The Hidden Costs and Fees of Moving

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Don’t be caught off guard with the hidden costs of moving. Moving is an expensive undertaking. Local moves, are estimated to cost an average of $1,250, with long-distance moves of 1,000 miles and above bound to set you back approximately $5K ($4,890 to be exact).

Thats no chump change.

One often overlooked aspect is that moving costs can spill beyond the moving fee you pay to a professional moving company.

To save you some nasty surprises during your move, we decided to compile a list of some of the unexpected moving expenses – from the forgotten, to the hidden, and some more uncommon ones – that are easy to overlook, ending up poking holes in your moving budget.

Moving Supplies

If you’re assigning packing duties to the mover, they should come with all needed moving supplies and materials – factored into the moving costs, of course.

However, if you’re going DIY with your packing, it’s easy to overlook how much packing supplies can actually affect your moving costs.

Take an example.

If we’re talking a two-bedroom house, a moving kit with 50-60 boxes and tape can fetch in the range of 150 to 200 bucks. You might also end up shelling an additional $100 for a kit that protects your china and glassware.

Elevator Fees

If you live at the top of a high rise, be prepared to part with an elevator fee.

This is a surcharge that is usually fixed, often costing an extra $50 to $100, so ask your mover 1. if this is separate and 2. if so, how much they charge for it.

Parking ticket

There is a possibility the moving company will receive a parking ticket should they be found parking “illegally” when loading or unloading your belongings. Usually, you will be the one to fork out this fee should that happen.

But there is a workaround to it. We say illegally because the proper way of going about it is to obtain a parking permit from your community’s City Offices.

If parking is an issue around your place, consider getting one a week or two in advance of your move to avoid these hidden moving costs.

parking violation

Heavy Items Surcharge

Most movers include most furniture and appliances in their basic moving estimate.

However, it is important to keep in mind that heavy or unwieldy items like a grand piano, pool table, ATV and such items are often characterized as “special items” and therefore charged for separately. So, be sure to take the time to mention these items to your movers. 

Specialized Items

Speaking of specialized, not every mover is equipped to move special items that require more care and attention – think fine art and sculptures, antique dishes, the aforementioned piano etc.

Most won’t admit to not specializing in this type of moving, despite the lack of such a service offering on their website. So, if you plan to move items like these, make sure to do your due diligence.

While you’re at it, enquire on the cost of moving these items, and understand if this will be paid for separately.

Ideally, you want to hire a multi-faceted mover who provided different services, specialized items included, as hiring two different moving companies – one for the special items and another for your other belongings – doesn’t make sense.

Moving Insurance

Every moving company is required to provide basic mover’s insurance by law.

However, don’t take it at face value when a mover tells you your possessions will be insured in transit. In reality, the basic coverage offered by movers (also known as basic carrier liability or released value) is not going to match the actual value of your items.

If you want better protection, you will have to purchase full-value protection which makes the mover liable for the replacement value of every damaged or missing item. But even this is mid-level coverage.

The best form of coverage is third-party coverage, although this is best suited for high-value items such as art collections, antiques and crystals, precious stones, oriental rugs, furs, computer equipment, cameras, and video cameras, and jewelry.

Ask your selected mover to explain the different coverages on offer and be on the same page with them as to how much the insurance will cost. Know what questions to ask regarding relocation insurance.

Overnight Fees

If for some reason the mover is unable to unload your items on the planned day, there is a chance you could end up paying an overnight fee.

However, this said reason should not be of the mover’s own making – such as delayed hours on their part, should you happen to hire some unreliable characters – of which they totally need to cater for.

But if the delay was caused by either you or something you overlooked – for example, restricted services hours in the neighborhood you’re moving into – you might be required to part with an overnight fee for the change of plans.

This is why it pays to plan for a move early on as some of these minute details can be overlooked when preparing your move in haste. Nobody wants to pay $300 or more in the name of overnight fees just because of a little something that was overlooked.

Furniture Disassembly and Reassembly

This is another cost you definitely don’t want to be surprised with at the end of your move.

Let the mover clarify if they levy extra charges on furniture disassembly and reassembly before you sign up.


Money Moving Tips

How to Keep Your Phone Number When Moving Abroad

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

*Originally published on September 15, 2017 but has since been updated to reflect new information.

A decision many expats must make is how to stay connected with family and friends back home after they move overseas. For individuals moving within the EU, the dilemma of keeping a phone number when moving to a new country is not as great and sometimes not present at all. If you live anywhere in Europe and are planning on moving elsewhere in Europe, Africa or Asia (with the exceptions of Japan and Korea), your phone will work. If you are moving to the Americas, make sure your phone has the 1900 and 850 MHz bands. For those of us trying to keep our USA phone number when moving abroad though, it’s a time of frustration and lots of research.

 How to stay connected overseas Read more…

How to find a roommate in Seattle, WA

Michael Boateng @GoodMigrations

With Seattle’s gorgeous mountains and lakes, a bustling tech scene, and abundant coffee culture, it’s easy to want to call this the Emerald city home. However, with housing prices around all major US cities rising it can be difficult to live on your own. According to Zillow, Seattle’s average $2,000 rental price for a 1 bedroom home, is above the national average of just $1,200. So it’s no surprise that this competitive market has left Seattleites now spending 35 percent of their annual household income on housing, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How does Seattle compare to other major cities?

London is 4% more expensive
New York is 24% more expensive
Los Angeles is about the same
Toronto is 15% cheaper
Sydney is 11% cheaper
Singapore is 7% cheaper
Paris is 11% cheaper

Source: Expatistan

For many expats, temporary furnished housing is a great option while you wait for your freight furniture and other household goods delivery to arrive. Nestpick is one online platform where you can search Seattle for furnished rentals.

But if paying the $2000 or more is not in your budget, then maybe it’s time to find a roommate. Whether moving to Seattle for work or school, a flatmate could be a great way to meet new people and save some money.

Finding someone that syncs up with your living style can be difficult and frustrating.  You have to ask the right questions: when’s the last time you washed a dish that wasn’t yours, how often do you bring partners over, how loud do you listen to your music, have you ever secretly hidden a cat inside your apartment and pretended the noise was coming from YouTube videos? The list goes on and on.

Once you’ve settled on the questions to ask. It’s time to start looking. But where? Where and how can you as an expat, find a flatmate share in a Seattle? Here are some great resources to check out.

Online resources for finding a flatmate:

  • Craigslist – Yes, it may seem creepy to some but with Craigslist’s new “Rooms Shared” sub-category it’s easier to focus on those who’ve put the time to post rooms they already have.
  • Roommates – Has a Seattle section as well.
  • Spareroom -Spareroom lets you search based on what’s important to you, to make sure you find your perfect match.
  • Facebook – With over 56K members, join the Seattle Housing Group’s page to search apartments and roommates.
  • Internations – A social media site for expats has a Seattle Housing forum. Check here to see if any other expats posted about needing a roommate. Alternatively, you can also post requesting a roommate if you already have a place or apartment.

Apps to help you find a roommate:

  • Roomi – Say goodbye to yearlong leases. Roomi helps you find flexible, affordable housing and connect with roommates who make the big city feel like home.
  • Roomster – A trusted name for people to post & and search for accommodations around the world with other like-minded individuals. Roomster connects people at all price points, in 192 countries.

Our Seattle City Guide is also a great resource for navigating the city. It’s got information on how to get around Seattle, navigating the education system, and basics like getting a phone or setting up a bank account. Most importantly, you can use the Seattle neighborhood guide to zero in on the neighborhoods that are a match for you.  will help summarize information about costs of living, the average annual weather, safety as well as go into detail about each neighborhood.

Before we go, here are some apps to make roommate life waaaaaay easier:


  • Splitwise – Keep track of your shared expenses and balances with housemates, trips, groups, friends, and family.
  • IOU – IOU (I owe you) tracks people who owes you money. It’s simple and fast.
  • Venmo – Make payments, get payments, transfer money to your bank account and stay connected to friends.
  • Cash – Request money and make payments as easy as using cash.
  • Roof – Share a home pleasantly with your roommates. Collect rent and chat effortlessly with your tenants.

Shopping and Chores

  • Our Groceries – simplest way to keep your grocery lists instantly synchronized on all the smartphones in your household—and it’s free!
  • Wunderlist – custom lists and to do’s that can be shared with roommates or part of a group.
  • Handy – Instantly book highly rated pros for cleaning and handyman tasks at a fixed price.
  • ChoreBuster – The ultimate family chore chart, ChoreBuster lets you manage and assign chores to each roommate member of your family, for free!

Moving Quotes: Binding vs Non-Binding

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Getting ready to move? Whether its an inter-state, domestic or overseas move, you will want to request quotes from a few moving companies. Getting moving estimates is an important part of the process. Read our 6 Steps in Hiring an International Mover before you begin this process. One of the biggest misconceptions that customers make during the quoting process is thinking that their quote is “binding.” In other words, the price estimate you get before the move is the amount you will pay after the move. This is not true! Why? You may ask? Because some quotes are binding but most, like 90%, are non-binding.

It’s important we understand these terms and understand how they can help or hurt us during our moving process and avoid extra costs on moving day.


This type of quote is not very common, especially with overseas moves, but it is simple and straight forward. A Binding moving estimate states that the price you are quoted will be the amount you pay on delivery. Regardless if weight or volume increase or decrease. Another good name for this is “fixed priced.” This agreement works out to be the most “fair” agreement if all parties are honest.

A few things to note if you do come across a binding quote.

  • The quote must accurately detail what will be shipped, and the services offered. If you need “extra” services that aren’t included, then you must be billed separately for these.  Long carry charges and shuttle fees are usually not included in a binding quote.
  • For an estimate to be binding a copy of the quote must be provided to the customer prior to the move and it must state it is binding.
  • A copy of your binding agreement must be included with your bill of landing.
  • Ensure everything you want to ship is clearly listed on your inventory sheet. Avoid adding additional items after the agreement has been set. If on moving day, the mover feels you have added items not included then they can refuse service. Typically, a mover won’t make a stink over something small but that is not a guarantee.
    Moving Estimate Image

Read more…

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your International Moving Company

Adam Vagley @goodmigrations

It pays to hire the right international mover. A bad mover can cost you hundreds of dollars more than you planned for – there are plenty of horror stories out there of people who got low quotes and then had to shell out more money once their stuff was picked up, or of shipments getting moldy because they weren’t packed properly.

We’ve already talked about why you shouldn’t find an international mover using any of the popular review sites. But once you’ve done your research and found a handful of good movers, what questions should you ask to vet them?

In this post, we’ll share the top ten questions you need to ask any potential mover during the different phases of choosing who to hire. With the help from our international moving partners, we’ve compiled the best advice. 

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your International Mover
Read more…

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