I’ve been in Arlington for what seems like not that long, but has actually been a while! It’s almost time to resign my lease, so I figured it would be a good time to see what the cost of moving locally might be. I really don’t want to move, because I like my current apartment a lot, but I could potentially be convinced to move if it worked out well in my favor financially AND my new place has all of the same pros as what I currently have.
Expenses Involved in Moving Locally
First, I want to see what the costs of moving locally will be. Then, I’ll look at how those map up with the pros and cons of my current apartment. Here are the major costs that I foresee coming along with a local move:
- Move Out & In Fees: Most of the buildings in this area charge a move in/out fee to reserve the elevator and loading dock, which generally is in the $400 to $500 range. That means I’m going to have to pay $1,000 to move somewhere. If I were to move apartments this year, I would need to pay this fee twice: once to move out of my current apartment and once to move into my new apartment.
- 1 Day of PTO & Time: In addition to paying a fee to move out or in, I would need to take a whole day off of work in order to do so. Many apartment buildings have restrictions on when you can move in. Spoiler alert: it’s usually on a weekday, hence needing to take a day off from work. Packing and unpacking is also a huge time suck. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too difficult this time around, but these things always take so MUCH time!
- Security Deposit: Knock on wood, I should get all or most of my security deposit back when I move out of my current apartment. However, you don’t generally get your security deposit back until after you move out and you need to provide one for the new apartment before you can move in. That means that I’ll need to front some additional cash until I get back my current security deposit. My next security deposit could be anywhere between $2000 and $3000, depending on the cost of our new apartment.
- Pet Deposit: In addition to a security deposit, I’ll also need to provide money for a pet deposit and/or fee. Some places have a non-refundable pet fee while others have a refundable pet deposit. Either way, this will be another $300-$500.
- Movers: I’ll be damned if I have to move myself again, despite it not being the most frugal move one could make. After such a rough move last year, I’ve sworn to myself that I won’t be doing it on my own again. Renting movers for an afternoon would likely cost somewhere around $500-800.
- Moving Supplies: We don’t have any boxes or moving supplies left after our last move, so we would need to do that whole shebang again. We were able to save money by picking up free boxes from our local liquor store and would try to do that again, but it’s likely we could spend around $100 on other moving supplies. Things we might spend money on are wrappers for the furniture, bubble wrap, and packing tape.
So, when all is said and done, it could cost anywhere between $1,900 and $2,400 to move locally. On top of that, I could need to front $2000 to $3000 for the new deposit depending on how much my new apartment costs.
Weighing the Pros & Cons of Moving Locally
It will be a big chunk of change to move, that’s for sure. However, could it be worth it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of my current apartment.
- Easy Commute for Nicole & Richard: On the best days, I’m only 20 minutes from work. I have the option to take the Metro which is less than 3 blocks away or I can ride my bike to work in about 15 minutes. Richard drives to work, but he’s typically able to do so in about 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic.
- Pet-friendly: We have two pets and do not pay extra for them on a monthly basis. I did need to pay a pet deposit.
- Easy Access to I-395/I-95: We are only a couple of minutes’ drive from the highway, which means Richard can easily get to work, we can easily drive to Richard’s parents’ house, we can easily drive to the nearest Wegman’s, and we’re able to easily get to our rock climbing gym.
- Reserved parking: We have a reserved parking spot that is included in our rent and Richard is able to rent an additional space to park his motorcycle.
- Building amenities: We have excellent building staff, an ample gym, and a rooftop pool. The gym is a huge benefit, because Richard doesn’t need to have a gym membership anywhere else.
- In-unit laundry: We have in-unit laundry, which is really convenient.
- 1st floor unit: It wouldn’t be the end of the world to be on a higher floor, but being on the first floor is really convenient for taking out our dog. It saves a few minutes each day, which is nice.
- No private outdoor space: In a perfect world, I would like to have a balcony attached to our apartment.
- Not 100% hardwood: With two pets, we’d prefer to rent an apartment with 100% hardwood. Our bedroom is carpeted, which isn’t too bad.
- No den or second bedroom: We make do with 1 bedroom and only 750 sq ft, but it would be so much better to have just a little bit more room for a den or second bedroom.
- Only 1 bathroom: In the same vein as above, we are in a tight space, so we only have 1 bathroom. In a perfect world, we would have at least 1.5!
- Neighborhood: We live in Clarendon, which is a pretty upscale neighborhood in Arlington. We are VERY close to lots of restaurants, bars, and shopping. We even are really close to some of the doctors and dentists that we’ve acquired since moving here. We really enjoy living in Clarendon, but it would be nice to check out other neighborhoods now that we’ve been here for a bit. We could look in Ballston, Virginia Square or Rosslyn if we wanted to stay in VA, but have (potentially) cheaper rent without going too far away from my work or Richard’s work. Alternatively, we could try looking in DC proper as well, but I’m unsure if we would be able to find something in our desired price point that would be as convenient for our commutes.
What would it take for me to move?
Right now, you can see that the pros of my apartment far outweigh the cons. Looking briefly at what’s out there, I’m pretty sure it would be difficult to beat our current situation. We currently pay $2,075 per month in rent and Richard pays an additional $75 for his motorcycle parking. Our rent cost includes a reserved parking spot as well as our 2 pets. There are three situations that I could see us deciding to move:
- Extreme rent increase: After doing the math, I know that it could cost up to $2,400 to move locally. That means that any rent increase below $200 could end up being the same as it would be to move locally, if we were to find an apartment with the same rent that we pay now. If our landlord increases our rent by MORE than $200 per month, that is when I will likely start looking at other options.
- Super deal: I have my eye out at some of the apartment listings just to be aware of what’s going on. If I find a super deal that is either $200 less than what we pay per month or $100 less (assuming rent goes up by $100), it might be worth considering to move as well.
- No choice: Lastly, a reason I might choose to move is if we don’t really have a choice. We rent from a landlord who owns a condo unit. I think it’s unlikely, but she could always choose to stop renting our her unit.
Fingers crossed that none of the three situations above happen! I’m rooting to stay in the same apartment for another year!