Cost of living -

7 Things to Know and do When Moving to South Carolina

South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It’s a state filled with diverse culture and rich history. Due to the favorable weather and extensive coastline, the state is ruled by the hospitality and the tourism industry. There are approximately 47 state parks in South Carolina and more than 20 amazing beaches. 

The people of South Carolina are the soul of this state. Not only this, but you’ll also be awed by the sunsets in South Carolina. They’re mesmerizing! This state is ideal to move to if you’re a family or even a couple, it has some of the best restaurants, some great opportunities and even some camping spots for families.

So, if you are considering moving to South Carolina, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to notify the state of South Carolina of your address change. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to South Carolina.

Moving to South Carolina: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to South Carolina

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to South Carolina, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in South Carolina, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to South Carolina? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, South Carolina had an unemployment rate of 2.9%, which is the lowest from 3.1% in April 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are community health workers, financial advisors, and correctional officers.

Finding a job in South Carolina is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to South Carolina from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to South Carolina. Book a flight from your departure city to Charleston International Airport, depending on your destination within South Carolina.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, South Carolina cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Flixbus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to South Carolina may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to South Carolina permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Moving to a new place is an opportunity to start afresh. If you’re moving to South Carolina, selling or donating the items you won’t need will go a long way in making your move easier. You can sell your old household items and personal possessions, and anything that will not be useful. Pick out the items that will not be useful for you in South Carolina, then decide if you want to sell them on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a non-profit organization.

2. Upon your arrival in South Carolina

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

With several restaurants, shops and a revamped downtown, South Carolina offers you easy access to all of this with manageable traffic and walkable districts. Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority offers bus service throughout the year to the greater Columbia area. 

Getting around on foot is also quite common in South Carolina, people also travel via bicycles and mopeds. In addition to this, South Carolina has Lyft, Uber, and taxis available which you can use to get around.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to South Carolina, you must exchange your driver’s license within 90 days of your move. You must visit your local SC DMV office in person and pass the vision exam. 

In some cases, you might also be required to pass a driving test and a written exam. For details regarding the documents required, you can visit the “Apply for your SC driver’s license” page. 

You can also fill out the Application Form online (Form 447-NC).

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to South Carolina, you’ll have 45 days to title and register your out-of-state vehicle. Your vehicle registration will be valid for 2 years. 

Register your vehicle with the SC DMV either in person or by mail. For registering your vehicle in person, you can visit your local SC DMV office and submit a request. You can visit the DMV Website to check out all the documentation requirements and details.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in South Carolina, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in South Carolina, you can register to vote online, in person, by mail or by fax. If you would like to register in person, you can visit your local DMV office and request for a voter registration form.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in South Carolina is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in South Carolina for easy access is First Citizens Bank. South Carolina’s residents has access to a whopping 122 offices of First Citizens Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of South Carolina proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose South Carolina as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$129.41

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$452.00

Gym

$71.25

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in South Carolina

Best places to live in South Carolina

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Mount Pleasant. It’s an ideal place because it has a low crime rate, a low unemployment rate and great weather conditions.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Lexington. It has some top-notch schools and it’s super affordable. Furthermore, the median home prices in Lexington are the 6th lowest in the state. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Columbia. It is home to the University of South Carolina and the cost of living is lower as compared to the general average. Majority of the residents in Columbia are young professionals and college students.

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in South Carolina is a straightforward process. 

  • The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) is responsible for many of the determined operations associated with utility regulation. ORS Consumer Services acts as an intermediary between customers and investor-owned utilities in South Carolina. They assist customers in making educated decisions and know their rights when it comes to availing utility services. You can also find the list of Electricity and Natural Gas providers on the SC ENERGY website.

Should you rent or buy?

The average South Carolina home value is $288,342, increased by 2.10% from 2022. South Carolina’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $300.00.

Finding an apartment for rent in South Carolina is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in South Carolina.

Cost of rent in South Carolina

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Charleston (Outside of Center)

$1,575.00

$2,766.67

Cost of buying a property in South Carolina

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Charleston

$288,342

Numbeo (Oct 2023)Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance in South Carolina is very crucial, especially when there is a chance of unexpected damages caused by natural disasters. Home insurance is a type of financial protection that will cover for any damages that might occur from natural disasters. Some common natural disasters in South Carolina include earthquakes, hailstorms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. 

4. Cost of living in South Carolina

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,575.00

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($61.58 multiplied by 4)

$246.32

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$274.50

Internet with 60 Mbps

$62.99

Transit pass

$40.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$84.50

Gym membership 

$71.25

Total

$2,355.56

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in South Carolina

On average, there are 216 sunny days per year in South Carolina. The highest temperature in summer is 91° and the winter low is 33 degrees. South Carolina averages 1 inch of snow per year and 48 inches of rain. The summers in South Carolina are long and warm.

This tranquil weather allows people to enjoy outdoor activities. You will find beaches and mountains all nearby in this state, allowing you to spend the summers enjoying the heat. During winter, you will find the coastal regions to be mild, while the inland may experience freezing temperatures.

6. What to do as a local in South Carolina

Locals can enjoy the pristine beaches and charming coastal towns like Charleston and Myrtle Beach, making it a great destination for beach lovers.

There are creeks, swimming holes and lakes where you can kayak, go jet skiing in the ocean and enjoy the scenic view. 

Locals can enjoy hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to boating and fishing in its many rivers and lakes.

Some common grocery stores in South Carolina are: Publix Supermarket, Whole Foods Market, and Aldi

The two most popular big chain stores are Walmart and Costco.

Must-visit food places in South Carolina are The Trappe Door and Hudson’s Smokehouse.

Visit the popular cities in South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, and North Charleston.

7. Fun facts about South Carolina

  • Fun Fact #1: There’s a monkey colony in South Carolina.
  • Fun Fact #2: South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. that grows tea.
  • Fun Fact #3: South Carolina has one of the oldest trees in the USA.

Conclusion

The Palmetto state has a lot of quality of life to offer in terms of culture, history, and nature. The economy is evolving, and you can find some great employment opportunities in some cities. There are also various ways to enjoy all kinds of water activities in South Carolina. 

There are creeks, swimming holes and lakes where you can kayak, go jet skiing in the ocean and enjoy the scenic view. The culture of South Carolina is diverse and rich, you can expect people in your neighborhood to be very friendly and cooperative.

Life in South Carolina has its pros and cons, checking the cost of living is essential to making sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if South Carolina is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in South Carolina.

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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