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Tips for Cross-Country Moves

Are you preparing to move to Texas from one of the coasts or the northern part of the United States? Or are you leaving Dallas to take a job in a new state and need to prepare for the move? While cross-country moves can be very exciting, they can also be extremely stressful—especially if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips for making the move successfully and with as little stress as possible.

1. Decide What to Do with Vehicles

Fortunately, if you are moving within the contiguous United States, you will have the option of driving your vehicle to your new home. However, if you have several vehicles or need to drive a moving van instead of your car, you will have to look at other options. Some of those who are moving choose to recruit friends or family members to drive their extra vehicles for them, then fly them back home afterward.

Others opt for shipping their cars to their new location. Though this can cost around $900 per vehicle, it may end up being cheaper and less of a hassle than paying for extra gas and buying a plane ticket for an additional person to drive your car for you.

2. Understand the New Cost of Living

If you’re preparing to make the big move, you’ve likely already secured a new home and know what your monthly cost of rent or a mortgage will be. However, you may not have considered the cost of living in other areas, such as groceries, gas, dining out, transportation, utilities, and childcare. This can come as a big shock if you’ve budgeted the same amount of monthly living costs and find that your new home is much more expensive. Do some research before your move and price out all the services, items, and activities you spend your money on to make sure you are setting an accurate budget.

3. Pare Down Belongings

A cross-country move is the perfect time to get rid of excess belongings you no longer need and will just clutter up your new home. Not only will this make packing and moving easier, but it will also add to your feeling of a new beginning once you get to your new home.

As you go through your stuff, create keep, donate, and sell piles. You can sell items like quality handbags or brand-name clothes on sites like Poshmark and other items on Letgo.com or on buy and sell pages on social media sites. This not only helps you get rid of cumbersome belongings, but it will also help you earn money that you can use for moving expenses.

4. Make Sure You’ve Taken Care of All the Details

There’s a lot involved with making a move to a new part of the country, and it can be easy to let little details fall between the cracks. Before you close and lock your front door for the final time, make sure you’ve forwarded your mail, cancelled or transferred any necessary utilities, cancelled or transferred memberships such as those to the gym, and collected personal records from your doctor, your pet’s veterinarian, and your college. It may be helpful to make yourself a checklist of all services, subscriptions, and memberships that you’ll need to cancel.

If you’ve been renting, make sure you’ve communicated with your landlord and arranged a way to drop off your key. If you’ve sold your home, check with your agent one final time to make sure you’ve signed all necessary documents to transfer ownership to the person who bought it.

5. Recruit Some Assistance

Packing up a home is not a small job — especially if you have lived there for multiple years or have kids and pets. Now is a great time to get in some more time with those friends and family members you will be leaving behind when you move. Ask them to come over for a day or evening and help you pack. Offer to order pizza and grab a couple bottles of wine or a case of beer and make the experience a fun bon voyage party.

6. Know Which Professionals You Want to Work With

There’s no reason why you need to go through the packing and moving process alone. Hiring a company to help you with the move is one of the best ways to ensure everything goes smoothly and take some of the burden off your shoulders. Professional movers can not only ensure all your belongings make it to your new home safely, but they can also assist with packing. Though using a pro is not inexpensive (they will usually charge anywhere from $1500 to $15,000 depending on the size of your home, how much you will be moving, and the distance between your two homes), it is often well worth the added cost. Just make sure the movers you choose are licensed and insured.

7. Pack a Moving Day Essentials Bag

Depending on where you’re going and if you choose to stop for breaks, moving cross-country can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days. Because most of your items will be packed into boxes that are not easily accessible, it’s important to remember to pack a few bags for the trip and have them handy.

You should include one or two changes of clothes, your needed toiletries, snacks for the road, medications, any important documents you’ll need, a phone charger, and any baby or pet necessities that apply.

8. Examine All Items After Moving

If you’ve hired a moving company to assist with your cross-country move, it’s essential that you check all your items as soon as you get to your new house to look for damage. This is especially important for valuable or large items like furniture and appliances. If there is damage, you need to contact the movers immediately to request reimbursement.

Moving cross-country is the start of a new adventure. To make sure you are properly prepared for what this journey entails, follow the tips in this article. Need help selling your home before you move or ready to buy a new house in your new town? Reach out to an experienced real estate agent like Steve Killingback for help.

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Steve Killingback uses his eye for detail and design, combined with knowledge and instincts, gained from extensive global travel, to transform a house into a home. Contact him today!

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