American Dream

3 Tips for Relocating Your Family to a New State

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Relocating to a new state presents challenges on a number of levels, including planning the logistics and managing your budget. There’s a lot to consider, especially if you’re moving with your family. As you prepare to cross state lines for a new home or an out-of-state job, here are three strategies to ease the burden:

1. Decide How Much You Can Do Yourself

“Set priorities based on how much of the move you can do yourself,” says Mike Glanz, CEO of HireAHelper. “The key elements to evaluate are packing, lifting, and transportation.”

When relocating to another state, look at each element individually. How much of the packing can you do? Can you load everything into the truck yourself? Do you plan to drive the contents of your home to another state? Or does it make more sense to pay someone else to do one or all of these things?

There are a number of ways to accomplish a move, whether you decide to hire full-service movers who pack and load your boxes, drive, and then unpack everything at your destination, decide to do everything yourself, or something in between. Increasingly, says Glanz, families are hiring professional packers to help them load and unload rented trucks and trailers, creating a hybrid strategy that costs much less than a full-service move but is more convenient than a do-it-yourself move.

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, a full-service move can cost more than $5,000 when you’re going out of state. You might be able to pare that number down to $2,000–$3,000 if you use a hybrid method. It won’t be as cheap as spending $800 to $1,500 for a do-it-yourself move, but for some, hiring a little help is worth it.

2. Rent First, Buy Later

It may be better to rent first when relocating, particularly if you aren’t able to get a real feel for the area before you move. Rather than trying to find the perfect place to own immediately, take your time. Learn the neighborhoods. Decide what’s most important to you in a living arrangement, and keep it in mind for later. Renting buys you some time (six months to a year) to look around, figure out what really matters to your family, and then decide which housing purchase would work better for you in the long run.

Thinking about renting out your current home while you rent in a new location? That option might work well, but it can be difficult to manage a rental when you’re in a different state. Unless you find a trusted manager to oversee your property and handle renter issues such as repairs and maintenance, selling your current home might be the best choice.

3. Create a To-Do List

Because there is so much to consider when relocating, a to-do list is essential. List the utilities that need to be canceled and any changes to banking that you might need to make. You should also write a list of services, such as cable, that you might be able to transfer across state lines. Finally, be sure to change your address with your service providers, fill out a change-of-address form with the post office to have your mail forwarded, and notify relevant parties of your new address and landline phone number.

With the right plan, your move to a new state should go smoothly—and it might even end up costing less than you think.

Miranda is a financial journalist and money expert. She covers business and finance topics for a number of outlets, including for U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Miranda also does corporate work for companies like H&R Block and Equifax. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son, where she enjoys reading, travel, and the outdoors.