Moving out of state is an exciting, albeit intimidating commitment. The prospect of leaving your old life behind can be scary. However, you can ease your mind if you prepare for the journey with a checklist to make the journey easy.
Your moving out-of-state checklist should include researching the area and comparing the cost of living to your current home. Create a budget based on the cost of the moving service as well as transportation and utility fees. Reach out to a moving company 2-3 months before moving and set up an emergency fund of up to 3 months’ salary.
The earlier you start researching, the sooner you’ll be able to buy a new house and find a new job. Follow along as we highlight the best steps to get ready for your out-of-state move.
How Do I Prepare to Move to Another State?
The best way to prepare to move to another state is to create an extensive checklist. Everything from researching the cost of living and setting up utilities to decluttering can save you time and money.
1. Compare the Cost of Living
The difference in the cost of living between states can sometimes be astronomical. Researching the cost of living in your new state can eliminate the risk of expensive surprises. Look online for cost statistics in the state you plan to move to.
This includes income taxes, property taxes, gas prices, and the cost of groceries. Compare it with your current expenses and adjust your spending habits accordingly.
2. Research the Area
It’ll take a while to adjust to your out-of-state move unless you research the area. Look up local stores, restaurants, parks, and even medical centers. This can also help determine the house you choose based on how close it is to local amenities.
It’s also important to look up crime stats to make sure you move to a safe area.
3. Create a Moving Budget
Moving out of state can be expensive, so budgeting should be one of your biggest priorities. Base your budget on expenses such as car shipping, plane tickets (if necessary), and moving company costs. Moving out of state can cost up to $12,000 or even more depending on where you move.
That said, it could cost as little as $4,000 to move short distances. Figure out the fees for setting up utilities in the state you’re moving to. Do whatever you can to save money, such as driving long-distance instead of shipping your car if need be.
4. Find a New Home
Finding a new home is half the battle when moving out of state. Unless you visit the state, you’ll have to rely on a realtor and online resources. That’s why it’s a great idea to visit the state before moving to visit houses on the market. This will help you picture yourself in the house and get an idea of the area.
5. Search for Jobs
Unless you’re moving out of a state for a specific job, you’ll need to search for new places to work. It can take a while to find a job, so you should submit applications daily for a few months. Create a thorough resume and send it to many places within a reasonable distance of your new home.
6. Research Schools
Moving out of state as a family involves more responsibilities. The biggest hurdle is making sure you get your gets into a good school. Research schools in the area and fill out an admission application to a few schools if need be. Contact your child’s old school to get their transcripts to send out.
7. Set Up an Emergency Fund
While your moving budget should cover your expenses, it’s essential to set up an emergency fund. Moving is expensive, and you never know when incidentals pop up. For example, you may have to wait a few weeks or even months before starting your new job. Because of that, it’s a great idea to set aside up to 3 months salary.
8. Contact a Moving Company
Once you’ve budgeted for the move, it’s time to contact a moving company. Ideally, you should reach out at least 2-3 months to make sure you get a great moving date. Explain your budget and pick services that make the move easier without going over budget.
9. Declutter Your Home
Moving gives you the chance to get rid of clutter. Donate or throw away old clothes and furniture that you don’t use anymore. You can also sell furniture, collectibles, and antiques to set aside some extra cash for the move.
10. Start Packing
Packing is only stressful if you wait until the last minute. You can avoid the stress if you slowly start to pack within 2-3 months of moving. Create a checklist and start by packing items you won’t need to use in the months leading up to the move.
For example, you can pack your trinkets, special dishes, and seasonal clothes you don’t currently wear. Slowly pack more and more essentials as the move approaches. Disassemble and pack furniture 1-2 weeks before the move.
11. Notify Your Utility Service Providers
The last thing you want to do is pay for two sets of utilities when moving. That’s why you must contact your utility providers before moving to cancel or transfer service. You’ll need to cancel your electricity, gas, and water as the new state will have different providers.
Ideally, you should set it up so that the utilities will lapse right after moving out. In some cases, this isn’t possible if your house stays on the market after moving. As far as Wi-Fi goes, you may be able to simply update your address. Even still, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a new router when you move so it works in the new service area.
12. Schedule Vehicle Transportation
Unless you’re driving to your new home, you must likely schedule vehicle transportation. Some moving companies can help set this up for you. If not, simply research local vehicle transportation services at least 1-2 months in advance.
It’s important to set up vehicle transportation early as these services typically have stops in several states. Because of that, they typically provide wide time windows for when your car will arrive.
Explain your timeframe and request that your car arrive within a week or two of your move-in date. This may mean that you must ship your car a week or more before moving.
13. Set Up Your New Utilities
By now, you should have updated and or canceled your utilities at your previous home. Once that’s done, it’s time to set up utilities at your new home. You may not be able to transfer some utilities, such as electric service, to your new home.
Many electricity providers only operate in one or two states. Wait until a few weeks before your move to set up new utilities. You can also wait to do this until a few days before the move, but that’s risky. Ultimately, you don’t want to set up water and power too soon before your move.
In that case, you’d be paying for services you aren’t using yet. That said, the last thing you want is to move into a pitch-black house or be unable to take a shower after unpacking and moving boxes all day.
14. Clean Your Old Home
It’s important to clean your old home after packing up and loading the truck. This is the only way to get your deposit back as a renter. As a homeowner, cleaning the house will also work wonders to ensure you don’t scare off potential buyers.
Ideally, you should start cleaning in the month leading up to the move. However, you’ll likely need to tidy up again once your house is empty as moving can be messy. Once the trucks are packed and your house is clean, it’s time to head to your new home out of state.
15. Update Your Address
While it’s important to update your address for subscriptions and utilities, that won’t cover everything. You must update your address through the USPS as well to ensure mail and packages get rerouted to your new home. Luckily, this is easy, and you can change your address online or at the local post office.
It’s also important to update your address if you have pets that are chipped. That way, your pets can be more easily returned to you in case they go missing. Simply go through the animal registry you originally registered your pets to and change the address.
Moving Out of State Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Research the area and reach out to local realtors before moving out of state. Compare the cost of living and set aside up to 3 months’ salary to cover moving expenses and incidentals. Cancel your utilities or transfer any of them, such as Wi-Fi, to your new home. Change your address through the USPS so there is no delay in receiving mail and packages.