Be Prepared to Pay the Hidden Costs of Moving to Another State
Remote working has advantages beyond being able to attend Zoom meetings in your sweatpants. You can move closer to family or friends, head to a nicer climate, or live in a cheaper state.
As long as you have no in-office requirements, you can live wherever you want providing you are willing to deal with attending meetings in a different time zone.
Moving to your dream location does require money. Whether you hire a mover or load your own truck, there are moving costs. Selling a property, buying a property, paying the first two months rent and a security deposit on a new apartment, getting your security deposit back from your own place — these are all considerations that go into the decision to move and could cost you thousands of dollars.
However, when you move to another state, there are hidden costs that you may not fully comprehend. Some of these costs are, in fact, new payments that need to be made, and others are “time is money’’ costs.
The Costs of Moving Besides Moving
Let’s dive below the surface level to consider all of the financial and logistical moves you are going to make when you move to another state.
Driver’s License and Car Registration
Although most states give you a grace period before getting a new driver’s license (for example, it’s 90 days when you move into Illinois), you still want to do that as quickly as you can because you are likely to need identification that has your current address on it for other chores.
There will be a fee to acquire a new driver’s license, and you may end up taking a test or two to get licensed. This can serve as your official government-issued ID card if you ever need to prove where you live. The average cost of a new driver’s license nationwide is $34, but it costs $89 to get a new license in Virginia.
You will need to register your vehicle(s) with the new state, getting new license plates and local registration stickers. Even if your license plate has several months remaining on its registration in your previous state of residence, you will save yourself any explaining if you get pulled over or in an accident.
The average cost for vehicle registration and plates is $54 nationwide, but in Florida that will cost you $225.
Let your auto insurance company know your new location and new license plate numbers. Since insurance rates vary based on location, you may see a change in your premium due to your move. Who knows? Maybe your premium will decrease.
This will not cost you money, but it will cost you time. You are going to want to update your voter registration information, and you are likely going to want to let your former state know that you are no longer eligible to vote in that state. Otherwise, your current vote could get hung up in a technicality (and there are more of those today than there were in previous years).
Voter registration should come at no cost and can usually be done online in 42 states and Wasington, D.C.
It is possible that you will be able to use the same bank with the same checking or savings account. Your routing number will change, because routing numbers are assigned based on the state of the bank branch where you opened the account. Ask your bank if you need to alert all of your direct deposit senders (employer, pension, income tax refunds) that you have a new routing number. Even for brick-and-mortar banks, you can likely handle this online.
If you are changing banks because your current bank does not have any locations or ATMs in your new state, then you need to contact everyone who uses your current banking information. That includes apps, direct deposit senders, subscriptions, and any other service or product that accesses your banking information for payments.
Electric, Water and Gas
All of these service providers charge you based on usage in your home. You need to contact the provider for your previous location to stop billing there once you leave, and then you need to start services for your arrival date in your new home. If you do not tell the power company that you no longer live at your old address, you will be charged for monthly service fees, even if you are not there using the electric, gas or water at that location.
When you set up these services at your new address, there may be reconnection charges, assuming the services were turned off by the previous resident when they moved.
For example, if you are moving to Las Vegas and need to start service with NV Power, you will pay a deposit of the last 12 months of service at the address you are moving to. If there was no service there — maybe it’s new construction — be prepared to pay a $140 deposit to start service.
It is advised to contact utilities two to three weeks before your move. Some utilities require a security deposit before activating service, and the amount of your security deposit could depend on your credit rating.
In some states, you have a choice of electric or gas supply companies. Discuss your choices with your Realtor or city utility personnel — they usually handle water, garbage and sewer — before you move.
Wi-Fi and Internet
For Wi-Fi service, you need to contract with an internet provider, even if you are not going to use cable TV. The cost of the service varies widely throughout the country and depends on the provider, but you will likely need to pay a monthly fee of $5-$15 for the modem and router.
The average cost for Wi-Fi and internet service is $61 but it is dependent on your local provider’s capabilities.There is a difference in prices between cable, fiber or satellite service. If you want cable for TV watching, you will pay more.
If you are moving from a single family home, then the city in which you lived charges you for city services such as trash pickup and possibly sewer and water. Contact your City Hall and let them know they are losing a resident, and ask them to stop any charges under your name related to that address.
They will certainly miss you at the gym or fitness center, but they won’t stop charging you the membership fee unless you tell them to do so. This is true for any club you pay to be a member of (country club, golf course, tennis center, etc.) There are many stories, some hilarious (“I want to quit the gym!”) and some horrific, about how hard it is to get a gym or fitness center to stop charging members who no longer use the facility.
If you are moving from one climate condition to another, you are likely going to need to alter your wardrobe. Whether your move is latitudinal or longitudinal, you are going to need lighter weight clothes or heavier clothes, different types of outerwear and footwear. If you are moving from a warm climate to a cold and snowy one, you are going to need winter wear.
How much you spend on your weather-appropriate wardrobe is up to you, but it needs to be a consideration. If you’re in need of winter coats, check out the local thrift stores in warmer climates. You may find that many people offloaded them when they moved south.
Who Needs Your New Address
You will be amazed by the number of times you need to change your legal address when you move. This is true whether you move within a state or to a new state, but the new state rules and regulations may be different than what you are accustomed to.
In most cases, it will not cost you money to change your address, but again, in the “time is money’’ category, this is going to be expensive.
- Your employer. If you are keeping your remote job but moving to a new location, your employer would probably like to know that.
- Post Office. You need to file a change of address with your old post office, which will receive and forward any mail that comes to your old address. Make a note of any mail you received over the last month before you move to see if there are contacts you need to file a change of address with. Likewise, you will want to check in with your new post office branch to indicate that you now live at the new address and the former resident no longer lives there. This process is going to cost you $1.05.
- Subscriptions. If you still receive anything in the mail on a subscription basis, you need to contact the provider.
- Passport. Good news! You don’t need to change your address in your passport because your old one may not even be in there. On U.S. passports, there is a place where you can write in your address. You can erase the old one if you were smart enough to write it in pencil or use whiteout to create a new address.
- Ride-sharing apps. OK, this one you are going to want to do. One of the great points of ride-sharing apps is that you only need to touch the “home’’ button to indicate where you are going, or where you are leaving from. If you don’t change this address immediately, you will do so after the first time the driver tries to take you back to Oklahoma.
- Delivery services. If you get groceries or meals delivered, you want to ensure those services have your correct address.
- Other apps. Look through your phone home screen and see if there are any other apps that need to know your current address.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Costs of Moving
We’ve rounded up the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the costs of moving.
There are the basics, such as moving trucks, vans and movers. There is also the cost of your personal transportation to the new location. The other costs relate to services you received in your old home (electric, gas, water) and must initiate in your new home (with likely turn-on charges).
There are fees for getting a new driver’s license and auto registration, plus you may have to pay a deposit to start power, cable and/or internet service. Your automobile insurance rates are likely to change, but that could be positive or negative. There is a slight fee for an official change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.
While most other hidden costs are the ones that cost you time rather than money, you can be charged for services you are no longer personally receiving at your old home if you do not file a change of address or alert those service providers you no longer live there.
Most moving services offer a state-to-state move budget calculator. Your move budget will depend on how much you are moving and how far you are going. Your budget for the move will be in the thousands of dollars, but you can reduce those costs by shipping some items or hauling some items by yourself.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.