Relocation can be one of the most stressful events that occurs in a person’s lifetime. Whether you have a family or not, packing up your entire life to move to a new place is daunting. And most importantly, where are you going live? Do you rent or buy? The questions are endless, and it can be difficult to navigate it all in a new area about which you know nothing. In this relocation guide, we’ll cover some of the top questions you should asking before you make your move.
One of the top considerations when considering a relocation is your finances. Are you moving with your current job? Consider the salary and how it compares to the new area’s cost of living. Sure, that raise to move across the country sounds great, but if the cost of living goes up, you may not see the difference. Or, are you moving for a change of pace or new challenge? You’ll want to research the job market and unemployment rates. If you’re not able to find work immediately, how long can you sustain your lifestyle?
In addition to income, there are other financial aspects to consider. Moving costs can range between $2,500 to $5,000 for moves up to 1,200 miles. If moving for a job, companies will often offer relocation incentives that will cover the moving expenses. However, if you don’t have a job, you will need to consider how to pay for this potentially sizable cost. Storing furniture also has an added cost. Climate-controlled storage units can cost up to $550 each month. While storing furniture and household items is not ideal, it can eliminate the pressure to “settle” in a home before you’re ready. If job security is a concern, renting a home or apartment while keeping the bulk of your things in storage could be a good peace-of-mind strategy.
They say nothing can be certain except death and taxes. With relocation, taxes are definitely at the top of the list. For example, Tennessee does not have a state income tax, along with Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, and New Hampshire. Moving from a no-income tax state can be a surprise if you’re not expecting it. Property taxes also vary from state to state, even city to city. If you’re fortunate enough to have sold your home, you (unfortunately) could be eligible for capital gains tax. In some cases, you can be reimbursed for this cost. Taxes may not affect your decision to relocate but should be considered and planned for during the move.
Relocation has other miscellaneous to-dos and costs outside of moving, taxes, and salary. It’s important to not forget ancillary items like changing your address on important documents. Licenses, voter registration, insurance, employment documents, and credit cards or bank accounts should be updated to reflect the new address. The local post office should also be notified to forward mail.
While it’s difficult to provide a tangible list of resources when the relocation destination is unknown, there are several generic sources that can be used as a starting point. We like to recommend the local Chamber of Commerce website. These are typically better than tourism websites, as they provide practical resources including job resources and reputable publications. The Chamber can also provide the local utilities and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). It’s also helpful to utilize the network provided by your company.
So, now that you’re relocating, where are you going to live? Next week, we’ll cover how to find a realtor you can trust and resources you’ll need before buying or renting.