Top Must-Knows Before Moving to a New City

Moving to a new city is a life-changing step, one that require significant research and planning. Understanding your new area, assessing your job and real-estate prospects, and identifying ways to engage with your new community are essential before your move.

1. Know What You Can Afford

Before you pack that moving van and say your farewells, analyze the cost of living in your target destination. Cost of living assesses the everyday costs of basic necessities, including housing, food and health care. You can compare the cost of living between two cities to determine whether maintaining your existing lifestyle in your new city will cost you more or less. Jumping from a low cost of living locale to a high cost of living one can be a challenging transition, especially if your new salary doesn’t reflect the increase in everyday expenses. Understanding your anticipated costs allows you to make an informed decision before you move.

2. Investigate the Real Estate Market

Finding housing is one of the most important — and often one of the most challenging — parts of any move. Thoroughly researching the housing market, including available homes for sale, allows you to learn about your new city. First, peruse the local multiple listing service, or MLS, which will quickly give you a sense of what’s on the market. A plethora of homes in your price range might indicate a buyer’s market, which can result in you landing a good deal. On the other hand, few available homes or apartment rentals might be a sign of trouble. Talking to a local real estate agent can give you a glimpse into what you can afford and what’s available, whether you plan to buy or rent.

Once you start the hunt for the perfect pad, your search should go beyond the physical attributes of the home and its cost. First, learn about the neighborhood. Research crime rates, talk to neighbors and walk through the area to get a sense of the local vibe. Similarly, consider access to public transportation and how easily you can walk or bike through the area, if these factors are important to you. Finally, research the public school system and the quality of the schools for which you’re districted. Check out the local school board’s website for detailed rankings and scores. Even if you do not have children, school quality can positively or negatively impact property values, so it’s worth investigating before your invest.

3. Study the Job Market

A successful move requires that you find a job in your new locale, so job market research is a must before you make the move. First, identify the types of jobs most commonly available in the region. Larger cities will feature jobs across industries, whereas smaller locales might have narrower options. Make sure you’re focusing your move on a city that can cater to your education and experience as a professional.

Then, identify potential organizations that match with your background and skills, and check their job listings. Send resumes and query letters to possible employers. Reach out to local recruiters who can connect you to job opportunities. These steps can help you land a job before you bid farewell to your city, which can allow you to move with far less stress.

4. Find Your Niche

A reliable job and comfortable housing are the first steps toward feeling comfortable in your new city. Next, you want to focus on making friends and familiarizing yourself with your new town. Research organizations that can help you build your network, whether you’re joining a professional organization, volunteering for a meaningful cause or becoming an active member of your church or child’s school. The more involved you become, the better connected you will be to your new community.