Least stressful, most cost-effective way to move cross country?
January 3, 2014 11:29 AM Subscribe
I currently live in in Pennsylvania and I just got a job in California. My new office wants me to start in the next couple weeks -- and I do too -- but I am really nervous/stressed out about finding an apartment and moving cross country.
posted by peachpie to Work & Money (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't actually need any advice on moving my stuff or any of that. It's the logistics of finding a place to live while I am across the country.
My original plan was to fly there with all my clothes/toiletries about a week and a half before my start date, and stay in a hotel or something while I look for an apartment and then move into my new apartment. I am nervous about finding a place to move into right away, and I am worried I could end up needing to stay somewhere for weeks and not be settled even as I start my new job. I also don't want to ask my office for a ton of money to cover temporary housing, but by just going out there, I run the risk that it will be a long-term stay and get pricey. In negotiating it with them, they mentioned a hostile where I'd share with other people (umm... no, I'm a professional and a manager, I am not doing that) and they seemed to think it was expensive at $800 for two weeks. This is a non-profit, so I get it, but still.
The other option would be to fly there ASAP, spend a few days looking at places and sign a lease, and then come home and return later with all my stuff when the lease starts, knowing I have somewhere to go. That seems like it could delay the move a bit and add a lot of flying, which I am not a fan of (nervous flyer). It also seems to be more expensive up front, whereas the first option has only the risk of becoming expensive.
What is the best way to do this? I feel like I need to physically see an apartment before I would be comfortable signing a lease. But I don't want to be stuck there without a place to call home. I feel overwhelmed and like my new employer is kind of leaving me to sort this all out of my own. I wonder if I should push back my start date to Feb 1 because I have no clue how to make this happen. What do you think?
For the record, I've done moves all kinds of ways. For one job I secured an apartment first and came back (which turned out well, but finding an apartment was easy). For another I looked for one while I was there (and finding an apartment was hard and I was unhappy with the place I chose). For one I subletted off craigslist sight unseen (and I loved it because it was nice and furnished). But I've never moved this far away.
-I do not need to move any big stuff (beds, large appliances, etc.)
-My office will reimburse up to $2500 for relocation, including flying there for the move and shipping stuff to myself, which is how I plan to use that $2500
-My office won't reimburse or provide housing when I first get there, but will offer me a "bonus" of cash to cover it
-Their relocation stipend doesn't cover apartment search activities, like flying there and back or a hotel to apartment hunt, but I could ask since they offered to compromise on the "bonus" check for housing
-I won't have a car in California, unless I rent it. I will be working downtown, but it's a small city and I think I will eventually need a car. For furnishing my apartment, I will definitely need to rent a car until I can buy one.
-Extended Stay-type places or long-term hotel places are not close enough to my office without a car. A car rental would be necessary and it would probably negate the savings of doing that.
-I am supposed to start in about 2 and a half weeks but still negotiating final terms.