We know: moving to another city is hard. First, there’s the organizing, sorting, packing, and saying goodbye to your old home. But then there’s the bigger picture. A new grocery store, new streets to navigate, new shops and restaurants, new people… they can all feel simultaneously exciting and daunting. So before you lock up your old place for the final time, there are a few things to sort out that will help you settle in with greater ease. We’ve moved a lot of people, after all. So to set you up for success, here are 7 things to know before moving to another city.
1. Does the city have the features you want and need?
Sometimes you don’t have a choice in where you move. But when you do, it’s important to remember: there’s a difference between what you’ve heard about a city and actually seeing it for yourself. Every city gains a reputation of some sort. More often than not, that reputation only represents a small fraction of the city! So rather than pick your destination based on whether a city seems cool, answer these two simple questions:
- What are the most important things that your home city should have? Whether you’re a foodie, you love art, or you want easy access to the outdoors, identify your “make-or-break” characteristics.
- Do you have any major deal-breakers? For example, if you want to be able to live car-free a city with poor public transit just isn’t going to work.
2. Is your budget ready for moving to another city?
Even when you work with the most affordable movers out there, there are a number of other costs associated with moving. It can all add up: switching your utilities, buying a few odds and ends to make your new place feel like home, updating your insurance, license, etc. You should also examine the cost of living in your new city. Is it about on-par with your current home, or do you need to anticipate a change in the budget?
So before you get caught mid-move with that sinking feeling, take a look at your bank accounts and budgets. Even if it means delaying your move by one month so you can save up a little bit extra, you’ll be glad that you did.
3. What kind of housing is available?
The available housing stock can vary widely from city to city. Cities with more historical neighborhoods may have single-family homes available, while newly-developed areas are probably more focused on condos and apartment buildings. If you are moving solo, the latter might sound just fine. But for a family, are there appropriate housing options for what you need?
4. What kind of neighborhood are you looking for?
Living smack in the middle of downtown versus on the outskirts of a city can create a very different experience. Even if you aren’t able to personally visit every neighborhood you are considering, get out a city map and determine a few areas that look like they have what you want. Do you want access to parks or green space? Would you prefer to be close to downtown, or to where you work? Do you prefer tree-lined streets or an abundance of restaurants on your block? Within every city, there are always a variety of options.
5. How is the employment market in your field?
Even if you have a job lined up or that’s what inspired moving to another city, it’s a good idea to survey the field. After all, you may want to advance in your career or just switch things up in a few years. If you are moving with hopes of finding a job, what are your prospects? Identify a few companies that you’d like to work for and begin the process of learning what they have available. Start networking early so you can hit the ground running.
6. Do you know anybody in your new city?
There’s only one thing more challenging than moving to another city: moving to another city where you don’t know anybody. If that’s you, poll your friends and family to see if they can connect you with a new community. Take a little time to research some Meet-Up groups you could join to meet like-minded folks. Even if you already have a job, you could join a networking gathering to get to know more people in the field. Sitting at home in your new apartment isn’t going to build new friendships, so get out there and meet people!
7. Do you have your moving checklist ready?
Now that we’ve discussed the big-picture considerations, this one’s important: make sure you are organized on moving day! Your moving checklist will help ensure that you don’t forget about any of the important little steps along the way.
If you’re seeing the signs that it’s time to move to a new city, it’s time to start thinking! Identify your criteria before you move to another city and you’ll set yourself up for success.