Is there a best time of year to move?
Moving can be very expensive, and at the very least, extremely time consuming. These factors are even more impactful if you’re moving any significant distance or out of the country. With the average cost of a local move being $1,250 and a long-distance moving (1,000 miles or so) clocking in at almost $5,000, it would make sense to look to save as much on moving as you can.
If you’re planning to move to a new place in the near future, you may be wondering about the best time to do so in order to help with the costs of moving. In reality, there are pros and cons to all seasons. Therefore, determining the best time of year to move will likely ultimately depend on your lifestyle and priorities.
Below, we cover some of the pros and cons of moving during each season to help you find the best time of year to move that will fit your individual situation.
From a financial perspective, if you want to save the most money it’s probably best to attempt a winter move — especially given that many people avoid it.
No one likes to be outside moving when it’s cold and rainy, or worse, snowing and icy. Not only is it more unpleasant, but properties tend to look their dreariest during winter, making them less attractive. On the positive side, you’ll likely be able to tell if there are any issues with leaks or the heating system!
While winter tends to be the least desirable time of year to move, the main reasons making it so rely heavily on what part of the country you’re in. If you’re moving to a destination that averages 100 plus degree temperatures in the summer, like Las Vegas or Arizona, a winter move may be more desirable.
During this time, you’re most likely to find more affordable rates for moving companies and, as a result, lower your overall moving budget. As you’re establishing your rent budget, see how much rent you can afford and check the property websites to find out if there are any deals on move-in days during the winter. You might even get better rates on rent, as well.
We already touched on this above, but the main drawback to moving in the winter is weather.
Specifically, if you’ve found a great apartment in St. Paul, Minn. or a nice home in a smaller city in Montana — or anywhere in the north — the low temperatures and snowfall will make your move more difficult. At this time of year, you’ll have to be careful with the transportation if you move yourself, as well as be sure to salt the sidewalks and be extra cautious with your boxes and other property.
Conversely, if you’re moving to a place like Miami or Austin, the winter months are less likely to affect your move. So, in these areas, it’s a good idea to consider a winter move. However, try to steer clear of the holiday season when the roads are usually busier and traffic jams are more frequent. Instead, pick a time in early December or late January for your winter move.
In addition to avoiding the peak moving season, March and April are also more convenient in terms of temperatures and weather conditions. That makes spring a good time to move for a lot of people.
But, if you plan to hire professionals to help, make sure you schedule your move in advance. Although this is not the busiest time of the year, there are a lot of people who prefer a spring move as it can truly feel like a fresh start so it’s best to be prepared and call in advance.
Again, this is not the busiest time of year but you may struggle to book moving help if you are not careful with your planning, which can affect your moving budget and your moving timeline.
Spring may be the best time of year to move if you want a fresh start, but with fresh starts and new life comes allergies.
If you have allergies, springtime could make the entire move uncomfortable and set you back just when you want to be in peak condition for the big event. Plus, if you have children in school, a spring move may be more difficult to pull off due to all of the challenges of schoolwork and juggling the possible transition to a new school. Changing schools can be quite involved and disruptive for children, so you may want to put off your move until a break so the transition will be smoother.
Essentially, if you haven’t managed to move by March or April, consider postponing it a bit longer. May is the beginning of the peak moving season and moving rates will be more expensive by then if you’re hiring professional companies.
Summer is often perceived as the best time of year to move from a weather and time perspective.
Summer days are longer, which means you’ll have more daylight to complete your move. It’s also a good time for families with children, who aren’t in school during the summer break. And, starting at a new school at the beginning of the school year might also help kids transition easier. In any case, it really depends on how your child views the situation and when your family feels would be the best time for the change.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to sell your home and move to a rental, summers are peak home-buying season. So, you might get a better offer if you decide to sell during the summer months.
Location, location, location is the mantra of real estate and weather is the mantra when considering the best time of year to move.
In some places, summers are mild and nice. But, if you’re moving to a southern city, it’s quite likely that it might be way too hot for a summer move — especially on your own. Summers are also very busy for movers, so if you do decide to use a professional, be sure to book your move in advance. Also, remember that this is peak moving season, so prices will be higher.
If budget is your main concern with a move, then summer is likely the worst time of year to plan your transition.
Most places in the U.S. have very comfortable fall weather, which makes the move a breeze. Plus, moving before the winter months also allows you to settle in properly and get to know the neighborhood and the neighbors before the winter and the holidays. Notably, beginning in September, the rent season begins to slow down and you might be able to find better deals on apartments in the fall.
One of the main drawbacks to moving in the fall comes if you have school-aged children. As the new school year is starting, there’s the potential for a variety of issues — from transfers, changing environments, and making friends to having to catch up on missed assignments. All of that could end up being too much for the kids, so be sure to think it through thoroughly.
What is the Best Time of Year to Move?
Having gone through the pros and cons, what is the best time of year to move? The answer, like so many things, depends on you and your priorities. However, we can make some general statements when it comes to determining the best time of year to move.
In general, fall is probably the best time of year to move to a new place — that is, unless you have children in school. Fall weather is generally mild or at least not at the more extremes of summer and winter, and prices and availability of help are also likely better for your budget.
If you do have young kids, summertime will likely work best to give them time to adjust to the new home and neighborhood before starting the school year. However, always take the weather into consideration, as well — especially because a move is demanding and you have to be on top of it the whole time.
If you can’t schedule a move in the perfect season for you, you can still try to make it easier and more affordable by moving in the middle of the month and in the middle of the week. Then, no matter what season you have to move in, you’re likely to find cheaper rates from moving companies and have less stress overall. That’s because the beginning and the end of the month are when leases are up and people have to find a new place. So, moving companies are likely to be busier. Likewise, plan your move at the beginning of the week to avoid the busy weekends and take some time off work, if possible, so all of your attention can be focused on the move.
When you’re planning your move, keep track of what’s happening and what you still have to do. Consider writing out a checklist beforehand and keeping it with you at all times. Plus, having everything planned out will lessen the stress of the move, as well as keep you organized and on schedule.
Now, you’re ready to take on your next move by finding the best time for you.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.