Unexpected and Hidden Costs of Moving

We all know that moving can get very expensive, especially if you are moving across state borders. Simply hiring one of the best moving companies in your area can put a considerable dent in your moving budget. However, aside from all the known costs, there are many others that might be hidden from plain sight. These unexpected and hidden costs of moving include childcare, utility deposits, pantry restock costs and many more. If you are looking to optimize your moving budget, you may want to be aware of all of them in advance. In this article, we will present you with the top 10 unexpected costs you will definitely want to account for.

Top 10 Unexpected and Hidden Costs of Moving

  1. House cleaning
  2. Childcare/Petcare
  3. Parking costs/tickets
  4. Moving insurance
  5. Utility deposits
  6. Pantry restock
  7. Unexpected stops
  8. Fuel/Transportation
  9. Moving fees
  10. License/Registration costs
person counting money
Unexpected costs can quickly pile up.

Aside from the abovementioned costs, there can be a plethora of other costs, depending on your situation. For example, you might not consider lost wages in the calculation but they may end up costing you quite a bit of money. Furthermore, if you want to properly calculate long-distance moving costs, you will usually want to include the cost of self-storage and potential renovations. Of course, you will also want to account for unexpected variables and have some money on the side.

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With that in mind, let’s take a look at our top 10 unexpected and hidden costs of moving.

House cleaning

Most real estate contracts stipulate that you have to clean your home before moving out. While you can definitely do the house cleaning on your own, it is much more likely that you will be going to require professional house cleaning services, especially if you are planning a nationwide family relocation. This is even more important if you’ve rented your previous home, as you might lose your deposit if you don’t clean before leaving. Furthermore, you will also need to clean your new home, which may incur additional expenses.


Even though your movers might do most of the work, you are going to be quite involved in the moving process. When the moving day arrives, you will need to spend your time making sure that your movers are following your instructions, double-checking your old home, and performing a variety of other tasks. In other words, you may not have enough time to properly care for your kids or your pets. This means that you may need to find someone to look out for your kids and pets, which usually costs money.

kid playing with colored clay
Childcare can be quite expensive.

Parking costs/tickets

Depending on your situation, parking might be difficult to arrange. Furthermore, it is rather easy to get a parking ticket when you are moving from one home to another. Your movers will act according to your parking instructions, after all, and you will need to pay for any parking tickets that they get in the process. Parking costs are more prominent when you are preparing your office for relocation but they are quite frequent in residential relocations as well. You don’t necessarily need to account for getting a parking ticket but it is something that you should be prepared for.

Moving insurance

Even if you hire one of the best moving companies, there is no guarantee that some of your items will not be damaged or lost during the process. Accidents happen, after all. Therefore, purchasing moving insurance is the best thing you can do to ensure that your items are covered, no matter what. However, moving insurance does not usually come up when you are packing your home for relocation, and many people forget to account for it when preparing their moving budget. This, in turn, usually makes them forgo moving insurance when their moving budget does not allow for it.

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Utility deposits

Among the most important things to sort out before you move into a new home is to have running water, electricity, and internet when you get there. Most utility companies will charge a fee to reconnect their services and products in a new home, which is something that you might forget about when planning your relocation budget. Furthermore, some providers might charge you a termination fee for their services, which will add to the overall moving cost.

Pantry restock

One of the most common unexpected and hidden costs of moving is the fact that you will need to restock your pantry once you arrive at your new home. Furthermore, you may want to account for the fact that you may want to order takeout for the first few days after the move, as you will be having your hands full with other moving tasks.

person restocking their pantry
Restocking your pantry is yet another one of the unexpected and hidden costs of moving.

Unexpected stops

Even with the best laid-out plans, there is always a possibility that something will go wrong. Your movers might be late and you might not have a bed to sleep in, for example. Or you might be stuck due to a traffic jam. Either way, you will want to have some money in your budget to account for a hotel or any other overnight costs. Considering that the average hotel prices are up by 54%, these expenses can make a considerable dent in your moving budget.


Due to the fact that shipping your car can be quite expensive, most people choose to drive to their next home or tow the car with a moving truck. However, towing your car will increase the fuel costs and you may need to purchase/rent additional equipment. All of this will inflate the cost of your move.

Moving fees

There are numerous situations and obstacles that can increase the cost of your move. For example, your movers will charge you more if they have to carry a huge armoire over several flights of stairs. If the parking spot is far enough, you may incur long carry fees. If the elevator is not working…you get the point.

Basically, anything that inconveniences your movers will translate into additional moving fees. You will want to make sure that your movers account for all of them, in writing, before you proceed with the move.

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License/Registration costs

Lastly, if you are moving out of state, you will need to change your license and registration. Depending on where you are moving, these costs can be quite significant. Furthermore, some states may require you to update your license and registration immediately, while others may allow you to do so within three months.

It is practically impossible to account for all of the unexpected and hidden costs of moving. However, it is quite possible to account for most of them, which is good enough! It is also possible to minimize surprise with the right moving company by your side. Explore Consumer Opinion Guide and our extensive database of reliable movers and valuable resources to help you make the right choices.

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