Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Washington

Washington, officially known as the state of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. Washington has a booming job market, and you’ll find plenty of job opportunities here, and some leading companies like Amazon and Microsoft. 

In addition to this, Washington has no personal state income tax. The state has some of the best educational institutes including the University of Washington near Seattle which is the state’s flagship research institution. Not only this, but there are also plenty of options for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

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

Moving to Washington: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Washington

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

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

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

The 5 best moving companies in Seattle.

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, Washington has an unemployment rate of 3.6%, the same as the August 2023 rate.

Jobs that are often in high demand are demand planner, truck driver, registered nurses, delivery drive and retail sales associate.

Finding a job in Washington 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 Washington from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Washington. Book a flight from your departure city to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, depending on your destination within Washington.

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

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Washington 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 Washington 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’re moving to Washington state permanently and expect significant mail (excluding packages), consider USPS’s mail forwarding service. It redirects your mail to your new address for a specified time. The initial fee for regular mail forwarding is slightly over a dollar for six months, extendable for about $20 for an additional six months. Start the process by signing up on USPS’s website or at your local Post Office.
  • When moving to Washington, sell or donate what you won’t need to simplify your move. Sell or donate household items and personal belongings that won’t be useful. Decide if you want to sell them on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or donate to a non-profit organization

2. Upon your arrival in Washington

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.

You can easily get around in Washington. There are several options available. 

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to Washington and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your local Washington DOL office in person and submit a completed proof of your name date of birth, social security number (SSN), legal presence in the U.S., proof of Washington residency and some additional documents. You may also be required to pass the vision test.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to Washington, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle with the Washington DOL within 30 days of establishing residency. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. You can get your car registered in Washington by mail or in person. 

To get your car registered in person, you will have to visit a vehicle licensing office along with a completed and signed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001), your out-of-state vehicle title, Payment for all registration fees and some additional documents. You can follow the same process and mail your application to any licensing office.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in Washington, like DMV. To exercise your right to vote in Washington, you can register to vote online, by mail, and in person.

To register by mail or in person, you need to submit a completed Washington State Voter Registration Form (the form is also available from your county election office). You can mail it to your county election department or submit it in person. Washington’s residents vote by mail.

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 Washington 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 Washington for easy access is Chase Bank. Washington’s residents has access to a whopping 202 branches of Chase 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 Washington proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Washington as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$109.50

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$536.33

Gym

$80.62

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Washington

Washington

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Spokane. It offers a blend of natural beauty and urban vibes. In Spokane, you’ll find some excellent job opportunities, affordable housing, high-quality education system and plenty of things to do. 

If you are a family, you might want to consider Olympia. Olympia has some great schools, good restaurants and safe neighborhoods.

If you are single, you should consider moving to Seattle. Seattle is the most populous city in Washington and is home to the University of Washington, one of the best universities in the state. It offers a high quality and active lifestyle with plenty of amenities.

Setting up home services 

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

  • Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunication services in Washington. You can visit their website and search for electricity, water, and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry. 

Should you rent or buy?

The average Washington home value is $571,248, decreased by 2.2% from 2022. Washington’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $601.83.

Finding an apartment for rent in Washington 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 Washington.

Cost of rent in Washington

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Seattle (Outside of Center)

$2,077.40

$3,695.60

Cost of buying a property in Washington

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Wilmington

$571,248

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Residents in Washington are at risk of severe storms, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, winter storms, landslides, and wildfires. Therefore, getting home insurance will prove to be valuable.

4. Cost of Living in Washington

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$2,077.40

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($75.63 multiplied by 4)

$302.52

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$302.38

Internet with 60 Mbps

$81.35

Transit pass

$72.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$123.50

Gym membership 

$80.62

Total

$3,039.77

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Washington

On average, there are 165 sunny days per year in Washington. The highest temperature in summer is 79° and the winter low is 31 degrees. Washington averages 18 inches of snow per year and 38 inches of rain. 

The climate in Washington differs from east to west. The eastern part of the state has a cool and dry climate, whereas residents living in the western part of Washington experience a humid and mild climate altogether.

6. What to do as a local in Washington

After you are done settling into your new home in Washington, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in Washington include:

Olympic National Park – From mountaintops to ocean beaches, the Olympic National Park is full of incomparable beauty. 

Seattle Center – There are many things to do at Seattle Center. This includes attractions such as the Space Needle, parklands, monorail, museums, and restaurants.

Mount Rainier National Park – Washington’s landmark that is seen from miles in every direction. 

Some common grocery stores in Washington are: Whole Foods Market, Fred Meyer, and Trader Joe’s.

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

Must-visit food places in Washington are Country Boy’s BBQ and Baren Haus.

Visit the popular cities in Washington: Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, and Tacoma.

7. Fun facts about Washington

  • Fun Fact #1: Washington has 10 volcanoes.
  • Fun Fact #2: Mount Rainier is the highest point in the state, coming at around 14,410 feet above sea level.
  • Fun Fact #3: Washington is the state that produces the most apples.

Conclusion

Washington is home to excellent educational institutions, including the University of Washington and Washington State University. It is also known for its stunning landscapes, including the Cascade Range, Olympic National Park, and Puget Sound, offering abundant outdoor activities and scenic beauty, both for locals and tourists.

While moving to Washington 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 Washington is the right fit for you and your family.

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

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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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