Does it cost more to move during a holiday weekend? Or is this the perfect time to snag a deal on that home for sale in Denver, CO?
It certainly seems like the optimal time to move. You may have paid time off from work, and many of your friends and family will be around to help haul your sofa. Plus, you can very likely get a good deal on a house because fewer people are looking, says Robert McTague, a real estate agent from the Greater Syracuse, NY, area. If you’ll be asking your agent to trudge around in their winter boots, though, McTague says, “You’d better be serious.”
If you do manage to find and close on the home of your dreams, there’s no getting around the fact that moving costs during the holidays can be expensive. After all, cable installers and movers enjoy spending time with their families too!
1. Movers typically charge more
The winter holiday season, just like summer, is a peak moving time. After all, you figured this was a great time to move; other people probably are having the same thought. And the law of supply and demand means that when demand spikes, prices probably will too.
That demand also means it can be more difficult to snag a mover during the holidays than it is to get a limited-supply door-buster deal on Black Friday. If you need to hire a mover, especially if you’re relocating and need someone to help you from end to end, it’ll cost you — usually “much more than a regular move,” says Manuella Irwin, a relocation expert and author of Relocating Without Breaking A Sweat.
If you must move during the holidays, make a reservation well and ask for an estimate ahead of time. Keep checking in every so often to ensure the truck and the movers will be available, especially over the few days leading up to the move. You have permission to be a nag here; otherwise, you could wind up like Sherry Hames, who spent one holiday season moving from Nashville to Normandy, TN.
Hames didn’t get the large rental truck she had reserved. Instead, the company sent a tiny truck. What Hames had planned on being one 70-mile trip turned out to be three trips, and by midnight, with the move still unfinished, Hames checked into a motel.
One way to avoid mix-ups like this one? Hire a licensed member of the American Moving & Storage Association, a trade group for moving specialists. You can also check to see whether there have been any complaints against the mover filed with the Better Business Bureau.
2. You might need to store your belongings and find temporary housing
Unless you live in a perpetually sunny and warm location — and most of us don’t, after all — you need to be prepared for a snowpocalypse or superstorm. Snowy, icy, and wet conditions are not ideal for moving tables, beds, dressers, or, face it, really anything.
The move simply might not happen when you want it to if the weather’s bad. That means you might need to rent a storage facility for your belongings. And unless you know someone that you and your family can stay with, you might need to pay for temporary housing until the winter conditions pass and you can reschedule the move. Ka-ching.
3. Repair companies tend to charge extra
Nothing reflects the “bah humbug” spirit more than repair companies during the holiday season … the ones that charge more anyway. But if you’re all moved in and the toilet won’t flush, the kitchen sink is backed up, or you have no heat, you don’t exactly have a lot of time to shop around for the best price. You need someone now.
Repair issues are often commonplace after you move in. Regular maintenance is key to preventing plumbing and heating issues (says every plumber and handyman I’ve ever spoken with), and because you don’t know what the previous resident did for upkeep, you might have a mess on your hands.
Not all repair companies charge extra for an emergency call during the holidays, but good luck finding one that doesn’t. Deals are generally for repeat or regular customers, and you’re the new kid in town. As a rule of thumb, plan on paying time and a half when you call a repairman for off-hours or holiday fixes.
4. Being stuck in traffic has costs too
Traffic during the holidays is a given. But traffic costs you money in extra gas from the constant stopping and starting, the extra stops you need to make because of hungry or unhappy kids, and wear and tear to your car.
Have you moved during the holidays? Share your experiences (and tips!) in the comments below.