How to Decide Where to Move – Find the Best City
Moving homes isn’t something that always comes about from necessity, or at the milestone of attending University away from home. Often, you could just want to move, whether it’s because better job prospects attract you or you simply want to get out of where you currently are. It’s not always important to have a clear, defined reason on why you want to move, as long as you are sure of it. What does matter is how to decide where to move. It’s great to have an idea of where you’d like to live next, but there’s a lot of important things to factor in when deciding this.
After all, you don’t want to leave a small town just to land up in the most packed corner of a big city, or get a better job only to spend hours on your daily commute. We’ve chalked out a guide on how to decide where to move, along with the steps that go with it. Read on for a better idea of where your next home could be so you can move to the next step – planning your move.
List Down Priorities
The first step on how to decide where to move is to jot down all your priorities. Don’t just note these down on your phone or scribble them on paper scraps – the more organized you are with this, the better it will be. Additionally, it is unlikely that you will think up all your priorities at once. You’ll suddenly come to realizations about points you’ve forgotten to include when out grocery shopping, or in the shower. Keep one neat writing pad allocated for this so you can note things down in an orderly manner.
Here are some things to think about when deciding what means the most to you:
The Surrounding Environment
Do you prefer big and bustling or small and homely, or a mix of both? Does urban city hustle excite you or make you cringe? Do you feel safe and secure away from the rush and closer to nature, or will it soon turn to loneliness and longing for the noise?
Your Current Stage Of Life
A recent graduate is better off in a city that has good job opportunities, a reliable public transport system and affordable housing. A young family needs a safe, homely location with good education, while those that are older nearing retirement or are already retired will want easy access to amenities and ideally some peace and quiet.
See also: 12 Best Places to Raise a Family
Your Personal Priorities
Are you someone who gets a thrill out of excelling at your career, or someone who does their job to pay the bills with a string of hobbies on the side? Or, are you a bit of both? Think of what is more important to you – be it the most ideal job setting or a neighborhood that feeds your artistic side, and prioritize what makes you happy.
When listing down priorities, you’re covering different aspects about yourself such as work, hobbies, personal interests and preferences. Your age will come into play, as will your current lifestyle and the one you want to lead. Take your time with this and give it serious thought, maybe even ask a parent, partner or a friend to help you brainstorm so you can be as accurate as possible.
Things To Consider When Finding a City to Relocate
As mentioned, there’s a number of factors to consider when deciding where to move. Now that you have your priorities in place, read about each of these and weigh how important they are to you. What you may easily dismiss now could just matter a lot to you later, so make sure you give each of these adequate thought and consideration when deciding where to move.
Research things like the range of housing options that are available, the median home values and prices, average monthly rent and the resale value of homes when considering where to move to. Make sure to check the stability of the housing market, and whether it is currently on the brink of a rise or fall. Also look into different neighborhoods and compare how they rank in terms of the house prices in relation to available amenities and safety. Finally, make sure it is a good time to buy or rent a place before you leap headlong into any decisions. We recommend contacting a reliable realtor to get an understanding of all these factors.
It is important to research the job market in your potential new city to figure just how you’ll be placed. Look at what jobs are most available and how they pay, research the potential salary you could receive. This is important as this determines your monthly income which in turn determines just how well you can manage in your new home. You ideally want a location that has a lot of companies offering jobs in your field or profession, or a place that could use your skill set.
Also look at figures like the average per capita income for the people that reside there. The salary you earn should meet that mark, so you know you can afford to live there.
Cost of Living
Researching the cost of living is paramount to getting an understanding of your monthly expenditure as it covers the costs of utilities and services like the price of groceries, transportation, clothing, entertainment etc. The cost of living differs from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood. The higher the cost of living, the more cash you require to live a life of comfort there. For example, cities like San Jose that are at the heart of Silicon Valley have a high cost of living but the residents also earn high incomes.
Remember that a low cost of living is not always a good thing as nothing too cheap is necessarily good – areas with a low cost of living will be more affordable but may not have much to offer in terms of activities, cultural scope or job prospects.
Pro tip – Once you’ve done enough research on the job market, average income you could expect and the cost of living, calculate a rough budget for yourself. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck, so understanding what your budget could look like will help you avoid this.
Just like the cost of living, tax rates also differ from region to region. These can impact the amount of spending power you have each month, so look up the taxes you need to pay, get estimates on how high they are and decide accordingly.
See also: 7 States with Lowest Taxes
If you’ve got a young family or are planning on starting one, ensure that your new home is within range of good schools and colleges. The better the standard of education in your new location, the more your child can benefit. Living in an area that has a few schools means that there’s bound to be neighbors with kids, so yours can get into making friends easily. Additionally, this also often means that the region will have amenities like parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, ballet lessons etc. given that there are already a lot of children in the vicinity. However, it is always best to do your research and ensure all these are indeed available.
Healthcare is always important to be considered, no matter how young or old you are. The better the hospitals and medical facilities, the better it will be for you and your family. This is even more important if you have young children or senior folks living with you. Make sure there are also clinics and GPs in the area that you can go to, and get a copy of your medical and dental records before the move.
Entertainment and Culture
Every single place has a vibe of its own, and with it comes its cultural scene and entertainment options. If you like theatre and drama, you may want to go to a place that has a theatre or drama classes nearby. Alternatively, if you like reading a book or taking a walk surrounded by nature, head to one of the outdoorsy cities in America.
This may seem like a trivial point, but you’ll soon come to depend on these facilities once you’ve settled in, and nothing will feel worse than regretting your decision a few months after the move. Being surrounded by things that make you happy and people that engage in the same arts is rejuvenating for both mind and body. You could even register for a workshop or attend a play in the first week post the move so you can take a break from unpacking and socialize with your new neighbors.
Take proper stock of the year-round climatic conditions in your new city before you finalize a move there. Ideally, it would be best if you actually experienced the extreme weather season in person in your ideal location. This gives you a good guess as to whether you’d be able to tolerate it or not. A lot of people find that the biting cold and snowed-up streets of snowy winters are beyond their ability to handle, or that the humidity and blinding sun of the summers are unbearable. Additionally, you may face a slew of new illnesses or allergies brought about by the weather changes.
If you haven’t actually experienced the temperatures that await, ask someone who lives there to describe it as accurately as possible so you also understand what kind of wardrobe, equipment and lifestyle upgrades you’ll need to make with relation to the weather. Also keep in mind any allergies you may already have so you can be prepared to avoid any reactions when living in your new location.
Do not take your safety for granted, as it is often one’s safety that makes them decide to leave a place in search for something more secure. Remember that no place is completely safe, and that crime will be present no matter where you choose to go. Do, however, have a look at the city’s crime rates and look up safety scores of the neighborhoods to get an idea of where it’s safe and where it isn’t. You want to avoid a place that has high violent crime rates – these involve heinous crimes like rapes and murders. Property crime rates shouldn’t be high either, but this is the lesser of two dangers as it involves lesser serious crimes like vehicle theft.
See also: Top 10 Safest Cities in the U.S.
Having a good public transportation system is not always a necessity, but certainly doubles up as a blessing. A good public transportation system means you don’t always have to drive to work, or even own a car at all! Several citizens living in Philadelphia don’t find the need for a vehicle for their daily commute as they have a great public transport system to rely on. It also means that there’s likely fewer vehicles on the road as much as there could be, as the option of alternate transport options reduces the number of vehicles on the street.
Again, a city with good public transport isn’t necessarily a reflection of how well it is doing or its cost of living. San Jose, home to high-paying Silicon Valley jobs and a high cost of living, doesn’t fare very well with public transport. Then again, its residents earn enough to afford and maintain a car and its roads are well connected and maintained so the drive to work is not troublesome.
There will come a point where you look back and thank yourself for calculating this before finalizing your new home. The time it takes for you to commute from your home to your new office will include things like your chosen mode of transportation and the sort of rush hour crowd you’ll have to face. This becomes even more important if you have things to attend to at home before you can head to work, like making breakfast, prepping and packing lunch or readying your kids for school.
Also, consider the overall area that you move to. For instance, you’ll face less traffic in a smaller town but you may have long distances to travel to reach your office in the nearby urban city. Additionally, you’ll have limited access to amenities that are much easier to avail of in cities. A big city or one with a weak public transport system means more traffic and bigger parking troubles. You’ll likely spend much longer on your commute in this case. Keep all these factors in mind and try to gauge commute time when you visit that locality to scope it out.
See also: Important Questions to Ask Before Moving
Close Personal Relationships – Family And Friends
Lastly, factor this in as well, as it will greatly affect you mentally and emotionally if you don’t give this one enough thought. Are you the type who looks forward to the holidays because you get to catch up with family? Do you feel happy when you see your friends and plan small outings together? Are you a social butterfly, able to make friends wherever you go and maintain those friendships or are you comfy in your tight-knit circle of pals? If these questions feel like they hit home, then consider not moving very far away from the ones you love. The thought of being able to meet them in a few months’ time will give you happiness as you deal with the emotions of resuming life in a completely strange area, and being close-by saves you time and money spent on traveling across the country.
On the other hand, if you feel like you’ll do fine without the ‘Sunday family jamboree’ and be happy with keeping in touch with loved ones over phone and Skype calls, then go ahead and move where you’d like. And finally, if you’re moving away from a toxic environment and people you’d rather never see again, plan your move such that you’re as far away from them and as financially independent as possible.
Also take into consideration your plans. If you plan on starting a family in the near future, you may want to live near your parents’ place or around some friends so you have helping hands around you. If you’ve crossed the prime years of your life and are in your golden years now, move to be closer to your children and grandchildren so you get to spend quality time with them and can also babysit whenever necessary.
How To Choose A City To Move To
You’re probably wondering how to choose a city to move to; having the factors to consider is fine, but how do you go about applying them?
- Listing out ideal locations – All those locations you keep mulling over in the back of your mind? Time to jot them down on pen and paper.
- Identifying needs and wants – This involves chalking out just what you need to survive and make a living, plus the things you’d like to have in your new neighborhood or town.
- Prioritizing from among them – With any decision comes prioritizing to help you choose something that matches your idea of perfect. If you’ve followed the steps in our blog well, then your job is already half done.
- Comparing the new locations – Now that you know what you want and need, look at your favourite, ideal locations and compare them to your priorities to see which one matches best. Do as much research as you possibly can, and scout for friends or relatives who live there to get a first person perspective of all your doubts and questions. Go a step further by creating a spreadsheet to compare the city to your needs and wants, and assigning them ranks.
- Paying a visit – The best way to gauge a place is to visit it in person. Rather than visiting every location on your list, the previous steps and the spreadsheet rankings help you narrow it down to one or two locations. Remember to factor in all the points we mentioned, like commute time and proximity to amenities.
- Finalize one and make the move – You still may be doubtful of your choices despite all this prep. But the truth is you may just be stuck deciding forever, and the best way to break that chain of doubt is to go with your gut, pick a location, and stick by it.
See also: Best States to Live In
Now that you know how to decide where to move, the next step is getting the right movers. Whether it is across the country or within the city, we can help you find the moving company that can meet all your needs.
See also: Fastest Growing Cities in America