Upfront moving costs for New York City

Calculating your total moving costs to NYC is an important factor when determining whether or not relocating is a good idea for you.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

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Nearly everyone longs to live in the Big Apple because of all of its wonderful offerings. If you desire to become one of those eight million New Yorkers, there are numerous factors to consider, starting with moving costs.

Not only is living here expensive but also moving here can be heavy on the pocketbook.

Of course, everyone’s moving costs are different because everyone has different needs.

But the best way to estimate how much moving costs will be is to understand how much all variables individually add to the cost of your move, and then do the calculations yourself.

Here are some tips to draft your NYC moving budget.


Create a moving budget template

Setting up a moving budget is a crucial step in the relocation process, especially because moving costs have a way of multiplying without you even realizing it. Most people tend to underestimate how much a relocation is going to cost, which only adds to the stress involved in moving.

To avoid this unnecessary pressure, it’s a good idea to dedicate some time to creating a personalized moving budget, so you know what to expect.

You can find numerous guides and templates online or by using simple software programs (like Microsoft Word or Excel) to create your own.

If technology isn’t your best friend and you would rather calculate your costs by hand. A few adjustments may be required, but it will provide you with a standard outline to track your expenses.

You’ll want to break down your moving budget by expense as outlined below, but also by the time period when you expect to pay out the costs (before leaving your city, while in transition, 1st week, 1 month, etc.)

If you’ll be without income for a portion of your moving journey, it’s good to consider which moving costs will be incurred by week so be sure you’re cash-solvent.

Moving company expenses

Moving company fee

This fee should include gas charges and labor. It’s a good idea to call a few local moving companies and compare their price quotes. These will vary depending on the company’s schedule, bandwidth, and level of professionalism. The typical one-bedroom move in Brooklyn takes about six hours and costs between $1,000 and $1,250.

A two-bedroom move requires a bigger truck and will cost between $2,000 and $2,500. 

Additional insurance

If your personal belongings (such as expensive art or furniture) are worth a lot to you, it’s a good idea to add insurance to your total moving costs.

It’s worth weighing the cost of moving insurance against your financial threshold should you have to replace damaged items with your own money.

Extra services

Some moving companies may charge extra for certain services, such as moving heavy objects.

They may also charge more depending on when you move, so it’s best to plan your relocation ahead of time and move during the off-season.

Extra charges

These will vary depending on the distance you are moving and may include accessorial charges, expedited service charges, flight charges, long haul charges, long carry charges, and shuttle service.

Claims/damage costs

There is no need to include an amount here.

But to be on the safe side, add in a five percent contingency rate based on the total moving company fees in case of any damages.

Professional packing

There’s the option to hire someone to do the packing for you.

However, even if you decide to do this yourself, you’ll have to account for packing supplies such as packing tape and boxes. 

Don’t forget to tip! Industry-standard is about ten percent of the total move.


Moving yourself

woman packing her moving boxes

Truck rental

A rental company like U-Haul has a starting rate of $19.95, but the overall cost will vary depending on the size of the truck rental, location, mileage, fees, and day and date of the move.

One-way rentals are also available since there are several rental locations all over the country.


Ask the agency you’re renting your van or truck how many miles to the gallon you can expect. The AAA fuel calculator is useful for calculating the cost of fuel along your route.


Your credit card company may already offer car rental insurance coverage to you as their cardholder.

If not, double-check to include a collision damage waiver in case you return the van with damage.

Extra equipment rental

If you are moving many items you may need additional equipment.

For example, a dolly, loading ramp, furniture covers, etc. might be useful.

You can rent these things from Home Depot, however, some truck rental companies include these extras in their fees.


Traveling to your new home


If you are shipping a car, don’t forget to add the costs for fuel and maintenance fees, as well as oil, fluids, and a check-up. 


This will depend on how far away from New York you’ll be moving from. Research the stops along your moving route beforehand.

When you’re booking rooms, consider the number of nights you will be staying and the number of rooms you will be needing, in addition to on-site parking options.


For a couple, grabbing groceries for snacks and breakfast, and then eating two square meals out per day, you can budget for $80-100/day.

Temporary housing

You’ll have to consider whether you will require a place to stay at your final destination before your home is ready. Many people in the process of moving to NYC, opt for a fully-furnished rental through Blueground.

The premium housing provider has numerous listings in the most popular neighborhoods across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, where all you have to do is show up and start living.

Many of their renters have turned their stylish serviced apartments into permanent homes beyond the first few months.


Selling your home or moving from your rental

pile of keys


If you are selling your home through a broker or agent, you will most likely have to pay them a commission fee. The typical commission is six percent, which is split by the agent for the buyer and the agent for the seller, allotting three percent each.

Selling fees

Additional fees may include lawyer fees, title fees, inspections, and appraisals.


If you plan on listing your home, advertising fees will be included.


Before you sell your home, it has to be in top condition. Therefore, it might need cleaning or repairs. The same applies if you are leaving a rental property. It must be left in the condition you received it in. Budget for painting and cleaning supplies at minimum, and additional fees if you choose to outsource these services.

Lease cancellation charges

If for some reason you cannot give enough notice to a landlord, he or she may charge for canceling your lease. They also have the right to withhold your initial deposit.


Buying or renting your new home

Home buying fees

In addition to the cost of your new home, you will need to factor in all the extra fees previously mentioned.

Brokers fee

The most common rental broker fees in NYC are one month of rent (8.33% of annual rent) or 15% of the annual rent. Stay tuned to legislation around this matter as state regulators are still considering a potential ban.

Home or apartment insurance

Whether you buy or rent your new home you will want insurance to protect your valuable items.

At a minimum, you’ll want homeowner’s insurance for your NYC property and you may also consider supplemental policies like flood insurance too.

As a tenant, you will likely be required by your New York landlord to buy renter’s insurance which covers any rental property damage.

But it may also include covering a hotel if your rental becomes inhabitable.

And a clause for personal liability coverage if for example, your laundry machine leaks to the floor below.

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Redecorating costs

This is optional but can be challenging to calculate. One way to do it is by looking at the biggest room in your house.

Another way is to look at which room requires the most work or items. You then break down each cost. You can either do this for each room or calculate an average cost for the whole house.

Property taxes

Most of the time, people look at the cost of the whole house and work around that.

However, it’s important to remember to include the cost of your property tax. This cost may fluctuate depending on the area, and depending on your tax class.

In NYC, you’ll be looking at being taxed between 10.5-21.2% of your property’s assessed value, again depending on your tax class.

Utility deposits

To acquire these costs, you can either contact your current providers or utility companies.  This includes telephone, cable, water, electricity through ConEd, heating, and any other services.

If you plan on renting, ask your landlord if these costs are included in the rental fee.

Apartment deposits

If you are renting, you will likely have to pay both a rental and damage deposit. Additionally, if you are bringing pets,  there’s a separate deposit for that, too.

In NYC, the security deposit is typically one month’s rent. This is intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear.

It is also used to cushion the financial blow in the case that a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.