In this video we will discuss some of the common costs associated with downsizing.
We have found that some of our clients who haven’t moved in several years (or decades) tend to experience a bit of sticker shock when they learn about the various costs associated with moving. In order to help people plan ahead, we have provided some information about helpful services you will likely need, especially if you are downsizing, along with the approximate costs associated with those services.
THE BIG THREE EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH DOWNSIZING
Professional Move Management
Think of professional move managers as similar to wedding planners. They organize, coordinate, and oversee all the details of the move. In fact, a good move manager will anticipate potential obstacles and deal with those issues before they become problematic.
Professional move managers have people who handle the more physical aspects of the move like space planning, packing, moving, unpacking and putting things away. They prepare your new home for your arrival by making beds, putting essentials in place in the kitchen and bathrooms, and even make sure you have toilet paper, shower curtains, and your morning coffee! Once your move is complete, your move manager can assist you in arranging for liquidation of any remaining items by coordinating an estate sale, donation, or storage options.
Fees for move management will depend on the amount of help you need or want, as well as the size and distance of your relocation. Move management companies will either quote hourly rates or project rates – or both. Keep in mind that despite what may seem like a high hourly rate, these teams are extremely efficient and can accomplish more in an hour than most people get done in a day!
Move management fees can range from $2000-$3000 for smaller moves to several thousand for larger or more complex ones. Again, remember it is based on many factors so it’s best to get someone to meet with you to give an estimate based on your needs and goals.
Moving companies typically charge by the hour for local moves and by the pound for interstate moves (outside their local range or out of state). When moving locally and shopping rates for movers, you want to verify you are comparing estimates based on the number of movers anticipated to complete the job, size and number of trucks needed, and any supplies or insurance costs included.
Movers charge different rates in different regions of the country. In our area, you can expect to pay from $100 – $200 per hour depending on how many people will be required. Most movers have a minimum of 4-hours so if you have a really small move plan to pay a minimum (usually $400 – $600). Larger local moves can be done in a day, so the most you might expect would be $800-$1600.
Hiring professional move managers will likely save you some money on the moving expense because they are very organized. Working from a floor plan you have approved, move managers know how to direct the movers, resulting in greater efficiency.
REMINDER: Most professional movers will not transport certain items, so if you aren’t using a move manager, you will need to arrange alternative plans for things like alcohol, perishable food items, firearms, medications, pets, etc.
If you are downsizing, you will likely need to plan for an estate sale, charitable donations, or some other means of liquidating the remaining items. Most estate liquidators do not collect fees up front, but rather deduct their expenses from the total gross receipts from the sale. These fees can include labor for setting up and managing the sale, marketing, cleaning, trash removal, credit card fees, etc.
The commission on items sold usually ranges from 35%-50% depending on the size of the sale. Smaller sales will require a higher percentage to the liquidator and larger sales may have smaller commissions. Big ticket items like cars or equipment may be less of a percentage, but ask – not always. Once the sale is complete and all the fees and commission have been deducted, you receive a check for the remaining amount from the liquidator (usually within a week).
Every estate liquidator is different, so make sure you are comparing apples with apples. ALWAYS get your agreement in writing and verify you understand the fees. The biggest surprise is when the estate liquidator presents their customer with an invoice at the end. If the items sold do not cover all the fees, you will owe the liquidator when it’s all said and done. Reputable liquidators will tell you up front if they think this might happen – but not all liquidators are experienced enough to be able to evaluate this.
Note: If working with a professional move management company, they will know which estate liquidators are reputable and which ones will likely be the right fit for your particular needs and circumstances.
We tell the average person with an average house that if their estate sale nets them enough to cover the cost for move management, packing, and moving, they are way ahead!
Keep in mind, every move is different, so getting estimates is going to be important. A note about estimates, however, is that cheaper isn’t always better (or actually cheaper in the end).
Some vendors might “underbid” your job so they can secure your business. Then, unfortunately, the final bill comes in predictably higher. Can this happen on any estimate? Absolutely! We don’t get it right every time either. Occasionally things fall outside the control of everyone involved. That said, intentionally underbidding a job is a common practice for some vendors and it’s how they operate as a matter of daily practice.
Just make sure you are comparing apples with apples and that you question anyone who offers a much lower bid than other service providers you interview.
What might cause the final bill to come in higher than an initial bid – even when the bid was considered to be on par under normal circumstances?
Here are the top 5 reasons
- Weather delays or inclement weather (rain, snow, ice, etc.)
- Elevators (if the elevator is not designated for movers, it can be very time consuming)
- People involved (well-meaning friends and family who show up on move day and are in the way tend to cause delays)
- Traffic (if moving trucks are stuck behind a wreck or in construction, they are charging for the time they are sitting there – it’s nobody’s fault)
- Last minute changes or additional stops added (if the plan or scope of the project changes, expect a higher final invoice)
Naturally, if you have questions about downsizing costs or trusted professionals who can provide relocation services, give us a call at 512-818-0988 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.