Whether it’s work-related, a desire to be closer to family, or the need to establish a home of your own, picking up and moving to a new state can be a daunting prospect. For many, it might be hard to even know where to begin.
Luckily, this isn’t exactly a new problem. Numerous experts have offered their opinions on how to properly execute a long-distance move, and below you’ll find four of the most important things you should keep in mind.
Doing your research
The first thing that any consumer should do before planning a move is research all the housing and logistical factors associated with living in the new area. For example, knowing the cost of living, housing costs, and any nearby career opportunities will play a huge factor in whether the move is viable. Depending on your financial situation, you may also need to know whether renting or owning a home is a better option.
If possible, consumers should always visit the new town, city, or neighborhood they’re looking to move into. Small details that you may have overlooked may become abundantly clear once you’re in the actual home setting.
For those who aren’t moving for work, it’s also extremely important to secure a job before moving. This will ensure that you have a source of income and won’t find yourself trapped in new accommodations that you can no longer afford.
Unless you plan on hauling every single one of your possessions to your new home yourself, you’ll probably need to work with a moving company. However, not all companies are created equal.
It’s always a good idea to contact multiple moving companies to get estimates for how much your move will ultimately cost. Additionally, you will want to request all move related paperwork and check out independent reviews of the companies to make sure their business practices are up to par. Be sure to never sign any unfinished paperwork to avoid falling victim to blatant overcharges or dubious dealings.
It’s also a great idea to make a detailed home inventory list of all your belongings so that you know exactly what should come off the truck when you get to your new home.
You can check out ConsumerAffairs’ buyer’s guide for user reviews and information on the top moving companies currently on the market.
Setting a moving budget
There are many hidden costs to moving that consumers might not realize when they first arrive at the idea, so creating a moving budget is essential to staying on top of expenses. Here are some costs you should keep in mind so you don't run out of money mid-move:
- The cost of relocating – When you finally decide on which movers you’ll be working with, you’ll need to know how much they’re charging for their services. The smart thing to do is to ask for a written in-house estimation. If possible, opt for a binding estimate instead of a non-binding one to ensure that extra charges won’t appear later.
- How much and how far you’re moving – The total amount of money you’ll end up having to shell out is largely based on how far away you need to move and how heavy the load will be. Bigger loads that need to be moved farther away will cost more. Be careful to check all estimates of how far the move will be with a second source to safeguard against being overcharged.
- Insurance costs – When you finally agree and sign the moving company's terms and conditions, you will usually be given some sort of insurance option that partly covers the value of your belongings in the event of an accident. If you want to sign up for additional coverage, then be sure to include it in your moving budget.
- Services, charges, and fees – Always strive to get as detailed information as possible from your moving company about any extra fees you may incur on your move. Some of these could include charges for carrying items up flights of stairs, carry fees if the truck must park far from its final destination, or fees for handling bulky or large items.
For those who choose not to use a moving company, there are still plenty of costs to keep in mind for your moving budget. These include truck rentals, moving equipment, money for tolls and bridges, packing materials, and any costs for food or lodging that you make on your trip. Even lost time from work should be factored into the final tally, as well as items you'll need to shop for when you arrive like groceries or home essentials.
Settling in and post-move tasks
So, you finally arrived and unpacked that mountain of boxes. You should be all set now, right? Not quite. Transporting your belongings is really only part of the process when it comes to moving across state lines. Now that you’re settling in, you’ll have to start filling out necessary paperwork and getting your life in order.
Some post-move tasks that you can look forward to include:
- Getting a job (if you haven’t done so already);
- Looking for new health care providers for you and your family;
- Registering your car with the new-state DMV;
- Changing your postal address; and
- Registering your child at their new school.
For homeowners, buy the right home alarm system and ensure your home warranty is up to date. And on top of all that, you’ll also want to meet your new neighbors and start acclimating yourself and your family to the new surroundings. Fortunately, these steps can be taken at your own pace.