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You’ve got a dream job offer, but it’s two states away. Or maybe it’s time to take the “long-distance” out of that long-distance relationship. Congratulations! Whatever the reason, you’ve got to move—and it’s not a local move. We’re talking about moving far away—potentially cross-country. That’s a long way, and you’ve got a lot of stuff. So what do you do?
You need a plan, baby!
We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about moving to another state.
How to Move to Another State
Should you hire a moving company or should you pack up a U-Haul and do it yourself? What about those pod things that get dropped off in your driveway and then picked up once you’ve loaded them? There are a number of reasons why you might choose to do one or the other, including costs and who’s paying for it. (We’ll talk budgeting later.) Here are some of the ways to move:
This is the most expensive option for your long-distance move. Hiring a company to move a three-bedroom house from San Francisco to New York can cost up to $10,000.1 That’s a lot of money! To determine the cost, someone from the moving company usually comes to your house to give you an estimate. They’ll try to guess the weight of your stuff and calculate the total cost to move it. Some companies also offer packing and cleaning services, which adds to the price.
Find expert agents to help you buy your home.
You really want to do your research before you choose a moving company. With some sketchy companies, it’s not unheard of for a guy to come to your house and give you an estimate of, say, $2,500. Then, on moving day, a bunch of guys who only seem to speak another language show up and tell you it actually costs $5,000.
Do your homework, go with a reputable company, and you’ll be fine.
These are the big pods a company drops off at your place, and you load it up with all of your stuff. Once it’s loaded, they come and pick up the box, put it on a truck, and then drop it off at your new address. These are full-service companies, and their fees can run about $4,500 for a long-distance move.2
The same as with a moving company, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about these container companies before you trust them will all your stuff. Here are some questions you should ask them:
Is the quote binding? This will help prevent the scenario with the movers we mentioned above. Try to get a “not to exceed” quote so there are no surprises come moving day.
How much is insurance? Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance typically provides some coverage for your stuff while it’s in transit to your new home or a storage facility. It may cover theft, but it usually doesn’t cover damage done to your stuff because of rough handling by movers during packing or shipping.3 Talk to your insurance pro to make sure you have the right coverage for your needs.
Will your stuff stay on one truck? The more your things get moved around, the more likely they’ll end up getting broken or lost. Try to find out if the company plans to transfer your container to another truck during transit.
What’s the ETA? How long will it take for your stuff to get to your new digs? Can you track the progress of the shipment?
Also, if you hire a company to help you with your move, give them a tip—around 10–20% is a good guideline. It’s hard work, so show your appreciation for a job well-done.
The least expensive moving option is to rent a truck and load it yourself (or with a little help from your friends) and drive it to your new house in your new state. But that doesn’t mean it’s cheap: Long-range DIY moves can cost upwards of $2,000!4
Some of the things that determine the costs are:
How big of a truck you’ll need
How far you’re moving
How many days you’ll need the truck (it can take several days to drive across the country)
How much gas you’ll need to buy
How much you’ll spend on lodging during your trip
Keep in mind that moving on your own can get complicated if you don’t have anyone to drive your car (or cars) for you. You can tow one of them behind your truck—but some people aren’t comfortable driving a big truck, let alone one with a car hitched to the back. You can pay to ship your car, but be sure to budget for it. That will boost your moving costs by $700 to $1,200 or more!5
Make a Moving Budget . . . and a Plan!
Okay, did we mention that moving out of state is expensive? The first thing you need to do is sit down with your estimate and make a budget. If you’re moving to another state for a job, you can often negotiate to have your company pay for some or all of your move. Find out how much your company’s relocation package will cover and how they structure it. Some are comprehensive and include advance trips to your new city to look for a home or apartment and help with selling your current home. Here are some other things you need to consider before moving:
Selling your home or breaking your lease: If you currently own a home or rent an apartment, you’ll need to decide what you want to do. Sell the house? If you rent, do you have time left on your lease? What will it cost to break it?
Finding a new place to live: Where are you going to live in your new town? Are you planning to buy a house right away? Or, do you need to rent for a while? It may be a good idea to rent for the first six months to a year. You don’t want to find out that you’re miserable in your new location only to be stuck with a house you can’t sell. If you’re getting a mortgage and need help on the 15-year fixed-rate one we recommend, talk to our friends at Churchill Mortgage.
Make a timeline for moving: Get on top of this right away. If you’re moving for a job, the start date will be a natural deadline for moving. Start packing! This is also a great time to get rid of things you don’t use. The less stuff you have to put in a truck or moving container, the better. Save space and money!
Know your tax liabilities: While the Tax Reform Bill of 2018 eliminated the tax deduction for moving, you need to be aware of tax filing requirements in your old state and your new one. Depending on where you move, you may be required to file a partial-year income tax return. Talk to a tax expert to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Ready to Move to Another State?
There’s no way around it: Moving is stressful. The last thing you need is to worry about selling your house and finding a new one. Our real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are here to help. It’s invaluable to have someone in your corner who really knows the area you’re moving to because they live there. They have the heart of a teacher and will make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Find your real estate pro today!