Thursday, January 22 2009
In our continued quest to keep our readers informed about real estate matters, we thought it would be helpful to examine all that is involved in moving. This is the third part out of the series of nine.
Hidden Costs of Moving Services
We recommend shopping around to find the best mover. Online quotes are generally fast and simple but should always be followed up with a phone conversation so you can ask about hidden costs. In our experience, there are 3 categories of hidden costs:
Your Stuff isn't "standard"
Unusually heavy items may incur a separate charge. If you own a grand piano or large custom wall unit/entertainment center, you should let your mover know before you believe the quote. Other heavy items: hot tubs, lawn mowers, heavy-duty vacuums, snowmobiles, washer/dryers and refrigerators.
If it's more complicated than box-and-carry. If gas lines need to be disconnected or furniture needs to be disassembled, you may incur an extra cost. If you are safely equipped to do this work yourself before the movers arrive, you should.
From your room to the truck
Move estimates assume that the movers can get close access to your front door and there aren't any flights of stairs. You could incur extra costs if:
Movers have to deal with flights of stairs. If you are in a 4th floor apartment (for example), you should let them know before believing the estimate.
Your street or driveway is too narrow for the truck. Generally, movers prefer to load your stuff directly onto an 18-wheeler. If they can't get that truck within a few hundred feet of your front door, expect to incur extra costs. In some unlucky cases, they'll have to use a separate "shuttle" to move your property from your house to another location.
Natural obstacles hinder access. If trees or other natural obstacles prevent the truck from getting close to your house...
Although it's not actually (since estimates are just estimates), this feels criminal and drives us nuts. Your best defense here is to ask a lot of questions: Make sure you fully understand what the estimate is based on (weight, volume, miles) and how the estimate will be verified and finalized. For example, you can request to be present at a weighing which should be completed immediately following the pick up at your house and loading into a pre-weighed truck.