How to relocate to another state: tips for a smooth move
Whether you’re an empty nester looking to downsize to a warmer climate or moving for more space and a lower cost of living, relocating to another state can bring new opportunities and a fresh start. On the other hand, there’s a lot to consider when you move, even if it’s just across town. However, with careful planning before, during and after relocating, you’re more likely to have a smooth move from beginning to end.
5 tips to consider before relocating to another state
When pondering how to relocate to another state, adequate preparation is key. Before packing up your belongings and hitting the road, keep these five things in mind.
- 1. Budget accordingly
Long-distance moving costs are based on the weight of your belongings and the distance to your new home. So the farther you go and the more stuff you have, the bigger your moving budget needs to be. Moving.com recommends factoring in these fees.
- If you’re hiring professional movers, include a base moving fee and moving insurance.
- For do-it-yourself movers, include truck rental, gas and equipment rental.
- Other potential moving costs can include vehicle shipping, packing and supply costs, cleaning costs and real estate expenses such as a down payment and closing costs.
Also, if you’re relocating to another state with a different cost of living, it’s helpful to research how far your salary will go. CNN Money offers a cost of living calculator to compare your expenses in your new town.
- 2. Get pre-approved to buy a home in another state
Before starting your home search, it’s best to connect with a lender. If you have worked with a lender in the past who’s not licensed in your new state, ask for a referral. Guild Mortgage is coast to coast, and if your current lender can’t assist you, it’s likely they know someone who can. Then, fill out a loan application to get pre-approved. You’ll learn how much home you can afford during the pre-approval process. With this, you can confidently start shopping for an out-of-state home.
- 3. Hire a real estate professional to help
It’s best to visit your new city in person when home shopping, especially before making an offer. However, between online home listings, digital mortgages and eClosings, buying a home remotely is easier than ever before. A real estate agent with local expertise can be a valuable resource, especially if you can’t take a trip to scout the area before you buy. There are even relocation services that can help plan your journey.
- 4. Pick a moving company that specializes in relocation services
If you choose to hire a professional moving company instead of doing the heavy lifting yourself, find one with experience in long-distance moves. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends obtaining estimates from at least three movers to compare costs and services. You can then check with the Better Business Bureau for reviews and ratings on the moving companies.
- 5. Take steps to transfer your residence
Paperwork is unavoidable when making your plan to relocate to another state. First, update your accounts’ billing addresses, including your auto insurance carrier, bank, and insurance. Then set up mail forwarding with the USPS. Once you have a moving date, you’ll need to set up your new utilities, and if you have kids, enroll them in their new school.
A checklist for relocating to another state
Here’s a handy list of tasks to tackle on moving day.
- Set aside your personal items and essentials like medicine, important documents and high-value items
- Get childcare or plan a playdate for your children, keep pets out of the way in a quiet area or board them
- Take photos of the current condition of your home and belongings
- If you’re working with movers, walk through your home as they inventory your belongings
- Double-check that the moving truck is heading to your new address and that the driver has your contact information
- Once the final box is loaded, do one last walk through to make sure nothing is overlooked
- Clean and lock up
- Gather and label garage door openers, spare keys and any other keys or remotes for the new owner
- Deliver your house keys to your real estate agent or where your purchase contract specifies
- Start your journey to your new home!
7 relocation tips for getting settled into your new home
With the move behind you, you can now take time to explore your new neighborhood, meet your neighbors and get organized. It won’t be long before your new house feels like home.
- 1. Check your utilities
Before the move, you contacted your water, gas, electricity and internet providers to schedule when your utilities would be on at your new address. Now is the time to check them to make sure they’re all running properly.
- 2. Secure your home
You never know who might have a spare key to your new home. Hire a locksmith to rekey your locks or install new ones. Don’t forget to change the codes on any doors with keypads.
- 3. Inspect your belongings
As you’re unpacking, check the condition of your belongings and make sure nothing is missing. Then document any damages in case you need to file a claim.
- 4. Establish residency
When moving to a new state, establishing residency is one of the most critical steps to take. Moving.com explains why your state of legal residence matters. “Without it, your ability to pay property and state taxes, vote, drive, pay in-state college tuition fees, attend a public school, and so on may be hindered. And don’t forget, there could be penalties coming from the IRS and other government organizations for having dual residency.”
- 5. Go exploring
The best way to settle into a new neighborhood and town is to get to know it. Go for long walks or bike rides to local restaurants, shopping centers and parks. Pretend you’re a tourist and hit the popular attractions and museums.
- 6. Introduce yourself
Before you unpack boxes, spend a few minutes meeting your neighbors. Then, set a date to host a housewarming party. Mingling with your new neighbors and coworkers is a great way to get to know them and put down more permanent roots. As a bonus, it will give you an incentive to finish unpacking.
- 7. Review your home inspection report
A home inspection report can be a handy checklist of improvements for your home. Are there repairs and maintenance tasks that weren’t addressed as part of your home sale? Prioritize the ones that will save you money in the long run, such as insulating your windows to improve your home’s energy efficiency. The Balance recommends putting off major remodels until after you’ve lived in the home a while. Day-to-day experience in a home can inform your renovation plans.
Taking the time to learn how to relocate to another state is well worth your time, and so is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. For a smooth move, connect with a loan officer to start the mortgage pre-approval process today.
The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.