Average Moving Costs to Consider in 2021

9 min read
Family prepares for moving costs associated with relocation

While moving into a new home can be an opportunity for a fresh start, moving costs can be more than anticipated and take a big bite out of your savings. Average moving costs vary by region and type of move. As you might expect, long-distance moves that take you across state lines generally are more expensive than moving across the street or staying in the same city or town. How much stuff you’re moving and the kind of help you hire can also greatly impact what you'll pay. Even the time of year matters: summertime moves can be more expensive than moves happening in the winter or spring.

No matter where you're going or how much you need to haul, having an idea upfront of the average costs to move your home, along with creating a moving checklist, can help you budget better and stay one step ahead financially.

Average Moving Costs

With so many variables at play, average moving costs can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Below, we compare average costs for moving a two-bedroom house locally (under 50 miles) or across the country and any additional cost you should account for.

Average moving costs for a local move

For local moves of under 50 miles, you will likely pay movers an hourly rate. Try to get moving quotes from several local companies before booking.

Full-service movers generally include the costs of packing, loading, unloading, and a standard-size truck in their quote. Alternatively, you could save money by packing up yourself and renting the moving truck and storage containers on your own, then hiring movers to help with loading and unloading.

For a two-bedroom home, the average moving costs for a local move typically range from $25 to $1,250, depending on what you need:

  • Hourly labor—$25 to $50 per hour per worker

  • Moving truck—$30 to $60 a day

  • Moving containers—$400 to $700 per container

  • Full-service move—$800 to $1,250

Unless you opt to do all the loading and unloading yourself (or enlist others to help), you can expect to spend around $800 to $1,250 for a local move.

Average moving costs for a cross-country move

A long-distance interstate move can be significantly more expensive than a local move.

For a long-distance move, you may need to rent a truck or work with a container company that will ship your possessions and then work with local help to load and unload your boxes and furniture. There are also full-service movers that offer interstate services. Rather than charging by the hour, the cost will often depend on how much you’re moving and how far you’re going.

For a two-bedroom home, the average moving costs for a long-distance move range depending on your needs.

  • Hourly labor—$25 to $50 per hour per worker

  • One-way moving truck for five days—$1,200 to $1,900, not including fuel costs.

  • Moving containers—$3,000 to $4,500

  • Full-service move—$2,500 to $7,000

If you sell all your furniture and only have smaller items to move, even a full-service moving company might only charge a few thousand dollars. However, if you need several moving pods or take up a lot of space on a freight trailer, the cost can quickly climb.

There may be additional expenses for large and heavy items—like pianos, china cabinets, or hot tubs—so make sure to include space in your budget for miscellaneous costs.

Keep in mind, even a DIY move can be expensive if you’re renting a large truck. Make sure to factor in the cost of food and lodging if needed.

Other Moving Costs You Should Consider

In addition to labor, transportation, and containers, there are many expenses that you may need to budget for once you set your move date.

Packing supplies

Cardboard boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, and other moving supplies will be a necessity. While each item might not cost a lot on its own, the expenses can quickly add up.

Additional services and add-ons

You might want to pay a moving service for extra services or supplies. For example, some movers will disassemble and reassemble your furniture. Some moving companies also offer specialty items to better protect your possessions—like a mattress bag or a wooden crate for fragile household goods.

Cleaning fees

You may want to hire a professional cleaning service to clean the home you’re leaving. If you’ve been renting, leaving a mess behind could result in forfeiting part or all of a security deposit. Professional cleaners typically charge around $50 an hour, with the required time depending on the size of your home and whether you need a standard or deep clean.

Gratuity hiring for movers

Whether you’re hiring professional movers or getting help from friends in family, set aside some money for gratuity. Cash is appropriate for hired help, but drinks and pizza can be enough for friends.

Time off work

You might need to take time off work to pack and move. Though this isn’t an out-of-pocket cost, it’s still something to consider as you prepare your budget (especially if your time off is unpaid).

Moving insurance

You may want to purchase moving insurance from a third-party insurer since homeowner's or renter's insurance might not cover your possessions during a move. Even if you hire movers, consider reviewing the coverage they offer and supplementing it with another policy.

Servicing your car

If you’re planning on driving your car for a long-distance move, you may want to get a service check and oil change before you go. The cost will depend on the vehicle and service center, and it could be much higher if you need new tires or a major repair.

Transporting a car

If you plan on shipping a vehicle, the cost will depend on the distance and whether you choose an open or enclosed carrier. For an open-carrier move (the cheaper option), a long-distance move typically costs around $1,000 to $1,500.

Travel costs

Whether you’re flying or driving, make sure to budget for travel expenses. If you’re driving, these can include gas, tolls, food, and lodging. Even if you fly, you might have to spend a few nights at a hotel if your new house isn’t move-in ready or if you arrive before your furniture.

Storage space

Some moving services will include a month of storage for free should you need it. But if not, you’ll have to pay for a storage unit between your move-out and move-in date.

Move-in expenses

Moving into a new home can come with its own long list of expenses. For example, if you’re renting, you may need to pay a security deposit plus the first month’s rent. There could also be deposits to set up utility and telecom services. If you're buying a home, consider budgeting for a deep clean or paint job while the house is empty.

5 Ways to Save Money When Moving

While moving can be expensive, there are opportunities to save at almost every step. You can drastically cut costs by implementing them all, but it’s often a trade-off as saving money can require extra time and work.

1. Don’t buy moving supplies.

Rather than buying new moving supplies, look for people posting free boxes on Craigslist or in your local Buy Nothing Facebook group. You can also ask nearby business owners if you can take the boxes from their deliveries before they get broken down. To save on bubble wrap and other supplies, try to use towels, blankets, and clothing to keep your fragile items safe.

2. Pack your own boxes.

Packing and unpacking your boxes can save you a significant amount of money, even if you still hire someone else to load and unload the boxes. If you’re capable and willing to do the heavy lifting—or can recruit friends or family to help—that’s another way to save.

3. Move during the low seasons.

Seasonal demands can lead to fluctuating prices for movers. Generally, it costs more to move during the summer peak season than winter—for both long-distance and local moves. Moving on a weekday rather than the weekend can also save you money.

4. Get several quotes from moving companies.

Find and compare moving quotes from different companies and for different options. For local moves, call local companies and compare their fees to national providers or referral services. With longer moves, compare full-service movers versus DIY efforts — you might be surprised at which is more cost-effective.

5. Sell or donate unwanted items.

No matter how far you’re moving, getting rid of possessions—especially bulky furniture—can help lower your moving costs. Try to sell items to raise money for your move or donate items that are still in good condition.

Other Moving Factors to Consider

Moving costs aren’t the only factors to consider when moving, and there are quite a few steps you can take to protect your finances.

Create a pre-move checklist.

Your mind may be scattered when you're in the midst of the move. Before you get started, create a checklist of everything that needs to happen. This can give you a clear picture of what you’ll need and how to budget.

Beware of moving scams.

Unfortunately, you need to be on the lookout for scammers posing as moving companies. In a worst-case scenario, they may take your money and your possessions. Before you send anyone money, check to see if interstate moving companies are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For local moving companies, check their Better Business Bureau profile and reviews, or ask friends for recommendations.

Turn off services and update your address.

Don’t forget to close or transfer your utility, waste, cable, internet, and other service accounts. If you’ve been borrowing or leasing equipment, make sure you return it on time. You’ll also want to update your address on all your accounts and set up mail forwarding with USPS. Having bills go unpaid, even if it’s because you didn’t receive a notice, could lead to extra fees or hurt your credit.

How to Pay for Your Upcoming Move

Depending on the scenario, moving could cost a few thousand dollars. If you don’t have the cash on hand, you may need to borrow money to cover all the expenses involved. However, it will depend on your current financial situation and the type of move you’re making.

Use your savings.

If you have savings, you can pay for the move without borrowing money. But make sure you’ll still have cash on hand for any unexpected costs that may arise. And in most cases, it’s smart to leave your emergency savings intact, so try to keep at least a month’s worth of expenses saved should you need it.

Use a credit card.

If you have a credit card with available credit, that can help fund your move. However, interest charges can quickly add up if you can’t pay off the balance within a few months.

Apply for a moving loan.

A moving loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can use to cover the cost of moving your household—whether across the country or across town. Personal loans offer competitive fixed rates and fixed monthly payments, and flexibility on how you can use the money. At LendingClub Bank, most members are approved for a  personal loan to cover moving expenses within a couple of hours and have the money deposited into their bank account fast.

How to Apply For a Moving Loan With LendingClub

LendingClub Bank offers moving loans with fixed interest rates and monthly payments over a set period of time with no prepayment penalty. After you apply, you’ll get customized loan options based on the information you provide in your application. You could be approved for a personal loan within a couple of hours, and money can be deposited directly into your bank account. Checking your rate online is easy and won't affect your credit score.

Moving Cost FAQ

How much should I budget for moving expenses?

Your moving budget will depend on how much stuff you need to move, how far you’re moving, and what type of help you’re hiring. A local move that only requires renting a truck may cost a few hundred dollars. However, an interstate cross-country move for a two-bedroom home could cost around $7,000 if you hire a professional moving company.

How do you calculate moving costs?

For local moves (under 50 miles), your moving costs may be based on an hourly rate. For longer moves, the distance, size, and weight of your possessions will determine your cost. Moving cost calculators and estimators can help give you a ballpark range.

Do moving loans make sense?

Especially if you find yourself in a hurry to move, a personal loan for moving offers low rates, manageable monthly payments, and flexibility on how and when you can use the money. That being said, a moving loan can be a good idea if you can easily afford the payments or need to move quickly. It might be a good option for moves that cost at least a couple of thousand dollars or if you don’t have the savings to cover the cost of your move right away. However, a credit card could be a better option if you only need to borrow a few hundred dollars or if you already have the funds to cover the move.

How much does it cost to move a 2000 sq ft house?

It usually costs around $12 to $16 per square foot to move a house in 2021. Therefore, moving a 2,000-square-foot home would cost approximately $32,000. You will then need to factor in other moving costs like hiring movers, travel expenses, and buying moving containers.

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