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Moving to Philadelphia, PA: Relocating Tips, Advice & Guide

You’re moving to Philadelphia, PA — and this guide offers a detailed look at how to make the move.

You won’t find fluff and filler in this guide. We’re here to lay out the process and logistics behind relocating to Philadelphia. If you’re looking for a “23 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Philadelphia,” BuzzFeed article, we’re sorry to disappoint.

Full disclosure, this article is really geared toward anyone who will be looking to rent an apartment in Philly. I’ll offer some insights on planning and executing your move and direct you to some other helpful resources that can assist as well. I hope it helps!

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Carving out your home in Philly begins before you get the keys to your new place, even before you load up that moving truck. Philadelphia welcomes everyone to the city of brotherly love and to make your move easier, so that you arrive ready to make this beautiful city your home, we’re offering up our tips to moving to Philadelphia.

Finding Which Neighborhood to Live In

When relocating to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first thing out-of-towners notice is how varied the city is. You’ll find a dense downtown area (Center City) near a hipster paradise, near a quaint historic neighborhood. Use our neighborhood guide to find out where to rent your first Philadelphia apartment. Bring a friend with you when you go out and explore.

It’s true that some neighborhoods are more dangerous than others; the same can be said about so many cities across the country (Detroit, Memphis, or Atlanta, etc.), but when it comes to crime, Philly is comparatively safe. Just be smart when you’re moving. Help Philadelphia become safer by being proactive, taking steps to prevent crimes before they start. Take in your surroundings, and follow the crowds in well-lit areas. Consider getting a steering wheel lock. The city is also relatively safe from natural disasters like major flooding, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Another thing that varies based on neighborhood is the rent prices. Apartment prices and quality within the city range a great deal, depending on what you’re looking for and where. Learn more about apartment cost and the typical cost of living so that you’ll be familiar with how much you should be spending. Connect with a Jumpshell rental agent before moving to Philadelphia. Guide us through what you need and we can give you a better idea of pricing.

moving to philadelphia

Finding the Perfect Apartment

Finding an apartment can be the most difficult part of your move to Philadelphia. There are some red flags to look out for when looking at apartments. Before you move in, you’re supposed to get a Certificate of Rental Suitability from your landlord. Also, you’re entitled to certain baseline amenities. If things look strange, they’re likely illegal; check the list to make sure.

Also, you’ll want to watch out for any apartments with good parking, as that’s a huge bonus. Even though it’s illegal, double-parking is common here, and sometimes, it will seem like the city will somehow ignore those guys yet find you the second your meter runs out. Be sure to get a PPA sticker if you plan on parking in your residential area. If you plan to rely on public transportation, map out where the most convenient stops are.

Definitely visit the apartment in person before you commit, or have a friend or rental agent you trust do it for you.

Choose Your Move-in Date Wisely

Obviously, moving to Philly in the middle of winter or the very hot summer is a bad idea, but knowing when to move should also take into account your finances. We estimate that the average person living alone in a one-bedroom apartment would need to spend $2,058 per month on basic expenses. You’ll likely want to double that to have a good cushion for moving in (so about $4,100).

Avoid moving during busy commute times or touristy seasons. The best times are likely in the middle of the day and in late fall or early spring.

If you have no parking or will be blocking city parking on your street, you’ll likely need to apply for a moving permit and pay a fee.

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Finding Your Bearings

Those moving to Philadelphia, PA, will sometimes say that the city has a very similar feel to Brooklyn, and while that’s true, there are some cultural differences to keep in mind. For instance, you may immediately find that lots of places still take cash only. Plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops want physical cash, which is strange because so many out-of-towners don’t carry it these days. Play it safe and just bring a few twenties with you when you go out.

If you have a car, you’ll want to register your vehicle within 20 days and apply for a new driver’s license in 60 days.

To grocery shop and fill up your new fridge, the big chains in the area include ShopRite, Save-a-Lot, Bell’s Market, Trader Joe’s, and Wegmans. Don’t be afraid of going to the fancy, touristy markets, like the Reading Terminal Market, to get high-end goods, too. The Philadelphia Inquirer is an important local newspaper. Online news sites like Billy Penn, Philly Voice, and The Philadelphia Citizen are becoming more popular as well.

We hope our moving tips will help you to have a smooth move to Philadelphia!

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