5 Things To Do When Moving To A New State

Madison Group December 29, 2023

Relocating and the prospect of a new home and a fresh start is always an exhilarating experience. At the same time, it can prove quite the challenge given the logistics of uprooting your life, leaving behind one address for something unfamiliar. When that move is to a new state, it amplifies the entire process in ways not always easy to anticipate.

From the excitement of a new home and lifestyle to the uncertainty of adjusting to a new community and way of life, an out-of-state move is also an emotional journey. While the end goal is always a successful start to the next chapter in your life, the in-between can be taxing and, many times, overwhelming.

The good news is that your relocation doesn't need to be stressful. In fact, with some upfront planning and meticulous attention to detail, you'll spend more time acclimating to your new town and lifestyle instead of getting bogged in the minutiae of moving. Your seamless and stress-free move starts with the following five things to do when moving to a new state.

1. Plan and budget ahead

Regardless of the reason for your move — a new job or promotion, to be closer to family, or simply for a fresh start — there are several absolutes to getting your relocation off on the right foot. It starts with the steps before packing boxes or moving trucks back up to your current home. These steps include:

  • Create two budgets: one for your move, one for your new home (even if it's not your final place of residence)
  • Inventory, then pack only the belongings you plan or want to take with you — sell, donate, or give away the rest
  • Start the packing process as early as possible
  • Research and secure temporary or short-term housing in your new destination
  • Hire a reputable moving firm that specializes in cross-country relocation
  • Plan out and pack accordingly (items and necessary provisions that make the trek with you) for the first 30 days in your new destination.
The better you plan the mundane, tedious aspects of your move, the better prepared you are to address any concerns or unforeseen issues that do come up. For example, securing a short-term rental and packing a week's wardrobe and a box of kitchen and bathroom essentials will ensure you can adequately make do for a few days if your movers are running behind schedule.

2. Familiarize yourself with your new destination

Before you move, research your new state, city, or town and the neighborhoods that appear the most viable for your eventual home purchase. A key points to keep in mind during the discovery phase:

  • Identify where the best schools are: That most famous of real estate mantras "location, location, location" actually means "great schools, great schools, great schools." Identifying the latter is an excellent way to simplify your new home search.
  • Calculate cost of living: Your income and expenses may differ between your old and new homes. Ensure you understand your new destination's financial dynamics and that any budget you create is accurate.
  • Partner with a respected, local real estate professional: More than just a resource for connecting you with the best homes in the best neighborhoods, a locally knowledgeable realtor or real estate agent will jumpstart your acclimation process, filling you in everything from medical providers and home and garden vendors to local rules and regulation or traffic hot spots.
  • Don't forgo your social lifestyle: Counties, cities, towns, and even neighborhoods all have unique cultures independent of each other. Lean on your realtor to help familiarize yourself with the area's best restaurants, entertainment venues, and social clubs. Understanding the local landscape will help you integrate seamlessly into your new surroundings.
Even if you're relocating to a state or region where you have prior history or familiarity, treat it as someplace wholly new to you. Things can change quickly from one week to the next, and you want the acclimation process to progress with current information in tow.

3. Update critical legal, financial and personal documents

Moving to a new state means updating several essential documents. Foremost, you will want to update the U.S. postal service with your new address and stop mail to your old address as soon as possible. USPS mail forwarding runs for one year (though you can extend it by up to 18 months), so you need to physically change your address with any service or entity that sends you mail. Along with your mail, the primary updates to make include:

  • Driver's license
  • Vehicle registration and insurance
  • Voter registration
  • Banking institutions
  • Online accounts
  • Cell phone service
  • Pet registrations or microchip data
For buyers with estate plans, retirement accounts, or specific tax arrangements, seek the guidance of a financial advisor to confirm any necessary changes or satisfy the requirements of the state to which you're relocating.

4. Find new care and service providers

For those accustomed to high-end healthcare services, look for top-rated physicians, specialists, and wellness facilities in your area. Consider also concierge medical services for a more personalized healthcare experience. You will want to prioritize setting up relationships with healthcare providers, including:

  • Primary care physician
  • Pediatrician
  • Dentist
  • Specialists such as cardiologists, dermatologists, or physical therapy
Building connections in your new location provides valuable insights into your new community, including referrals. Attend local events, join community groups, or become a member of exclusive local clubs. Networking with neighbors and local business owners can open doors to unique local experiences.

5. Ensure a thoughtful new home search

Arguably, the greatest sense of joy in any move comes from the purchase of a new home. The feeling of satisfaction and relief is incredibly potent when acclimating to a new state, where a new house quickly becomes a sanctuary. A familiar and comfortable space as you spend time outside the home exploring your new community.

  • Virtually research your destination: You'll lean heavily on your real estate professional throughout your home search, but their initial insight is critical to informing your virtual home search. Spend plenty of online time researching viable neighborhoods and homes, local amenities, and distance to schools, local services and attractions that interest you — so you waste little time during the in-person search.
  • Consider renting short-term: It requires an additional, though less cumbersome, move between homes, but a short-term rental is beneficial as you look for your long-term home. It allows you to get your bearings in your new destination with minimal commitment and provide ample time to perform a thoughtful and thorough in-person home search. A realtor well-versed in client relocations can facilitate the process.
  • Think long-term: The first house you buy in your new state won't be the last residential purchase you make. As you fulfill immediate and near-future needs, keep an eye on the long-term impact of your move. Stay current on local real estate developments. As you grow more comfortable with your new locale and lifestyle and understand the area's outlook and trends, you'll find yourself in a better position to navigate opportunities and further enhance your standing in what is now a successfully established home.

Ready to discover your future Bergen County home?

Whether a local move or out-of-state relocation, purchasing a luxury home in Bergen County is more than acquiring a property; it's about embracing a lifestyle and building a beautiful life. To help you navigate the challenging yet deeply gratifying relocation process, contact The Madison Group today to begin your home-buying journey. Allow our team's years of experience and expertise to assist you in finding and securing the perfect luxury residence to start your new life in Bergen County.


Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, upsizing, downsizing or an experienced real estate investor, Michele personally ensures that all Madison Group clients are treated with the honesty, respect, and efficiency that you deserve.