I Spent Nearly $5,000 More Than Expected Moving Into Our New House. Here's Why

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • We encountered large expenses we never expected, from fences to items damaged in the move.
  • No matter how good your planning, things can -- and do -- go wrong during moves.

It’s tough to budget for things you never imagined would go wrong.

You know it's bad when you feel like you should begin a story with a disclaimer, but here's mine: My husband and I lived in different states as I sold our old home in Missouri and he bought a new house in Illinois. And as it turns out, getting our mortgage was the easiest part of the move.

I'm sure we'll look back one day and have a clearer idea of how we should have handled things, but what's done is done. It doesn't help that our movers were among the nicest, goofiest people we've ever met -- but accidentally dumped some of our stuff on I-35. Our belongings eventually made their way to a police impound lot before being delivered to us 10 days later in Illinois.

Even without boxes of broken items, our bank account has taken a bigger hit on this move than I recall spending on others. Mind you, we've only been here two weeks.

Missing belongings

Among the items that were impounded were things like curtain rods, draperies, and bedding. The company could not tell us when our belongings might show up.

Normally, the people you buy a house from leave draperies and such, but evidently, these sellers were Spartans (and not the Michigan State kind). Since we had zero idea if or when our belongings would appear, we spent nearly $600 on window coverings and shower curtains. We dropped another $100 on towels to get us by.

Damaged items

Though we did leave a bunch in Missouri, we had seven indoor plants we wanted to bring with us to Illinois. My husband had nursed 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 unboxed our household goods, we found poor Albert at the bottom of a large garment box, with all kinds of household items thrown on top. Fortunately, after we purchased supplies to replant him, Albert looks like he may survive.

There was also a box of bedding with an open bottle of shoe polish on top of the pile. The buffet matching 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 much we're out, but we have replaced things like wooden hangers, dog supplies, area rugs, and a couple of lamps. That's been somewhere in the vicinity of $300.

A big misunderstanding

Our initial offer on the home included the sellers leaving their washer and dryer. There was some confusion regarding standard practices in Illinois. Our real estate agent believed it to be a done deal, but it didn't make the final contract and I didn't know that until the first time I saw the house. Since we believed there would be a washer and dryer here, we left ours for the buyer in Missouri. So, that's an additional $2,300 we didn't count on.

Fun new neighbor

We knew when we purchased the home that we would need to replace the existing wrought-iron fence with a privacy fence. Otherwise, we'd never enjoy our time outdoors -- our dogs "welcome" anyone walking in the general vicinity (and every truck driving by).

We purchased a six-foot white vinyl fence, and a crew started erecting it right away. The iron fence that was removed only had three sides -- the back, one side of the yard, and the front. Our new neighbor also has a six-foot white vinyl fence, which served our home's previous owners as the fourth side. We believed we could do the same.

As the fencing crew was busy building, the neighbor came over to ask what we were doing. The crew chief showed him how far our fence would be away from his and assured him the two would not touch. The neighbor insisted that we build a fourth wall, inches away from his.

In our first meeting, the neighbor informed me of two things:

  1. He hates dogs (I fully understand that we're not all pet lovers).
  2. We can build our fence inches away from his, or pay him half the cost of the fence he had 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 call it good. 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 moving toilet brushes, so those were replaced. We also needed to replace all the food staples a moving company won't move (and we didn't have room for in our cars). The same is true for anything that could spill, like glass cleaner, laundry detergent, and other cleaning items. There was the cost to have someone mow our lawn while we were unpacking boxes, and meals we ordered because we had no idea where our pots and pans might be (they were spread out among boxes). That was at least $500.

I haven’t added it up. I suppose it’s time:

  • $600 on window coverings
  • $100 on towels
  • $300 on small items that disappeared or were too damaged to use
  • $2,300 on a huge misunderstanding (and failure to read the final contract closely enough)
  • $1,144 on a fun new neighbor (who was technically in the right, but I’m just not ready to admit it)
  • $500 for normal out-of-pocket costs

We’re currently at a grand total of $4,944. As much as I believed I’d planned for this move, there were expenses I simply did not anticipate. It will be interesting to learn how the claims process with the moving company proceeds, and what our bottom-line expenditure is when all is said and done.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow