Moving house can be very costly, having a huge financial impact on those going through the moving process. From the purchase of your new property itself to the packing, removals and everything else in between, at times, moving house can feel like an endless money pit.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost and there are some things that you can do to save some money along the way and by simply making conscious decisions about where your money goes you could save you thousands along the way.
Negotiate the sale price
Buying a house is a bit like a game of poker. House prices are there to be negotiated and many sellers go in with a higher price knowing that their end offer will be significantly lower. When viewing the property check for any issues such as bad wiring, damp, missing roof tiles or any other issues that will cost you money to fix when you move in and then negotiate the cost of these off the asking price. Also factor in things such as the strength of the housing market to see if you are in a position to offer a lower price if the market is running very slowly and don’t forget the power of waiting. Put in a low offer and if it is decline try to hold your nerve before offering again to not make it appear as though you are too keen.
Compare mortgage loans
Choosing not to compare mortgage loans is like throwing your money down the drain, so before you even buy a property be sure to do your homework to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Remember that mortgage packages are made up of more than just interest rates and you will want to take a look at other features of the loan such as their credit and cash reserve requirements, mortgage insurance (if included), the maximum LTV and the lock-in period. As with any straight comparison, you will also want to make sure that you are comparing like products i.e a 30 year fixed mortgage from both lenders as it doesn’t make sense to compare different loan types. Remember to check the interest rates regularly as these can change daily and then compare like for like lenders to see how much they will cost you in fees. Fees can include a mortgage insurance premium, an appraisal fee, wire transfer fees, application fees. Commitment fees, underwriting fees, and tax service fees.
Packing and removals
Aside from your mortgage loan, the next biggest cost in most house moves is the removal process itself. So here are some tips for keeping removal costs down.
- Reduce the amount of stuff you own
Removal companies charge based on the number of things they have to move, so you can save a lot of money by cutting down on the number of things you own. Marie Kondo, the famous Japanese tidying expert, has some great tips on tidying and decluttering, that center around only keeping items that bring you joy. Marie Kondo also has some handy tips for letting go of sentimental items and could help you to remove bags of rubbish from your home without the need to let go of anything you actually use or need. Check out her website for some more information. When choosing what to keep and what to throw away remember to weigh up the cost of replacing certain items at the other end, if your sofa is going to cost you $1000 to move and only $500 to replace then it may be worth selling it before you leave and purchasing a new one for your home. The same principle applies the other way around and if your bed is going to cost $400 to move but $500 to replace then it will save you money to pay the removal costs.
- Decide whether to do the removals yourself
Of course, one of the easiest ways to cut down on removal costs is to do them yourself but you will need to factor in a number of things first:
- How much stuff do you need to move?
- Will you need to hire a vehicle to move your things? How much will this cost?
- Will you need to take time off work?
Although removal companies can seem costly, they do provide a valuable service and by the time you have added up the cost of hiring your own removal vehicle, the days you need to take off work and the petrol to fuel the trips you take, you may find that the removal company works out cheaper.
Give plenty of notice to your removals team
Compare removal providers to get the best deal and then book them with plenty of time to spare. Removal companies can get very busy over peak periods and this can lead to them putting their prices up with demand. By booking in early you can guarantee yourself a spot on your preferred date and you won’t get caught out by peak time fee increases.
With your removals booked well in advance, you will also have more time to budget towards their costs and will safeguard yourself a little against last-minute changes.
- Get a removals survey
Once you have decided on a removals company, have them come out to your home to provide you with a removals survey. This way, the removals company will know exactly what size van or lorry to bring to remove all of your belongings. This removes the chance that you could underestimate how much there is to move, resulting in last-minute fee changes and loss of time needing to find a larger vehicle.
- Weekend or weekday?
Although you will need to complete on a weekday there’s no reason why you cannot move on a weekend. Moving on a weekend will mean that you needn’t take time off work but could mean that your children are present for the move. Moving on a weekday could be cheaper with the removal company, and your child may be at school which could save you on childcare, but it could also mean you losing money from a missed shift. Factor in the cost of childcare, loss of earnings and the charges of your removal companies to decide whether a weekend or weekday would work best for you.
- Look for second-hand boxes
Some removal companies provide boxes and packing materials in their costs but most don’t. Boxes and packing materials can cost a significant amount of money and you can save yourself hundreds by finding them second hand or on freecycle sites. Alternatively, boxes can often be found at grocery stores and you can even use your own clothes and towels as packing material to keep your belongings safe.
Once you’ve moved into your new house there are plenty of opportunities to continue saving yourself money including:
Get money back for buying energy-efficient appliances
If you left your old appliances in your old home or decided that they were not cost-effective to transport then don’t despair as if you purchase a new energy-efficient appliance then you could qualify for a tax credit for 10% of costs of up to $500. You can apply for these credits through the Department of Energy’s website.
Consider changing your energy providers
Just because you have moved into a property supplied by a different energy provider doesn’t mean that you have to stick with them. Shop around for the best energy deals and take advantage of introductory offers.
Make your new home as energy efficient as possible
Having spent money on new energy-efficient appliances and having taken the time to research the best energy rates you don’t want to be letting all that hard work go out the window (literally).
Check your windows and doors
Check your new windows and doors to make sure that they seal tightly and if you discover any drafts then consider using draft excluding tape or filling any holes with silicon. If your windows are single glazed then you can save a lot of money on lost heating by purchasing secondary glazing panels, or if you have the budget to, then it may be worth investing in new energy-efficient windows.
Insulate the attic
If your house has an attic then take five minutes to go up and explore it to see if it is worth adding in a few extra rolls of insulation, this can help to stop all of the warm air you build up in your home from escaping through your roof.
Tighten your taps
A dripping tap or showerhead is essentially flushing your money down the drain. Loose connections and dripping faucets can waste gallons of water over the course of a week and this is money that could easily be saved by simply tightening up their connection.
Install a smart meter
One of the reasons that many people are so bad at wasting energy is because they can’t see how much they are using. A smart meter makes your energy usage visual and will help you and your family get into better energy efficiency habits.