The world is a BIG place. With more towns and cities than anyone could comprehend. So if you are moving it can be really hard to decide WHERE to go. This may mean what neighborhood or town in a specific area. Or it could mean that you can go anywhere in the country, or even the world, but don’t know where to start. And then maybe you are military and you’ve been given 50 locations and are supposed to rank them and pray that you get something you actually want. No matter what your situation is, how are you going to decide where to move?
I am going to try to talk you through some of the things you should research in different areas before making your decision. But I’ve also created a printable sheet for you to record all the information that you find. You can get it in the FREE Resource Library.
A Few Things To Consider About Each Location
I’m only going to go over a few different items here, but there will be more on the worksheet from the Resource Library that you can use if other things matter for you (and I’m sure they will even if you don’t know it yet). But these are a few that I think you should pay attention to when you are trying to decide where to move, no matter the circumstances.
Cost of Living
This is a really big one. Because it varies SO much everywhere you go. You don’t want to feel like you are comfortable with your budget where you are and then go somewhere that everything is twice as expensive unless you are planning for it. And don’t just assume what the cost of living is somewhere, do your research.
At one point we lived in a VERY small town in northern Michigan with about 2500 people. There were 2 little grocery stores in the town. If you wanted to do some legitimate grocery shopping you had to drive 30 minutes to Walmart or Meijer. And if you wanted Target or Starbucks, it was 1.5 hours to the closest “city”. You would think that if you were that far from everything it wouldn’t be a high cost of living.
But there’s a catch. It was a tourist location in the summer.
Allllll the rich people from Chicago had homes up there. So when summer hit they would open up their summer homes, bring up their boats, and the town would have more than 10,000 people in it any given weekend. With 4x that during festivals and holidays.
So prices there would go up exponentially for that. It was the only way the businesses could survive. Cost of living there was far higher than you would think if you did not do your research.
So make sure you look into what the big picture is when it comes to cost of living in each location before you decide where to move. And skip the nasty sticker shock that would come with realizing you can’t afford where you live.
Crime Rate and Safety
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t leave it out. DO NOT forget to check into crime rates in areas BEFORE you get there. The easiest way to do this is to visit the area first. Spend a day where you are considering renting or buying your home. Walk around the streets, visit nearby businesses, go to the park.
If you feel safe, see other people, hear kids outside, then you are probably good. But if there are broken down cars or empty buildings, trash all over, or you don’t see any people, maybe you should do some research into why. And I am a BIG believer in trusting your gut. If something feels wrong or unsafe, there is probably a reason.
It’s not always possible to visit a location ahead of time. I get that. We bought our house before we had ever even been to the area we live in now. And overall, it worked out well. But we also learned a few things from it. I will share them with you soon so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
If you can’t make it to the location, do some googling. Check out the public information. Find out if there is a Facebook page for the town that you can join and get some information. And if you know anyone in the area, even a realtor you are working with, ask them for opinions and any information that may be helpful to you.
Don’t skip this step. You really don’t want to find out that you made a bad decision and feel unsafe.
Do you NEED Starbucks every day? Is Target your favorite place to shop? Do you only buy Panera Bread bagels?
Then you are going to need to pay attention to WHERE those necessities are in relation to where you live. After living far from a lot of things that I enjoy for 2 years, I did a lot of mapquesting (do we even call it that anymore? googlemapping??) to find out where things I wanted (needed) were in relation to possible homes. I wasn’t planning on buying a home and then having to drive an hour just to get to my favorite things.
So make a list of ABSOLUTE must-haves for yourself. And make sure they are in each location before you decide where to move.
Before you decide where to move, make sure that the area fits your lifestyle.
If it is just you and your husband, look for restaurants and movie theatres in the area. Make sure that if you like to go to comedy clubs that there are a few nearby.
If your kids play club soccer, you may need to look into the availability for teams in the area. I know that when I was growing up I never would’ve accepted moving if there wasn’t an ice rink nearby because I was a competitive figure skater.
And if you are a young family having babies, make sure you didn’t just move to an area with only middle-aged people and no kids. Because you are not going to have anything in common with them right now. And you will want to enjoy your neighbors.
I promised some quick tips on things to look for so here they are!
- See if there are sidewalks in your neighborhood.
- Ask around about weeds, wildlife, and insect activity so you can budget for any maintenance necessary
- Have your realtor do a video walkthrough of any place you can’t see in person. But make sure they show you all of the inside, outside, and leading up to the location. As well as looking across and down the street if possible.
- Flip all light switches to make sure they work.
- Run all water faucets to check water pressure.
- Look for nearby parks and schools.
- Check into any potential severe weather conditions you should be aware of, like tornados, hurricanes, fires, etc.
If you are looking at buying a house before you can get to the area check out How To Buy A House Before You See It