What to Consider Before Moving to a New State
Long-distance relocation factors include schools, taxes, costs of living, transportation and more.
Moving is almost always a challenge, but moving to a new state can be even more complicated. Here’s a look at some common reasons for interstate moves and factors to consider when planning your relocation.
Homeowners typically decide to move from one state to another for one of three reasons: a corporate relocation, a new job or retirement. Each of those reasons involves different criteria and considerations in the decision-making process.
Corporate Plans Pay Moving Expenses
Corporate relocations typically involve a transfer to a specific state that’s dictated by the employer. But a job in one state needn’t necessarily preclude a personal residence in another state, especially if the office is near the state border. For example, the south side of Charlotte, N.C., is not far from South Carolina, which has lower taxes and housing costs.
Corporate relocation plans vary, but some employers will pay for one or more house-hunting trips, moving expenses, costs associated with the sale and purchase of your home, and basic living expenses while you’re in-between residences.
Discounts, Rebates Can Cut Moving Costs
Relocating to a new state without corporate reimbursement can be costly, so you’ll want to shop around for discounts and rebates that can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Some membership clubs and warehouse stores offer rebates or preferential prices on real estate, mortgage and long-haul moving services.
If you decide to move across state lines to take a new job, you should research the local job market: If your new position falls short of your expectations or your company is down-sized, merged, acquired or closed, will you be able to find work near your new home or will you be unemployed in a place with only limited job opportunities?
Retirement is the primary reason why people voluntarily move to another state. Some choose to move closer to their relatives; others head for warmer weather. Considerations for retirees often include the tax structure and cost of living as well as access to top-rated or affordable medical care.
Here are some other issues to consider:
- Schools – If you have school-aged children, the quality of the state’s public or private schools likely will be the most important criteria in your decision of where to live.
- Taxes – State income, property, sales and other taxes are well worth researching before you decide to move to another state. Some states have a very low tax burden; others will take a large bite out of your budget every year. Business owners may need to research state business taxes and costs as well.
- Costs Of Living – Major categories of living expenses such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, recreation and utilities also vary from state to state. For instance, some states have high winter heating costs while others have high summer cooling costs. If you’ll need to own a car rather than rely on public transportation, add the cost of the car, plus maintenance, license fees and insurance to your budget.
- Weather – Climate is both a quality of life issue and a financial consideration. Bitter-cold winter weather keeps people indoors and increases costs for utilities, clothing and maintenance of your home and vehicles. Very hot summer weather also keeps people indoors and increases utility costs. Temperate climates may have much more expensive housing costs. (Some climates are plagued by annoying species of insects as well.)
- Disaster Risks – Severe weather like snow or ice storms, hail, floods, tornados, hurricanes and brush fires are other risks that vary from state to state. And at least one type of natural disaster–earthquakes–can happen in any sort of weather. Some of these risks can be mitigated with specialty insurance. It’s worth looking into what type of special insurance you may need before you move to a new state.
Finding a House in a New City
Some research and a good real estate agent will help you find the best neighborhood for you. Finding a house in a new city is a common occurrence in today’s mobile society. Everyone seems to be moving across the country for a new job or opportunity. But it can be intimidating to figure out which neighborhood is best for you. Here are some tips to help you approach finding a house in a new city with confidence.
Use Your Resources
When finding a house in a new city, chances are that you have a friend or a friend of a friend who is familiar with that city. Ask questions. Find out any and all details that you can about your new destination. If one of your friends has someone for you to call that lives in that city, don’t hesitate. What you need is an expert in your new city, and who better to ask than someone who already lives there?
If you cannot find someone who has intimate knowledge of your new city, there are also online resources for finding a house. Web sites such as CitySearch can help you identify neighborhoods with criteria that are important to you.
Also, be sure to actually visit your new city. Spend a few days getting a feel for the city and what the different neighborhoods are like. This can help you in finding a house.
Know What is Important to You
In order to make finding a house easier, know what is most important to you. Do you prefer a rural, suburban, or urban setting? How important is commuting distance to you? Do you want to be in the middle of the action – close to restaurants, theaters, and shopping – or do you want a nice, quiet neighborhood? Don’t forget about schools. You may just need an elementary school now, but high school will be here before you know it. When finding a house, make sure it is zoned for schools that you will be happy with your kids attending.
Many statistics are available to you online when finding a house in a new city. You can find school rankings, income levels, educational levels, crime rates, political party donations – almost anything that you could possibly want to know. A few minutes searching online can help you in finding a house that fits where you want to live.
Find a Good Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent can be a great asset in finding a house in a new city. The agent should be an expert in the area with much more intimate knowledge of your new city than you can find out on your own. Make sure you provide your agent with your needs and wants, so they can find the right neighborhood for your family.
Being new to a city can be quite stressful, but finding a house does not have to be. Know what you want and educate yourself as much as possible about the new city in order to make things as easy as possible.