Getting ready for a move is a stressful enough situation. Moving out of state brings with it extra issues you need to deal with. Things can start to get complicated when you're making a long-distance move, so here is a moving checklist to help you prepare:
You'll need to be careful when choosing the right moving company to use. It's an expensive cost and one which you don't want to get wrong if you want your move to be as stress-free as possible. Doing your due diligence when hiring a moving company is critical. Costs and fees can vary tremendously from one company to the next, especially during the peak moving seasons. It's prudent to check online feedback from previous customers to make sure you get the service you expect.
Your agent should also be a valuable resource in finding a reputable moving company. It's advisable to put together a comparison checklist of all the moving companies you're considering. Look over the pros and cons of each firm carefully. When factoring the costs of your move, don't forget, you may want to tip the movers as long as they do an exceptional job. The moving tip is another fee that is often overlooked.
Alternatives to Hiring a Moving Company
If the costs of hiring professional movers are above your budget, there are a few other options. You can hire a truck and move yourself. If you go to a national company like U-Haul or Enterprise, you will be able to return the vehicle to their local premises, and they should be able to offer some additional services if you need them.
You can also choose to use the services of a freight moving company. They'll provide you with a trailer or container, which you fill with your possessions, to be collected and moved by them.
Another option is moving containers which you often rent by the month. This allows you to take more time to prepare your move, and they offer different sizes to accommodate your furniture. PODS is one of the most recognizable in the self-storage industry, but there are others worth researching as well.
You should give some thought to the order in which you pack your things. Stuff that you aren't likely to need should be boxed up first, with more essential stuff left until later. Set aside items that you'll need on the day of the move and shortly after. These should go in a moving bag, which will stay with you.
Getting to Know the Area
One of the essential parts of moving out of state is becoming familiar with the area. Make sure that you take a trip to your new state before the move to get to know the place. Visiting the various areas should give you a better feel and understanding of what will become your new home. This will give you a better chance of finding a home that you're going to be happy living in.
It'll be essential to scout the area for the type of services you absolutely need nearby, including restaurants, shopping and other conveniences, such as a Dunkin' or Starbucks. Some people take things for granted and then realize they should've known that their favorite things are not as close as they want them to be.
It may be better to rent initially when moving to a new area. If you intend to live in the state for a long time, you don't want to pick the wrong location that'll lead to another move soon afterwards. If you don't already know the area, you could find it preferable to only make a choice of location when you have more knowledge of the state.
Make sure you find an experienced buyer's real estate agent who will be able to guide you through the search process once you have narrowed down the area. Since the procedures might be a little different than you are used to, and you will be at a distance, they should keep you informed of the situation and the progress of your home purchase.
If you're looking in an area that is a seller's market, be prepared to make an offer immediately. In some areas of the country, it's not uncommon for sellers to get multiple bids on their property. Consult with your agent about how quickly you need to move on something you like, as well as a strategy for locking down the home.
Additionally, if you have children, doing some research into the schools in the area is going to be important. Find out the best schools and limit your home search to the neighborhoods in those districts. Get a handle of what people think of the school system by speaking with your agent. They should have a firm understanding of what school districts are considered top-notch.
Plan Your Finances
Moving to another state is more expensive than a move nearer to your current home. Professional movers aren't going to be cheap, depending on the distance your furniture has to be moved. Even when you rent a truck, the costs are going to be high. The average cost for a professional mover is likely going to be over $4,000. One of the most common and sometimes significant moving mistakes is going over budget on expected costs. Do your best not to make one of these costly blunders.
Notifying People of Your Move
You need to remember to let people know that you are moving. Utility companies need to be informed as well, and you should not forget to forward your mail. Utilities like electricity, water, internet and other companies should be able to change your address on their website, in most cases. The USPS can also help with your change of address online.
Here is a helpful list of all the people you should notify of your address change. This notification checklist will come in handy when things get hectic and you can't remember who has to be told.
Also, if you're moving to a new state permanently, you will need to register as a resident for taxation. They should offer information about how to do this on your new state's government website. It's also smart to visit the local town hall to make sure they have your name and address correct. One of the most vital documents you don't want to miss getting is the real estate tax bill.
Make Your Driver's License a Priority
It's normally a legal requirement to register for a new driver's license soon after you move to a new state. This can normally be done online instead of the dreaded trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Their website should let you know the state's requirements to transfer your license. If you have a pet, don't forget to register them, if required, as well.
Moving to a new state can be daunting, but with some planning, it should go smoother than you think. Follow these moving tips, and you will be better prepared for the move to go in a manner you expect, with fewer headaches!
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.