No matter the distance, moving is a lot of work. However, moving to a new state is often more complicated and costly than staying within your current city.
Whether you’re relocating out of state for a new job opportunity or simply a change of scenery, it helps to follow a moving checklist and employ some savvy tips and tricks. Below, we’ll highlight 12 tips for moving out of state to make your transition that much smoother.
#1 Research Your New Location
Once you decide that you want to move, you should start doing some research about your new state or new city online. This way, you can get an idea of which cities and neighborhoods appeal to you most. For example, someone from New York City will have to make a big adjustment if they’re moving coast-to-coast to a place like San Diego.
During your state move research, you can look up:
- Different cities – If you already have a job lined up, you can focus your research on the city you’ll be working in and its surrounding suburbs. You’ll likely find plenty of videos, blog articles, and online forums where real-life residents discuss their experiences.
- Various neighborhoods – Next, you can try to get an idea of the neighborhoods that will best suit your lifestyle and budget. As you consider different neighborhoods, make sure to factor in your daily work commute.
- School districts – If you have school-aged children, the quality of the school districts in the area may sway your home search, too. Luckily, there are many online resources that can give you a detailed look at each school district.
- Crime rates – Lastly, you can find out which locations boast the lowest crime rates by reviewing online crime databases.
Another moving tip is that if you can afford it, you may also want to book a trip to check out your favorite locations in person.
#2 Find a New Home
The next thing you’ll want to do is explore your housing options, whether you plan on renting for some time or diving straight into the housing market.
Renting for the first six to 12 months after your state move can give you more time to explore your city, evaluate potential neighborhoods, and have complete confidence when you finally make an offer on a new home. On the flip side, buying a home right from the start can save you the time and hassle of moving more than once.
In addition to doing your research online, you can enlist the support of a local realtor. Your realtor can help you find the home of your dreams in your new state and educate you on the local housing market.
#3 Consider a Sale-Leaseback Solution
When moving to a new state, timing the sale of your current home can be tricky. You probably want to stay in your home until moving day. However, you may also need to collect the proceeds from its sale before you arrive in your new state. Otherwise, affording your next home can be a challenge.
If you’re selling a house due to job relocation, a residential sale-leaseback program can help you achieve both of these goals with ease. In a residential sale-leaseback program, you sell your home to a cash buyer. After that, you reserve the right to continue living in your home as a renter for a set period.
By enrolling in a residential sale-leaseback program, you can finalize the sale of your home before your move and have the money for a new down payment or rental deposit ready to go.
#4 Apply For Jobs In Your New State
If you work remotely, you may be able to keep your current job after your move. Just make sure to update your employer so they can adjust your tax information accordingly.
If you need to change jobs, it’s a good idea to start applying for positions in advance. Having a job lined up in your new state can offer the following benefits:
- You’ll enjoy an immediate income stream.
- You can select your home to ensure a reasonable work commute.
- You may qualify for a relocation package from your new employer, which can ease the financial burden of moving to your new state.
However, it’s not impossible to find yourself in a situation where you need to know how to move to another state without a job. If this happens, it’s best to understand your options.
#5 Make a Moving Budget
Speaking of income, moving can put a strain on your monthly budget. You can safeguard your finances by establishing a moving budget ahead of time.
Some expenses to factor into this budget include:
- Packing supplies
- Moving trucks or containers
- Professional movers
- Airfare or gas to your new location
- Storage spaces
Consider this moving tip: once you’ve set your budget, log your moving transactions in a spreadsheet to ensure you stay on track.
#6 Purchase Packing Supplies
With a clear budget in mind, you can start gathering packing supplies. If you’re paying for professional packers, they may include packing supplies as a part of their services. If not, you’ll likely need to buy:
- Moving boxes in several sizes
- Bubble wrap
- Packing paper
- Packing tape
- Wardrobe boxes
- Moving blankets
If you buy all of these items brand-new, they can be pretty expensive. Luckily, you may be able to snag free or discounted moving supplies from friends and family, grocery stores, Facebook Marketplace, or the U-Haul Box Exchange.
#7 Compare Moving Companies
A professional moving company can pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack your belongings for you, making the moving process a lot easier. However, you shouldn’t hire the very first moving company you come across online.
Instead, it’s a good idea to request quotes from several moving companies. Some may be more budget-friendly than others. You should also check out each contender’s online reviews. Since you’re leaving your belongings in your movers’ hands, you want to have complete trust in their reputability.
On average, long-distance moves can cost anywhere from $2,200 to $5,700.1 Thus, you may want to avoid professional movers if you’re trying to keep your moving costs as low as possible. Instead, you can research moving truck rental options or call up your friends and family to see if they’d be willing to help.
#8 Declutter Your Home
Whether you hire professional movers or not, your moving costs will be directly correlated with the amount of stuff you own. Thus, an easy way to cut costs is to declutter your home before you embark on your next chapter.
As you declutter, strive to let go of anything you don’t use anymore. You may also want to get rid of items that may cost more to move than to repurchase in your new state, such as heavy furniture or large household appliances.
Once you’ve streamlined your stuff, you can sell items online or host a yard sale. After that, you can use the money to help with your moving expenses.
#9 Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Pack
Another perk of decluttering is that it will streamline your packing process. Even so, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to bring out the boxes and packing tape.
Many people put off packing because they don’t want to go without their daily essentials leading up to moving day. You can avoid this issue by:
- Packing items you rarely use first, such as off-season clothes and decorations.
- Packing everything else within a reasonable timeframe (one day per room is a good benchmark)
- Setting aside a suitcase to pack the items you’ll need throughout your move, such as everyday toiletries, medications, valuables, and a few changes of clothes.
#10 Pack Like a Pro
To ensure all of your belongings get from point A to point B in one piece, you need to pack everything with care.
If you hire professional movers, they’ll take care of this process for you. However, you can give your belongings the pro-packing treatment yourself by following these best practices:
- Make an inventory of all of your belongings
- Clearly label each box on all four sides
- Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap
- Avoid overstuffing boxes
- Place heavier items in smaller boxes
- Place lighter items in larger boxes
- Use packing paper to prevent your items from moving around
#11 Update Your Home Address
When you move, you’ll have to update your address with several companies and government agencies, including:
- Your banks, lenders, and insurance companies
- Your subscription services
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Your new state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- The U.S. Postal Office (USPS)
When you change your address with USPS, make sure to set up mail forwarding to your new address. This way, none of your bills or letters will get lost in the moving shuffle.
Also, don’t forget to look up your new state’s deadlines for updating your driver’s license and vehicle registration. Some states require you to submit your new address right away, while others give you up to 90 days of establishing residency to complete this process.2
#12 Transfer Your Utilities
One final loose end you’ll want to tie up is your utilities. Ideally, you want your energy, gas, water, sewage, and garbage pickup to set in as soon as you reach your new residence. You should schedule the cancellation of your old residence’s utilities too.
While less critical, it’s also nice to have your cable, phone, and internet service provider arrive on move-in day. This way, you can settle into your new home as quickly as possible.
Moving out of state can be a costly and time-consuming process. If you’re considering this as a career move, it’s best to know what the pros and cons of relocating for a job are. Fortunately, with savvy tips for moving out of state—like making a moving budget and using solutions like a residential sale-leaseback to fund your move—you’ll be on the way to your new dream home in no time.
- Perry, Christin. “How Much Do Movers Cost?” Forbes. November 2, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/moving-services/movers-and-packers-cost/
- Lanigan, Frank. “How to Update Your License and Registration When You Move.” Move.org. July 5, 2022. https://www.move.org/how-to-update-license-registration-when-you-move/