7 Tips for Moving to Another State
Moving is no easy task, regardless of distance, but crossing state lines can be particularly challenging. If you’ve decided to make a new state home, make the transition less stressful by following these seven tips.
Address Change = Tax Change
Okay, first things first, as soon as you know your new address, let the USPS know. While you’re at it, inform utility companies, you bank and credit card companies and anyone else that communicates with you via snail mail.
Changing address has critical ramifications because it establishes legal domicile (permanent residency) in your new state and therefore will prevent your old state from thinking you lived there when you didn’t. Filing taxes when you move to a new state may sound complicated, but it’s really quite simple, especially if you establish residency right away. Check out this great article from Wallace Plese + Dreyer for the full details.
Throw a Big Ol’ Going Away Party
While organizing a party may be the last thing you want to spend energy or money on in the midst of moving stress, it is the best way to bid farewell and collectively inform folks about where you’re going. Too often, you think you’ll have time to say adieu to everyone you care about, but often time runs out.
Gather your friends, colleagues and neighbors at your empty house, a local brewery or a park—whatever is easiest and affordable for you. If you haven’t already sold or donated all of your unwanted things, have a table of giveaways for party goers. Have a Recommendations Bowl where people can answer a list of questions about the place you’re moving to: What restaurants should I check out? Best advice for moving to a new city? Will you come and visit me?
Before people leave, give each of them a stamped envelope and card with your new address. They can enter your address in their contacts and you’ll get some snail mail!
Rely on Networks, Not the Internet
Nearly every city wants more residents, so they, along with local government and non-profit organizations, will be posting all the reasons why you should move to their city. While this can be helpful information, it can also be very biased.
Instead of basing your decision entirely on the city’s marketing, rely more heavily on your own network. Reach out to your personal connections on Facebook and professional ones on LinkedIn. Start spreading your idea of where you might move to your networks and chances are high that they’ll connect you to someone who can give you the straight skinny. Internet searches give you data and strangers’ opinions of cities, but trusted connections can share stories that will give you a more sound opinion. Networks can also be your best source for finding the best moving company, Realtor and dentist in your new city.
Get All of Your Licenses in Order
When you move, there are many things you need to think about beyond what you’re packing and where you’ll be living, especially when it comes to licensing. Your Driver’s License and registration will need to be updated shortly after you move. Check out this list from The Zebra to figure our where you can change both, what documentation is needed, and by when the changes need to be made.This differs from state to state and could be as short as 10 days, so be sure you’re in the know.
Also, inform your auto insurance company of the move. Your rates may change and you’ll need proof of insurance to get the new registration for your car.
Motorcyclists will also have to transfer their license and the rules/timelines will vary by state, so do your research with the local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Are you a pet owner? If so, you need to be sure that you’re following the certification requirements for moving your pet to a new state.
If your job requires certification or licensure, investigate what it takes to transfer to a new state.
And, if you hire movers, be sure that they can legally cart your belongings to a different state by checking if they’re registered with the US Department of Transportation. It’s a lot to figure out, but trust us, it’ll save you hassle down the road if you take time to figure it all out early.
Page Light Studios/Shutterstock
Visit Before You Move
You can get to know what your new city looks like via Google Street View and you can get to know school districts via GreatSchools or SchoolDigger.com, but you can’t get to know the feel of a new place unless you go there. If you’re financially able, plan to spend at least a long weekend in your new neighborhood. Walk around during the day and at night to get a first-hand feel for the local vibe. Notice the difference between a weekday and a weekend. Drive around other neighborhoods. Drop in to a yoga class and check out local coffee shops. Chat with local residents you meet along the way to get their insight on the city—a barista, cashier or restaurant patron may offer you bits of advice you can’t find anywhere online. However, if time and budget don’t allow for an in-person visit, ask your social media and LinkedIn connections for recommendations. Any insider knowledge is better than collecting assumptions online.
Negotiate Relocation Assistance with Your Company
If you’re moving because of a job relocation or change, some employers will help pay for the move. No matter what, prepare to negotiate for what you need because there typically isn’t a one-size-fits-all relocation package. Before you bring up what you need and want with HR or your boss, find out what the company typically offers by asking colleagues and your HR department. Then make a list of what you would like help with. Packing? Unpacking? Rental Assistance? Spouse employment services? When you make your official request, make it in writing and keep it simple and clear.
In addition, keep in mind that if you cover the cost of moving for a job, it’s tax-deductible, whereas if the company covers the moving costs, it’s not.
Make New Connections Early
Let’s be honest, moving is hard. You’re uprooting your life—moving is often referred to as one of the top 10 most stressful life events—and it’s not just the stress of planning and paying for a move, it’s that you’re likely moving to a place where you know fewer people and may feel a little lonely. The best way to cope with this is to start making connections right away. Some recent Harvard research found that those who “survive stress the best are the ones who actually increase their social investments in the middle of stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do.” So, if you don’t have any friends in the area, ask your network i(n person and on social media) for connections, sign up for a gym or fitness studio before you move, join a meetup group on Meetup.com, or get on a volunteer list at a local non-profit. Give yourself a goal to meet at least one person each week for the first month after your move because the more you get to know people, the more you’ll feel right at home yourself.