Whether you’re retiring to your dream city, relocating for a great job, or moving to be close to friends and family, an out-of-state move is a very big deal. Local moves often offer some amount of flexibility as you search tirelessly for the perfect house in a desirable location. Long-distance moves require careful planning and research followed by quick decisions and an adventurous spirit. Here are a few things to consider when preparing for your big move:
What city is right for you?
Perhaps the most important financial aspect to consider before committing to your new state is the cost-of-living comparison to your current area. If you plan to move for a 15 percent raise but discover you’re looking at a higher state income tax, a 50 percent increase in real estate costs, a comparable sales tax rates, and the introduction of toll roads to your daily commute, you may find yourself back at the negotiations table. Thankfully there are multiple websites such as CNN’s Cost-of-Living Calculator dedicated to helping you approximate the cost-of-living discrepancies.
After becoming familiar with your new state, it’s time to narrow down a neighborhood. If you’re brand new to the area, it helps begin your search on a comprehensive neighborhood website and forum like City-Data. It may be well worth your time to create an account and post to the forums with your specific needs. Once you scale down your search to a few promising city neighborhoods or suburbs, continue your research by reading about the local schools on GreatSchools, skimming the headlines of the local paper, and reviewing recently sold homes in your price range on sites like Redfin or Trulia.
What do you need when buying a new home?
It’s always important to use a buyer’s agent when purchasing a new home, but for major moves, it’s essential. You can find a great agent by getting a referral from someone locally through an online community group or by asking your current agent to refer to you to someone under their same brokerage umbrella. Your agent will help you discover and prioritize what houses to see during your whirlwind weekend of house hunting. He or she can also help you weigh the pros and cons for things like resale value, area gentrification or projected population growth.
Heather Kromer, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Consultants of Roswell, recommends using technology to your advantage if moving to a seller’s market where homes are receiving multiple offers or flying off the market as soon as they are listed.
“Partner with a local realtor who is tech savvy and will preview homes for you, take videos, or even video conference or virtually tour the home with you through an app such as FaceTime or Skype,” Kromer advises.
Once you find a great property, your agent may need to help you navigate the specifics of making a great offer contingent on the sale of your existing home. For many out-of-state relocations, it is wise to list your existing home first and plan to aggressively search for a new home once your sale is pending. This makes your contingent offer far more appealing than it would be for a home that has no offers on the table.
You should also consider how quickly you need to relocate before making an offer on a foreclosure or short sale that could lead to weeks of back and forth negotiations. If you are moving with young children or starting a new or demanding job, make sure you are honest with yourself about how much DIY work you can handle before making an offer on a fixer-upper. And of course, choose a quality home inspector to ensure you’re getting a safe home at a fair price.
How will you move?
While some families will decide to move on their own, long moves have many added complexities that are best left to professionals. For example, who will drive the truck? Are you aware of the weigh station laws in each state visited on your trip? What are your plans if you’re in a traffic accident? Where will you stay overnight for cross-country moves? Who will drive your vehicles to your new address? Will you have a support system in place to help you load the truck and then unload it quickly, yet carefully, at your new home? How will you fit all of your belongings into the truck? If you’ve ever attempted a large move on your own, you’re aware of the furniture Tetris required as well as the potential for dings and scratches and intense marital disagreements. It is not for the faint of heart.
It won’t come to any surprise to you that a moving company would suggest that you hire a professional for your out-of-state trip, but truly, we are here to help. This is our bread-and-butter, so to speak. We are dedicated to remaining experts at major moves so that you can focus your energy on determining where the furniture should go and what local pizza joint to try first in your new city.