Tips for Moving to Another State

by Robert Borges on October 25, 2023

Moving to another state can be an exciting and challenging experience. Whether you’re relocating for a new job, retirement, to be closer to family, or simply for a change of scenery, there are several important factors to consider before making the move.

According to our recent research, almost 70% of PCR users looking for retirement communities say they plan to relocate to another state. So, we thought we’d share some valuable tips to help make your transition to a new state as smooth as possible.

Let’s dive in!

Research Your New State

Understand the cost of living

Before you make the decision to move, it’s crucial to really get to know your new state. If you’re not a cash buyer, the price of real estate and current mortgage rates will certainly be a big factor in where and when you decide to move to another state. Do plenty of online research before you get too serious, and speak to real estate experts to determine the financial pros and cons involved with moving out of state.

Familiarize yourself with the cost of living, which includes housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation. Taxes can be a big factor, especially for retirees. Does your desired location have a state income tax? What are the property and sales tax rates? Answering these questions will help you determine if the move is financially feasible.

Know the job market

For those still in the workforce, understanding the job market in your new state is also important. Look at the unemployment rate, the types of industries that are thriving, and the average salary for your profession. This will give you a good idea of your potential future job prospects.

Learn about the climate

The climate can greatly affect your lifestyle and comfort. Research the average temperatures, rainfall, and snowfall. If you enjoy outdoor activities, consider the climate's impact on them. If you visit states and communities before a potential move, consider doing so during the off-season so you’ll have a feel for how things may be during months with less-than-desirable conditions and weather.

Consider the lifestyle you want

What things are important in your next stage of life? Are you just looking for a different kind of home in a new location or are there other factors at play? As you research potential landing spots, make sure your chosen state, community, and neighborhood offers the lifestyle you’re looking for.

If it’s more peace, quiet, privacy, and security you seek, gated communities are always popular destinations for out-of-state movers.

The popularity of active adult communities among 55+ buyers has put an emphasis on amenities that stress health, wellness, and socialization. You may be looking for expansive pickleball facilities, a home/community near a marina for boating, equestrian accommodations, a vibrant golf scene, and so on. Those moving to another state often do so for a different and better lifestyle.

Finally, don’t forget to investigate general quality of life factors that may be different in a new state like crime rates, education, healthcare, and recreational opportunities. Make sure the new state aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.

Plan Your Move in Advance

Create a timeline

Moving to another state requires careful planning and organization. For older buyers looking for a final retirement destination, the buying cycle can be as long as 18 months from initial research to finally making a purchase and moving. A lot can happen during this time, so it’s important to create a timeline with milestones to hit along the way. Be sure to outline important tasks and deadlines to ensure everything is completed in a timely manner.

Make a checklist

Make a checklist of all the tasks you need to accomplish, such as notifying utility companies, changing your address, and transferring your driver's license and vehicle registration. This will help you stay organized and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Budget for the Big Move

Account for moving costs

Moving to another state can be expensive, so it’s important to create a budget to ensure you are financially prepared. In addition to knowing the cost of living in your new state and accounting for more (or hopefully less) future expenses, consider the costs of hiring movers, transportation, packing supplies, and any additional expenses associated with the move itself.

Plan for unexpected expenses

It’s also a good idea to set aside some extra funds for unexpected costs that may arise during the moving process. These could include last-minute repairs after your home appraisal and inspection, additional packing materials, or emergency accommodations. Depending on how the selling, buying, and closing process plays out, you may be on the hook to pay rent for a week or two in your current home or have the need to book a hotel or short-term rental in your new state before the next home is move-in ready.

Hire Professional Movers

Research moving companies

If your budget allows, consider hiring professional movers to assist with your move. They have the experience and expertise to handle the logistics of moving to another state, making the process much easier for you. Research different moving companies, read reviews, and get quotes to find the best option for your needs.

Book in advance

Be sure to book your movers well in advance to secure your preferred moving date. This will help ensure that your move goes smoothly and that you have the help you need when you need it.

Declutter and Downsize

Sort through your belongings

Moving to another state is the perfect opportunity to declutter and downsize your belongings. For seniors and empty nesters retiring to a new state, it’s often low-maintenance homes they seek that are smaller than what they previously had. As such, downsizing is an essential part of preparing for the move. Go through your belongings and determine what you truly need and what can be donated, sold, or simply thrown away.

Not only will this help reduce the cost of your move, but it will also make unpacking and settling into your new home much easier. Plus, it can be a great way to start fresh in your new home.

Pack Strategically

Use quality packing materials

When packing for your move, it is important to pack strategically to ensure the safety of your belongings. Use sturdy boxes and packing materials to protect fragile items.

Label and organize

Label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to, making it easier to unpack and organize once you arrive at your new home. Consider packing an essentials box with items you will need immediately upon arrival, such as toiletries, a change of clothes, and important documents. If you’re loading the truck or giving instructions to movers, start with items you won’t need right away at the back of the truck and load appliances and heavy furniture first.

Notify Important Parties

Inform your employer and financial institutions

Before you move, be sure to notify important parties of your change of address. This includes your employer, banks, credit card companies, insurance providers, and any other organizations or individuals that regularly send you mail.

Set up mail forwarding

Set up mail forwarding with the postal service to ensure that you receive any mail that is still sent to your old address. This is a simple step that can save you a lot of hassle in the future.

Establish New Connections

Join local community groups

Moving to another state often means leaving behind friends and family. It’s important to establish new connections in your new state to help ease the transition. Join local community groups, attend events, and get involved in activities that align with your interests.

The good news is if you’re moving to a lifestyle community, you’ll be among like-minded individuals of a similar age. And almost all of them have a regular schedule of community events, activities, and social groups to join.

Get involved in local activities

This will not only help you meet new people but also help you feel more connected to your new community. Plus, it can be a great way to explore your new city and discover new hobbies or interests.

You’ll have plenty of options in an active adult community with things like golf, pickleball, hiking, boating, and more.

Research Local Services and Resources

Look into healthcare providers

Before you move, take the time to research local services and resources in your new state. This includes healthcare providers to make sure you and your family have access to quality medical care and various specialists you might require. In most cases, you’ll need to contact and work with your current healthcare provider to ensure a seamless transition.

Research schools and essential services

Also, look into schools if you have children, as well as grocery stores, and other essential services. Inevitably, there will be places, things, and services that you’ve grown accustomed to in your previous living situation. Whether it’s favorite restaurants, happy hour spots, banks, hardware stores, veterinarians, or concert venues, make sure you think everything through prior to your move so you can identify and familiarize yourself with the similar options available in your new state.

Find the Right Community When Moving Out of State

Moving to another state can be a complex and stressful process, but with careful planning and preparation, it can also be an exciting new venture in your life.

Whether you already have your new state identified or are narrowing things down based on a particular region of the U.S., PCR is a great place to start your research. Thousands of consumers search our site every day looking for homes in communities that check all of their desired boxes. You can explore communities and real estate based on location, amenities, price range, and more. And requesting more information from communities, builders, and realtors is as simple as a click of a button. Happy house hunting and best of luck with your exciting new chapter!