15 Things to Do When Moving to a New State
Moving can be a stressful process. After the excitement of finding your new home, you need to wade through all of the logistics of packing up everything you own and safely bringing it to your new digs. When job opportunities, family, or a desire for a change of scenery lead to a move across state lines, there are a few extra steps to consider in the moving process. Use this handy list of things to do when moving to a new state to help keep your move on track.
Before Your Move
Preparation is essential to a smooth move. Before the big moving day arrives, take some time to:
- Research your new neighborhood. You probably know every detail of your new home, from the layout to the crown molding. And, you chose the new state and city for a reason, but it's worthwhile to spend some time getting to know your new neighborhood too. How will you get to and from work? What kind of restaurants will become your new quick and easy go-to? If you have kids or plans to start a family, how close is your home to a school?
- Plan the logistics. Sit down to determine your budget for moving. Is your employer helping to cover any relocation costs, or are you paying for everything? Keep in mind your budget when you hire a moving company and/or rent a truck. You’ll also need to decide whether you plan to drive your car to the new home or if you'll need to have it shipped.
- Request mail forwarding. While it seems we receive most of our important messages via email, snail mail still plays a role in our lives. Request mail forwarding in advance of your move to make sure you receive any important mail when you arrive at your new address.
- Transfer your utilities. You want the water and electricity to be on when you arrive at your new home. Schedule the transfer of utilities, including internet, gas, electricity, and water, to coincide with your arrival at your new house.
- Create a list of your belongings. As you organize your things, create a running inventory list. It can be easy to lose things in the rush to pack and leave. A list will help ensure you know what you have when you pack up and unload at your new house.
- Pack. Packing is the last step before you move. Pick up all of the supplies you need (e.g., boxes, tape, bubble wrap) ahead of time and get everything secured and organized before movers arrive.
During Your Move
Once the move begins, it's important to:
- Keep track of important documents. Consider packing important documents and keeping them with you throughout the move, rather than storing them with the rest of your belongings. Items such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage licenses, passports, and car titles aren't easy to replace. You do not want to arrive at your new home only to discover an important document was lost or left behind in your old state. Additionally, consider keeping any prescription medication with you during the move.
- Keep in touch with your movers. Make sure you and your movers know how to contact one another throughout the moving process, especially if the move is a long one. You don't want to be left guessing if you or your movers are unexpectedly delayed.
- Keep your phone charged. Finding yourself in the middle of the move with a dead phone can be frustrating. Consider getting a portable charger to keep your phone good to go throughout the process. In addition to keeping in touch with your movers, you may need to look up directions or call a family member.
- Be flexible. Planning ahead is important, but recognize that it's possible moving will not go as smoothly as expected. Try to remain flexible and adjust to any last-minute changes as they arise.
After Your Move
Once all of the unpacking is done, you’ll have a few important steps to take to establish yourself in your new home state.
- Update your address. Make a list of every person and organization that needs your new address, including your bank, the IRS, your employer, and your insurance companies. Take a look at your subscription services as well. Update your address if you still plan to use the service, and cancel any subscriptions that you can no longer use in your new home state.
- Update your driver’s license. If you plan to drive while you live in your new state, you will need to get a new driver’s license with that state. Check your local DMV requirements to determine how to get that done. You will also need to get new state license plates for your car.
- Establish domicile. Several of the steps you'll need to take, such as buying your new home and getting a new driver’s license, will help you establish residency in your new state. Demonstrating legal domicile is important for tax purposes. It's a good idea to check with state regulations to see exactly what's required.
- Register to vote. If you want to exercise your civic duty and vote in your new state, you'll need to update your voter registration information. You can likely complete this process online, or if you prefer, you can register in person or via mail.
- Prepare for some tax changes. During that first year of life after the move, plan to file and pay taxes for two different states: your old state and your new home state. A tax professional or online tax program can help you complete this process.
After the flurry of moving activity, remember to take a moment to acknowledge your hard work and enjoy your new home.