• Ask Allied: What are the Most Expensive Items to Move?

    by Jackie Heath | Oct 17, 2014
    Expensive ItemsFor most of your furniture and belongings, you can expect moving rates to be calculated by size and weight. The heavier the item, the more careful packaging that will be required, the more difficult it will be to load and unload, and the more gas it will take to transport it.

     
    All of these things contribute to higher costs overall. (Think of it like moving a bean bag chair as opposed to a couch. The lighter bean bag chair will obviously be less of a burden than a large, bulky couch.) For that reason, you can estimate most of your expensive items based on their relative weight.

    Items that tend to weight in the heaviest include:

     * Pianos
     * Dining room sets
     * Couches
     * Entertainment centers
     * Beds
     * Large electronics (flat screen televisions)
     * Safes
     * Sculptures and large pieces of artwork
     * Any wooden furniture (chests of drawers, cabinets, bookcases, etc.)
     * Rolled-up rugs/carpets
     * Major household appliances
     * Outdoor play equipment
     * Lawn furniture, barbeques, outdoor stonework (such as a fountain)

    You’ll also find that non-furniture items can quickly add up if they’re particularly heavy. Books can become costly to move if you have a large personal library, as can a large amount of china or plates in the kitchen.

     Moving Valuable Items

    It can also become expensive to move smaller, more valuable personal items such as jewelry and personal heirlooms like candlesticks or rare pictures. Even though these aren’t very heavy when compared to furniture, they fall under the “more than $100/pound” category—a good rule of thumb when you’re trying to decide whether or not to take out an additional insurance policy.

    When it comes to things like passports, important paperwork, deeds and titles, and other sensitive information, you may wish to keep these items close at hand so you can move them yourself. Because they don’t necessarily have a per-item value (the way a diamond necklace does, for example), it can be difficult to set an insurance policy for them. At the same time, they are more valuable to you than a box of pots and pans, so you may not want to treat them the same way as your kitchen ware.

    If you ever have a question about the cost of moving a particular item, be sure and ask your moving team before you sign any contracts. It may end up being more cost-effective for you to make alternate arrangements or even to donate the item to charity and purchase a replacement piece when you arrive at your new home.

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  • Unexpected Moving Expenses: How Things Add Up

    by Jackie Heath | Oct 15, 2014

    moving costsWhen you’re getting ready to set a moving budget, you’re probably going to start with the big-ticket items first. Hiring movers, renting a moving van, purchasing airline tickets, paying for long-term storage…because all these things come with a large price tag, we tend to put them at the forefront. While this is a good way to approach your budgeting process, don’t forget about all those unexpected moving expenses that can crop up.

    When it comes time to settle your accounts, you might find that it isn’t the moving van that set you back the most—it’s all those additional costs on the side!

    > Gas: You’ll need to figure in the cost of transporting your own vehicles. If you’re driving across the country or over long distances, gas costs can quickly reach hundreds of dollars a day. (If you’re traveling somewhere that has tolls, you’ll also need to carry extra cash for the road.)

    > Pet Moving: Yes, it is possible to put your pet in a carrier and drive them to your new home yourself, but expect to set aside some funds for Fido’s care. A vet visit prior to the move, extra stopping time (which may mean more meals or hotels on the road), and a pet sitter during loading and unloading times can all add up.

    > Child Care: If you have young children, it’s a good idea to set up a babysitter who can either take them out of the house or keep them entertained while the movers are at work. Not only is this safer for everyone involved, but your kids will appreciate having something to keep them occupied and their minds off their worries.

    > Hotels and Meals: Travel always comes with costs related to dining out, snacking, and staying in hotels. You can book online reservations to save money, but don’t forget to include a little wiggle room in your schedule (and your budget) for delays and distractions.

    > Dining at Home: When your kitchen is all packed up and ready to move, cooking dinner for the family is almost impossible. Expect to dine out in the days leading up to your move and in the days following, since chances are good you won’t have the time (or the pots and pans) to whip up a gourmet meal at home.

    > Extra Garbage: Most cities have their own regulations about what happens when you have too much garbage for your regular can—and these regulations usually come with extra costs. Figure in extra garbage and recycling costs before and after your move, since you’ll most likely be going through a lot of belongings and boxes.

    As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to add ten to fifteen percent to your overall moving budget to make room for these (and all other) miscellaneous costs. With the right planning, you can enjoy a seamless transition that doesn’t put a strain on your personal finances.


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  • Trimming the Fat: 5 Ways to Save on your Move

    by Jackie Heath | Oct 10, 2014

    Moving Costs and SavingsOne of the best ways to save money on a relocation is to reduce the quantity of what you have to move. Almost all moving companies price their services based on weight, and even if you do move yourself, a heavier car or truck will eat up gas on the road. (It’s also more expensive to mail or send things via plane if they weigh more

     
    Since throwing out heirloom furniture or your favorite armchair is out of the question, here are a few ways you can cut back without saying goodbye to the things you love.

    > Trim Your Paper Files: You probably don’t need tax paperwork that’s more than seven years old, and all those sales copies for a car you haven’t owned for three years might be ready to get tossed out. Take some time to go through all your paper files before you box them up. Many of them can be shredded and disposed of, or you might even be able to scan some of them and store your files electronically instead.

    > Donate Food/Pantry Supplies: It’s rarely worth the effort to move food supplies and pantry items. Not only can they weigh you down, but glass bottles and jars can break on the road and make a mess of things. You may want to donate any unused items to a local food bank—that way, you don’t have to move the items, but the food isn’t going to waste.

    > “Furnish” Your New Home: There are several great virtual room apps and software options available that allow you to design your home and fit your furniture before the papers are even signed. (The Better Homes and Gardens Arrange-a-Room and IKEA Home Planner are fun ones to look at.) Play around with your existing furniture to see what will fit, and dispose of anything you won’t need.

    > Get Rid of College Textbooks: Almost all college students hold on to their textbooks much longer than they need them. Because these books are so expensive, it can be hard to toss them out—especially if you believe you can use them for reference in your work. However, the information contained in these books rarely stays up-to-date forever, and they weigh a good five pounds each. If you don’t regularly use the book, it might be time to say goodbye.

    > Plan Your Upgrades : You love your outdoor grill, but it’s been showing a little wear and tear lately. Your lawn mower will run like new if you just find the right sized blade to fit. Your fridge has been in need of an update lately, but you want to wait until the warranty runs out next year. Now is a good time to re-evaluate how much you need these big-ticket items. If you’ll be replacing them in the next two years anyway, it might be a better long-term strategy to sell them now, enjoy a lighter move, and upgrade once you arrive in your new home.

    Getting rid of your belongings is one of the hardest parts of moving to a new location, but it can also be your chance to purge the excess. Get rid of as much as you can, and enjoy filling your new home with memories and appliances worthy of a fresh start.

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  • Ask Allied: How Does Moving Impact my Taxes?

    by Jackie Heath | Oct 08, 2014

    Allied_TaxesOne of the nice things about moving to a new location is that you may see some tax benefits in the coming year. Such a major life change is sure to impact your personal finances—sometimes in your favor, and sometimes against—which means that the IRS is paying attention. Although you should always discuss your personal situation with an accountant or financial advisor, here are a few of the more common tax issues related to a relocation.

    Business-Related Moves

    If your relocation was caused by a change in employment, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses on your next tax return. In order to qualify for this deduction, however, your move has to be specifically related to your job. This rule is upheld by making the deduction available only if you meet the following criteria.

    > You meet the distance test: Your new workplace is at least 50 miles farther from your new home than your old one.

    > You meet the time test: You work full-time for at least 39 weeks within the first year of moving.

    Exceptions for both these rules are allowed for members of the armed forces who undergo a PCS. If you feel this criteria fits, you may be able to claim your (reasonable) moving expenses on IRS Tax Form 3903.

    What is deemed a reasonable moving expense can include everything from your moving van to your packing supplies, so be sure to keep the receipts and paperwork. Hotels you stay in while moving may also apply, but food costs incurred on the road will not.

    Home Selling/Buying Tax Credits

    The act of selling and/or buying a new home (or any piece of real estate) also comes with its own tax credits and deductions.

    For example, if you sold a home within the past year, you can claim up to $250,000 of the profits from the sale free of taxes (married couples can claim up to $500,000). If your profits exceed this amount, you can still reduce your tax burden, since you can deduct the costs associated with selling your home. These include, but are not limited to:

    > Closing fees (closing costs won’t qualify, but some of the fees may)

    > Capital expenditure improvements (these have to be significant changes that directly impact the home’s value)

    > Repairs to damaged property

    > Marketing costs

    Mortgage interest and property taxes are always counted as part of itemized deductions, so be sure to remember these when you’re preparing your annual tax statement.

    Once again, certain restrictions and exceptions can apply. Because buying and selling real estate is usually considered a benefit to the purchaser rather than a financial hardship, it tends to be a heavily regulated field. These rules also tend only to apply when the home in question is your primary residence and you live there the majority of your time.

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  • A Breakdown of Moving Costs

    by Jackie Heath | Oct 03, 2014

    Moving cost breakdownThere are quite a few hidden costs when it comes to moving into a new house or condo. In addition to actually purchasing your new home, you’ll encounter fees and obligations for everything from packing supplies to realtor costs.

    Prices will vary depending on where you live and what services you use, so we can’t set your budget for you. However, what we can do is create a list of all the hidden moving costs you can expect to encounter along the way.

    Home Selling/Buying Costs

    The act of balancing the sale of one home while you purchase a new one is almost always difficult. Even if you do manage to time it perfectly so that you don’t have to pay two mortgages for a few months, you also have to figure in the costs of renovations, staging, and your real estate agent.

    > Home purchase price (including escrow, down payments, mortgage fees)
    > Realtor fees
    > Home updates/improvements (either required by the buyer before the sale goes through, or to spruce up your home and make it marketable)
    > Temporary double house payments
    > Travel to/from your new city while you search for a house and meet with your real estate agent

    Moving Costs

    The moving process is what most people budget for. While you probably have enough money earmarked for the actual moving company or van, you might also want to budget for these additional costs.

    > Moving company
    > Valuation protection (extra care protection for your items, either through the moving
    company or your own insurance provider)
    > Packing supplies
    > Gas/travel (your moving company may charge a per-mile fee, but you’ll also need to figure in the cost of your own gas or airplane tickets)
    > Hotel/temporary lodgings
    > Storage facilities
    > Kennel costs/pet transportation

    Miscellaneous/New Home Costs

    Your new house is likely to need a few upgrades before it feels like home, and you’ll need to start thinking about replacing all those items you decided it would be cheaper to buy new than move.

    > Appliance hookup/disconnect (especially for gas appliances)
    > Restocking your fridge/pantry
    > Dining out (understandably, this happens more than usual the first few weeks after a move)
    > Deposits on rent and utilities (many electric companies require you pay for the first and last month)
    > Changing locks on all the doors
    > Updating smoke detectors
    > Renovations and updates

    It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all these moving costs, which is why it’s good to start with a budget that makes sense for your family. Be realistic about the hidden costs of buying a new home and give yourself some wiggle room in the budget—it will all be worth it in the end!

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