Happy family moving boxes out of moving truck into new home in another state after relocating.

How To Relocate To Another State: A Step-By-Step Guide

Victoria Araj7-minute read

August 22, 2022

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Moving to a new home can be both an exciting and a complicated process – especially if you’re relocating to another state. Several factors are worth considering in preparation for your move, from updating personal information to budgeting for moving expenses. Relocating to a new state can add even more tasks to your moving checklist.

Let’s walk through everything you’ll need to do before relocating to another state. 

How To Move To A New State: Step By Step

Preparation is key for a successful out-of-state move. Follow these steps to ensure you’re ready for moving day. 

Step 1: Establish A Moving Timeline

The first step toward relocating to another state is determining your moving timeline. Essentially, you’ll want to figure out how many weeks or months you have to prepare for the move. Establishing a general timeline also means deciding on your moving date. Setting a moving date early on in the process helps ensure you have enough time to get everything ready before the move.

Your timeline can depend greatly on the circumstances surrounding your out-of-state move. For example:

  • Are you relocating for work and need to find a new apartment or house?
  • Did you buy a house and do you now need to find a new job?
  • Do you need to sell your property while also preparing to move to a new state?
  • Do you need to buy and sell a house at the same time?

Your specific situation plays a role in how much time you’ll need to move from your current home. 

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Step 2: Research Your New Surrounding Area

Relocating to another state means you’re adjusting to a new way of life, so it’s important to learn more about the area you’ll be living in. When researching your new city or town, it can be helpful to check out:

  • Your neighborhood and neighboring townships or communities
  • Restaurants, shopping centers, parks, recreational facilities and other establishments
  • Local school districts
  • Public transportation options and any high- or low-traffic areas
  • The topography of the area

It’s also a good idea to consider the average cost of living in your new area. Cost of living calculators take into account the average costs of housing, food, health care, transportation, taxes and other factors to determine how much money you’ll need to make to maintain your standard of living.

Researching the area’s cost of living can help you find an affordable property. If you’re relocating for a job opportunity, make sure your new salary is adjusted accordingly.

Buying a house out of state can feel daunting, but if you take it step by step, work with an experienced agent and research your area thoroughly, you should find that the process won’t differ too much from buying within your current area.

Note that wherever you’re going to be house hunting, it’s a good idea to get approved for a loan as soon as possible. This will give any offers you make more appeal, and will take one big item off your to-do list right away. 

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Along with researching online, you may want to visit the area in person before making the move. Getting a feel for your new area can help you find homes more easily and ease some anxieties when your official moving day arrives. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to check out local establishments and meet new people or neighbors so you have an idea of what to expect when it comes time to move.

Step 3: Budget For Moving Expenses

Moving can be an expensive process, so establishing and sticking to a budget can help keep you on track financially. Plus, it can help you determine what to pay for and when to go the DIY route. If you’re relocating for a job, see if your new employer offers relocation assistance.

A few factors worth considering before setting a moving budget include:

  • How far away you’re moving and whether you’re looking to fly, drive or use another form of transportation
  • How many people or pets you’re moving with and whether you’ll have to board your pets
  • Whether you’re looking to hire professional movers or pack and move everything yourself
  • Whether you’ll need temporary storage for furniture and other household items

Once you’ve determined the logistics of your move, it’s time to start budgeting. Up next, we’ll  take a closer look at average moving expenses to see how much it can cost you to move out of state, and we’ll help you determine which moving method is best for your situation.

Moving Company Costs

Relocating to a new state can be a difficult process without help from professional movers. Hiring a moving company may be a more expensive option, but it can also create a more streamlined process – and help ensure all your belongings make it from Point A to Point B.

If you’re looking to hire professionals to help with your move, you’ll have to decide what services are necessary. Most full-service moving companies offer both local and long-distance moving plus packing services, or they provide boxes and packing supplies to you.

According to https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/storage-and-organization/long-distance-move/ you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 – $10,000+ for a 4 – 6 bedroom home. This price range includes complete services, like packing and transportation, for a move that’s over 100 miles.

Of course, you can always choose to personally package your furniture and belongings, saving some money on moving costs. Keep in mind that when hiring movers, you’ll want to make sure they provide out-of-state moving services. The farther away you move, the more expensive it can be to hire a mover.

Truck Rental Costs

Renting a moving truck or portable container is also an option for your out-of-state move. Truck rental is a less expensive moving option, but that means you’re responsible for packing and moving all your belongings. Renting a truck generally costs anywhere from $50 – $2,000+ for a long-distance move.

A portable container or POD is another cost-effective alternative to hiring professional movers. The container company typically drops the container off at your current residence, where you’ll pack the container with your furniture and belongings. On moving day, the company picks up the container and transports it to your new house.

Depending on the size of the portable container and the distance it’s traveling, you can expect to pay in the $700 – $5,000+ ballpark for the move.

DIY Moving Costs

Packing and moving everything yourself is definitely the most cost-effective way to approach your long-distance move. It’s also the most labor-intensive option, so it’s best to be as prepared and organized as possible.

DIY moving costs vary, but expenses to keep in mind include packaging supplies – like boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, tape and scissors –  plus gas and the cost of staying in hotels and buying meals if you’re traveling across the country.

To help relieve the pressure of moving on your own, you can always recruit friends and family members to help with packing or transporting your items to your new residence.

Step 4: Start Packing

Once you’ve budgeted for moving expenses, it’s time to start packing. Set a general timeline for packing so you know how much time you have before moving day arrives. Start with home decor, out-of-season clothes, books and other items you won’t need or use until you’ve moved into your new residence.

Next, determine any valuable items you’ll need to carefully wrap and pack. Consider the best methods for packing items like glassware, dishes, expensive artwork, vintage home decor and other valuables. You may need specialty packing boxes to ensure these items stay secure during the move.

While packing, also consider what you can sell, donate or otherwise get rid of. Moving is the perfect opportunity to clean out those boxes that have been sitting in the attic or basement.

As moving day draws nearer, begin packing personal items or belongings you’ll take with you as you move. Consider packing any irreplaceable items, like family heirlooms or special photographs, and moving them with you. It’s better to be cautious than risk these items getting lost or damaged during the move. 

Step 5: Organize And Update Personal Information

Before moving to a new state, be sure to cancel any existing memberships or subscriptions and verify that all your personal information is updated with your new home address. Some last-minute tasks to keep in mind include:

  • Officially changing your address and forwarding mail
  • Getting a new driver’s license or state ID
  • Turning off utilities at your current residence, including gas, electric, internet and trash services
  • Notifying your bank, credit card companies, insurance providers and doctors of your move
  • Canceling memberships, like a gym or club membership
  • Changing vehicle registration to your new home address
  • Changing voting registration

Step 6: Make Final Preparations Before The Move

Moving day is just around the corner, so it’s time to make any final preparations before you move out of your current residence. These include:

  • Running last-minute errands, like refilling prescriptions or taking your car for a tune-up
  • Making sure all electronic devices are fully charged for the long journey ahead
  • Unplugging any appliances that are staying with the home
  • Defrosting the refrigerator and freezer
  • Clearing out any food or perishable items
  • Organizing the placement of boxes and furniture so it’s easier for movers
  • Cleaning the house

Step 7: Move Out Of Your House

Moving day has officially arrived, but a few final to-dos remain before you can say goodbye to your current home. If you hired professional movers, make sure you check their IDs and sign any necessary paperwork when they arrive. If you’re moving everything on your own or with help from friends, create a method to efficiently get everything out of your house (for example, starting with furniture or heavier boxes).

Once the house is empty, do any last-minute cleaning and a final walkthrough. You don’t want to leave anything behind once you’ve relocated to another state. It may also be helpful to take pictures of your residence to document the appearance, just to prevent any issues from arising when the new residents move in.

All that’s left to do is to ensure all doors and windows are shut, and then lock up the house. You may have to hand your keys over to a real estate agent, the new owners or your landlord before leaving.    

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Home

The last step of your moving journey is to move into your new home and enjoy a fresh start in your new city. Relocating to another state takes a lot of work, but it’s usually worth it in the end. Now it’s time to unpack and make this new home your own.

The Bottom Line

Relocating to another state can be an intimidating process, but a few easy steps, a clear timeline and budget and you’ll be putting down roots in no time.

Are you thinking about an out-of-state move? Shop for a mortgage with help from our team of Home Loan Experts to find the right home loan for you.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.