How DO you move out of state?

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California in my rear view © by jjandames, used under Creative Commons license.
People pack up and move out of state all the time, right? It’s obviously a thing — a thing that my boyfriend and I can’t figure out how to do! In order to get an apartment, you have to have a job to prove your income; in order to get a job you have to live within a reasonable distance of the workplace. It would help to have family or friends up there, but none of our people have chosen to homestead there.

We want to ditch the overpriced California lifestyle and go to beautiful Offbeat Oregon! That romantic story of tossing all your stuff into a moving van and setting off on an adventure somewhere wonderful is exactly what we’re after. I’ve been applying to jobs in Oregon for months now and I’ve got zip to show for it. Not even a returned email. Sucky economy is not kind to out-of-state job search!

If it’s such a chicken and egg problem, how the heck do people do move out of state? Did everyone have a job offer before they left town? We’re at a loss.

Help us Offbeat Homies, you’re our only hope! -Dana B.

UPDATE: We moved out of state thanks to Offbeat Home & Life!

Comments on How DO you move out of state?

  1. I know this flies in the face of the whole “we are independent” thing, but do either of you have a possible cosigner? My Dad was my cosigner at my last two apartments while I was in grad school, and it was never a problem. Sometimes if you can get someone with stable employment to sign, it will eliminate the problem. Also, you could rent a room in a house for the first few months. If you are renting from a private individual or just paying one house member who is the one legally on the lease (another thing I did in college) you don’t have to go through all the financial checking. If you do find a job but haven’t had a paycheck yet, usually a “letter of intent” from the employer will do the trick.

  2. Holy Crap, we just did this ourselves. I was eight months pregnant and we moved with four kids from MA to NC.
    1. Find a realtor that will work with you. We couldn’t fly down to look at our house-to-rent before moving down, so we found a really cool realtor who did walk-throughs for us and found us an awesome neighborhood to live in.
    2. Rent, don’t buy. We are in the market for buying a new home, but my husband hadn’t lived in NC since he was a kid, and we weren’t sure about the area we wanted to live in, so we opted for a 1 year lease while we figure everything out.
    3. Know your mover. We went with a company that shall remain nameless. They started out fine, but there was a miscommunication and we arrived on Friday…our stuff didn’t arrive until Monday. ‘Nuff said.
    4. Say good bye to those you can, FB the rest. Some people are bound to feel left out, but do what you can.
    WE did our entire move in less than a month. It was hectic, but we’ve never been happier. Good luck!!!

    • “Say good bye to those you can, FB the rest. Some people are bound to feel left out, but do what you can.”

      YES. people are absolutely going to feel left out. I had quite a few people get pissed off at me because I was leaving my hometown…

  3. When I was last there, the job market in Oregon was pretty crappy 🙁 Lots of people trying to move there, haha.

    I moved out there while I was in college and got a non-college apartment in a big complex. One of those soulless places with a pool, you know. They didn’t seem to care that we didn’t have jobs (my boyfriend got a job once we got there, I was still a full time student so I didn’t) as long as the rent got paid. If you don’t mind living somewhere crappy at first, you might find it easier to score a lease.

  4. In my case I said to my fiance;

    Love, we need to get out of this town. Both of us are stifled, making less than our potential, and should get away from bad friends and worse enemies. She agreed.

    We took a map of the US, held each other’s hand, and moved our joined pointer finger around it like a Ouija board. It landed on Portland, OR. Thus began our quest to move!

    I sent her up to get the lay of the land, send out resumes, and find an apartment for us. Luckily enough she had some friends in a near by town who let her stay with them while all this went on. So, I turned in my 30 days to my current place and packed up everything in anticipation.

    Every thing was grand and I was excited for the adventure. But…five days before I was set to drive up there with all of our stuff she called me and said that she was not moving out of state and that our relationship was over. YAY!!

    I did it anyway. Sold off 90% of my stuff to account for half of the moving fund disappearing. Moved up here with my bed, snakes, clothes, and car. Best choice I’ve ever made too, this town is tits! Can’t say it was easy, though. I was an IT specialist and the .bomb happened the day after I got here. Finding a job was difficult since all the good ones were bleeding out techs in a flood of ‘You aren’t worth $160 an hour Bob, and put a damned shirt on while you’re at the office.’

    To sum up; Take the plunge, it’s worth the adventure.

  5. I can only put out there what I did when I went through a raging quarter life crisis and moved from Tennessee to New Mexico. I did it by myself, so I had no one else to consider (except my pet rat). I scoped Craiglist for rooms (instead of an apartment), and found an awesome listing. Exchanged emails for a bit with the potential roomate, and decided to go for it. One good thing about this method is there’s generally no lease, so if you don’t like it, you’re not stuck. And they’re easier to get without a job already.
    About a month ahead of time I sent my resume to several oral surgery/dental offices, since I had some experience in the field. I also had a list of temp agencies and appointments set up with them for when I was going to be out there.
    Then I packed up my truck, put more on my credit card than I ever thought I would in my life, and moved. One of the surgeon’s offices called me right when I landed, and I was hired within a couple of weeks. And yes, that was during the recession. I’m not saying my results are typical, but it takes some planning, and balls. And a back up plan (I always knew I could just go back to my family in TN, but luckily it all worked out swell). But mostly balls. It was by far the best decision I’ve ever made, so go for it, and good luck!!

  6. Another reason to get a job first is so you have a better idea where you will want to live (within walking distance, near public transit, commutable whatever). Otherwise you might end up living in an inconvenient location.

    Just after college, I moved from the east coast to Los Angeles after accepting a job offer. I put everything I owned in my car, drove a really long distance, and got to LA about two weeks before the job started so that I could look for an apartment. It worked out pretty well.

    The one issue I had was that I didn’t know LA at all — I had never been there before and I didn’t know anyone there. I like where I ended up living, but it’s a little expensive. I wish I had done more research and had more inside knowledge about where safe and affordable places to live are. I also had no idea rent would be so high. 🙂 I recommend doing a lot of research beforehand.

    Good luck!

  7. My ex and I decided that we were moving to Seattle, come hell or high water. We didn’t have an apartment or jobs lined up, but he was going to start school in the fall (that was lined up) and we moved in May. We planned to make the drive out with our stuff following a few days behind us, so that we’d have time to apartment hunt.

    After that, everything just sort of fell into place. I found a perfect job listing on Craigslist and applied. The day we were packing the moving van, I got a call for an interview with that company. I scheduled it for the Monday after we planned to arrive. We got into Seattle on a Friday and found a hotel to stay at for a few days. Looked at an apartment on Saturday, and I explained to the person showing it that we didn’t have jobs, but I did have savings, and that I was interviewing on Monday for a job. They ran a credit check, and based on that alone (plus the deposit) we were able to get the apartment and “move in” (with what we had in the car) on Monday afternoon, after my interview. Our stuff arrived on Wednesday and was being moved into the apartment when I got the job offer.

    So yeah, a lot of serendipity in my case, but I’m convinced that if you decide wholeheartedly that you are going to do something, hard work and the universe will help you see it through! 🙂

    • Serendipity doesn’t really work for me, unfortunately… before I made my big move with my friend, I subleased a place for 2 months. Tried to, anyway. I had a horrible summer where I ended up being scammed for my money, then evicted and they shut off the water, scrambling to find another place where there happened to have crazy people…. YEA I really had to just force my way through the summer :-/

  8. Between my fiancee and I, we’ve done several cross-state moves.
    When I moved to Ohio for school, he followed me. He had about 2000 saved up, packed all his belongings in his car and just came up. He crashed in a hotel the first two nights, immediately started looking for apartments and jobs. He found an older house that had been sectioned off into apartments. Because he had enough for the first two months’ rent, the landlord was fine with him being there without a job. Less than two weeks after coming up he found a job. He found both the apartment and job just by looking at the classified sections of the newspaper.

    The next move we made was to Kansas, and again, we saved up enough money to live for about two months, I visited the town beforehand and got an apartment (my mom went with me and cosigned the lease, so I did have some help). We moved everything in and pounded the pavement looking for jobs- we ended up finding our jobs less than two months after moving through a career fair being put on at the college.

    Cross-state moves can be difficult. With my experience, the trickiest part is finding an effective way to haul all of your crap from one place to another.

  9. I recently transferred from a Panera in Richmond, VA to Columbus, OH with no problems whatsoever. Panera for one LOVES transfers, because they are already trained. I highly recommend getting a job at a chain that you can transfer. I bet there are other chain stores that would allow for transfers, like Walmart, Chick Fil A, Wendys, Grocery chains, Best Buy, TGI Fridays… etc etc. It worked for me! 😀

  10. i made the move from california to oregon about 8 years ago. think about getting a retail job with locations in california and oregon. i worked at starbucks at the time and my job easily transferred. i had work lined up and was able to get an apartment in downtown portland with no problem. the move cost a lot because it was my first time living on my own. i had to come up with a deposit, first & last months’ rent, gas to get me there. i skipped the rental truck and packed everything that i could fit into my car. my parents were nice enough to store what did not fit. you might also be able to get an apartment with a co-signer if you don’t have work lined up yet.

  11. my husband came out to portland from iowa with a car-full of belongings as well. he found a room for rent on craigslist and found a job a few weeks after he arrived. if you have lots of stuff, maybe you can get a storage unit and put stuff in there, then just find a room where you and your man have a place to sleep until you can find jobs and a better situation.

  12. This is so timely, my boyfriend and I are in the middle of planning a move to Portland….Maine that is! The plan is for me to find a job before we make the move, and we’d go apartment hunting from there. He works for a big box chain where he can transfer relatively easily while looking for a better job. We have family in the area we can stay with if I have to start a job before we have a place worked out, which is really lucky. I’m a little anxious about it all coming together but this post made me feel SO much better that it will all work out.

  13. Interesting question. When I moved across country the first time I applied for jobs first with no particular state in mind other than it had to be on the east coast… The employer that ended up hiring me was okay with a phone interview and even luckier ended up providing housing for VERY cheap. No need to verify income because I was living where I worked! win-win.

    When my then-fiancee, now wife, and I moved back across country she had a job and I didn’t yet, and neither of us would be starting jobs until after we found housing, so we stayed with friends and drove 3 hours to the city where we were looking for housing to find something we liked, then had to get a co-signer for the apartment. Unfortunately not all apartment managers/homeowners are willing to use a co-signer for various reasons, but if they think you’re a good fit for the place, they may be willing to work with you… Whether it’s providing a larger deposit, or proving you will have income somehow. At the end of the day, they want to make sure they’re going to get paid.
    The last time we moved states we applied to a bunch of places before we moved but ended up not getting jobs until we moved here. Luckily we were just moving in with my grandparents so proving income wasn’t an issue as we were moving to help them. I don’t know if that was helpful or not, but just our experience.

  14. When applying to jobs, I have had great success using a P.O. Box instead of an actual address. That has worked really well.

    The last time I had to apply for an apartment without a rental history, I used the “rental resume” trick that I found on an earlier post, .

    This doesn’t work as well with big property management groups, but it works out pretty well the rest of the time. After all, most landlords are looking for proof that you can pay the rent and will be a good tenant. The traditional way of proving that (proof of income) isn’t the only way.

    Good luck!

  15. My husband and I got lucky – about a year ago our portion of the company we worked for was purchased by another company. Since the buyer was out of state we and our jobs moved cross country. We didn’t have a morgage and managed to get out of our lease early. Our new employer paid for our moving expenses so we were able to drive one car and ship the other car. (If at all possible try to negotiate moving expenses with your new employer.) This meant since we moved over Memorial day that we had one car for a week. And our furniture arrived a week late too (the movers didn’t work over the weekend and apartments are low on movers priority list). Thank goodness we packed lawn chairs and an inflatable matress. If you are arriving before your furnitue bring sheets and an airmatress(es) or at least sleeping bags. Folding chairs and a cooler are also important. We also packed anything we didn’t trust movers with or that we needed immediately: some clothing,computers and some nice glassware.

    If you are having a company move you, and you live in an apartment don’t tell them you live in an apartment in your initial call/e-mail. They will not call you back. We found that out the hard way after calling several moving companies.

    I would also suggest checking out the area before you move. Try to find out which neighborhoods fit your lifestyle and budget. And you can discover a lot of great places to eat and shop (and which ones to avoid) by using Yelp and similar sites. My husband also shamelessly asked co-workers for their recommendations for happy hour, lunch spots, date worthy locations, and the best place to get scotch. People are usually very willing to share what they love about their hometown when they find out you just moved in. 🙂

  16. Apply to all the jobs you can find in a city you want to live in. Interview, get a job and then tell them you can start in such and such number of weeks to give yourself time to move. Once you have a job you can apply for an apartment no problem. Even if you haven’t started your new job, if you’re hired and have a start date, HR will be able to verify your income. Plus landlords look at employment and rental history to get a sense, so it doesn’t completely ride on your getting a job.

    I live in a town (in Washington!) where it seems a lot of people want to live. I’ve known a lot, a lot of people who simply drove across country, showed up in town and stayed with someone they knew for a few weeks to get their feet on the ground.

    Another route is to search craigslist for apartments owned by individual landlords instead of property management companies. They are more likely to work with you instead of simply sticking to their company policies. If they can see you have a good rental history and job history, they’d probably be more willing to ‘take a risk’ on you while you’re not employed than a property management company would.

  17. When I moved from RI to Maryland I already had a job and roommates lined up. Most of the people I know that moved here had mommy and daddy cosign on a lease. If you have money saved but the apartment people still are not sold maybe that is an option? Wouldn’t have been for me, but you never know.

  18. When we moved back to Oregon I spent a good while looking through craigslist for rentals this will only work for some places, (Eugene/Springfield, Corvallis, Salem) but definitely not Portland. The nice thing about looking around Lane County in particular is there are a lot of home owners that don’t ask for nearly the proof of income that a company might and don’t spend anything to advertise other than a sign in the window and Craigslist. The down side is they do go fast and face to face interaction helps a ton in those kind of deals, but a lot of people are really understanding too. It does really help to have a couple of months worth of expenses in saving though. Good Luck!

    • Just out of curiosity, why do you say that Craigslist rentals don’t work for Portland? I’ve actually found my last two places in Portland through Craigslist, and my brother and sister-in-law have had great housing success in the area through it as well. It definitely takes work to dig through all the posts for such a popular city, but great opportunities do exist!

  19. Unfortunately, I don’t have much in the way of advice, but I sympathize. My partner and I have been trying to do just this for MONTHS. We went apartment-hunting, but no one would rent to us! Finally, he did get a job, so now we’re moving, but that job was the only one to contact either of us, and we put out tons of resumes and applications. :/

    One possible solution is that you can rent a place and get a friend or relative to co-sign, if they are comfortable doing so. Many places will rent to people without jobs as long as they have an employed co-signer. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have enough money saved up to last you a few months, in case it still takes you a while to find a job.

    Best of luck!

  20. When I was moving to Seattle from Vancouver, BC my sister was moving from Providence to Seattle a couple months before me. We were going to live together. She did not have a job lined up before she moved to Seattle. What she ended up doing was finding a basement apartment with two bedrooms in a house that was month to month. The owner of the house was around our age so she understood our situation. We stayed there for about 6 months until we were steady on our feet with employment (likely for my sister while driving cross country she had a phone interview with Microsoft and ended up getting the job a couple weeks later) and then rented a condo where we had to show proof of employment. I suggest something like a sublet or short term lease. If you don’t have enough savings to show that you can pay a years rent maybe you have enough in savings for 3 months which would give you time to get settled and job hunt.
    I think part of the chicken and the egg is what kind of work are you looking for. Typically in retail they don’t want to wait for someone to move cross country to start the job.

  21. Pay careful attention to how you are wording your letters of application. Don’t say “I hope to relocate,” but rather “I am relocating.” Make it clear that you aren’t just applying to jobs everywhere, but that you are committed to THIS area.

    The tricky thing is that the longer you are out of work, the harder it is to get a job. Keep that in mind.

  22. I’ve lived in 8 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) in a period of about six years. Most times I get a job before I go but in Hawaii I landed in Waikiki with just a backpack. Of course, if you get a job before you go, it is much easier. Most jobs I picked up were contract work where I knew I would be there for a set period of time (usually 4 – 6 months) and could either look for more work in the area for when the contract ended or be at liberty to move on. Also, most employers I worked for provided free or minimal cost employee housing so that was one less thing to worry about. However, when I landed in Hawaii with nothing, I spent the first couple nights in a hotel until I found a place to rent. Yes, it is much harder to settle if you don’t have a job or a place to live. I solved that problem by immediately getting a cell phone with a local number, getting a PO Box in the town I moved to, and applying everywhere all day long even if they didn’t have “open” positions. My brother (who flew to Hawaii with me) and I made a bet that whoever got a job first could get $50 to spend however they wanted. Needless to say, with a bit of determination, I ended up with both a full time and a part time job by the end of the first week there. The trick is to be determined, be flexible, and have a backup plan. Oh, and have some savings as an emergency fund just in case nothing pans out for a while.
    I’ve worked the last few years for a property management company and we see lots of people move into town with no employment. We typically don’t consider that a strike against the applicant as long as they have good rental history, good credit (they are current on their utilities), and can put down a larger deposit (security/first month/last month). Especially now with the economy the way it is, property management companies are more flexible in getting you into one of their units, even if you don’t have a job.

  23. You don’t have to live in the area to get a job. I have been hired at most of my jobs while living in a different state. All you have to do is say that you will move there for the job. If I were you, I would look for the job before looking for the apartment.

  24. My fiance and I just packed up and moved from NY to IA about eight months ago. (And we only found out we were moving a month before he had to be there for grad school.) I had totally thought about submitting a post about it, but didn’t know if there’d be interest, heh.

    Smaller landlords are more likely to work with you. All of the apartments we’ve had, my fiance found on Craigslist. I didn’t have a job when we moved out here, but he could (in theory) handle the rent with just his income, so the landlord was good with it.

    Save up a bunch of money. Moving is EXPENSIVE. Like, if you need a moving truck, even a U-Haul, expect to spend like a grand. And some piece of furniture WILL break, and need replacing. Law of the universe. Make sure you’ve also saved up enough to cover at least six months of expenses while you look for a job. It took me four months to find mine, and I have a Masters.

    I have more, but let me say this. It’s totally doable, as scary as it is. And it’s MUCH easier if you have someone else with you. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

  25. I’m 23 and have moved from NYC to Nashville to Providence RI to LA. NYC to Nashville was for grad school so I just saved up some $ for an apt and it wasn’t a huge deal since my gf and I were both students and had decent credit. Nashville to RI was similarly easy; just saved up, applied to places from afar and it wasn’t an issue. RI to LA has been the real issue, seems you have to be IN los angeles for anyone to take you seriously. but again, save up $, and just go out there!

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