. With such high increases in flood insurance, it has also made coastal properties unattainable for new homeowners who don’t want to take on the financial burden. This, too, has slowed the NJ market.

The original intention of the Biggert-Waters Act was to make the National Flood Insurance Program more financially stable, but really, it placed strain on homeowners living in flood-prone areas. Some of these homeowners didn’t buy in original flood plains, but their homes were deemed at risk and not built to code, so they were impacted by high premiums as well.

When homeowners began voicing their concerns over significantly high premiums after Hurricane Sandy, Congress took up the issue. It’s understandable that making the National Flood Insurance Program more stable would be a major advantage and take pressure off tax dollars, but forcing people from their homes due to such high costs was not a fair alternative.

The new relief bill looks at several different aspects of flood insurance. First, flood insurance premiums are capped under the new bill, at an average of 15 percent. The maximum is 18 percent for primary homeowners, while secondary homeowners may still see their premiums rise by 25 percent. Second, people buying new properties that are on flood plains can have below-market rates passed down to them. Flood insurance may not be cheap, but at least it’s more affordable.

The flood insurance relief bill helps the NJ market by making coastal properties more practical. In recent years, these properties have slowed because people are afraid to foot a large insurance bill each month. The new bill should offer more financial stability for those living along the East Coast as well as people who are interested in purchasing a home off the coast.

In New Jersey, roughly 233,000 homeowners are now covered by federally subsidized flood insurance, with the majority of the properties coming from Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.