While moving in-state is undoubtedly time-consuming and stressful, planning for an out-of-state relocation is a whole different ball game. While the basics remain the same, like packing efforts, detailed cleaning, and long, exhausting days, planning a move to a new city outside of your hometown requires additional research and prep. In addition to the cost of living and housing market differences, cultural shifts and extreme weather changes can throw you for a loop without adequate preparation. 

If you’re considering starting fresh and moving to a new state, read on for seven things to chew over before you pack your bags. 

Preparing for an out-of-state move

Once you’ve made the following considerations, it's time to kick pre-move prep into hyper gear. To ensure a swift and low-stress relocation, follow this step-by-step guide on how to move out of state successfully. 

Visit your new city

If possible, consider taking a short trip out to your intended residence to feel out the different neighborhoods, local entertainment, and city culture. Pick up a guidebook at the visitors center, ask locals about hidden, hot spots, and take in the scenery of your future home. 

Practice strategic packing

Before jumping blindly into packing efforts, shoving random items into boxes at random, consider preparing a detailed plan and labeling system to avoid confusion and frustration later on. 

Hire reputable movers

While it’s possible to pack up your belongings and haul them cross-country by yourself, you can streamline your out-of-state relocation by hiring a team of movers who can transport your valuables with care and efficiency. 

Additionally, consider enlisting the help of auto shipping services so you can ditch the long road trip and take a short plane ride to your new home instead. Most vehicle carrier services feature two options: open-carrier and enclosed car transport. While open transport is less expensive, closed-carrier options protect your vehicle from unpredictable weather and roadway debris.

Take stock of the housing market 

Before you jet off to your new home out-of-state, you’ll want to devote time to housing market research to ensure you understand just how much you need to save up before the big move.  The cost of renting or purchasing a home fluctuates by state and even further by district, which means you may experience significant price reductions or increases depending on where you settle down. However, you can dodge the initial sticker shock by reading up on your target area.

Ultimately, price differentiation can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve landed on an up-and-coming region with a competitive market landscape. However, by conducting thorough research, enlisting the help of real estate experts, and contrasting multiple appraisals, you can make a well-informed decision and begin saving for your dream home.  

Fluctuations in the cost of living

In addition to the housing market, you’ll want to research the cost of living in the area you’re scouting to ensure you can afford essentials like groceries, gas, and taxes. Additionally, you may need to account for further expenses depending on your specific set of circumstances. For example, chronically ill individuals may need to consider added healthcare costs, while those with small children should review childcare expenses, both of which fluctuate state by state. 

Before you move, take an honest inventory of your lifestyle and basic needs, review your budget for your current residence, and compare the costs of your intended destination. That way, you’ll have a realistic overview of potential expenses and can budget accordingly.  

Check out the job market

Another must-do on your out-of-state relocation checklist is researching the job market and calculating any salary or positional differences that may occur once you skip town and settle in a new state. While job openings may be overflowing in your current city, other budding locations will likely feature a more competitive landscape depending on labor and employee demand in that area. 

First and foremost, you’ll want to check in with your current employer and see if transferring from one branch to another is possible. Fortunately, many companies offer relocation packages that can help you ease into your new home state. However, if your place of employment cannot aid your moving efforts or you want to leave your current position, you’ll need to scour the web for other opportunities in your field. That way, you can survey the professional scene, evading last-minute decisions, and choose from a sea of job opportunities in your new city. 

Significant weather differences 

Before leaving your home state and beginning your life in a new city, one thing to consider is the weather conditions you may encounter. Relocating out-of-state will likely bring a change in climate, which can be challenging to adjust to depending on the previous circumstances. 

For example, if you’re used to the sunny, well-mannered weather of central California, it may be a shock to your system walking into a Detroit winter. Make sure you know what you’re getting into— whether it’s month-long heat waves, heavy downpours, or snow-packed roadways—before you commit to moving.   

Cultural shifts 

An often overlooked aspect of moving is culture shock, which can be jarring at first glance. However, upon further investigation and integration, experiencing a new lifestyle filled with diverse people and different values can be exhilarating if you give in to the excitement. While settling into your new home, check out social hubs, chat with locals, and dive into new enriching experiences to immerse yourself into the culture. Plus, you can bring customs from your hometown to your new residence, combining aspects and building a community that fits your lifestyle. 

Schools in your area

If you’re relocating with young ones who are still in school, or if you’ve decided to dive into higher education yourself, you’ll want to scout out local educational institutions to ensure you and your children have the best opportunities. Set appointments with city colleges and tour the facility to get a feel for the programs and student life available. Additionally, look into the school districts in that state to pinpoint which area you want to settle in. 

Access to transportation

An important aspect to consider before heading off to a new state is what kind of transportation is necessary to navigate your city. If you’re moving from a rural area to a highly-populated urban scene, you’ll need to consider public transport and traffic patterns to get from point A to B successfully. Additionally, consider workplace commutes so you know if you’re in for jam-packed shuttles or overcrowded public transit. 

Wrapping up

Before you pack up and head off to your new out-of-state home, make sure you’ve considered each variable, like the cost of living, cultural changes, and extreme weather shifts, to set yourself up for success post-move.