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The Most Important Things to Do When Moving to a New State


So, you’ve got the call, received the email, or had the conversation. Whichever way you came to it, the decision to move has been made, and now it’s time to start preparing. You’ve got a lot to do between now and move day — so much that the overwhelming feeling is becoming as natural as breathing. Where do you start? And what do you need to do before you make that move? Stick with us as we run down the most important actions you should take. Then, get to work on checking them off! 

Land That Job Before You Move

The biggest heartburn about moving is adjusting to a job transition. Maybe you have a job secured, and the move is necessary to embark on your new professional journey. Maybe you’ve landed a job that you can do from anywhere you please. Or, perhaps, you’ve chosen your dream location, and now it’s time to find your dream job. Whatever the case, use the following tools to help you along the way. 

Update Your Online and Hardcopy Resumes

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a great place to find new job opportunities. You can search for open positions, message colleagues, and post to let your network know you’re looking for a job. You might not realize that many of your LinkedIn connections may live, work, or have their own connections in your new city.

Utilize Job Search Engines 

Count the ways to job search, and you’ll soon run out of fingers. No, don’t move to your toes – let us list them for you. Sure, some employers still post a sign on the window, but most post on at least one job website if not more. Here’s a quick list of the most popular job sites to get you started. 

  • Indeed: Use Indeed to search and apply for jobs across the nation or virtually. Create a profile and resume or use your own to submit applications. Indeed even has a quick apply function for partner companies. Companies can also contact you directly if they like what they see on your profile. 
  • Glassdoor: Similar to Indeed, Glassdoor allows you to post your resume and submit applications to jobs posted on the site from all over the country. Glassdoor also crowdsources wage information about positions and companies to give you an idea of a reasonable asking salary. 
  • ZipRecruiter: ZipRecruiter is another excellent site for job seekers — a one-stop shop for both companies and applicants. You can search all jobs and salaries on ZipRecruiter and read reviews from other job seekers. Potential employers can search you out and personally invite you to apply.

Network In-Person

Ask friends and family to put their feelers out for you. Your best friend’s cousin might have colleagues in your new city who could help you find a new job, but you won’t know unless you ask! Reach out to your alumni network to find new opportunities not found via simple online searches. After college, graduates move all over the country. It’s likely that your old classmates live or have colleagues in your new state. You

Decide What Stays and What Goes

The months leading up to your move to another state are the perfect time to clean out your closet and get rid of bulky furniture that you don’t need. Whether you have a garage sale, donate your belongings to charity, or sell them online, it will make your move out of state a lot easier and cheaper. 

You can set the money you save aside for moving expenses like a moving truck rental or professional moving services. After you clean the house, make a list of any furniture, appliances, or other home goods you’ll need to buy once you get to your new place.

Professional Movers or Move-It-Yourself?

Before moving to another state, you’ll need to decide if you want to hire movers or rent a truck and move on your own. Hiring professional movers is the more expensive option, but it also offers more peace of mind. If you’re on a tight budget, however, you can either rent a truck and do all of the loading/unloading yourself, or rent a shipping container, pack it yourself, and have movers drive it to your new home. If you need to ship a car, you’ll want to set this up in advance as well. 

If you’re moving to a new state for a job, talk to your employer before deciding how to move. Many companies will reimburse employees for moving fees when they have to relocate. However, the level of compensation varies by company. Some employers pay for a moving truck rental, while others will pay for full-service professional movers. It’s best to double-check before you book anything.

Prepare Pets for the Move

Before moving to a new state with your furry friend, you’ll need to check the laws in each state for moving with pets. Some states don’t have any restrictions, while others will require certain certifications. The most common certification required is the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Requirements vary by state and type of animal. 

Notify Service Providers Early

Take a moment to think about all the parties interested in knowing where you live, and your mind might be blown. It’s not just friends and family you should notify — it’s also all those service providers and online vendors. That includes utility providers, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, rewards programs, online shopping sites, etc. Start making a list; you may be surprised how quickly it grows. You’ll ensure nothing slips through the cracks by notifying these providers ahead of time. 

  • Postal service: Submit a change of address online form to the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that your mail gets delivered to the right place. 
  • Banks and credit card companies: Bank and credit card statements contain personal information that shouldn’t be left at your old address. Plus, you’ll want to receive bill notifications at the correct address to pay on time and avoid late fees.
  • Voter registration: If you plan to vote in your new state, you’ll need to register. You can easily complete this step at the DMV when you register your vehicle and transfer your old driver’s license. You can also register to vote through the government online
  • Home and auto insurance providers: Insurance rates and coverage requirements vary significantly by location. Make sure you update your address with your home and auto providers right away. You’ll also need proof of auto insurance coverage in your new state when you register your car at the DMV.
  • Online shopping sites: If you’re a big online shopper and frequently use sites like Amazon, make sure to update your mailing address on your online accounts. 

Identify Your New Community Support Network

Deciding where to settle largely lies on the characteristics of the community in which you’ll live. Does your new community have schools that will serve your children well? Is there a good network of medical professionals you can rely on for first-class care? Do you get good vibes from the neighborhood you’re considering moving to? Consider the following points. 

Shop for doctors 

Search online medical directories, read patient reviews, and ask for recommendations from anyone you know in the area. This could be friends, family, or coworkers at your new job. You can also ask your current doctor if they have any recommendations in your new state. Some doctors’ offices are very busy and don’t accept new patients. If they do accept new patients, make sure that they take your insurance. If you have any specific health concerns or special care needs for anyone in your family, ask any questions you have now. 

Research potential schools 

Moving can be difficult for children, and starting over at a new school can be scary. It’s best to start looking before you move to another state so you can find the best fit for your child. Start by searching for schools in your new city or asking for recommendations from anyone in the area. From there, read parent reviews online and start narrowing down your options. The government also provides an online search tool for schools and colleges to aid your search in your new city. While you’re researching, consider the following topics:

  • School hours
  • Number of students
  • Acceptance rate, cost, and requirements (for private schools)
  • Curriculum and teaching methods
  • Extracurricular activities and sports programs offered 
  • Disciplinary approach
  • Campus safety
  • Learning aids (if required)
  • Location and distance from your new home
  • Deadlines for applying/enrolling

Meet your new neighbors

Once you get settled in at your new home and the chaos of moving is behind you, introduce yourself to your neighbors. Other families in your neighborhood are a wealth of valuable information. They can give you recommendations for the best doctors, schools, grocery stores, and other important places in town. 

Register Your Vehicle in Your New State

Each state has a different deadline for car registration, but they range anywhere from 10 to 30 days after you’ve moved. Some states will also require you to get an emissions check or safety inspection for your car before registering. The easiest way to find out what your new state requires is to visit the DMV’s website. If you plan this far enough in advance, you can even make an appointment at the DMV, so you don’t have to wait in line for hours. Find out more about DMV requirements in our step-by-step moving guide

You’ll be asked for proof of car insurance in your new state when you visit the DMV. If you plan to vote in your new state, you can easily register to vote in your new city when you’re at the DMV.

Arrange New Home Services

Schedule appointments to set up utilities like gas, water, and electricity before moving. Trying to unpack at your new home will be difficult if you have to do it in the dark or without running water. 

It might sound paranoid, but it’s never a bad idea to change the locks in your new home. This will give you peace of mind in your new place. You can decide if you’d like to set up a new home security system or possibly transfer an existing one during this stage. 

You’ll also want to get set up with the rest of your home services like cable TV, internet, and home phone right away. This will help you settle in and feel more at home in your new place. Easily search and compare all of the options for home service providers in your new neighborhood using our search by ZIP code tool.