11 Tips To Make Relocating For A New Job Easy (Free Guide)
You aced the interview and got a new job. But now you have to relocate yourself halfway across the country. Relocating for a new job is a big life event, but you can minimize the stress and don’t have to break the bank.
Right after college, I got a job offer for a full-time job In Warren, Michigan. For those of you don’t know, Warren is just north of Detroit city limits and about 1,000 miles from Wichita, Kansas, where I’m from. All of my interviews were either Skype or phone interviews so I had never seen the area and in a short time, I needed to move out of Wichita and move to the Detroit Metro Area.
Here are the 11 things I did to make relocating for a new job a breeze:
1. Give yourself plenty of time.
2. Research the area.
3. Create a list of places to live.
4. Visit and document everything.
5. Sleep on it then make your final decision.
6. Finalize your living situation.
7. Prepare to move and declutter!
8. Find the best way to move.
9. Make the move.
10. Get your car registered and address changed.
11. Go explore!
Uprooting yourself from any situation is going to be uncomfortable at first. But if you prepare correctly you can remove most of the stress involved. Keep reading as I dive into each step.
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
This was my biggest mistake that I made. For a lot of the move, I always seemed rushed and felt like I didn’t have enough time. In the end, it all worked out but had I given myself an extra week or two it would have reduced my stress (and maybe ripping out what little hair I have left) considerably.
Start by making a list of the major tasks you have to do and assign how long you think it will take to complete it. I had allowed for a four day trip to Detroit to apartment hunt, then another 4 days to pack up my things in Kansas and then finally a two-day car trip to move to my new apartment. Doing this gave me a 4 day weekend to get settled in before I started my new job.
That 4 day weekend was a life saver but I wish I would have started the process of getting ready to relocate weeks before. Whatever you figure you need add a week to it. Seriously, it’s always better to be early than feel rushed and stressed.
2. Research The Area
The Detroit Metro area is massive, it is approximately 3,888 square miles and there are a lot of places where someone could live. Some of these places are really nice, other parts are not so nice. Since I didn’t visit the area during my interview process, I had to do a ton of research on where I wanted to live.
I used resources like HR (who I already had a relationship with through the interview process), reach out to some new co-workers and ask for their advice, and ask around your friends and see if they or someone they know has lived in that area. I got some recommendations from my new manager, a new co-worker, a classmate who grew up in the area, and a longtime family friend.
This group of people plus some simple googling gave me a good direction to start my apartment hunt.
3. Create A List Of Places To Live
Before I got to Detroit for my apartment hunting trip, I had a massive spreadsheet of apartments that I was going to visit. I had used apartments.com, Trulia, Zillow, and Google to come up with a list and recorded the apartment name, address, square footage, price, web address, Google Review, and some basic notes. Apartment hunting is exhausting.
I also came up with more places to visit just by driving around and seeing the area. A really neat trick is to create a custom map in Google Maps. When creating a custom map you can upload a spreadsheet and it will use the address field and place markers for each address.
This is super helpful so I didn’t have a ton of tabs open with getting addresses mixed up. I grouped mine by city and included the ratings in the review. This map allowed me to make a logical route to minimize my travel time while maximizing the number of apartments I saw in a day.
4. Visit and Document Everything
After visiting lots of apartments, they all start to seem the same and after a long day of visits, it gets very easy to get them mixed up. So when visiting everything, take lots of notes and tons of pictures. Most places will give you brochures or at least a business card at the beginning of the tour. I recommend taking a picture of this so you know that the next pictures in your camera roll will be for that location.
Be sure to ask lots of questions, even if you think you might have read something online, always be sure to ask so you know for sure. Also, the person showing you the apartment is there to help you and give you all the information you need to make sure you ask questions. Some important things to ask or make note of are:
- What utilities is the tenant responsible for?
- What amenities are included?
- How is laundry handled? (In unit, on site laundry, washer hook-ups, etc.)
- Is there any covered parking?
- Are there application fees?
- What type of heating and cooling?
- How much is rent?
- How much is the deposit?
5. Sleep On It Then Make Your Final Decision
After visiting everything, it’s time to review your notes and start to make your final decision. Now you don’t need to make a super complex decision matrix to come to your final conclusion but I do recommended making a simple spreadsheet to make things easier.
In my spreadsheet I had listed, the drive time and distance to my new job, the safety, and quality of the area, condition of building, Google reviews, and having a parking structure (to make the Michigan winters a little easier), and having central air conditioning or not.
Using my spreadsheet, I came up with my final decision and filled out the application for that apartment complex. After sleeping on it, I completed my application and dropped it off the next day.
If you are struggling with making a decision then try to get down to two or three options. From their simply weigh the pros and cons of each of them. Most of my decisions are made this way and it saves a ton of time.
6. Prepare For Signing
After turning in the application, you should hear back shortly if you were accepted or not. If you got accepted, then congratulations! Now you have a few things you need to prep for the lease signing. First thing is that you will need to schedule when your move-in day will officially be and when you will be signing the lease.
Next, you will need to find out which utilities you will have to get in your name. For me, I had to get my electric from one company, my gas from a different company, and water was provided by the landlord. Utilities suck, to say the least.
In addition, you will need renters insurance. Some landlords offer a liability only policy, but I strongly recommended you get your own plan so that it covers your personal property. The easiest way to find the best deal is to get a bunch of quotes from the major insurance companies.
When you schedule your lease signing, the landlord should tell you how you much owe up front, this will typically include your first month’s rent, any pro-rated rent, cleaning/admin fees. Once you know the final amount, you need to get a cashier’s check for you bank.
Pro Tip: To make the bank tellers job a little easier, type and print off the check amount, who it needs to get paid to, and address of the apartment complex.
7. Prepare For The Move and Declutter
Now that you found where you are going to be moving to, it’s time to make the actual move. This is a great time to go through all of your belongings and see if some things are not going to make the move with you. I’ve started watching the Netflix Show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ and there’s a lot of great tips in there for decluttering.
It also made me realize I have a ton of crap. Stuff that I haven’t touched in years and just don’t want. On the other hand, I have other things that I do want to keep but don’t use regularly. I took these to my parent’s house to store.
This is a great time to upgrade some pieces of furniture too. If you’ve have had an old couch that is a pain to move, then it might be time to sell or donate that couch and buy a new one once you make the move.
The more stuff you get rid of the easier the move!
8. Find The Best Way To Move
There are a ton of ways of getting your possessions from point A to point B. And it all depends on what’s in your price range and how much stuff you have to move. The most common options are using a U-Haul box truck or trailer and moving things yourself or hiring a professional company to do it for you.
U-Hauls are great if you don’t have a ton of stuff or if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves doing some lifting. Professional companies are great if you have a ton of things and want someone else to do the heavy lifting.
Another option that is popping up more and more is using PODS. PODS are essentially shipping containers that get dropped off at your current location, you load them up, and the company will do the transporting for you. It’s the middle ground between a U-Haul and a professional company. Still, it’s best to find what fits your needs.
For my move, the best option for me was renting a cargo van from Enterprise. I went with the cargo van because it was cheaper and easier to drive than a box truck, and I didn’t have enough items for a POD container.
I will say this option only worked because my dad was able to drive the van up and back because the rental had to be returned back in Kansas. So I had to take the fuel costs for taking a van to and from Michigan.
9. Make The Move
Compared to all the prep work that went into everything, I found that relocating itself wasn’t too bad.
Another key thing to do is to try and recruit some help for the last part of the move unless you enjoy moving couches by yourself. I was fortunate to have my Dad help me, but you can also reach out to some of your new co-workers if you don’t have any friends or family in the area.
Just make sure to either pay them (beer usually does the trick) or at the very least offer to take them to lunch/dinner since they are helping you out.
10. Get Your Car Registered and Address Changed
If you are relocating for a new job to a different state, you’ll need to get a new driver’s license and new plates. This will require a little research on how to complete this task. In Kansas, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is at the county level and that’s where this is all accomplished. For Michigan, everything is done at a Secretary of State Office and is at a state level meaning it didn’t matter if I went to the one across the street or in the Upper Peninsula.
Your new co-workers will be a great resource for getting you started. When you go to get your car registered to make sure to do your homework and bring all the required paperwork. Every state is a little bit different but usually, you will need your old license, a passport or birth certificate, your new insurance, and something to prove that you are officially a resident.
Check online to see which documents you need exactly. While you are on their website, check to see if you can get a place in line or schedule a time so you don’t have to waste your time waiting all day.
The last thing you need to do is set up an official change of address through the United States Postal Service. You can either do it for free and by going to the post office and turning in a form, or you can do it online and they charge you $1.00.
11. Explore The Area
The move is over, everything is set up now comes for the most important one. Explore the area and get to know your new home! It can be scary to relocate to an entirely new area especially if you don’t have any family or friends in the area, but if you hate the city/area then you will be miserable, plain and simple. So, make sure you explore the area and make the new place feel like somewhere you want to be.
Go to some bars with some co-workers, join a club/group using meetup, find some local cuisine, go to a sports game, if you’re religious find a home church, explore some parks, or go to a museum. In this day and age, it’s so easy to find an event or group, so find something you are really interested in and you will meet new friends really quickly.
When I came to Michigan, I joined the Detroit Boat Club, went climbing with a co-worker, tried out a ton of the local breweries, and went to some Detroit City FC games. Because I did some of those things, I learned a ton about the area and got to make some incredible friends. So, find things you are passionate about, go out and have fun!
Wrapping It Up
Relocating for a new job is an exciting time but all too often that excitement is overshadowed by stress. If you follow the tips above I fully believe that your move will be a breeze.
Embrace this new period in your life. You’re stepping into the unknown, which most people will never do, and I personally think that’s awesome. A new job, new area, new friends to be made. At the end of the day relocating for a new job is what you make it so make it great.
To wrap it up I want to thank Shelby from YD&NB for letting me share my story on relocating for a new job. If you haven’t already, add your information to the email list box above.
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