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The Fun in the Sun Guide to Moving to California

California has it all: beaches, mountains, forests, deserts, and farmland. This western state is known for Hollywood, wine, and progressive politics, but it’s also a great place to lay down roots.

Are you planning a move to sunny California? Here’s what you need to know before you start packing. 

Driving

Owning a car is a necessity in the Golden State. Big California cities like LA are notorious for their traffic. Unfortunately, rush hours are longer and significant in most areas, with limited public transportation options for those looking to beat the traffic. 

Additionally, you may be wondering how to transport your vehicle across state lines, especially if you have more than one. Though you can road trip to the sunny state, it may be easier and less of a hassle to ship your car to California so you can hit the ground running when you arrive. 

Cost of living

You’ve probably heard of the overwhelming cost of living in California, and it’s true. Californians pay much more on average for rent and other living expenses than the rest of the country. However, how much you spend is entirely dependent on where you live. For example, LA and San Francisco cost much more than many lesser-known California towns. 

Job market

Though the cost of living may be high, California boasts a strong economy with plentiful high-paying jobs, even for low-level employees. The job market is diverse, with industries ranging from tech, entertainment, tourism, education, agriculture, and healthcare. Plus, jobs exist in large and small cities, so you can find fulfilling careers regardless of where you settle down. 

High taxes

If you’re a high earner, expect to cough up a significant amount to California income tax. However, most people feel that the lifestyle in California makes up for their loss in income. You can also offset much of the income tax with lower than average property taxes. 

DMV duties

No one likes to visit the dreaded DMV. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil anytime you move, especially in California. Once you become a resident, you have ten days f to apply for a California driver’s license and take the written and driven tests again. You will also need to register your vehicle within 20 days of establishing residency to avoid late fees and costly tickets. 

Pet license

Many movers overlook pet expenses when relocating, leaving them with unregistered animals and inadequate funds. California takes pet registration very seriously, with many counties in the state requiring you to license and document your dogs, cats, and possibly other pets. 

You will also need to submit proof of vaccinations and pay the licensing fee before moving into your new space. 

Before you go

Moving anywhere can feel daunting and stressful with packing endeavors, relocation expenses, and adapting to your new home. Though California has a high cost of living, steep tax rates, and strict licensing requirements, they also have an excellent quality of life and a robust, thriving economy. 

Prepare yourself for your upcoming move by arming yourself with all the information you need to transition smoothly to your new home. 

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