Paying for moving expenses doesn’t have to trap you in place. Check out these options from relocation assistance to moving loans.
Moving to a different home, even if it’s within the same city can feel like a new chance on life. Whether you’re moving for a new job or just for new opportunities, you shouldn’t let moving expenses keep you from the decision.
Unfortunately, it’s a cold reality for so many people. Not being able to pay for a move can be an instant disqualifier and make you feel trapped.
It doesn’t have to be that way. From relocation assistance to moving loans and other ways to pay for moving expenses, you always have options.
Let’s look at the average cost of moving expenses, how to get relocation assistance and how to apply for moving loans. No matter what your situation, there’s an option right for you.
What is Relocation Assistance?
Relocation assistance is a special bonus or help your company might provide if you have to move for your job. Anytime your company offers a job in another city, make sure you ask if relocation assistance is part of the package.
You might also be able to get relocation assistance as part of a new job if it’s in a different city. As we’ll see below, moving isn’t cheap and your new company might be willing to help out if you can bring some new skills to the business.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t get any type of relocation assistance if you’re just moving to start fresh somewhere else. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the opportunity.
There are other ways to pay for moving expenses that we’ll talk about after looking at how much it costs to move.
How Much Do Moving Expenses Cost?
The American Moving and Storage Association estimates the average cost to move locally at $2,300 with long-distance moving expenses as high as $5,000 for a thousand-mile move. This is an estimate for the typical two- to three-bedroom home so your moving expenses might vary a little.
There are some factors that will increase your moving expenses,
- Travel fees are charged by moving companies and include gasoline and labor
- Packing services are convenient but can add up fast
- Your movers might not include disassembling or assembling furniture so make sure you check
- Moving supplies including boxes, tape and packaging to protect your belongings could be an extra
- Moving insurance and liability is usually sold separate by moving companies to cover any damages
The date you move can also affect the cost. Holidays and weekend moves will cost more and generally prices increase in the spring from April through July. If you can put off your move a month or two, you might be able to save money.
Don’t forget, moving expenses are tax deductible if you itemize your taxes so make sure you save all your receipts. According to the IRS, “You may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses if you moved due to a change in job or business location, or because you started a new job or business.”
What is a Relocation Loan?
First off, there is no such thing as a relocation loan. Websites might claim to offer relocation loans but these are really just personal loans you use for moving expenses.
The website knows that because it claims to specialize in so-called moving loans, it can rank higher in Google and get more clicks when people search for it. The company knows that people will just take the loan without shopping around.
In fact, most of these relocation loan companies have several websites to focus on different types of loans charging extremely high rates.
In reality, a relocation loan is just an unsecured personal loan. These are loans from $1,000 to $40K on repayment terms generally from one- to five-years. You get a fixed interest rate and fixed monthly payments that usually start a month after you get the money.
The lesson here is that if you’re looking for a loan to cover moving expenses, shop around. Most personal loan sites do what’s called a soft-pull on your credit report to pre-approve and estimate an interest rate. This doesn’t affect your credit score so there’s no harm in applying on a few different sites to make sure you get the best rate available.
Relocation Loan Websites for Bad Credit
There are a few loan websites I’ve used and reviewed on the blog. Which one you use will usually depend on your credit score and where you can get approved. Some sites will offer lower rates but require a higher FICO while others specialize in bad credit loans.
Again, there’s no harm in shopping your loan around and it’s going to save you thousands in interest. Saving just 6% on a $5,000 moving loan will save over a thousand dollars on a 6-month term.
PersonalLoans is the site most recommended by readers and one I’ve used twice myself for a consolidation loan and for home improvement. The site works for bad credit borrowers with a minimum credit score of 580 FICO and three different loan options including bank and p2p loans.
SoFi is a good choice for borrowers with higher credit scores. SoFi doesn’t release a minimum credit score but it’s likely around 680 FICO though you’ll get lower rates and no loan origination fee if you qualify.
Upstart offers loans to credit scores somewhere in the middle and specializes in loans to borrowers with limited credit history. The site is especially popular with college graduates with its special lending program that takes education into account.
How to Get a Loan for Moving Expenses
Getting a loan for moving expenses is no different than apply for any other type of online loan and will take a few minutes. If you’re approved, money is generally deposited in your bank account within a few days.
You’ll need to fill out basic information like your name, social security number and employment information. You’ll link your bank account for direct deposit of the loan and monthly withdrawals.
Most loan sites require borrowers have a steady paycheck and make at least $2,000 a month to qualify for a loan. You can borrow up to $40,000 on terms from one- to five-years and payments generally start a month after you get the money.
- Apply for only as much as you need. This will lower your payments and lower amounts come at lower interest rates.
- Apply for the shortest term you can afford. Rates on one-year and three-year loans are lower but make sure you can afford the monthly payment.
- Shop your loan around on at least two or three sites to make sure you get the best rate available.
Other Ways to Pay for Moving Expenses
There are a lot of things you can do to help pay for moving expenses or save money on moving before having to turn to a relocation loan. These range from doing more yourself to finding money to pay for the move.
- Have a declutter cleanse and sell anything you don’t use. This is just a great idea for every year or two. Take a cold look at everything you’ve bought and whether you really need it or use it regularly.
- Get free moving boxes from Craigslist or Walmart. Moving boxes and supplies can add up fast so ask around to local businesses and friends before buying.
- Do as much yourself as possible. I hate moving and generally will pay a little more to not worry about it. If you’d rather save money though, consider renting a truck and the DIY approach. Even if you pay movers, you can still do a lot of it yourself like packing and putting in the truck.
- Shop around moving companies. Just like you should always shop your moving loan around to different websites, make sure you shop around with moving companies as well.
- Find moving discounts with AAA or AARP. Some membership organizations may provide discounts for moving companies or have special deals for members.
It can be tempting to pay moving expenses with a credit card but you might want to reconsider unless you can pay the balance off within a month or two. Rates on credit cards are generally between 24% to 28% for most borrowers which means a $5,000 balance will cost you about $120 a month in interest.
Paying for moving expenses might be unavoidable but there are some things you can control to cut costs. If it does come down to getting a relocation loan, make sure you shop around to different websites to get the best rate available. Moving loans can be a good opportunity to take that great new job or start over in a new town but they shouldn’t cost you your financial freedom.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.