Moving to another state can be exhilarating. It can provide a fresh start and new opportunities. However, moving can be costly and difficult to undo if you change your mind. As a result, you will likely want to be relatively sure about your move before you commit to it.
New York state, in particular, is a very unique place. It has a varied geography, from its mountain ranges and lakes in its center and north to the most populous city in the U.S. in the south. The climate also varies widely, from seaside coastal weather on Long Island to cool continental weather in upstate New York.
When moving to New York, you will find some of the most modern apartment buildings and homes standing alongside some of the oldest and most historic sites in American history. In New York, you can truly find almost anything you are looking for.
Here are ten tips for moving to New York:
Do Your Research
One of the key tips for moving to New York is to do your research before committing to your move. New York has a reputation for being costly, and you probably want to avoid arriving in New York with no plan.
If you have spent time traveling the state, you might already have some idea of where you want to relocate. For example, you might have already looked at houses for sale in White Plains because you have relatives nearby and know the area well.
However, if you have not spent time in New York, you might want to take some time to travel the state so you can get a feel for the areas where you might choose to live.
Remember, New York, like much of the U.S., has a climate that varies greatly during the year. As a result, one of the important tips for moving to New York is to visit the state a few different times during the year. While spring and fall might provide you with your ideal weather, you might find summer in the city or winter in Buffalo to be too extreme for your liking.
Fortunately, in an ordinary year, you will find music festivals, food festivals, fairs, parades, and other events that will give you a reason to travel to New York on scouting trips. Some of these events can only be experienced in New York, whether it be the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown or the annual Thanksgiving parade in New York City.
Understand Your Job Options
Unless you are retired, tips for moving to New York will include searching for If you have a job offer in hand, the decision to move to New York might be made simply based on whether you want the job. However, if you plan to seek work in New York, you will want to do some research on the industries based in New York and the best company to work for within your industry.
For example, if your education and experience is in corporate finance, you will likely focus your job search on New York City. Conversely, if you are an educator, you can search more broadly for jobs that meet your needs.
Since New York City is the most populous city in the U.S., most non-New Yorkers fail to appreciate how diverse New York’s economic base is. In addition to tourism and Wall Street finance, New York state has large health care, construction, professional services, and manufacturing sectors. Although your ideal job might require you to look in particular areas of the state, you should be able to find a job whether you are a doctor or an electronics assembler.
Set Your Budget
Once you have an idea of your job prospects, one of the important tips for moving to New York is to set a budget. Many of your necessary purchases, from groceries to utilities to cleaning services, will be more expensive in New York than in your home state. In fact, New York has one of the highest cost of living indexes among U.S. states.
Moreover, New York has a reputation as a high tax state. New York assesses a state income tax that will add anywhere from 4% to 9% to your annual tax bill.
Property taxes fund schools and vary from town to town. However, since they are assessed on the value of your land and home, the amount of the tax bill will tend to be higher because property values in New York tend to be higher.
Finally, sales taxes are assessed on all purchases except food and medication. Fuel and cigarettes are also taxed.
On the other hand, retirees will find that New York is a somewhat tax-friendly state. New York does not assess income tax on social security payments or public pensions. Private pensions and withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially exempt from state income tax. As a result, your tax bill as a retiree could be substantially less in New York than in other states.
Sell Your Home
Although this applies regardless of where you want to move, next on the list of tips for moving to New York is to sell your home. Depending on where you live, selling your home might take several months. If you need to arrive in New York on a specific date, you will need to:
- Plan ahead to sell your home,
- Price your home fairly and expect to drop the price as your move date approaches, or
- Be prepared to pay for two homes, at least temporarily.
If your move date is more flexible, you will probably be in a better position to maximize your sale price. Specifically, a flexible move date will allow you more room to negotiate the sale of your home and give you the time to brush up your home to maximize your sale price.
A few ideas for investments into your home that have a positive return on investment (ROI) include:
- Cleaning up your yard
- Fertilizing your lawn
- Painting or replacing your front door
- Residential cleaning
- Washing your windows and repairing any damaged window screens
These touch-up tasks can help you to justify your listed sale price by providing curb appeal to your home. Curb appeal helps you sell your home in a few ways:
- Increase value: Curb appeal increase the value of your home by an average of 7%.
- Get more views: Photos of homes with curb appeal are more likely to attract potential buyers to view the home.
- More offers: Homes that get more views tend to receive more offers. The main reason is that buyers believe they have greater competition for homes that have more showings. As a result, they are more likely to extend an offer to avoid being “shut out.”
Look for a New Home
One benefit of selling your home before you shop for a new home is that once you sell your home, you know exactly how much you can spend on your new home.
In fact, if it has been a while since you bought a home, you might not be aware that lenders can take information like your salary, your savings, and your profit from the sale of your home to pre-approve you for a mortgage. As long as you offer less than your pre-approval, the mortgage lender may be able to fund your home purchase in a matter of days instead of weeks.
New York’s housing market is a bit pricier than the rest of the country on average. However, there are still deals to be found. For example, if your employment is near Syracuse, you can buy a home for about $82,000.
If you plan to move to New York City, however, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. In New York City, the average home costs about $650,000. Rentals are not much cheaper. The median rent price in New York City is $2,900, nearly double the 2019 U.S. average rent of $1,465.
Plan Your Move
When you plan your move you will need to make some decisions that seem simple, but will be very consequential. The month of the year, time of the month, and the day of the week for your move will determine how far ahead you need to arrange your move.
Specifically, moving companies are busiest during the summer months, on weekends, and at the beginning and end of the month. This is perfectly logical:
- People tend to move between school years during summer break.
- People tend to pack and load moving trucks on weekends when they are not at work and have friends and family who can help them.
- Renters tend to give notice to landlords at the end of a rent term. For most people, their rental term ends on the last day of the month.
If you plan to move during these busier times, you might need to hire movers and reserve your moving truck several months, or even a year, ahead. If your move has been planned on short notice, one of the tips for moving to New York is to be flexible in your moving date to get a moving truck and movers.
Make Your Arrangements
Once you have an idea of when you are going to move, you need to see what is available and what the cost will be. You will likely need to save up some money because you might be expected to pay in advance and provide a deposit when you lease moving trucks.
Moreover, most moving companies charge for extras like moving blankets, furniture and appliance dollies, and packing materials. Additionally, you should watch for fuel surcharges, overtime charges, travel charges, and other fees that might be added onto your bill. You should build some leeway into your budget to cover these added expenses.
You should bear in mind that once you make your arrangements and sign a contract with the moving company, you will likely be liable for a penalty or a loss of deposits or advance payments if you cancel. Thus, one of the key tips for moving to New York is to only sign an agreement with the moving company after you have locked in a moving date.
If you do not know your exact move date, you might need to arrange temporary storage for your belongings. One tip for moving to New York is to store your possessions in roll-off bins. These containers can be used to securely store your stuff, then when your move date is settled, the containers are loaded onto a truck and shipped to your new home.
Pack Your Stuff
One of the most difficult parts of moving is deciding whether you should get rid of possession rather than moving them. Keep in mind that you might be downsizing your living space since New York real estate will usually be more expensive than in your current state. As a result, one of the tips for moving to New York is to either store your unneeded stuff in- home storage units or get rid of it before you move.
If you decide to downsize your possessions, you have a few options:
- Give it away: If you have friends and relatives who could use your stuff, giving it to them is an easy way to downsize.
- Donate it: The benefit of donating your stuff is that you receive a federal income tax deduction for the fair market value of the donation.
- Junk it: For some of your stuff, the city landfill might be its final destination. But do not despair, once you arrive in New York, you can replace anything you junked.
Remember to begin packing before moving day. That is, you will probably not be able to keep up with the movers if you are trying to pack as they load the moving truck. One of the tips for moving to New York is to seek out help packing. Friends and family are often eager to help and will only require payment in the form of pizza.
Make Your Move
On moving day, know what is going in the moving truck and what you are taking with you. Also, have some idea of how the truck will be loaded. For example, if you have a piano, be sure that the movers save enough room for the piano movers to load the piano into the truck.
Once the moving truck is loaded, it will be time to make your way to New York. If your trip will take more than one day, make sure you budget for hotels, fuel, and food for your trip to New York. Moreover, you should tune up your vehicle to reduce the chances of a breakdown along the way.
More likely than not, you will meet your movers in New York. If you are moving into a high rise, make sure you have all the move-in instructions for your building. Many multi-story buildings require movers to use the freight elevator and will need advance notice so the building manager or superintendent can provide you with access.
You will find more tips for moving to New York by conducting a bit of research before your move. But keep the big things in mind. Make sure you research the state before you commit to moving. Have a home and job ready for your arrival. Spruce up your prior home so you can maximize your selling price. Make moving arrangements as far ahead as possible.