Three years ago, I moved from Kansas City to Myrtle Beach. Now I’m getting ready to move from Myrtle Beach to Florida. Moving is never easy, but moving to another state can be particularly tricky. Here are some of the things I learned that can help make your out-of-state move a bit easier (and also a bit cheaper):
1. Try before you buy. Unless you’re moving to a city with which you are extremely familiar, it’s a good idea to rent a place to live before you buy. Renting for a few months will give you an opportunity to decide in what area of the city you want to live long term (or if you even want to live in that city). A furnished apartment might cost you a little more, but it can also save you money on moving costs. For example, if you’re not able to fit your entire household into a short-term rental, you’ll need a storage facility. So the movers will have to stop twice (once at the storage facility and once at the apartment) to move you in and out of an unfurnished apartment. Those extra stops will add to your moving costs.
2. Hire a reputable moving company. When hiring a moving company, make sure you hire a moving company, not a moving broker. Hiring the wrong mover can end up costing you a fortune in hidden costs and in property damage. Look for national moving companies (e.g., Atlas Van Lines, Mayflower) that have offices in your area (you can also ask your real estate agent for recommendations). Have two or three companies send representatives to your house to give you an estimate. Do not hire anyone who gives you an estimate over the phone or asks for money up front. For more information about moving companies, read Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.
3. Ask questions. Some things you will want to know about your new city before you move might include what the job market is like, the cost of living (housing, groceries, utilities, healthcare, transportation), how much taxes will cost you, what the climate is like, if there is public transportation available, how high the crime rate is, and what types of entertainment are available. Click here for a cost-of-living calculator. If you know someone who lives in the city where you’re planning to move, ask them for information. You can also get answers on the city’s website, from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and in the local newspaper.
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