skip to main content

Can Bad Credit Stop You From Moving to a New City?

Written by
Andrew Tavin, CFEI
Andrew Tavin is a personal finance writer who covered budgeting with expertise in building credit and saving for OppU. His work has been cited by Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and Hacker News, and he is a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council.
Read time: 7 min
Updated on April 5, 2024
woman in white t-shirt wondering can bad credit stop you from moving to a new city?
Some people stay in the same place their whole lives.

A bad credit score can affect different areas of your life. Moving to a new city is one of them.

Some people stay in the same place their whole lives; they’re born in a house, go to school in town, attend college down the road, and work in the family business.

However, that’s the exception, not the rule. Whether you have a new job or you just want a change of environment, moving to a new city can be a great opportunity; but what if you have bad credit? Can a lack of access to financial services keep you from moving to a new city?

Your credit may hinder you from moving to a new city

Your credit will likely affect your ability to move to a new city, according to nationally recognized credit expert Jeanne Kelly:

“A move can be exciting, but how is your credit? If you have a not-so-good credit report, you could have some issues renting a new place to live. Another thing to think about is: If you are going to rent an automobile for the move, your credit can be checked and you might have an issue renting that van.

"Always be prepared in advance," says Kelly, "because credit reports can have errors and it can bring your credit score down lower than it should be. Besides the new rental, you need utilities. Oftentimes utility companies are also reviewing your credit report for oil, electric, telephone, and more—so credit does become a factor with a new move. Think ahead of time.”

So there you have it; your credit can impact your ability to move to a new city. Not only can it prevent you from renting a moving truck or a new apartment, it can also make your move a lot more expensive.

Certainly, that is something you want to avoid, so we spoke to several experts about how to reduce the cost of relocating.

Choose your new location carefully

“If you're moving to a new city and you don't know it well, you should rent,” advised Ali Wenzke, who writes at The Art of Happy Moving. “Get to know the city and the neighborhoods before you make the biggest financial investment of your life. When you rent instead of buy, this gives you flexibility with your job and the city if things don't work out (saving you tons of money in the long term). It also puts you in a stronger negotiating position if and when you do decide to buy.”

Wenzke also outlined some other things to look for when picking your location:

“Commuting costs add up. Whether you are spending money on gas, bus fare, or the commuter train, calculate what the daily cost will be to you. While downtown rents may be more expensive, it may be less of a price difference than you think when you take parking or daily travel costs into consideration. Before you move, type your potential new address into Walk Score. Do you have easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment? Save money on that Uber and find fun things to do within walking distance of your new place. It's good for your wallet, health, and happiness.”

Consider a "hybrid move" to save on professional help

So you found the perfect place, or as close to perfect within your budget, now it’s time to get yourself and all of your stuff to the new place. What’s the best way to go about that process without spending too much money?

"The best cost-cutting effort someone can make starts by choosing the right moving method,” Mike Glanz, CEO of HireAHelper, told us. “People have more choices today than they may think. Instead of hiring an expensive full-service moving company, or breaking your back by doing it yourself, look at all of your moving options. For example, take the ‘hybrid moving’ concept that is gaining momentum nationally because it's dramatically reducing the cost of moving.

“With a hybrid move, you simply hire local, hourly moving laborers to load and unload a rented truck or portable moving container. You can find hourly laborers (fully licensed and insured) anywhere in the country using online services such as HireAHelper. Then drive your own truck or manage the delivery of your own container. It's called a ‘hybrid move’ because it's part DIY and part full-service.

“By decoupling the transportation and labor, this approach is hundreds of dollars cheaper than hiring a full service moving company—and it mitigates the most popular scam employed by rogue moving companies: holding your goods hostage for more money (some moving companies will hold your goods in their truck until you pay an above-quoted price. It happens all the time.)"

4 ways to reduce your moving costs even further

Doug Keller, marketing manager at Payless Power, offered his list of steps to cut down on moving costs:

  1. Purchase Recycled Boxes: "You can buy used boxes ahead of your move to store away some of your smaller items. Not only can this help you to save money in the event you’re having movers help you out of your old home, there is often the ability to sell back the boxes once you’ve used them, which will put even more cash back into your pocket.
  2. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need: "As you go through your things in preparation for your move, make sure you note the things that can be discarded. While local movers charge by the hour, long distance movers charge by the weight and distance. That means, the more stuff you can get rid of, the better it is for you. In addition, consider selling the things you can do without. It will help to make the cost of moving a little less burdensome.
  3. Enlist The Help Of Loved Ones: "You may have to offer an incentive, like some snacks, but getting family and friends to help with packing will make your life a lot easier. It will save you and the movers time and money and can even be a pleasant stroll down memory lane. Just be mindful that your loved ones are not professional movers and may require direction as well as notice in the event they are moving delicate or precious items.
  4. Try to Avoid Moving at Peak Times: "The most popular time of the year to move is generally in the summer as most people try to be in their homes before the start of a school year. This leaves September through April as a sensible time to consider relocating to save money, as demand will be lower. Moreover, for those interested in moving into college towns, this is usually the time in which most leases start and end.”

How to continue saving money after your move

Once you've moved into a new place, there's still more work to be done. And the same is true with saving money. Just because the move is over, doesn't mean the savings have to stop!

“Try and get a tax break,” advised Keller. “In the event that you are relocating for a job, there is a possibility that you will be able to deduct some of the expenses from your taxes. These expenses can include storage, transportation, and even the cost of hotel stays or other lodging options incurred in between staying in your old house and your new one. Just make sure you don’t throw away your receipts!”

Finally, Wenzke offered a tip that could be helpful even if you’re not moving: “My first stop in a new city is the library. You can borrow books, movies, and get access to online materials. Your public library may also have free resident passes to local attractions and there's often some sort of free event happening.”

A commitment to minimizing the costs of your move should leave you in a better financial position in the future.

Article contributors

Mike Glanz is the Founder & CEO of HireAHelper (@hireahelper), a moving labor marketplace that debuted in 2007. Having worked in the moving industry for a number of years, Mike launched HireAHelper to provide consumers with a new way to move called Hybrid™ Moving - a cross between the affordability of moving yourself and the ease of paying movers to do it for you.

Doug Keller

Douglas Keller has been a financial expert for 20 years, helping people reach financial stability. He works for Payless Power (@paylesspower) where he continues to help people save money on their bills every month.

Jeanne Kelly

Jeanne Kelly (@creditscoop), is an author, speaker, and coach who educates people to achieve a higher credit score and understand credit reporting. #HealthyCredit is her motto. As the founder of The Kelly Group in 2000 and the author of The 90-Day Credit Challenge, Jeanne Kelly is a nationally recognized authority on credit consulting and credit score improvement.

Ali Wenzke

Ali Wenzke (@AliWenzke), a Moving Expert, moved 10 times in 11 years. Now she’s helping the millions of people who move each year by providing practical tips on how to make moving a happy experience at The Art of Happy Moving. After calling seven U.S. states home, Ali is now happily settled in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and three children. She doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon.

Please note the below article contains links to external sites outside of OppU and Opportunity Financial, LLC.  These sources, while vetted, are not affiliated with OppU. If you click on any of the links you will be sent to an external site with different terms and conditions that may differ from OppU’s policies. We recommend you do your own research before engaging in any products or services listed below. OppU is not a subject matter expert, nor does it assume responsibility if you decide to engage with any of these products or services.


California Residents, view the California Disclosures and Privacy Policy for info on what we collect about you.