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Moving From California To Washington: Benefits, Cost & More

If you're unsure if moving from California to Washington is right for you, we hope that this guide will help you decide. We’ll provide a comprehensive comparison of the two states, covering everything from housing costs and best places to live to the best moving companies, moving costs, and more.

    Best Movers from California to Washington

    Even though Washington is just two states away from California, your move can range anywhere from 500 miles to 1,500 miles. This is a major undertaking that’s best handled by a professional team. If you’ve already decided you’d like to relocate to the Evergreen State, here are some of the best movers to work with. Each option presented here is fully licensed, has a strong industry reputation, and has a flexible service model to meet any needs:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Should You Move from California to Washington?

    Washington is one of the most beautiful and scenic states in the country. Aside from its cities, which provide some of the best job markets in the country, many come here to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor adventure. California has plenty to offer, of course, but Washington is definitely worth your consideration.

    Here’s an overview of how the states compare in terms of cost of living, home prices, job opportunities and more:

    Housing Costs

    Home prices are much higher than the national average in both California and Washington. You’ll be able to find affordable options in both locations, though you’ll likely have to look outside of the major metropolitan areas to find them. Here’s a quick look at average housing costs in each state:

    California Washington CA to WA
    Avg. Home Cost (source) $683,996 $519,552 -$164,444 (-24%)
    Avg. Rent (source) $2,542 $1,825 -$717 (-28%)
    Utilities (source) $401 $403 +$2 (+0.5%)

     

    • Home Ownership. California is the third most expensive state to buy a home and Washington is the fourth most expensive. Still, you can save an average of 24% when purchasing a home in Washington.
    • Rental Rates. Monthly rent is also cheaper in Washington. At an average of $1,825, you can save 28% compared to renting in California.
    • Utility Bills. Utilities are virtually flat between the two states but slightly more costly in Washington. Most of your housing cost savings will be found in mortgage or rent payments rather than utilities.

    Cost of Living

    In addition to significant savings in housing costs, moving to Washington can help you to realize savings on everyday needs. California is currently the fourth most expensive state to live in, while Washington is the fourteenth most expensive. As you can see in the table below, you can enjoy an overall average 5.5% reduction in living expenses outside of housing.

    Expense CA to WA
    Groceries -12.4%
    Restaurants -3.7%
    Transportation -1.8%
    Childcare -3.4%
    Entertainment -5.1%
    Clothes -6.4%
    Average Savings -5.5%

    Source

     

    Weather & Climate

    California’s coastal location and size grant it one of the most diverse climates in the country. From alpine to desert, there are varied climate zones and weather patterns throughout the state. Washington is divided down the middle by the Cascade Mountains, which creates a dramatic split in precipitation between the east and west. Eastern Washington is far dryer, with the mountains blocking much of the precipitation from the coastline. The Western half sees a fair amount of rain, which fits with the state’s reputation. As a whole, Washington is fairly moderate. July highs of 73 degrees and lows of 30 degrees in January are accompanied by little snowfall through much of the state.

    California Washington CA to WA
    Average Temp July 87.1 72.7 -14.4
    Comfort Index Summer 8.7/10 9.1/10 -1.8
    Average Temp Jan 53.5 38.8 -14.7
    Comfort Index Winter 7.5/10 4.9/10 -0.8
    Average Sunny Days 69% 51% -18%
    Average Daily Rainfall (in) 1.69 3.8 2.11

     

    Job Opportunities

    While remote work has reduced the need for finding a new job when moving to a new state, here’s what you should know if you’re looking for a new opportunity:

    • Unemployment Rates. Like most of the country, both states saw a large spike in unemployment during the height of the pandemic. Both have virtually returned to pre-pandemic levels, with California at 5.8% and Washington at 4.5%.
    • Top Industries. Seattle and Tacoma have nationally recognized job markets. Of note are the many jobs available in aerospace, clean energy, software and technology, and manufacturing.
    • Income Taxes. When it comes to taxes, Washington is unique in that it only taxes income from capital gains. The rate for this is a flat 7%. California taxes all income through a bracketed system ranging from 1% for those making under $9,325 per year to as high as 13.3% for income over $1,000,000.

    Things to Do

    For more traditional tourist fare, downtown Seattle and Spokane offer much to do. Washington’s coastal cities are known for their nightlife options and excellent restaurants. Be sure to try the seafood as well! From Olympic National Park to Puget Sound and the Pacific Crest Trail, residents can access plenty of hiking trails and other recreational outlets throughout the state.

    Lifestyle & Culture

    Washington’s coastal location means that it is a bit of a melting pot. Especially in the cities, high immigrant populations make for plenty of diversity. The state is home to several top universities, including Gonzaga, Washington State University, and the University of Washington, placing higher education in much closer proximity. Washington is also full of nightlife options in its major cities as well as outdoor exploration opportunities in more remote areas. You’ll just have to choose where you’d like to live here.

    How Much Does It Cost to Move from California to Washington?

    A move from California to Washington can be anywhere from a minimum of 340 miles to 1,200-plus miles. Below, we’ve outlined the average costs of moves for such distances. These average figures, derived from top moving companies, are not to be used as a stand-in for real estimates. Instead, you should use these as a baseline for establishing your own expectations ahead of any estimates you receive.

    Provider 2 BR Cost 4 BR Cost Get A Quote
    Full-Service Move International Van Lines $2,100 – $5,100 $5,700 – $8,700 Free Quote
    Allied Van Lines $2,600 – $5,600 $7,400 – $10,400 Free Quote
    Safeway Moving Systems $2,200 – $5,200 $5,500 – $7,500 Free Quote
    Moving Container U-Pack $1,600 – $2,600 $2,800 – $3,800 Free Quote
    PODS $1,700 – $2,700 $2,900 – $3,900 Free Quote
    Truck Rental National Average $1,300 – $1,700 $1,500 – $2,000 Free Quote

     

    Cost Factors

    When budgeting for your move, there are several cost factors to consider, including:

    • Move Distance & Shipment Weight: These are the primary factors that determine long-distance moving costs. Most movers will have set procedures for truck weigh-ins and will supply you with a bill of lading ahead of such moves.
    • Season: May through September is the peak moving season in the US. Booking during this time will likely incur increased rates due to high demand.
    • Advance Booking: Booking a move within a week of moving can often require last-minute booking fees. With little notice, your preferred mover may not even have availability, so be sure to plan ahead.
    • Service Requirements: Add-ons, such as packing or crating, can significantly increase your move cost. These should be discussed during any estimates you receive.

    Best Places to Live in Washington

    If you’re still looking for a great place to live in the Evergreen State, then the following cities are worth your consideration:

    Redmond, WA

    Redmond is routinely rated as one of the best places to live in the state. The population of 73,000 is rapidly growing, due mainly to the presence of prominent employers. Microsoft, Nintendo, and many other firms have offices here, eliminating the need for many residents to have a lengthy commute.

    Find the Best Movers in Redmond, WA

    Sammamish, WA

    This King County city of 66,000 is in high demand due to its proximity to Seattle and Tacoma. Its school systems are excellent from elementary through high school, ranking among the top schools in the state. It’s a great place to raise a family, but median home costs are high here. According to Zillow, the median home value exceeds $1 million.

    Find the Best Movers in Sammamish, WA

    Issaquah, WA

    Issaquah is a growing suburb of Seattle. With numerous single-family homes to choose from and apartment complexes being built, there is no shortage of housing. Despite its growth, Issaquah is committed to keeping green and open spaces for agriculture and community recreation. If you want to spread out, this is a great option for you.

    Find the Best Movers in Issaquah, WA

    Bainbridge Island, WA

    Bainbridge Island is one of the best places to live in the country. Just a short ferry ride away from Seattle, it boasts views of Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains (on clear days). The high household income here reflects the home prices, which often exceed $1 million.

    Find the Best Movers in Bainbridge Island, WA

    Bellevue, WA

    Located between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington, Bellevue offers plenty of coastal and lakefront properties, along with easy access to the mountains. Natural beauty aside, it is home to several top employers, including T-Mobile and Eddie Bauer. Excellent schools make it ideal for both young professionals and families.

    Find the Best Movers in Bellevue, WA

    How to Choose a Moving Company

    During the planning process, you should thoroughly evaluate every moving company you consider booking with. Here are some key factors to consider when doing so:

    • Service Profile: All moving companies offer a varied range of services at different price points. Discussing add-on requirements when getting any estimates will better enable you to decide which movers can fulfill your needs.
    • Agreeable Pricing: Shopping around to get multiple estimates is the best way to book with a mover at an agreeable price.
    • Well-Reviewed: Moving companies all depend on customer reviews to reach and land new clients. Looking into reviews for each mover you consider is a necessary step before you book. Social media, Google, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau are all great sources to consult.
    • FMCSA Registration: Interstate moving companies must be registered with the FMCSA and maintain active USDOT and MC. These numbers may be used to look up a mover’s registration status and complaint history through this link.
    • Workers’ Compensation: This insurance policy is required of all movers, protecting you in the event of a work-related injury during a move. Without such coverage, you could be held liable for damages.
    • Released Liability Coverage: At a rate of $0.60 per pound, per item, this policy provides for some reimbursement in case of loss or damage to your goods. It can be supplemented with valuation coverage from most movers at an additional cost.

    Start Planning Your Move Today

    You should start planning your move around eight weeks before your ideal move date. At this time, take inventory of your home and begin researching movers near you. Schedule estimates by the six-week mark, and thoroughly evaluate all your options. By the one-month mark, you should have your moving plans solidified, and should be booked with your carrier or broker of choice. Planning ahead will lead to far less stress throughout your move.

    To help you get started here are some of the best companies available to assist with a move from California to Washington today:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Moving from California to Washington FAQs

    Does all of Washington State see heavy rainfall?

    Washington’s Eastern half is shielded from much of the state’s well-known rainfall by the Cascade Mountains. This part of the state is much less-populated, however. Many of Washington’s excellent employment markets and opportunities are in its coastal cities.

    Are there any times of the year when I should avoid moving to Washington?

    Washington winters are the wettest time of year. Typically, October through March sees the most rainfall, coupled with colder temperatures. Given the mild temperatures in Washington, moving during the summer won’t present a hazard to your workers and will give you a better chance of avoiding rainfall.

    Should I do my own packing?

    Packing is one of the most expensive services when moving. Hired help is costly, whether you have the extra money or not. Most people have more in their homes than they think, which often leads to higher charges than expected. Unless you have a particularly large home or numerous fragile items, then doing your own packing is always recommended. If you start packing around eight weeks ahead of time, then it will seem like a far less daunting task.