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If you land a job in a new location or you’re simply looking for a change of scenery, moving to a new state can be a stressful, yet exciting new adventure. But just like any move, you want to prepare, and since this move requires more travel and less familiarity to the area of your new home, you may need extra preparation.

To ensure a smooth transition to your new home, here are some helpful tips for moving out of state…

Research and Visit Your New City
Before you pick up and move, you want to take a deep look into the new town or city you’re moving to, as well as the area surrounding it. From finding local restaurants to school systems for your children (if you have them), research is an important first step to take when moving to a new state. If possible, visit the area you plan to live to get a feel for the neighborhood and culture, as well as familiarizing yourself with living costs, weather and commute times. Stay in a hotel or rent a house to gain a full perspective of the area at all different times of day. Don’t be afraid to ask locals about the town, things to do and why they love living there. 

Find a Place to Live
One of the most important, if not the most important, steps to moving to a new state is to have a place to live. Since you most likely won’t be able to visit every open house or tour homes and neighborhoods, you’ll want to hire an expert to help you find your new home. Hiring a real estate professional  who has experience with out-of-state buyers and knows the area is the best place to start. This will take stress off of you and give you and your family more time to prepare for the big move. During your research, you should get a good idea of housing costs and set yourself a budget, as you may be moving to a location where the price for a home is higher. 

Pack and Purge 
Making a big move to another state is a great time to purge. Before mindlessly packing up everything you own, take the time to go through each room and figure out what you will keep and what you can sell, donate or throw out. Once you get through the purging process, it’s time to pack. Be sure to take extra care of any glassware, especially if you have a long drive. Label everything to make the unpacking process easier. 

Hire a Moving Company or Rent a Moving Truck
Once all of your furniture and belongings are packed and ready for transport, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to use a moving company or rent a moving truck. Hiring professionals can get expensive, especially for interstate moves, however, if you are single and making the move on your own, you may have to. Just be sure, no matter which route you choose, to get at least three to four quotes ahead of time to prepare. Also, always be cautious when deciding which items will go in the moving truck or your car. For example, personal documents and irreplaceable jewelry or family heirlooms should go with you. 

Forward Your Mail
One of the easier tasks for moving, even out of state, is to update your address with USPS. Luckily, this can be done well ahead of your moving date on the USPS website, where you can schedule when your mail should start arriving at your new address. Though an easy step, this is important to ensure you receive bills, bank statements and any other personal documents you may not want ending up in your old mailbox, possibly across the country.   

Get a New Driver’s License 
No matter where you live, a trip to the DMV is inevitable. If you plan on having your car, or buying a new one, you will need to change your registration, as well as update your driver’s license. Depending on which state you move to, you may have to make this update within a certain timeframe to establish residency. Be sure to have all necessary documents, such as an additional form of ID and proof of residency at your home address. 

Transfer Your Utilities 
The last thing you’d want after moving to a new state would be to get there to no electricity. Though cable and internet can wait, you want to be sure that you transfer your utilities to your new address. In some cases, you may need to set up with another company. Whatever you need to do, you want to have it done before you get there. Once you are certain of your new address, you can call ahead and schedule a transfer or appointment for installation. You should also talk with your real estate professional —or the previous tenants—to get a better idea of the utility costs for the area.  

Once you settle into your new home in your new home state, take some time to explore the area. Whether you’re moving for work or personal reasons, it is important to acclimate yourself to your surroundings. Talk to your neighbors, discover local attractions and embrace this new phase in your life.