Moving out of state might seem like an incredibly expensive and, at times, nearly impossible transition. However, with some planning and budgeting on the front end, you’ll find it’s doable! Before packing your moving boxes, make sure you have enough in your bank account for what’s ahead:
According to Zillow’s rent calculator, most landlords check to ensure your rent is no more than one-third of your gross (pre-tax) income. So, if you make $6000/month, you would likely qualify for an apartment that’s $2,000/month or less. This rule of thumb safeguards against overspending (and eviction) by ensuring you can pay for rent, bills, and still have money left over for savings.
Most landlords and apartment buildings will request a document showing proof of income before extending a lease agreement. While many accept W-2s or pay stubs, if you’re starting a new job, you could ask your new employer for a letter verifying your income. Alternatively, you may have to find a co-signer or cough up a few months’ worth of rent when you sign.
Security Deposit & Application Fee
Almost all lease agreements require the tenant to pay a security deposit equivalent to at least one month’s rent. The landlord returns this deposit when you move out, provided your apartment passes final inspection. Additionally, you’ll probably have to pay an application fee that covers background and credit checks, ranging from $20-$100.
If your long-distance move takes you to New York City, then brace yourself for an entirely new apartment leasing experience. Not only are NYC apartments snatched up fast, but many can only be rented through a real estate broker. These brokers help you locate an apartment that meets your criteria, giving you a competitive edge in a fast-paced, cut-throat real estate market. However, on the flip side, that service comes with a hefty price tag. Most brokers charge a fee equal to one month’s rent or up to 15% of the apartment’s annual rent. If you’re moving to New York, try to find a no-fee apartment or make sure you have the cash saved to cover the fee.
Moving costs add up, especially when you’re trekking halfway across the country. As you prep your moving budget, make sure you keep the following expenses in mind:
- Cost of transporting your goods: Whether you hire full-service long distance movers, rent a portable storage pod, or lease a U-Haul and drive yourself, you need to estimate the cost of moving your goods from Point A to Point B. Start by getting quotes on all three options, then decide what’s compatible with your budget and needs.
- Packing supplies: You might be surprised by how many boxes and bundles of packing paper it takes to get your home boxed up and ready for the move. While you can use things from around the house as padding and score free boxes from local stores, you still might need to break down and buy a few things.
- Transporting your vehicle: Is this move an excuse to plan a fun road trip along the way, or do you need to beeline it to your next home to start that new job? Either way, be sure to factor in the cost of transporting your car the new place. If driving it yourself, factor in the price of gas, plus hotels and food. If shipping it, make sure you gather quotes from auto transport companies.
Unless your landlord covers the utilities, you’re going to have to pay them on your own. These usually include electricity, gas, water, cable, and internet access, which generally amounts to somewhere between $100-$200/month. Additionally, most utility providers require a deposit to start service, so have a few hundred on hand to pay that expense as well.
Usually, transportation costs depend on where you live but keep in mind that these costs can be anywhere from $20 to $100 a month. Although bus or train passes are cheap, you may need to rent out a parking spot if you own a car, which gets pricey.
It’s essential to prepare for the surprises that life may throw at you. You should set aside $250 to $500 for everyday emergencies, such as a stolen laptop, flat tire, broken heating/AC unit, etc. The last thing you want to do is drop all your paycheck in an emergency, rather than paying rent on time, so make sure you have an emergency savings account in place.
Moving out of state is not an easy process. However, with the help of this guide, you can budget easier and accurately estimate how much money you’ll need when you move.