Moving to Another State: 8 Things to Know
If you're moving to another state, you're probably both excited and overwhelmed. Whether you're handling the move yourself or hiring professional movers, there are a lot of factors to consider. From planning, to the first night in your new home, here are 8 important things to do and know.
This may seem obvious, but a little extra research about your new neighborhood goes a long way. Maybe you visited friends there or interviewed for a job nearby, but there are plenty of things movers don't realize until they're already settled at their new address:
- Nearby schools, hospitals, and doctors
- Traffic patterns that might affect your commute
- Public transit stops
- Severe weather patterns
- Access to utilities
- Local sales tax, property taxes, and income taxes
- Cost of living differences
Even if you're already sold on a location, checking neighborhood pages on social media, news outlets, and local business reviews can give you a better idea of what it's like to live there. When you're at the point of shopping for a home, a realtor is a great resource for information.
2. Budgeting Time and Money
Before creating your budget, plan out how much time you'll need to move. Try to give yourself a couple of months to prepare documents, notify your employer, and save up some extra cash. If you're buying a house, work with your realtor on a timeline. If renting, ask your previous and new landlords for a specific window to get moved.
Your budget will likely determine if you move by yourself, hire professional movers, or do a mix of both. If moving yourself, remember to budget for:
- Packing supplies
- Truck rentals
- Fuel costs
As of 2021, Consumer Affairs estimates it costs around $5,000 to move a three-bedroom home 1,000 miles out of state with professional movers. While this might seem more expensive upfront, that covers everything you'd pay for moving yourself. You're also not responsible for vehicle repairs and upkeep. Reputable services also offer insurance, so if something breaks, you're covered.
Moving Yourself With Help From Professional Movers
To get the most out of your moving budget, consider doing it yourself with help from professional movers. You can move small items yourself while movers handle the big stuff, or you can pack your own items and have movers transport it. Moving it all yourself makes budgeting hard, but with this option, you'll have a better idea of how much you'll spend.
3. Updating Documents and Services
No one likes paperwork, but it's a necessary evil when moving to another state. You'll need to update your:
- Vehicle's registration and title
- Driver's license
- Identification cards
- Insurance — your rates may change with your move.
- Schooling information including enrollment and sending new schools transcripts
- Utility services — make sure everything is turned on before your move.
State and county websites are the best resources for these changes. Doing this at the beginning of the planning process will prevent a lot of hiccups.
Changing Your Mailing Address
As soon as you have a new home, notify the USPS through a change-of-address application. This can be done online and ahead of time. The application will ask you when they should start forwarding mail and costs a little over a dollar.
Registering to Vote
While every state has different residency requirements for voting, the US Election Assistance Commission has plenty of information for each state including polling locations and links to register online.
Like updating documents, packing can seem overwhelming. If you start early, though, it'll be much less daunting. You obviously can't pack everything early, but here are a few tips that can streamline your out-of-state move:
- Pack seasonal clothes early. If moving in the winter, pack shorts and swimsuits as soon as possible. Same for coats if moving in the summer.
- Pack knick-knacks and decorations early.
- Ask friends and family for boxes. People that work in restaurants, retail stores, and other places that get large shipments have sturdy boxes in a range of sizes.
- Label boxes clearly and stay organized. Even if you think you'll remember where you packed your favorite mug, it can slip your mind during this busy time.
Many professional moving companies offer full packing services, as well. Even if you don't use them to pack your things, they sell all packing supplies or include them as a part of your moving package.
Now that you've started the packing process, you might be considering storage as part of your moving plan. Look for locations close to your current and new homes. If you're taking advantage of a professional moving service, they often have their own storage facilities in multiple locations.
Whether you're doing a DIY move or hiring professional movers, you'll need to find out who's helping. If you're relying on friends and families, give them specific jobs and dates. Let them know if you need to borrow trucks, vans, or trailers ahead of time. Friendly reminders and a little compensation doesn't hurt, either.
If you're hiring professional movers, you'll want to do some homework. When shopping for out-of-state movers, make sure they:
- Are insured in case something breaks
- Are licensed in every state they're moving your goods through
- Can transport breakables and specialty items
- Have a good cancellation or rescheduling policy
- Are able to provide a guaranteed estimate or one very close to it
- Have locations near your start and end points
Professional movers can make the difference between a headache and an exciting time. Whether you're using all or just some of their services, the process will go a lot quicker with their help.
If moving yourself, be sure to have enough room in every car, truck, van, or trailer. If renting a truck or van, check your state's laws about stopping at weigh stations. Many don't require it, but some do. Most small truck or van rentals do not require a special license. When loading up, put furniture and other heavy items in first.
If you plan to stop along the way, scout out locations that have parking lots big enough and secure enough for your possessions. Checking traffic reports around cities helps, as well.
Hiring Professional Movers
If you've already vetted and hired professional movers, they'll take it from here. If they're fully licensed and insured, just focus on where you're going to put your stuff in your new home.
8. Setting Up Your New Home
Got your keys? When everyone's arrived, it's time to set up your new home. If doing it yourself, place boxes in the rooms they'll be unpacked into. Keep boxes along walls and out of the way of your helpers. Professional movers will largely do this work for you. Just be nearby in case they have any questions.
This is the most important part: eat! Find a local restaurant so you can refuel without having to dig out dishes or go to the grocery.
How North AmericanCan Help You Move to Another State
Whether you're doing it yourself, would like our help, or want us to handle it all, North American is here to help. In the past 15 years, we've helped with over 750,000 moves including long-distance moves with our national team of partners. With us, your interstate household move can include:
- Full-service packing and moving supplies
- Fragile and specialty item packing
- Loading, unloading, and transportation
- Storage services