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Moving? Consider These Factors When Preparing Your Budget

Don’t let unexpected costs, from lifestyle changes to local taxes, take you by surprise.

Perhaps you're seeking a new beginning or a location where you can look for a different way of life. Or perhaps you're a remote worker who has made the decision to move in order to improve your chances of finding a house or rental that fits your budget. Or perhaps you've come to realize how vital it is to be close to the people and places that bring you joy.

No matter why you're relocating, it's a good idea to start your financial planning as soon as possible. According to our 2021 poll of movers, 31% of recent movers name stress over not having enough money for a relocation as one of the main emotional issues that prevented them from making their most recent move. Furthermore, nearly three out of four (73%) households that have recently relocated claim that their most recent move was delayed due to emotional reasons.

This post is for you if your stress is caused by the larger financial picture of moving. Continue reading to find out what elements you should take into account while organizing your relocation from start to finish.

Check your credit scores

Credit scores are crucial since they might determine your ability to rent or purchase the home you want as well as the cost of your residence.

Local rental rules that restrict the use of credit scores are a result of worries about them and the disproportionate effect they have on people with weak credit histories. However, both landlords and lenders employ them.

Credit scores will help determine whether you qualify for a mortgage when buying a property as well as the interest rate you'll pay. It can take a few months to raise your scores, but it's worth the wait, especially if you've fallen behind on payments or haven't had a chance to establish credit.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a wonderful place to start for general information, links to obtaining free copies of your credit reports, and troubleshooting if you are not familiar with credit scores. Make sure your credit ratings are accurate because they can contain inaccurate or out-of-date information that works against you.

Compare the cost of putting a roof over your head here and there

Spend some time online looking at properties in the areas where you currently live and where you are considering moving, unless you are being paid to do so. Think about the following:

If you’re renting…

You may easily determine how many rental homes in the city you're going to are within your price range using a tool on Zillow. To discover the number of reasonably priced apartments that are currently available, simply input your monthly take-home pay, debts, and a location. Rent must not account for more than 40% of your gross income before taxes for a home to be deemed affordable by the tool.

If you’re buying…

Using Zillow's home value index, you can compare the price of a typical home in different cities across the nation. You can also search by zip code if you have a certain area in mind. Use the general home search to narrow down the properties that are in your price range.

Remember that you will also have to pay property taxes and insurance in addition to your mortgage. (Most mortgage lenders will increase your monthly payment to cover those expenses.)

Your lender will probably need you to pay for private mortgage insurance up until your equity in the home reaches 20% if you're putting less than 20% down on the purchase. That insurance might increase your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars for large loans.

Account for extra expenses in your first few weeks or months

The changeover from the old to the new is probably going to take some time. You're going to need a somewhere to stay while looking or waiting to close unless you're fortunate enough to have friends, family, or an employer who is providing a housing allowance while you look for a new house.

Renters should factor in additional costs

Moving into a new apartment up-front fees. Application costs, security deposits, and background checks may be included in this.

Pet costs. You might have to put down a bigger security deposit and/or pay a higher monthly charge if you have a pet.

Not included in the rent are utilities. Consider paying any deposits you might be required to make before a utility company starts providing service. The cost of utilities can vary significantly between places, and your bills will also change depending on the size of your house and the weather conditions that affect consumption. Things might get pricey very quickly if your air conditioning or heating is going to be on all the time.

Appliances. Make sure your new house has a refrigerator because not all rentals have them. Even a cheap refrigerator can cost hundreds of dollars brand new.

The changeover from the old to the new is probably going to take some time. You're going to need a somewhere to stay while looking or waiting to close unless you're fortunate enough to have friends, family, or an employer who is providing a housing allowance while you look for a new house.

Extra costs to consider for buyers

A fundamental assortment of tools for house upkeep. If you don't want to spend money on equipment you won't use often, you can always borrow a lawnmower or hedge trimmer from a neighbor or friend. If you're fortunate enough to live somewhere with a tool library, you can also save money by renting one for a low price. See our list of the essential equipment for homeowners.

Utility bill. This could include water, trash, and electric/gas. If the house isn't already wired, take installation expenses for cable or internet into account.

Furniture and appliances. In older, unupdated homes, think about which appliances may need to be replaced. Take into account the big furniture, as well as whether you'll buy new or pay to relocate and store what you already have.

HOA costs. In planned communities, homeowner associations (HOAs) often maintain and repair common facilities by collecting monthly or annual dues from condo owners and homeowners.

Compare taxes and fees

The methods used by each state, county, and municipality to maintain the services, keep the lights on, and keep the roads in good condition are unique. While some states largely rely on sales tax and other levies to provide necessary services, others mostly rely on income taxes.

Depending on how taxes are collected, your ability to migrate between states will be impacted by those taxes. With this state-by-state breakdown given by The Tax Foundation, a non-profit think tank, you may compare what you're spending now with what you can anticipate paying in your future residence.

The revenue agency of each state has comprehensive information on what you might expect to pay there. The Federation of Tax Administrators, a membership organization of state tax administrators, can provide you with more specific information on sales taxes, corporate tax rates, excise taxes, and other taxes if you operate a business or need it.

Compare lifestyle costs

The fact that some locations are more expensive than others is well known. Use this calculator from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to determine how much further your money could go in your future residence than it would where you currently reside.

You might also take the cost of transportation into account if you're moving from a rural area or suburb to a city or vice versa. The necessity for a car might disappear if one moved from a rural or suburban lifestyle to an urban one. You might want to account for the expense of purchasing, registering, and/or owning a car if you're relocating outside of a city to a location without consistent and dependable public transportation.

Emergency reserves

It's usually a good idea to have a backup plan that includes an emergency cash reserve in case plan A doesn't work out. By doing this, you can focus on the issues you believe may be holding you back.

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