How Listing Your Own Home Helps Lower The Average Cost of Moving in Ontario

Moving is expensive but listing your own home can reduce some fees associated with selling a house. In turn, this will lower the average cost of moving in Ontario.


When planning to move to a new home, most people consider the obvious expenditures. Hiring movers and purchasing packing boxes for specialty items are costs that are easy to anticipate. But there are a surprising number of other expenses to take into consideration too. You may need to order in food until your appliances are moved in and hooked up. You may wish to tip your movers. You might need additional cleaning supplies or new pieces of furniture. With all of these unanticipated expenses, the total can rise quite steeply. However, if you list your own home, that can help lower the average cost of moving in Ontario.

$$$ Paying the Movers

One of the most obvious costs of relocating is hiring movers. The total fee charged by a moving company can vary considerably based on a number of factors.

Local vs Long-Distance Moves

In general, a move within a 150-km radius is considered to be a local move. Most moving companies charge by the hour for local moves. According to zoocasa.ca, the hourly rate for most moving companies in Ontario is $90-120. However, movers will often charge additional fees as well (more on that below).

If you’re relocating more than 150 km away, the moving company will likely consider that to be a long-distance move. The cost of long-distance moves are normally calculated by weight and distance travelled. The zoocasa.ca website advises that long-distance moves are typically calculated by factoring in:

  • A minimum charge, which covers the first 500 pounds moved. This is usually $500-700.
  • $400-600 for every additional 500 pounds moved.
  • A scale fee of about $50-100.
  • A fee for travel time.

Possible Additional Charges

In most cases, the rates for both local and long-distance moves include moving your items on and off the truck, as well as the use of dollies, protective blankets, stretch wrap, and tools. However, additional fees may be charged for:

  • Packing and/or unpacking.
  • Truck use/rental.
  • Climbing stairs.
  • Care for heavy, large, or highly valuable items, such as treadmills or large pieces of art.
  • Extra movers for big moves, in order to prevent overtime costs.
  • Valuation, which is a type of insurance offered by moving companies, to cover any loss or damage of your items.
  • Gas surcharges.
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

The cost of hiring a moving company contributes a large chunk to average price of moving in Ontario. But there are several other costs to consider as well.

$$$ Real Estate Lawyer Fees

Whether you list your own home or sell through a realtor, it’s essential to have the assistance of a real estate lawyer. The legalities of selling property are complex and a lawyer’s expertise are required to:

  • Review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (offer);
  • Determine the closing costs;
  • Hold the buyer’s deposit in trust;
  • Prepare the deed;
  • Make sure that your obligations around disclosure have been met; and
  • Deal with the buyer’s lawyer.

The assistance of a good real estate lawyer is one expense that you don’t want to skimp on.

$$$ Other Potential Costs

Most of us have moved at least a few times in our lives. But, we may have been kids moving with our parents or we may have been moving between apartments. It’s once we become homeowners ourselves that we realize how expensive moving can be! In addition to expenses related to the actual move, there are a number of other costs that you may need to incur.

Damage Deposit

If you’re moving to a rental property, you’ll likely need to pay one month’s rent in advance plus a damage deposit.

Move In/Out Fee

Condominium complexes, in particular, may charge a fee that covers security, booking elevators, and possible damage. This fee is meant to cover wear and tear to common areas, and it’s separate from the homeowners’ or condo association fees. It may be refundable in part.

Connection Fees

Most companies charge a fee to reconnect utilities (gas, electricity, water), internet, and cable when you move into a new home.

Cleaning Fees

If you’re listing your own home to save money, it’s likely you’ll also do your own deep cleaning. That said, there may be circumstances where it’s necessary to hire a cleaner. You may be in a deep time crunch with your move; you may be ill when it’s time to move; or you may find it more economical to focus your resources on something else (such as child care, pet care, or moving your possessions without the help of a moving company).

Lost Wages

If you need to take time off work in order to move, lost wages may be an issue. This is a situation where it’s best to work through a cost estimate in order to figure out where your biggest potential savings is. For example, it’s often cheaper to move during the week than on weekends. As well, it’s usually cheaper to move during the winter months when moving companies aren’t as busy. This is where it pays to pull out a calculator. Will you come out further ahead if you take the time off work and book movers at a cheaper rate? Or, should you schedule your move around your work hours?

Listing Your Own Home Can Help you Save on These Costs

There are several fees associated with selling a home–and ultimately, moving–that you might be able to save on if you list your home yourself. The biggest of these is the commission paid to the realtor who would have sold your house. But there are other fees that you may be able to cut back on as well.

Appraisal Fee

In order to determine the market value of your home before listing, it needs to be appraised. A licensed appraiser may charge about $350 to $500 for a professional home appraisal in Ontario. However, it’s possible to do the research yourself, in order to save this cost.

Home Inspection Fee

Many buyers will only finalize a real estate deal if the home is professionally inspected by an accredited member of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI). However, if you’re selling your own home, you can certainly do your own home inspection before listing. If the buyer requires an inspection, that can be done later; and, if an inspection is not required, then that fee is eliminated.

Realtor Fees/Commission

By selling your own home, you can save significantly on the cost of realtor fees. In Ontario, the usual commission is 5% of a property’s final sale price. That fee is split in half, with 2.5% going to the seller’s realtor and 2.5% going to the buyer’s realtor. It’s in a buyer’s best interest to work with a realtor when buying a home; for this reason, it might not be possible to save the entire commission fee. However, by selling your own home, you will definitely save the 2.5% commission due to the seller’s realtor. That is a significant sum–$12,500 on a $500,000 home.

So: What IS the Average Cost of Moving in Ontario?

As you may have guessed, it’s difficult to estimate the cost of moving in Ontario because there are so many variables. That said, Cassidy’s Moving and Storage, Ltd., a moving company based in the Ottawa area, provides these estimates for the summer months (June through August):

  • 2-bedroom townhouse = approximately $870 – $1,015
  • 2-bedroom apartment with elevator = approximately $870 – $1,160
  • 3-bedroom house = approximately $1,600
  • 4-bedroom home = approximately $2,300

Added to all these basic moving costs are the expenses discussed above, everything from real estate lawyer fees to pet care costs. While moving can be an exciting and happy time, it can also be very expensive. If you’re listing your own home for sale, though, you may be able to lower the final cost of moving. And who wouldn’t like to save a little bit of money?