I spent nearly $5,000 more than expected to move into our new home. here’s why
It’s hard to budget for things you never imagined.
- We encountered significant expenses that we did not expect, from fences to items damaged during the move.
- No matter how well you plan, things can – and will – go wrong during moves.
You know it’s wrong when you feel like you should start a story with a warning, but here’s mine: My husband and I have lived in different states since I sold our old house in Missouri and he bought a new home in Illinois. And it turns out that getting our mortgage was the easiest part of the move.
I am sure that one day we will look back and have a clearer idea of how we should handled things, but what’s done is done. It doesn’t help that our movers are some of the nicest, clumsiest people we’ve ever met – but accidentally dumped some of our stuff on I-35. Our belongings eventually ended up in a police impound before being delivered to us 10 days later in Illinois.
Even without boxes of broken items, our bank account was hit harder by this move than I can remember spending on others. Mind you, we’ve only been here two weeks.
Among the items that were seized were things like curtain rods, draperies and bedding. The company could not tell us when our stuff might appear.
Normally the people you buy a house from leave draperies and such, but obviously those salespeople were Spartans (not the Michigan State kind). Since we had no idea if or when our belongings would show up, we spent almost $600 on window coverings and shower curtains. We dropped another $100 on towels to get by.
Although we left a bunch in Missouri, we had seven houseplants we wanted to bring with us to Illinois. My husband had cared for them for years and it was hard to leave them behind. We transported all but one in our own vehicles to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, Albert was nowhere to be found (yes, I name our plants).
As we were unpacking our household items, we found poor Albert at the bottom of a large clothes box, with all sorts of household items thrown into it. Fortunately, after we buy supplies to replant it, Albert seems to be able to survive.
There was also a bedding box with an open bottle of shoe polish on top of the pile. The sideboard that matched our dining set was cracked. A fountain I bought in downtown San Diego was destroyed – and the list goes on.
We haven’t filed a claim yet, so we don’t know how many we’ve got, but we’ve replaced things like wooden hangers, dog supplies, throw rugs, and a few lamps. It was somewhere around $300.
A big misunderstanding
Our initial offer on the house included the sellers leaving their washer and dryer. There was some confusion regarding standard practices in Illinois. Our realtor thought it was a done deal, but he didn’t make the final contract and I didn’t know that until the first time I saw the house. Since we thought there would be a washer and dryer here, we left ours to the Missouri buyer. So that’s an extra $2,300 that we weren’t counting on.
Fun new neighbor
When we bought the house we knew we would need to replace the existing wrought iron fence with a privacy fence. Otherwise, we would never enjoy our time outside – our dogs “welcome” anyone who wanders around (and any passing trucks).
We purchased a six-foot white vinyl fence and a crew immediately began erecting it. The iron fence that was removed had only three sides – the back, a side of the yard and the front. Our new neighbor also has a six foot white vinyl fence, which served as the fourth side for the previous owners of our home. We thought we could do the same.
While the fencing team was busy building, the neighbor came to ask us what we were doing. The team leader showed him how far our fence would be from his and assured him that the two would not touch. The neighbor insisted that we build a fourth wall, a few centimeters from his.
During our first meeting, the neighbor informed me of two things:
- He hates dogs (I fully understand that we are not all animal lovers).
- We can build our fence inches from his or pay him half the cost of the fence he built seven years ago.
Our contractor was nervous about building so close to his fence, and we decided the best option was to pay the guy and say that was fine. I wrote him a check for $1,144, half of what he paid to build the shared fence section.
“Normal” move-in cost
I have a thing against toilet brushes moving around so these have been replaced. We also had to replace all the staples that a moving company wouldn’t move (and we had no room in our cars). The same goes for anything that could spill, like window cleaner, laundry detergent, and other cleaning items. There was the cost of having someone mow our lawn while we unpacked the boxes, and the meals we ordered because we had no idea where our pots and pans might be (they were spread in boxes). It was at least $500.
I did not add it. I guess it’s time:
- $600 on window coverings
- $100 on towels
- $300 on small items that went missing or were too damaged to be used
- $2,300 on a huge misunderstanding (and not reading the final contract closely enough)
- $1,144 on a fun new neighbor (who was technically right, but I’m just not ready to admit it)
- $500 for normal disbursements
We are currently at a grand total of $4,944. Even though I thought I had planned this move, there were expenses that I simply hadn’t anticipated. It will be interesting to know how the claim process with the moving company goes and what our net expenses are in the end.
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