Ultimate Timeline & Checklist For Relocating To A New City

Are you planning to relocate to a new city? Use this moving timeline & checklist to help navigate the process and prepare for possible challenges ahead of time.

6 to 12+ Months Before The Move – Dream Stage

1. Create A Moving Plan – Decide Why You Want To Move

The most common reason that people move to a new city is for a job opportunity. If this is your case then your timeframe may be sooner than 6 months and you might already know what city you will be moving to. Maybe you are thinking of making a move for other reasons and you’re not sure where you want to go. Either way, it’s best to start your search with a clear plan.

Get a binder or spiral notebook that is dedicated to keeping notes about moving. If you’re not sure where you want to move yet, start by writing down a list of reasons why you want to move. Being clear about your motivation for making a move will help you more easily decide where you want to go.

☐ 2. Discuss The Move With Children

Moving can be difficult for kids, so if you have children, be sure to discuss your plans early on in the process so they have time to warm up to the idea. This will give them plenty of time to say goodbye to friends and not feel too overwhelmed when the move is underway.

☐ 3. Research States & Cities Online

If you already know where you will be moving, your next step is to research neighborhoods, schools, commute times, home prices, and market trends in the area. This will help you zero in on specific places where you would want to live,

If you aren’t sure where you want to move, your next step is to research states and cities online that match your reasons for moving. Keep notes on what different cities have to offer and begin to narrow in on 2 or 3 that largely fit your criteria. Write down top rated restaurants, parks, shopping, and tourist attractions to visit.

4. Research Schools

If you have kids, learning about the schools in a new town will be very important. A great resource for this is https://www.greatschools.org/

☐ 5. Create A Budget

Moving is not easy or cheap, there are many costs to consider. Do you need to sell your current home before you can buy a new one? How much will you have for a downpayment and closing costs? Use a basic mortgage calculator to find a comfortable price range for your budget. You will also need to calculate the cost of hiring movers, on average this costs about $5,000. If you’re moving DIY, you’ll need to calculate how much a moving truck or containers will cost. Budget extra money for unexpected expenses such as paying for a storage unit in your new city.

☐ 6. Schedule Trips To Visit Your Top Cities

You will need to plan a trip to visit your top 1 to 3 cities to get familiar with the location and what different neighborhoods have to offer. Be sure to stop by several of the top rated restaurants, shops, parks, and tourist attractions while you’re there.

Continue to take detailed notes, both pros and cons, of each area you visit . Spend at least 3 to 5 days touring each city and surrounding towns to make your final selection.


3 to 6 Months Before The Move – Information Gathering Stage


☐ 7. Hire A Real Estate Agent – Will you Rent or Buy A Home?

Now that you’ve decided what city you will be moving to, it’s time to gather enough information so you feel confident when the time comes to buy your new home. Some people find it easier to rent for 3 to 6 months so they have time to look for their new home and not feel rushed. The downside to this option is that you will essentially be moving twice.

If you are planning to move directly into your new home, then it’s important that you have thoroughly researched the area and know exactly what type of home you are looking for.

Hiring an expert Realtor at this stage of the process will help guide you in the right direction. They can share insights about the area that you may otherwise not know and assist in the home hunting process. A top agent will also be able to help connect you with other professionals such as local lenders, title attorneys, handymen, and contractors.

☐ 8. Research Moving Companies – Make a List of Questions to Ask Movers

Compile a list of local moving companies and their costs so you know who to call when the time comes. Many companies stay booked out for weeks so plan ahead. If you’re planning to pack and move yourself, take note of available companies in your current area who rent trucks or containers. Truck rental options include Penske, U-Haul, Enterprise, and Budget. If you’re moving an entire household of belongings over a long distance, consider using a popular freight mover such as; Estes, SureMove, U-Pack, or Old Dominion Household Services.

☐ 9. Create House Packing Plan

Before you start boxing up your belongings, write out a plan for each room and how you will pack. Start by packing non-essentials like electronics, books, pictures, and home decor items. Pack essentials last such as dishes, cooking items, clothes, and toiletries. Hold a garage sale or donate items you don’t need in your new home to a local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, or Salvation Army.


2 Months Before The Move

☐ 10. Give 60 Day Notice to Your Landlord (if renting)

☐ 11. Get a Pre-Approved With a Local Lender

If you are planning to buy a home, this is point where you should be fully pre-approved and ready to start touring homes for sale. When you find the perfect home, you will be ready to put an offer on it. 

☐ 12. Start House Shopping With Your Realtor

If you haven’t already found your new home, it’s time to let your Realtor know that you are ready to go. Homes are selling & renting quickly in this market so you need to make sure you’re working with an agent who communicates well and knows the market.


6 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 13. Schedule Movers or Ask Friends & Family to Help With a DIY Move

☐ 14. Purchase Moving Supplies

☐ 15. Get Final Estimates from Movers or Ask Friends to Help With a DIY Move

☐ 16. Book Rental Truck

☐ 17. Reserve a Storage Unit

☐ 18. Make Travel Arrangements

☐ 19. Contact Health Insurance Provider

☐ 20. Notify Schools of Your Move

☐ 21. Update Auto Insurance and Homeowners Insurance


5 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 22. Start Using Up Refrigerated Food and Pantry Items

☐ 23. Strategize Your Packing Process

☐ 24. Host a Garage Sale

☐ 25. Donate Possessions

☐ 26. Sell Gently-Used Items

☐ 27. Decide Whether to Take Appliances

☐ 28. Update All Memberships


4 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 29. Service Your Car

☐ 30. Home Under Contract or Rental Lease Signed – Begin Packing

☐ 31. Dispose of Hazardous Items Like Paint & Chemicals

☐ 32. Confirm Date & Time with Moving Company

☐ 33. If Necessary Lock Down Short Term Housing

☐ 34. Schedule Car Shipping Service

☐ 35. Notify Friends & Family of Your Move


3 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 36. Notify Service Providers

☐ 37. Forward Mail From Post Office

☐ 38. Arrange for Child Care on Moving Day

☐ 39. Transfer Utilities

☐ 40. Decide What to Do With Plants

☐ 41. Pay Any Unpaid Parking Tickets

☐ 42. Change Social Security & Medicare Mailing Address


2 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 43. Forward Medical Records

☐ 44. Transfer Your Prescriptions

☐ 45. Order New Furniture & Decor

☐ 46. Secure a Parking Spot for the Moving Truck

☐ 47. Schedule Painters for New Home

☐ 48. Update Bank Account & Credit Card Billing Addresses

☐ 49. Gather All Warranty Information & Manuals


1 Weeks Before The Move


☐ 50. Clean Old Home

☐ 51. Finish Last Minute Errands

☐ 52. Inspect Old Home With Landlord (if renting)

☐ 53. Pack Kitchenware & Essentials

☐ 54. Take Care of Trash Removal & Recycling


Day Before The Move


☐ 55. Pack Suitcases & Essentials

☐ 56. Tell Neighbors About Your Move

☐ 57. Get Cash for a Tip


Moving Day


☐ 58. Have Water Bottles On-Hand

☐ 59. Take Inventory

☐ 60. Do a Final Sweep of the House

☐ 61. Hand Over the Keys


After The Move


☐ 62. Unpack

☐ 63. Clean the New House

☐ 64. Check on the Return of Security Deposit

☐ 65. Explore Your New Neighborhood

☐ 66. Change House Locks

☐ 67. Learn Trash Pickup Days

☐ 68. Check Smoke Alarms

☐ 69. Call for Pest Control

☐ 70. Establish Domicile in the New State

☐ 71. Update Driver’s License

☐ 72. Register to Vote

☐ 73. Baby-Proof the New Home

☐ 74. Meet Your New Neighbors

☐ 75. Register Your Pet