The cost of relocating

I expect you have heard enough about wage subsidies and other financial impacts of Covid-19 on businesses and individuals. But it has also created, or sometimes forced, other lifestyle changes, including moving to a new house and/or city.

Funnily enough, for me, Covid-19 meant my wife was approached for a great new role, BUT it’s in Wellington. After a few lists of pros vs cons, we made the call to move (I’m lucky enough to be staying at GS, mainly working remotely with regular visits to Auckland). As I write this, I’m sitting in a house full of boxes as we only moved in yesterday.

The process of moving has been a (painful) reminder of the often-hidden costs of moving to a new house/city.  So, I thought I would do my best to save others who are about to embark on a relocation journey some nasty surprises:

  1. Moving Companies: Not cheap, but good ones are worth their weight in gold. We decided to pack our house, and have the movers just shift the boxes. For an extra $1,000, it would’ve been better to have them pack and unpack as well – the stress, late nights and marital tension are better avoided (if the additional cost does not break the bank that is). 
  2. Day Care: When you have young toddler like we do – finding day-care in a new city is enough to drive anxiety levels to an all-time high. Wait times can very between 1 to 12 months and in some cases 24 months! Local knowledge can unearth some hidden gems with lower waiting times. We found Wellington day care rates dearer than Auckland!
  3. Insurance: Just for the move? Really? Surely our exorbitant house and content premiums already covered that? As it turns out, some stuff is covered, but it is worth checking what the existing coverage includes and consider adding some specialised relocation insurance for big ticket items (for us, TV, couches, etc).
  4. Bond, rent in advance: We own our own home in Auckland, and do not want to sell it, not yet anyway. So, back to rental life in Wellington for a while. Therefore, a reminder that when you are wanting to live in something more than the falling-down, mould ridden premises we used to occupy in our Dunedin student days, it is expensive. As is paying six weeks (bond and rent in advance) in one go.
  5. Renting out your existing property? Healthy homes initiatives, while great for renters, are a bit of a nightmare if you own an old villa. Get a report done early, and understand what needs to be fixed, and what is a nice to have. The report cost us $99. The fixups are costing significantly more.
  6. Junk: Turns out we have hoarding tendencies, as we managed to fill a gigantic 600kg capacity junk bag, and as I look around me now, we should have got rid of more. It isn’t a big cost (around $200 for bag and collection), but worth it.
  7. First shop: Giving away most of our existing food was worth it to avoid overfilling our car. But, that first shop, ouch! Food, cleaning stuff, and household items that were not worth bringing with us, make for an expensive first couple of days. 

This recommendation one is not about money, but for your mental wellbeing; internet, sky, couch, bed (my preferred order) should be set up immediately. For my wife, a good Chianti on hand was also key.

Hopefully the above is a not-too-depressing reminder of moving costs and hassles, so you can plan and budget ahead if a shift is in your future too.

Above all else enjoy the moment, appreciate the experience, and look forward to an exciting future!

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