Personal resolutions loom large in January, with most centered on (usually lost) causes like eating less food and engaging in more exercise. One big change that many apartment dwellers ponder is whether or not the new year might be a good time to seek out a new place.
Research shows that the lowest apartment rental rates are available from January to March, when demands for housing are also traditionally lowest. By contrast, you’re likely to pay the most in rent when you move between May and October.
But even with the price on your side, there are still several others factors to weigh before deciding on a winter move. Here are a few of the biggest pros and cons:
Moving Company Perks
The winter is the slowest season for movers, which is why most typically offer great deals during those months. Even better, overall moving costs are reduced by up to 30 percent during this period, so you can usually afford movers that would be well out of your price range at other times. These companies actively compete for your business when it’s cold outside, so don’t be afraid to tell them what their competitors are offering to see if they’ll give you a better deal on price, delivery times, extras such as boxes and other packing materials, etc.
Availability is also an advantage during the winter. Popular movers who are often booked months in advance can usually accommodate your needs on shorter notice than they can during the spring and summer. They’re also more flexible in scheduling pickups and packing to fit into your schedule rather than theirs.
When movers have more time and aren’t hard-pressed to move on to the next customer, they give more care and attention to handling your cargo gently and slowly. Harried and hurried movers are more likely to drop boxes and dent or damage large pieces of furniture.
If you’ve always wanted a professional moving company to handle the lifting and transport instead of a well-meaning friend’s with a van or pickup truck, winter is the time to make that dream a reality.
Bad Weather Obstacles
If you happen to live in a place where seasons meld into each other without blizzards, torrential rain, and icy roads, weather probably won’t be much of a factor no matter when you move. Still, people tend to spend more time inside during the winter months — and they aren’t quite as energetic when it comes time to lifting couches and maneuvering king-size mattresses when there’s a chill in the air.
Bitter cold weather is a deterrent in many ways. Vehicles don’t seem to run as smoothly when temperatures dip down to freezing. Windshield wipers are sluggish, and constantly running the heater/defroster compromises your gas consumption. On top of that, poor road conditions and/or towing a trailer require slower speeds, so it takes longer to reach your destination. Exposed items secured to the tops of vehicles also have to be shielded from the weather, adding to your prep time to get on the road. Worst of all, accidents are more prevalent on freeways as well as backroads during the winter, causing frustrating delays for both your family and the movers.
Other considerations are the safety of the movers and cargo. Icy sidewalks not only put movers at risk of falling, they also put your belongings in more peril of being dropped and damaged in winter weather. This means you have the additional task of keeping sidewalks and driveways clear of snow and ice and protecting the carpet inside your old place and new place from these elements. You also must pay extra for a climate-controlled truck to protect certain furniture surfaces or insulate the pieces yourself.
Worst-case scenario: The weather is so bad that travel is impossible, so you lose money and time, and you have to put up your family in a hotel until you can start the process all over again.
A Disputable Advantage/Disadvantage
Parents of school-age kids often consider the ways a move in the middle of a school year will affect their children. One opinion is that starting school mid-year can make for a great move. Since your child will be a new student (quite possibly the only new student), they’re guaranteed to get extra attention. Instead of the teacher and students having to deal with many new students at the beginning of the year, your child will benefit from more focus and consideration. Of course, it also depends on how your specific child reacts to extra interest from new acquaintances.
On the flip side, many believe that uprooting a child in the middle of a school year will interrupt their education and disrupt bonds they’ve built with teachers and fellow students. Again, this depends greatly on your particular child. Some see it as a pleasant adventure, while others may experience considerable stress and difficulties in pursuing their educational goals in a new environment.
In short, moving in the winter — just like moving any other time — requires a lot of long, hard thinking about numerous factors. Have several serious discussions with the whole family before you start packing.