Moving is stressful enough, but when you throw an entirely new state into the equation, the process gets exponentially more challenging. However, whether it be for work, family, or medical reasons, there are times when the decision to move out of state is less of a choice and more of a mandatory requirement. Don’t worry, though, your move doesn’t have to be as stressful as you may think. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the things you need to do to make your life a little easier.
Renting an Apartment Without Ever Seeing itWhen a move is sudden and far away, there isn’t always time to visit the city and go apartment hunting. While this can be stressful – and is far from ideal – don’t let it worry you too much. There are ways of renting an apartment without ever seeing it – and, yes, it’s possible to be happy with your selection. However, as you may guess, there are also plenty of ways to mess up along the way.
The key to the entire process is research. Absolutely everything needs to be researched and verified. Think of it like online dating. While a person may have a profile picture fit for a super model, what are the chances that person is actually online and ready to mingle? If you see an apartment with incredible pictures, but the price is far below market value, you have reason to be suspicious. Anyone can upload pictures, and the last thing you want to do is show up and realize you were duped.
There are a few solutions to this potential problem. First, run the address through Google Maps and take a look at the street view. This will allow you to not only verify the exterior of the building, but it also lets you explore the area. After all, it’s possible the apartment building may be nice, but do you want to live there if it’s on a questionable block?
Next, ask the landlord to take you on a Skype walk through. This is the best solution and allows you to see the apartment in its current condition, without fear of image manipulation. Ask the landlord to show you everything from the inside of the apartment, to the stairways, to the outside. This will give you an uninhibited picture of the situation.
Finally, you should try to get some local opinion. Do you know someone who lives in the city you’re moving to? If you’re moving for work, does your company have a physical office nearby with someone who would be willing to check out the property for you? Having a local opinion can go a long way in letting you know if everything is as good or bad as it appears online.
Document Your Move-InWhen you move-in, make sure you document the condition of the apartment and make the landlord aware of any issues. If you want to get your security deposit back at the end of your lease, you have to be meticulous and careful. It’s best to take pictures before moving all of your stuff in. You can then email those images to the landlord for proof. If there are ever any discrepancies at the end of the lease, you can use them as references.
Changing DocumentationAside from the actual moving process, one of the more stressful things about moving to a new state is switching all of your documentation. This may include your driver’s license, health insurance provider, vehicle tags and plates, car insurance, voter registration, and other forms of identification. Try not to get overly worked up about these things in the first week. Focus on moving in and then take an afternoon to research all of the things you need to do, what proof of residency you need, and how the transfer process works for each item. DMV.org offers a helpful page that explains some of the things you need to take care of when moving to a new state, and what time requirements there are.
In order to do most things, you’ll need some sort of proof of residency. This typically needs to be a bill with your new address on it. Calling one of your service providers and asking them to provide you with an advanced bill may be necessary. Otherwise, you might not get bills until the end of the month. Gas, electric, water, and cable companies are familiar with the need for proof of residency documents and shouldn’t give you any trouble about acquiring them as quickly as possible.
Locate Schools and PhysiciansIf you have children, two of the most important things to do after a move are locate their new school(s) and find a family physician. Schools are likely already assigned to you, but you may have other nearby options if you’re considering the private school route. If you’re looking for an easy way to identify schools and colleges in the city you’re moving to, this tool by the National Center for Education Statistics is extremely helpful.
As for doctors, you never know when you’ll need a doctor – so go ahead and find one in advance. If possible, find a primary care doctor that can treat the entire family. Aside from asking people for references, you can also use a resource like the American Medical Association or Doctor Directory to find a reliable and honest doctor.
Get Familiar with Your SurroundingsMoving into a new environment can be intimidating, but it’s critical that you get out and learn as much as possible. Meet your neighbors, locate the nearest hospital, find out where nearby supermarkets and restaurants are located. Study maps and find the quickest way to work. Taking care of all of these things in the first couple weeks helps a place feel more like home. You’ll learn a lot about your new city in the coming months, but why put off for tomorrow what you can get done today?
By following these tips and making a positive effort to embrace your new city, the process will be less stressful and more exciting. Happy moving!