How Long Does It Take To Move to a Different State?

A senior couple packing boxes together and preparing to move to a 55+ community.
A little preparation can make moving to a new state easier than you think.

5 minute read

Answer: On average, it takes 5-6 weeks to move to another state. However, that timeframe may differ for 55+ adults moving into an active adult community.

Moving to a different state can be quite a process. It may take less time if you’re downsizing many of your possessions, or it may take longer if you’re unfamiliar with your dream retirement state.

Either way, it can be a daunting task, and when you decide to move out of state, there are many factors to consider. Luckily, this isn’t an impossible task and a little preparation can make the process of moving across states easier than you think.

Prepare Your Budget Before You Move Out of State

Active adult woman is calculating her homebuying budget with a calculator.

Moving is probably not going to be cheap, so you need to figure out what your budget is before you get started. You’ll need to prepare for expenses like:

  • Renting a moving truck
  • Hiring movers
  • Fuel for your vehicles

You’ll also need to set aside money in case you have to pay to have your power turned on, file for paperwork, and fund any unexpected expenses that have a way of creeping up.

Determine the Cost of Living

A hand building wooden cubes with icons representing food, clothing, housing, and medicine.

Everyone on social media may be griping about the cost of living, but the truth is that some states are cheaper than others. From insurance to the price of homes to how much you’ll pay for bread and eggs, the cost will vary greatly. Make sure that you can afford the state you’re moving to before you make the big move.

Find a Job

An active adult woman smiling while working at a flower shop.

Are you interested in continuing to work? If so, you’ll want to have a job lined up before you move. At the very least, you need to make sure there are plenty of job opportunities in your field before you move out of state. If you’re happily retired and have no plans to continue working, then just enjoy the search for a new home. 

Choose Your New Home

A 55+ couple walking along a suburban street holding hands.

Find a home you’re happy with before settling on a state to call your home. Many 55+ communities allow you to tour the community before making a commitment, so take full advantage of this opportunity.

Sort Through Your Belongings

A 55+ woman donating, decluttering, and cleaning up old clothes.

Moving is a perfect time to get rid of some belongings you don’t want or don’t use. From the odd Christmas presents you never knew what to do with to the kitchen gadget that was all the rage for a month, this is your chance to pass it along.

You can have a yard sale, pass it along to someone who will appreciate it, or even donate it to charity. Whatever you choose to do, just don’t drag it along with you when you move out of state.

Start Packing

A 55+ couple having fun riding inside of a cardboard box while packing to move.

Don’t wait until the night before you’re moving out of your current home to begin putting stuff into boxes. This is especially important if you’re moving out of state because you won’t have time to do so the day of.

As soon as you settle on a home, begin gathering boxes, and packing stuff you don’t use every day. Filling just one box a day can help make the process less stressful as you get closer to the moving date. Adding labels can help when it comes time to unpack.

Create a Checklist

A 55+ homebuyer preparing a moving checklist.

You have plenty of items you’ll want. If you have a checklist of the items you’re taking along, as well as what you left behind, you won’t be pulling your hair out once you reach your destination. It also helps to have a checklist of your to-dos so you know what you’ve done and what still needs to happen.

Find a Moving Company

Two moving company workers unloading boxes and furniture from a minibus.

Hiring a moving company can save you a lot of time and trouble. Before hiring anyone, though, do your homework.

To do so, you can:

  • Ask friends and family who have moved recently
  • Read reviews online
  • Interview moving companies by calling them and asking for quotes

You can also check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make sure the moving companies you check out are properly licensed. This can help you weed out scammers from legitimate moving companies. 

Another factor to take into consideration is how long shipping takes. This can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days when moving your items out of state. In some cases, you may be waiting for your furniture for at least 21 days. Make sure you’re prepared by shipping your furniture ahead of you or planning to rough it for a few days.

Arrange for Travel

A happy senior couple having fun driving in a convertible car.

Once you have your big-ticket items settled, it’s time to figure out how you’ll reach your new home. Will it be that epic road trip you’ve always dreamed of but never had the time to go on? Or are you going to skip all that and fly? Some places even have train travel, so you can go old school. 

Get Your Pets Settled

A 55+ woman with her dog at home relaxing.

Before you move, make sure your pets are OK. It may be easier to let them stay with a relative while you get the house ready. If you’re flying or traveling by car, you can always take them along for the ride. 

For pets who aren’t good with travel, make sure you speak to your vet first. It’s also advised that you have a new vet set up for your pet when you reach your new home.

Don’t Forget the Paperwork

A 55+ couple checking financial documents to finalize their new home purchase.

This is probably the most tedious part of moving. It comes with tons of paperwork, like signing for your new home, selling your old home, informing the USPS of your new address and requesting that they forward your mail, and more. 

Some paperwork you’ll need to do includes:

  • Canceling your water, power, and other utilities
  • Turning on your utilities in your new state
  • Any paperwork your employer may have

Have a Party

Family and friends gathered together at a housewarming party.

Moving to a new state is great, but you’ll be leaving behind some of your friends and family. Don’t make it a sad affair, though. Have a get-together to say goodbye in person, and make sure you stay in contact with everyone through social media and have up-to-date phone numbers.

Let 55places Help!

You aren’t in this alone. 55places can help! Whether you have a question or need assistance making the move out of state, we’re here for you. Reach out to us today for more details.

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