Moving is a hassle, whether it’s to a house down the street, or across the city. But what about a move across the country? While some of the planning and organization of a local move can be applied to a long-distance relocation, moving to another state requires much more in-depth organization and orchestration.

Explore the ins and outs of a long-distance move with us in this post, including what questions to ask yourself, how you can get from point A to point B, and what your timeline should look like.

Why Are You Moving?

First things first—why are you moving across the country? Is it because of a job, or is it for a personal reason?

If you are moving because of your profession, it is likely either because you are being relocated by a current employer, or you have been offered a new position elsewhere. If either of these reasons are why you are taking on such a big move, you’re in luck.

There’s a good chance that your employer will contribute to your moving costs (if not cover them entirely), and may even be able to set you up with living arrangements, whether permanent or temporary.

Long-distance moving tends to get more complicated when it is being done for personal reasons. Without a job set up in your new location, it can be difficult to find a rental or buy a home, and you’ll likely be covering the moving costs on your own.

If you are moving for personal reasons, the upside is that you may have a more flexible timeline, allowing for you to find a job and wrap up anything you need to before you leave, like selling your existing home or letting your lease run out.

Why you are moving can have a major impact on your budget, timeline, and the feasibility of you meeting your moving goals.

Where Are You Moving?

Next you need to know where you are moving to, and that means more than just which state. Whether you are moving because of a job or because of a personal reason, you should get a feel for your new city or town, and the neighborhoods within it. This can help you to:

  • Determine housing or rental prices
  • Figure out which areas have your preferred amenities
  • Research jobs and schools close to where you want to live

To get a feel for neighborhoods and amenities, get in touch with a realtor in the city or town you are interested in moving to. Even if you aren’t looking to buy right away, a real estate agent should still be able to help point you in the right direction.

Make a wish list of things like amenities, proximity to your work, and your price range to give to the realtor so that they can give you an accurate and informed list of options to choose from.

Long-Distance Moving Costs

No matter where you move to, it’s going to cost money, but long-distance moves tend to rack up larger bills than their local counterparts. Just getting yourself across the country can be a big expense, let alone all of your belongings.

When planning a long-distance move, remember to plan for the following in your budget:

  • Flights, rental cars, or an RV, depending on how you are going to get there
  • A transport company or moving van
  • Temporary storage
  • Food, gas, and accommodations
  • Vehicle transport

You may also have new costs once you arrive, like registering your vehicle, higher taxes, and more. Be sure to look into your new state beforehand to discover any new expenses you might have to pay.

What Are Your Housing Options?

When planning for a long-distance move, one of the biggest issues that you may come across is where you will live when you arrive at your final destination. Even if your employer is paying for your move, it will still be up to you to find a home that suits your needs.

First, you need to figure out how long you want to live there. Is this a temporary or permanent move? Do you need to find out if you like the neighborhood first, or are you ready to commit to buying a house?

If you aren’t sure how long you will be staying, or if you will even like the city or town you will be moving to, renting is likely your best option because it offers flexibility and less commitment than a mortgage. Even if you do plan to buy, without a job set up beforehand, it’s going to be difficult to obtain a mortgage. In that case, it is likely that you will need to rent at least temporarily, until you can qualify for a mortgage.

If you are certain that you will be living in your new location long-term, you may consider buying a home. If you already own one, you will likely need it to sell before purchasing another, so it’s a good idea to put it up for sale long before you need to leave.

While your home is on the market, look for a home in your new location. You can make an offer that includes the sale of your home as a condition with a time limit on it. That means that you make an offer that is dependent on the sale of your home. If it doesn’t sell within x number of days, the seller has the option to relist it and sell to someone else.

If you do want to buy a house, but yours doesn’t sell in time, you may have to rent a house in your new state temporarily, until you are in a position to buy.

Alternatively, if you have friends or family members you can stay with, or your employer offers temporary housing, you may be able to take advantage of those options as well.

Orchestrating Your Adventure

Moving across the country is not something that you can plan in a day, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. With good organization and planning, it can actually turn into a great adventure for you and your family. Try to think of ways that you can make it more relaxing, like by using it as a vacation or having flexible move-out and move-in dates so you can take your time.

This way, you can sit back and enjoy the ride instead of focusing solely on your departure and arrival.

Have you ever had a long-distance move? Would you ever move to another state?

Posted by Brittany Foster

Brittany is a writer, editor, and content manager interested in law, marketing, and technology. She's been writing for LawDepot since 2014.