Your muscles are trembling and you can barely keep your eyelids open. Half-opened boxes, packing tape and styrofoam peanuts are scattered across your new floor. Cold takeout food is all you have to look forward to tonight. It might be weeks before this strange place feels like a home.
Moving can be a surprisingly traumatic ordeal. With all the prep work, logistics and physical labor, it’s a process few look forward to. Add in the element of relocating to a new state, and moving can be downright nerve-wracking.
But for all the anxiety moving across state lines can stir up, it doesn’t have to be the torturous experience so many of us are familiar with.
Properly preparing for a move will settle many of those worries and fears, and lead to a smoother experience overall. While most people consider the important practical factors, many are unprepared for the financial and economic changes they’ll face.
Not sure what to do beforehand? Check out our list below to see what you need to know before you pack up those bags.
Before you head out, it’s important to know how your finances will change. It’s not only about what your new salary will be or how much your rent will cost.
Different states have different local tax rates, and it’s smart to be aware of what the changes will be. You should research your new county’s tax rates and compare them to your current one.
Make sure to look up the sales tax rate as well. That could be a big factor in how much items like groceries, clothes and even drinks cost in your new hometown.
When you move to a new state, you need to call your current insurance agent and ask them to transfer your policy. If you use a large company, they’ll usually have an office close to you. You don’t even need one in the same city - the same state will do.
Be aware of how car insurance costs typically differ in your new state, in order to avoid sticker shock when you receive your first quote. A friend of mine moved to Detroit and was astounded at how expensive car insurance was there compared to Tennessee. Even in the same city, a difference in zip codes could mean huge savings or losses in car insurance payments.
If your car insurance is separate from your renter’s insurance, make sure to notify your agent of your new address. Like car insurance, renter’s insurance rates partially depend on where you live.
While you’re packing up your stuff, take an inventory of everything you own. If something gets lost during the move or while you’re settling in your new home, you’ll have a record of it. Make sure to send a copy of this itemized list to your agent as well.
Most people buy new stuff when they move, whether it’s furniture, kitchen supplies or decorations. Once you’re settled, add those new items to your inventory list. Take off anything that you no longer own, either because it got lost, replaced or damaged.
If you have a life insurance policy, make sure to update the address on the policy. You can call your agent or the company’s customer service line. Many can update their accounts online as well.
Unlike car insurance, having an incorrect address won’t change the policy. But it always helps to have all your information accurate, so your insurance company doesn’t have to hunt you down.
Many bank branches are only available within certain states, so you should double check to see if your bank has branches in your new hometown. If you have to find a new bank, examine what characteristics are important to you. Do you need one with mobile check deposit? Do you need one with a lot of ATMs nearby? Are you concerned about monthly fees and keeping a minimum balance?
You can also choose to start banking online. Many online banks offer mobile options so you can deposit money, check your balance and make transfers. You can still use regular ATMS - many of these banks also refund any ATM fees you might accrue.
Your medical records
Before you move, go to your doctor and dentist and sign a medical release form. You’ll be able to get copies of your medical records, which you can then hand off to your next doctor.
If you aren’t sure what kind of insurance you’ll have or who your doctor will be, get copies yourself. That way, you’ll be able to bring them to any new doctor’s appointment. If you have to ask your former doctor to fax the documents over, you’ll be legally required to sign a medical release form before they’ll send them over.
These are important, as they allow your new physician to see what issues you’ve had in the past so they can better treat you in the future. They’ll be able to check when your last tetanus vaccine was, what you’re allergic to and more.
Your pet's medical records
Don’t forget to also get a copy of your pet’s records, if applicable. You might have to present them to your landlord and to the local off-leash park or new vet. You also want to make sure you have their tag that says they’ve had all their shots. You should also change the address on their microchip so it has your new location on there.
Once you move, figure out what vet is closest to you in case of an emergency. The last thing you want to do when your dog’s eaten a chocolate cake is to be looking up emergency vets on Google.
Now go check out the neighborhood
You should also do research about your new neighborhood. Which grocery store has the best beer selection? Where can you get late-night Chinese food delivery? Is there a good dry cleaner near you? Finding your new favorite spots can make your new city feel more like home.
Image: Tom Cleary