This moving checklist will make crossing state lines a breeze.
Moving is always annoying but much easier when you’re moving just a few blocks away. But moving out of state? That’s a whole different ballgame. There are many details and things to check off your list before hopping on a plane to your new city.
It can get overwhelming quickly, from professional movers and having a job lined up to making new friends and leaving family members behind.
These 25 must-follow tips for moving out of state will help with the heavy lifting that comes with moving out of state.
What to consider before moving to another state?
Moving out of state is scary, but if you’re armed with a good checklist, everything can seem a little more approachable. Sure, there are a lot of details to take care of before moving, but the most important thing you should focus on is finding the right city for you.
1. Finding your next city
Make a shortlist of your dream cities and book a long weekend at each, if possible. Forgo a hotel room in favor of living like a local and research neighborhoods before you go. Book an Airbnb listing in the one that fits your lifestyle the most.
Gather intel from friends, make a list of your favorite things to do (think movie theaters, preferred stores, etc.) and check your social network to see if you know anyone in the area. Do groceries and take public transportation to get a true feel of your potential everyday life.
2. Visit a few places before deciding on your new state
After a few visits to your top 3 cities out of state, think about what’s important to you. Do you want to ditch your car in favor of public transportation? How’s the dining scene in these cities? Is the job market in your career path of choice thriving there? How are the local schools? Are you moving alone, or are you moving in with your partner? Can you afford to live in this prospective city with your current salary?
This is when pro/con lists come in handy. Be sure to sit down and think it through before deciding on your new state.
3. Compare the cost of living before moving out of state
When picking a new city to live in, you have to consider more than moving expenses. Whether you’re relocating for a new job or moving while keeping your current one, you need to consider the new cost of living expenses. Is rent more expensive in the new city? Do you have nature or a local park nearby? What about groceries and transportation?
The cost of living in Washington, D.C., versus Charlotte, NC, is very different, for example. In Florida, the state has no income tax. Make sure that wherever you’re relocating to, you compare both your budget and current salary to the new city’s cost of living differences so you can adjust accordingly and save money where you can.
4. Set a moving budget
So, you’ve picked your new city. Now, it’s time to start thinking about your moving budget. You’ll need to decide whether you’ll hire professional movers and a long-distance moving company to handle your move. Or, if you’ll just get your friends to help you load a moving truck, and you’ll unload it on your own once you arrive at your new address.
You’ll also need to consider deposits for your new apartment, plane tickets, security deposits for utility companies, any new food and house items you’ll need and possibly a storage unit if you have to stay in temporary housing for a bit.
A spreadsheet outlining every money detail will help keep you within budget.
5. Find an apartment in your new city
Pick your dream neighborhood and start researching apartments. It’s always good to secure housing before moving out of state. Hunting long-distance for an apartment is challenging, so seeing it in person or sending a friend will make the easiest move.
Read reviews, set up tours for various apartments and always confirm that an apartment is legitimate before wiring any money. Ask for move-in specials and current amenities like an in-unit washer and dryer or stainless appliances.
Bring a blank check and any required documents for the application so you can apply on the spot if you love it. This may include:
- State-ID or driver’s license
- Proof of income (latest paystub)
- At least one reference from a previous landlord
- Employment details
- Co-signer information, if needed
- Unfrozen credit for the landlord to run it for application
Check with your job to see if they reimburse employees for relocation expenses or have any moving services available. Also, check your lease terms and let your landlord know with enough time that you’re leaving your current apartment soon. Make sure to schedule a walkthrough date to get your security deposit back.
6. Update your work about your move
In this pandemic era, working remotely is the new normal. If your job allows you to work remotely and you’re staying, for now, update HR with your new address. This will help your company remain updated with payroll and update your healthcare information.
Follow up with them to make sure they have all they need before your move date. Inquire if, due to your relocation, you now have access to any remote working stipend.
7. Find a new job, if needed
Maybe you’re ready for a whole new life? A new state, new job. Start applying to new jobs as soon as you can since landlords in a new city may require a certain income before renting you a place.
Head to job boards online for opportunities in your chosen city and start sharing that you’re looking for a new opportunity with your network. If you can, schedule upcoming job interviews via Zoom or by phone before you move.
8. Go over your belongings and make donation piles
Things are getting real, and it’s time to see how much stuff you really have. You can start calculating how many boxes you need or if you’re hiring movers or just a moving truck.
Go over your furniture, clothes and even kitchen utensils and start donating and selling piles. Start listing items on social media and put every cent you make toward moving costs.
Leave only what you need in the last 30 days, including medical records and important documents like birth certificates and what’s making a move out of state in the apartment. Everything else needs to go to make sure that you only pay the moving company precisely for what you want to keep.
9. Pick a move-in date and start packing
The moving out of state timeline starts getting faster once you pick an apartment and your job situation is all settled. Check your lease and choose a move date. Pick up boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap, and start streamlining all your belongings.
Spend your weekends patching up holes in your current apartment, repainting any walls, confirming your move-in date with your new landlord and picking up your keys.
10. Book the moving company
After purging your belongings, you’ll have a better idea of the number of boxes and furniture you need to hire movers for. Research moving companies that specialize in out-of-state moves. This is an excellent time to ask for recommendations on social media for moving companies.
Get a few quotes to compare them, confirm that there are no add-ons or surprise charges with the quote, how they go about hiring professionals and vetting them and, of course, read reviews.
Once you pick a reputable moving company, confirm the delivery address of your new house, ask about day-of protocol so you’re ready for the movers and ask for an estimate of when they will deliver your belongings. Some moving companies allow you to track your belongings for peace of mind.
11. Schedule a going away party
Send an invite to all of your friends and family before you move out of state. If you can, ask a close friend to take on planning details for the party so you can focus on your long-distance move. Book a venue or go down to your favorite restaurant (that you will miss very much!) and have a casual night with everyone you know.
12. Make travel arrangements
Now that you have a date for moving out of state, you have to decide how to get there. If you hire movers, you have the choice of hopping on a plane or driving there.
This is the time to book your plane ticket if that’s the best choice. Make sure that you plan which bags you’re taking with you and that they all meet the weight requirements. Have a small pet? Don’t forget to buy them a ticket, too.
If you’re driving, make sure to budget for gas and have your route planned out. Making long-distance moves via car is more exhausting, but you do get to bring a few more of your things with you, see new things on the way and go at your own pace. Be sure to pack a first aid kit for the road, just in case.
This is a good option if you have temporary housing and will have stuff in a storage unit for a while at first.
13. Arrange cleaners at your old place
Schedule cleaners for the day after the movers come by and double-check that you covered every nail hole, there are no stains on the carpet and you packed up all of your things.
Once the cleaners leave the place sparkling clean, let your landlord know the apartment is ready for a walkthrough. Return the keys and finalize how you’ll receive your security deposit before you head out of state.
14. Clean and sell your car
If you chose a place with stellar public transportation, you’re probably thinking of leaving your car behind. You don’t have to sell it until a week before you move to make sure that you get all of your errands done.
Start the process early by looking at online vendors like Carmax, Carvana and Blue Book to see how much you’ll get for your car. Get it clean and in tip-top shape, so it sells for the maximum amount possible. Schedule a pick-up at your apartment for convenience and sell it to the best offer.
15. Time to move
Almost there! You’ve prepared, and the moment is here. It’s time to move. You’re more prepared than most for your move out of state. You’ve said your goodbyes, you’re checked into your flight and the movers have your couch.
16. Update your pet’s microchip and registration
Before getting too settled into your new place, update your pet’s microchip and registration in the new state. If they were to go missing, they would have an old address and make it hard to find you. Check if this new place has additional requirements beyond rabies shot and registration with the county.
It’s also an excellent time to find a 24-hour vet that’s close by for any emergencies while you unpack in the short term.
17. Get a new driver’s license and registration
Most states have a 30-day grace period for new residents to update their driver’s license and vehicle registration. Along with your pet’s registration, add this one to the top of your to-do list once you land in your new apartment. Visit the local DMV to get a new license and registration for your car.
Check if you need specific documents like a birth certificate or social security card. If you can’t find either (and who can blame you mid-move), you can go to the local social security administration branch and ask for a new one.
18. Register to vote in your new state
Don’t forget about doing your part for your country. Switch your voter registration as soon as you have your new address to allow time to update. Check where your voting precinct is, so you’re ready for election day. You can easily switch your voter registration online or at your local library.
Start reading about issues in your new state and get familiar with your representatives. Now that you have a new home, you have new things to fight for and worry about, no matter your political leaning.
19. Connect your utilities
Once you sign your lease, cancel your utilities at your current place and start calling local utility companies to create accounts for electricity, gas and internet access in your new apartment. Depending on your internet provider, you can just transfer service.
Get ready to set up an account and pay deposit fees. You should start this process at least two weeks before your move since utility companies often move slowly.
Check with your landlord to see if your lease includes any utilities, like water or trash.
20. Reach out to friends for local connections
Making new friends is hard! But if you reach out to your network and social media to share your news about moving out of state, be sure to ask if they can connect you with any pals in your new state, either via email or group text.
Schedule friend dates for your first month after your move to get to know your new neighborhood.
21. Change your mailing address
About a week before you move out of state, begin forwarding your mail with the U.S. Postal Service. Get ahead of any lost mail by changing your address in your streaming accounts, Amazon.com account and any magazine subscriptions you already get.
You don’t want to have a random package go to your old apartment because you didn’t forward mail after moving out of state.
22. Transfer your gym membership
If you’re lucky, your gym will have various locations around the country, and you can just transfer your membership. Let your gym, meal planning service and anything else within your routine know that you’re moving out of state. Make sure to cancel and get confirmation of any services that don’t transfer to your new place.
23. Find new doctors in your area
Don’t let your moving out of state keep you from your medical and dental routine. Ask colleagues in your new place if they have any recommendations for dentists, general practitioners and any other doctor you may need.
Your health insurance may also have a helpful directory of in-network providers so you can start finding your favorites.
24. Update the bank of your new location
It’s important to update your financial institutions that you’re moving out of state and are now residents of your new state. This isn’t just your primary bank. You need to update every financial institution, including your financial advisor, accountant, any investments and those that hold any retirement accounts.
25. Get settled in your new state
There’s no greater feeling than the one of relief when you have unpacked every box in your new apartment. Start a good routine for the first month of exploring a new restaurant, coffee shop or neighborhood near you. Getting to know your new town and making friend dates will help you feel settled in no time.
Ready to move to another state?
The moving process is stressful, with unexpected expenses, finding the right moving company and launching yourself into a new life. This moving out of state checklist will make your relocation a lot easier.
The weeks ahead will be uncomfortable as you settle into your new job and new neighborhood after the long-distance move. But slowly, you’ll meet new friends and find yourself as a regular in the corner coffee shop.