Moving Out of State? The Secrets You Need to Know

Moving Out of State? The Secrets You Need to Know

Photo of a kid inside of a moving box as he prepares to move to a new state with his family

Moving is hard enough when it’s a few houses down or just across town. If you’ve found yourself moving to a different state all together you may be scratching your head trying to figure out what all needs to be done. Fear no more! We’re breaking down everything you need to do to make moving out of state efficient and successful.

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Tips for moving out of state

It’s hard to figure out how to order and prioritize items on your to-do list. Heck, it’s trying just to figure out what to put on that never-ending list. Remember everybody’s situation varies so there is no cookie-cutter method to moving, but we’re going to outline some key details and where they should rank on your moving checklist.

Secure a home in a new state

This one may be a no-brainer but it’s definitely going to be your best place to start. Whatever your reason is for moving whether it be work, school, family, or friends- you need to have a place to move into.

How do I decide where to live when moving out of state?

Here’s where you can consider what your preferences and requirements are. Do you need a lot of space? Maybe rural or suburbia is for you. Is it just you? You might consider keeping it cozy to save money. Are you moving to a new state with kids? Consider your accessibility to a good school district. Is Fido a social butterfly? Look to see where the nearest dog park is.

Visit your new city and state

You may be in the boat where you are moving to a new state and new situation. If you’ve never actually been where you are planning on moving to you may want to take a trip and scope it out. Not only will you be able to house hunt, but you’ll get to see your new community firsthand. You may find a place you want to explore more when you’re all moved in or try a local restaurant that you’ll sell your soul to eat at again (I know I certainly would).

Hire a reputable realtor

House hunting is known to be stressful. If you are at your wit’s end (or just want to avoid getting to that point) you should consider hiring a trusted and highly rated realtor. They are amongst the small population that knows the ins and outs of neighborhoods, businesses, school districts, and so on.

Not ready to buy a house out of state?

That’s okay! You may decide apartments or rentals are the moves for you. And remember leases aren’t forever. If you are just wanting to get a feel for the community and neighborhoods this may be a good way to give yourself a grace period. Plus, you’ll be a pro at packing and moving the next time around.

Looking to move soon?

Check out UniMovers and save 30-50% on your move as compared with traditional moving!

Set a realistic budget when moving out of state

Budgeting may not be the most fun, but it will save you a headache later down the road. With a budget set, you’ll be able to account for all your expenses- expected and unexpected. Yes, make sure to leave yourself a section for the happy accidents that accompany moving.

What to account for moving out of state

There are many things you should account for in your budget. You may even have a couple more or a couple fewer things than I list, and that’s perfectly normal. You obviously need to consider how much you are spending on your new home but there’s plenty of things that accompany that. Are you in the market for new furniture or appliances? Do you need to get or upgrade an already existing home security system? Are you paying for locks to be changed?

Things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay. It is a lot easier to handle these moving hiccups if you prepare for them even when you don’t know what they will be. So, set aside some money in the budget for things like flat tires, damages to your things, injuries, etc.

Another thing to consider in your budget is if your employer will pay to move you if you are relocating for work. You may have to ask if they support employees’ moves associated with their jobs but you could end up saving yourself a ton of money in the long run.

How far are you going?

You’ll find that moving 20 minutes across a state border is much easier than moving across three state borders or even the nation. Not surprisingly it is also way cheaper. If you are moving from Charleston to Charlotte, you are going to have much lower rates than someone moving from Iowa City to Providence.

Which moving services move out of state?

This is another big one that could eat up your budget if you don’t do proper research for your individual situation. Not all moving companies are appropriate for you.

For an out-of-state move, most people think of truck rentals or self-moving companies. These could both be viable options for you but if they aren’t quite suited for you there are plenty of other options.

You may also find that a full-service moving company is too expensive and has too many added features for what you need.

A labor-only moving service is preferable for people who have the means to move in their own vehicles. It is also preferable for people using a truck rental and just need help moving everything in.

Choose a date for your out of state move

This is often overlooked when you are planning a move early in advance. After you’ve found a moving service that works for you and your budget it’s time to coordinate your departure and arrival date with them.

If you are moving only yourself it may be easier to choose a date to move than if you are moving with a spouse or family for example. You may consider your work schedule, family or friend obligations, events, or school activities before deciding when to move.

The time of year, month, and week can affect your rates as well. You will find that rates tend to be cheaper if you avoid moving on weekends, holidays, or during the summer.

How to move out of state


Be sure to order moving supplies with plenty of time before you plan to move. Depending on what moving company you use you may already have some supplies like tie downs, dollies, and boxes.


Make sure that everything that needs to come with you gets packed and everything that has lived its lifetime is left behind. Now I don’t mean to throw everything away but be sure to declutter ahead of time. Not sure how to do this? You can check out The Quintessential Moving Checklist to answer all those questions.

Don’t forget to pack an essentials bag as well! Depending on the method you choose to move out of state you may beat your movers to your new home and have only what you brought with you. So, make sure anything you could possibly need for the first few days comes with you.

If you are packing a moving truck you need to know the best way to get all your stuff in it and have it all arrive in one piece at your final destination.

Be sure to empty your storage container as well. Anything in there that needs to come with you should be accounted for and the rest should be separated into donations, sell, recycle, and trash piles. Storage units can be tricky to get rid of so be sure you know when you can cancel rent and how long of a process it will be.


Everybody’s favorite, I know. But there are plenty of files you want to make sure come with you in the move out of state or get transferred to the proper locations.

  1. If you are moving with children, be sure to contact their current school and have their records transferred to their future school.
  2. You should also transfer or cancel any unnecessary memberships/subscriptions at places like your gym, magazines, and streaming services.
  3. You will also want to manage any utilities including your Wi-Fi, cable TV, security systems, etc.
  4. Don’t forget to switch over your address as well and forward any incoming mail to your new home.
  5. Remember you still have a civil duty to vote so make sure you register for your new state even if there isn’t an upcoming election. Doing it now will save you a headache later.
  6. Along those same lines, you will want to establish legal domicile in your new state for tax purposes. If you are unsure to do this, you can check your state website to find out how.
  7. Don’t forget about Fido! Depending on where you are moving you may require a pet license. Be sure to get this right away. If your pet isn’t microchipped either this may be a good time to get that done. New locations can be confusing and scary for pets so it’s best to be “pupared” in case they decide to run off.

Get a move on!

Welcome to the home stretch! There are only a few things left to do before you head out on your new adventure. If you haven’t already let others know you are moving. This is also a good time to try to start making friends in your new community, even if you aren’t there yet. The internet is a wonderful tool so be sure to utilize it! You can try joining Facebook groups or even just looking up places you may want to visit that have good odds of socialization.

This old house

Make sure to schedule a handyman to come to look at the house for any preexisting damages. If you don’t want to clean your old house yourself, you should also book a cleaning service to come in for you.

Make travel arrangements

Not driving a moving truck? Plan on how you are getting to your new home and ask the movers what their ETA is. If they don’t arrive on time, don’t panic, but be sure to give them a call so you can plan accordingly. If you aren’t driving, arrange for a car shipping service to come to pick up your vehicle.

Welcome home!

You should be all set now to take on this new adventure. It may be a lot of work but if you do your research and choose the best option for you, moving can be affordable, efficient, and worth the hassle.

Don’t forget to welcome everyone to your new pad with a housewarming party! Pop some champagne and take a load off on that surprisingly heavy couch.

Using our tips or our services? Great! We want to hear from you. Be sure to tag us in pictures of your move. You can find us by searching “UniMovers” on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok and use our hashtag #unimoved!

Headshot of Ashlyn Cook, UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager

Ashlyn is a homegrown Iowan (go Cyclones!). She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2023 with a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications. Now, she serves as UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, watch baseball, and spend time with her dog!

To get in contact with her regarding blog partnerships at UniMovers please email