When Is the Best Time to Move: A Homebuyer's Guide

Discover the optimal time for your move with expert insights. Plan strategically for a stress-free relocation. Read more.

Real Estate
February 4, 2024
When Is the Best Time to Move: A Homebuyer's Guide

You might already know about how seasonality affects home prices and the number of active buyers (hint: it’s a lot), but how does it impact the process of moving from home A to home B? 

The short answer on when the best time to move is any weekday between the end of autumn and the start of spring that doesn't fall near a holiday. 

But moving quotes aren’t a one-size-fits-all formula. The cost and ease of your move will depend on location (starting and ending), climate, amount of organizing and pre-planning, and your household needs. 

Understanding the Moving Industry's Peak Season

If you’re wondering how to find your dream home and still maximize your savings, properly timing your move is an integral step. Moving is no different from most industries in that it has seasonal trends and shifts in demand. You’ll have the most competition for scheduling a mover—and potentially higher moving rates —if you land on: 

  • Holidays
  • Weekends
  • Summer months

This is because, at a seasonal level, movers are busy in relation to peak homebuying time, which tends to run from mid-to-late spring right up to the start of the school year. The majority of homebuyers want to see a property that’s not covered in darkness by 4:00 p.m. or with a blanket of snow hiding the good, bad, or ugly of its lawn appeal. Families with children tend to prefer moving between school sessions, and the process of moving itself is simpler and easier for everyone in gentle weather. 

However, since many companies hire temporary and seasonal workers for peak moving season, you’re not guaranteed to find huge discounts by targeting a mid-week, non-holiday winter move. In fact, in northern states with heavy snowfall, a move during the winter months may incur additional costs such as: 

  • Clearing and salting driveways and walkways
  • Putting down more floor protection indoors
  • Additional time on the clock navigating snow and ice by truck and foot

In general, however, you’ll save money by moving on a weekday in the late fall to early spring that doesn't coincide with a holiday week. 

To boost savings, plan early, compare quotes, and ask about all available discounts. 

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Financial Considerations for Timing Your Move

Don’t wait until the last minute to work out your moving budget. Whether you hire professionals or rely on friends who owe you favors, plan out the time and money needed to move. 

If you go the professional route, get quotes from at least three providers. To get a detailed quote, you’ll need:

  • To know whether you need packing services or supplies in addition to moving services
  • Your current home’s square footage
  • The room-by-room count of small, medium, and large boxes
  • A description of furniture in each room

For a DIY moving plan, you may need to budget for: 

  • Moving truck or trailer rental
  • Boxes and packing supplies
  • Specialty boxes for wardrobes, electronics, and artwork
  • Padding or plastic wrap for furniture during the move
  • Dollies
  • Interim storage rental units

Evaluating Your Personal Circumstances

Is an off-season move your best bet? There are several factors to take into account in planning how and when to move based on your situation: 

  • All aspects of peak season – If you’re selling a current home before a move to a new one, then the benefits of selling at a higher price during peak summer season likely outweigh the savings of a winter season move. With a summertime move, you can still take advantage of non-holiday, non-weekend savings. 
  • Be realistic about physical capacity – Even if your home is filled with enthusiastic and efficient movers, you’ll likely be exhausted by the end of each moving day. Consider your health and strength and that of your helpers before you commit to moving dates, estimate work time, and decide whether to hire pros. 
  • Check your insurance coverage – Your current homeowners insurance policy may include some coverage of your belongings during transit or while in storage, but it’s likely limited if present at all. Ask about liability and property coverage during all stages of a move, and be sure you understand the limits on released-value protection that moving companies are required to offer.1

The Impact of Weather on Your Moving Day

No matter how beautifully you label and color-code your boxes, unexpected thunderstorms or icy roads can result in delays or damage to your belongings. To help reduce the impact: 

  • Check with your moving team about alternate plans 
  • Figure out what a weather-related delay will do to your budget
  • Keep an eye on weather predictions throughout the process
  • Prepare for useful workarounds like extra mats and towels or alternate routes

Regional Considerations When Planning Your Move

Planning a long-distance move means gathering quotes and comparing only moving companies that cover both regions. Many small and local movers limit their services to either the state or even a specific list of counties. 

Additional points to consider when you’re moving between regions include: 

  • Regional weather – If you’re headed from Austin to Minneapolis, be sure to keep the weather at both ends in mind. Ask your movers or realtor for tips related to temperature or humidity before packing or preparing for a cross-country move.
  • Mild vs. extreme climates – Weather isn’t just about how wet your couch is going to get on a rainy moving day—it’s also a consideration at the regional level in terms of cost and availability of movers in relation to seasonality of the moving industry. Locations with extreme weather shifts may be more affected by seasonal staffing and price variances than those with year-round mild climates. 
  • Moving Costs – Don’t just price out moving services and storage sites in your current location if you’re moving somewhere with a different cost of living or switching between rural and urban/suburban zones—you may be surprised at how widely prices vary. 
  • Service availability – Are you making assumptions about how easy it will be to find moving services, switch moving dates, or locate temporary storage in your destination? This can be a big factor if you’re shifting from a big city like New York City  or San Diego to a smaller town.
  • Tips – While the tipping culture is fairly consistent across the United States, if you have an international move planned, you could be in for a big change. Ask about tipping expectations for long distance movers and other service providers before you cross the border. 

Professional Movers vs. DIY: Timing Differences

With a professional moving company, your moving team should arrive within a pre-scheduled window and complete scheduled work based on the information collected when they prepared your quote. 

When you depend on friends and family members, you may need to err on the pessimistic side in scheduling each stage of a move. 

If your cousin Dale spends an hour hitting the snooze button each morning and your coworker Pat fits you in between morning yoga and an afternoon volunteering at the animal shelter, then overscheduling helpers is the way to go. Having more hands available will help save you from: 

  • Last-minute cancellations and no-shows
  • Injuries from trying to do too much with too few
  • Strain on relationships

You’ll also want to double the time it takes for friends and family to actually pack, load, and unload belongings. One long-distance moving company estimated three to five days for amateurs to pack a three-bedroom house compared to five to seven hours with professionals.2

Tips for a Smooth Moving Process Regardless of the Season

The moving process can be very stressful, but there are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re wondering how to make moving easier. If you’re highly organized, a move means flexing your best skills—if you’re not, then a move is going to force you to sort through all the belongings you’ve been piling up in your current home. 

Either way, it’s a massive investment of time that you can keep on track if you: 

  • Plan early to price out and budget for your move
  • Start sorting and organizing belongings as soon as a move is on the horizon
  • Donate, ditch, and gift everything you don’t need or want instead of hauling it with you
  • Use efficient tools and supplies, starting with a high-quality packing tape gun

Making the Best Decision for Your Move

It’s not just about when to move, but how you do it. After learning more about the moving process, some people may decide they need more time between selling their current home and moving into a new one. 

So, how can you sell your home and still live in it until you move? For current homeowners planning to relocate, a sale-leaseback can offer an easier, more flexible schedule with fewer tasks on the to-do list. 

Instead of spending months prepping your home for listing—and more months of viewings, buyer negotiation, and waiting to close—Truehold's sale-leaseback pairs the sale of your home with a lease agreement on a closing date you select. 

You can remain as a renter in your home as long as you need, whether that’s weeks, months, or even years. During that span, you’ll be free of homeowners insurance, property tax, and the hassle of major repairs or maintenance. You can devote energy to finding your dream home or coordinating new construction, organizing and packing your belongings, and timing your move wisely. 

Plus, with the sale of your current home behind you, your mortgage will be paid off, allowing you to negotiate without a financing contingency and use your home equity to buy another house.

Ready to learn more? Call us today and speak with a Truehold Advisor to review the process and answer any questions about our sale-leaseback.


  1. MarketWatch. Guide to Moving Insurance (2024). https://www.marketwatch.com/guides/moving-services/do-i-need-moving-insurance/
  2. Great Canadian Van Lines. How Long Does It Take to Pack for a Move? https://www.greatcanadianvanlines.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-pack-for-a-move/

Lucas Grohn headshot
Written by
Lucas Grohn
Senior Manager of Sales at Truehold - A Thought-Leader in Real Estate
Lucas Grohn brings over a decade of real estate expertise to his role, where he guides a team dedicated to innovative sales strategies. Known for his thought leadership and diverse experience, from managing brokerage operations to training agents at top firms, Lucas covers a broad span of real estate content for Truehold.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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