Should You Relocate During COVID-19?

After months of being stuck inside small apartments, many New Yorkers have opted to leave the city for more spacious pastures in other states. Around 300,000 New Yorkers have left the city since March 2020 with that number likely increasing as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. However, cases of COVID-19 have been rising around the country and this time it’s hitting states that had relatively lower cases during the first wave.

If you’ve decided to tough it out in New York City, you might still want to consider relocating to another apartment. Sure, moving around NYC is tough and you’ll have to take extra precautions when hiring movers during COVID-19, but it might be worth it. After all, the average cost of one-bedroom apartments has dropped around 14 percent. With so much uncertainty revolving around remote work arrangements, travel, job security, and the state of the economy, how do you know if you should take the leap and leave your current apartment?

Know Your Why

With any big, life-changing decision, you should spend some time to reflect on the reason(s) you want to move.  Maybe you want to move closer to friends and family or perhaps you want a different type of living space. Even if you relocate within the city, you might find that there are better deals in areas closer to your work if your job now requires you to go back to the office Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to take some time and really try to figure out why you want to move. Moving costs a lot of money even within the city as you often have to pay at least the first month’s rent and a security deposit. If you work with a broker, you’ll also have to pay a broker’s fee all of which can add up to over $10,000. That doesn’t even include paying for professional residential movers.

Don’t fall into the grass-is-greener trap. Make sure you actually want to leave your current location before you sign that lease. Take some time to do deep reflection to understand what is motivating you. Remember, a new location won’t necessarily solve problems you might have, especially if they are internal issues.

Before you decide to pack up your things as yourself:

  • Why do you want to move right now? Maybe you’ve been considering a move for a while and the timing seems right. However, if the idea of a move is recent, maybe you just want a change of scenery. Consider a temporary solution instead like taking a weekend camping trip or booking a short-term rental in another location.
  • Will this move permanently improve your quality of life? Living in New York City isn’t quite the same as so much of what makes the city unique is closed. However, the city won’t be closed indefinitely. Before you head off to Westchester, ask yourself if you’ll be okay with a longer commute to work and not having all of the essentials blocks from your doorstep.

Consider the Short and Long-Term Costs

The cost of living in New York City isn’t cheap, but living in the suburbs isn’t necessarily any cheaper. Sure, apartments might cost more, but you’ll have to consider other expenses that might crop up in the suburbs such as sales tax, income taxes, car payments, gas prices, car insurance, price of food, etc. All of these can vary from county to county. If you end up moving away from New York City, you’ll also have to think about your income. Unless you’re able to work from home indefinitely, chances are you will need to find a new job. Outside of large cities, salaries tend to decrease so that’s something to keep in mind.

If money is your primary motivator you should really crunch the numbers to see if moving makes sense financially, especially during these uncertain times. Moving costs thousands of dollars and can really make a dent in your savings. Something you might really need down the line should something happen whether it be a job loss or hospital bill. Yes, cheaper rent is great, but is it worth moving in the long run if you have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional mover in NYC, buying new furniture, and so on.

How Will Moving Affect Your Career?

If you’re moving within the city, this question might not be as pertinent to you as you will likely keep your job. With that said, where you move to could make your commute better or worse. Sure, an apartment out in Far Rockaway might be cheaper, but if you work in the Upper West Side, do you really want to live that far away?

If you actually plan on leaving the city, there are a variety of factors to consider. For example, does your boss expect you to come into the office once the pandemic is over? If your company has completely moved to remote work, will moving affect your compensation? If you’re considering a move out of the state, can your employer legally pay you to work there? You might need to have a series of conversations with your employer to make sure you know exactly what to expect if you do move away. More importantly, you and your manager will need to set up a system to ensure you are successful from a distance by taking into account company culture, team structure, and the nature of your job.

Before you decide to make a permanent change to your living circumstances as yourself the following questions:

  • How feasible will it be to find a new job in your new location?
  • How stable is the job market?
  • If there aren’t any jobs in your field or industry, will you be able to find remote work?
  • Do you want to work remotely long term?
  • Is there a shift or career pivot that you want to explore that would be made easier or harder by the move?

There might not be simple answers to these questions, especially as the pandemic makes it harder to predict future employment options. In many cases, the answers to these questions might be ‘I don’t know’, which can be scary. Despite all the uncertainty, if you still feel like moving it’s probably a good sign to pack your bags.

Beyond the Pandemic

While it might not seem like it now, the pandemic is temporary. Moving, on the other hand, is permanent. It might be tempting to move in order so that you can have more space, but it’s important to think about the long-term consequences. Do you want your life to go back to the way it was pre-COVID? If so, a move might not be the answer. However, if your time in quarantine has helped you realize that you want to make some changes then relocation might make sense. If you’re still on the fence you should consider the following factors:

  • Quality of life – if you’re moving from New York City, ask yourself why you moved here in the first place. Was it for its close proximity to amazing nightlife, cultural events, and a diverse population? If that’s the case, the suburbs might not be what you want.
  • Your network – do you know anyone where you’ll be moving? Will you be moving further away from your support network? While it’s not impossible to start over, it’s definitely much harder to make new friends as you get older.
  • Your partner’s career prospects – if you are in a relationship with someone, you should also consider your partner’s career. Will they be able to work remotely? If not, are there jobs in their industry?
  • Your children’s schools – what will a new school and community look like for your family? For many children, starting over at a new school can be very difficult.


If you decide to make a COVID-19 move, make sure you carefully think through all the pros and cons of relocating. Should you decide to move forward with it, make sure you hire a professional moving company in NYC with a good reputation. As well, call to make sure that the movers have a COVID-19 plan to ensure you and the movers are protected from the virus.

Whether you plan on moving within New York City or out-of-state, Great Movers offers both local and long-distance moving services. If you do decide to move, remember that you’ll have to do a lot of planning especially considering the state of the world. Make sure to loop in your employer, evaluate the job market, and consider the cost of living before you carry out your plan.


What precautions should movers take due to COVID-19?

Most professional movers will take the following precautions:

  • Sterilizing their trucks daily
  • Sanitizing hands consistently and wearing latex gloves
  • Using masks/respirators
  • Checking temperature on a daily basis
  • Maintaining a safe distance
  • Taking consistent COVID-19 tests

How should I prepare for a move during COVID-19?

Besides hiring professional movers, you should make sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces both in your old home and your new one. Make sure to pay close attention when using these products to avoid problems and increase ventilation as needed. In addition, make sure you maintain your distance from the movers, wash your hands, and wear a mask.

How can I get a quote now due to COVID-19?

Many moving companies in NYC are now offering virtual walkthroughs and quotes. Make sure you have all of your belongings packed and then take a quick video walk through of your apartment to show all of the boxes and furniture that needs to be moved. Make sure you have an accurate, itemized list of all of your belongings for your records as well.