What to consider before moving out of state

by Badgley Phelps | Nov 26, 2021

Washingtonians and Californians are moving to Texas; Oregonians and Idahoans are moving to Washington (Lendingtree)—many people are moving out of state these days. It’s no wonder people may desire a change of scenery after being confined to their “home base” geographic region for so long during the pandemic. But while a change of address may sound appealing, and even exciting, it’s important to step back and objectively evaluate the alternatives before making the move. Here are several things to consider if you are thinking of moving out of state.  

Location

It is important to carefully research where you think you want to reside. The cost of living can vary dramatically between states. In some locations this can work in your favor, but in others it may negatively impact your lifestyle.

Real estate

The housing market has been on fire this year but, depending on where you relocate, you may be paying up for a comparable home or be forced to downsize. In addition, there are real estate taxes and insurance costs to consider. Finally, if you are moving to a state that has a proclivity for natural disaster and severe weather, you can expect insurance costs to be higher.

Taxes

In addition to real estate taxes there are state and local taxes to consider. Income tax, sales tax, and estate taxes can vary significantly by state. California has the highest income tax rates in the U.S. and is closely followed by Hawaii. And Hawaii and Washington have the highest estate tax in the nation. Cities with the highest sales tax include Chicago, Illinois, and Long Beach, California. If you are currently residing in a state with low- or no-income tax, it is important to calculate just how much this may erode your budget.

Transportation

Is it important to you to be located near a major airport? Are there public transportation options? What are automobile insurance rates in your desired zip code? These are all factors to consider when making the decision whether to move out of state.  

Health

Where you live affects your health. Research life expectancy rates in the area you’re thinking of moving to and things like the status of air and water quality. Beyond environmental factors, there are many other health-related things to think about. Are there quality medical and dental services available? If you are retired, are these providers accepting new Medicare patients?

Things to do

It’s important to make sure that anywhere you’re considering moving offers the same level of cultural and recreational activities that you enjoy doing now. Are things to do readily accessible? Are the demographics a good fit? Is there a “sense of community” that works for you?  

Try before you buy

Even if your desired location checks all the boxes above, you might want to consider trying before buying by renting in the desired location for a few months before committing to home ownership. In case you decide this was a mistake, you have not created undue hardship or upended your prior living situation.  And if it truly is the location of your dreams, you can make the move more confidently by getting to know the community first.

 

Originally published on November 22, 2021  

 

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