The costs of relocating

What costs are there to consider when relocating? This is a questions that Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood recently had to ask herself when she and her family moved down from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

There are the standard costs that most people would probably consider, such as getting your belongs to your new city, or even country, but there are other costs that people are not always prepared for, such as the cost of accommodation if you have to stop along your journey to the new town, or transporting pets. So what exactly are you in for?

Transporting your household belongings

Shopping around for the best deal is one way to make sure that you get the most competitive quote when moving house.

There are a number of removal companies in South Africa, such as Pickfords, Eezi Move, Biddulphs and Girls on the Move.

The amount you are quoted will obviously depend on the number of items that you are moving with, as well as the size of the items. For example, a young professional just starting out may have fewer items than a married couple.

Moving is the perfect time to sort through all of your old belongs and get rid of anything you don’t need. Trust me, going through draws and boxes that you haven’t looked into in a while will reveal all sorts of things you forgot you had and no longer need.

Rather sell your unwanted items or take them to a charity shop, so that someone who really needs them can put them to good use. Consider selling these items on Gumtree and Bid or Buy.

Relocating your pets

Sadly, some people leave their pets behind when they move, either abandoning them, or dropping them off at their local SPCA. One of the reasons may be due to the potential hassle and cost of relocating pets.

However, there are companies that help you transport pets, whether it is locally or internationally, for example, Pet Movers South Africa.

Its website explains: “Pet Movers South Africa is neither an airline nor carrier, but a professional pet travel agent that works with transportation agents throughout the country and around the world to arrange your pet travel as easy and stress-free for both owner and pet.”

If you are relocating to a new city within South Africa, Pet Movers South Africa can assist in making the transportation of your pet to your new home much easier.

“We will take care of your pet’s transport to the nearest airport, make all necessary arrangements with the airline, and can even arrange for your pet’s delivery to your new home, if desired,” it adds.

Another pet relocation company, Global Paws, also transport pets locally and internationally at the owner’s request. However, Global Paws also makes use of vehicles for road transportation, in addition to air relocation.

Global Paws offers three options for local pet relocation:

  1. Door to door: They will pick up your pet at your house, transport them, either via road or air, and then deliver them safely to your door.
  2. Door to airport: They will collect your pet from your residence and take them to the airport, and you collect your pet from the airport on the other side.
  3. Airport to airport: “You deliver pets to the airport or to our kennels – then we fly your pets to required airport – then you collect your pets upon their arrival at the airport,” explains that website.


For international pet relocation, Global Paws offers two services:

  1. Door to airport: Global Pets will collect your pet from your house and then flies your pet to the required airport, where you collect your pet at the airport and clear them through customs.
  2. Door to door: For this option, your pet is collected from your residence flown to the required airport, cleared through customs by Global Pets, and delivered to your new house in the new country.

When transporting your pets internationally it is important that you meet all Live Animals Regulations, which state the global standards for the transportation of live animals by air.

Having a travel kennel, whether you are transporting your pet yourself or going through a professional company, is vitally important. If you are transporting your pet via air, the airlines require that your pet be in travel kennel that meets the airline’s regulation standards.

The cost of property

Property prices change depending on location, this is not only true for property within a town or city, but also for property in different cities, and obviously different countries.

For example, when moving from Johannesburg to Cape Town, in general the property prices in Cape Town are higher than those in Johannesburg.

The cost of the journey

If you are driving yourself to your new town (as I did at the beginning of this year), there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

It is important to factor in travel costs, as these may form a large part of your relocating expenses, depending on how far you are travelling.

If you are travelling by air, there will be airport tax and other expenses to consider, including transporting your car if you are taking it with you when you move.

If you are going to be travelling by car, make sure that your car has been serviced and is in good working order before setting off for your journey.

To ensure that you have enough to cover fuel costs, determine how far you will be travelling, and how far you can get on one tank of petrol. This will help you estimate how many times you will need to fill up along the journey, and how much you will pay for petrol.

However, it is important to remember that if you are going to be transporting items in your car, you get less distance on a tank of petrol when the car is weighed down.

For some safety tips on travelling by car, click here.

If you are breaking your trip up over a few days, you will need to factor in accommodation costs as well.

When my family moved down to Cape Town recently, we transported our dogs in the car. They were relatively well behaved, and the entire event was manageable. However, we had to make sure that the hotels we stopped at along the journey were pet friendly. To make the journey easier on the dogs, and to ensure that we stopped frequently so that they could stretch their legs, we divided the drive down to Cape Town over three days, meaning that we needed to find two hotels along the route that accommodated pets.

Immigration versus emigration

If you are considering relocating to another country, there are a number of things to consider. According to Clive Hill, a legal adviser at Sanlam, due to the increase in the number of expatriates returning to South Africa, formal emigration may not be the way to go.

Hill explains: “Relocation means moving to a foreign country – usually to work – without exporting your assets from your home country, whereas emigration means leaving to settle permanently in another country, taking as many of your assets with you as you wish and as exchange control allows. Emigration is a Reserve Bank process and does not affect your citizenship or use of your SA passport. It does, however, have tax implications.  We generally advise people to think seriously about whether they really want to emigrate.”

Things to consider before emigrating:

  • For tax purposes, you will be seen as ‘selling’ your assets by SARS (the South African Revenue Service), whether or not you actually sell them. This means you pay capital gains tax on all of your assets, excluding any fixed property, as well as pay income tax on your trading stock.
  • You can apply to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) for a capital allowance subject to attaining tax clearance from SARS. This was increased to R10 million per annum as of 1 April this year, and R20 million for a family unit.
  • “Any assets not taken out will fall under the control of your local bank manager, and your bank account will be designated as non-resident,” highlights Hill.
  • If you are not sure whether or not you will want to come back to South Africa to live in the future, don’t give up your citizenship, as it may be difficult to attain citizenship again in the future.

Hill adds: “We advise especially younger people, who may not have many assets, to relocate, not emigrate. Even if you do have large sums to export, you will have time to do so through the annual travel and investment allowance. If you don’t have to emigrate, why do so? Why cut your ties with your home country in such a way that may make it hard to return?”