Moving to a new city or even a new state is an adventure! Whether you are relocating for a job or just a change of scenery, it’s important to do your research ahead of time to minimize unpleasant surprises later. Here are eight key relocation questions to answer before you go.
What is the housing market like?
The cost to buy or rent a home can vary dramatically from city to city and state to state. Online research makes it easy to compare housing costs, but a local real estate agent will be a huge asset when it comes to answering this relocation question more broadly. She will be knowledgeable about all aspects of housing and can send you pictures and virtual tours of home possibilities. Ask the agent about prices, school quality, crime rate and more to find the best neighborhoods for your needs.
What will transportation cost after relocating?
Transportation costs vary around the country. Gas may be $2.49 per gallon in Texas but $3.49 in California. How much does it cost to register a vehicle in the new locale? Do you have to pay property taxes on your car(s)? Do factors such as the crime rate means you’ll pay more for car insurance? How will the length of your daily commute affect your budget (and lifestyle)? If you’re considering moving to a place with good mass transit, will you be able to rely on it and avoid car-related expenses entirely?
Will your taxes be higher or lower?
What are state and local taxes like in your new prospective home? Are you moving from a place with a state income tax to one without it, or vice versa? How high are sales taxes and property taxes? Factor these mandatory costs into your new life.
How do utility prices compare?
This relocation question affects your cost of living. Visit the websites of utility companies in your prospective new locale to check their rates and average usage statistics. Then compare these numbers to what you’re currently paying. Are utilities higher or lower?
Is good healthcare available where you are relocating?
An important relocation question to consider is the accessibility of doctors, clinics and hospitals where you will be moving. What is the cost of health insurance like in the new city? You’ll need to find new healthcare providers in a town where you don’t know any. Google search for new providers and ask new friends for referrals.
How will the weather affect you?
If you are moving from the balmy south to Chicago, brace yourself for the winters and be prepared to buy serious cold-weather coats and thermal boots. Likewise, if you are moving from the northeast to Florida, get ready to reduce your wardrobe to shorts and lightweight shirts. Weather can also affect your utility costs.
What are shopping, culture and entertainment like?
What kind of leisure choices will you have available in your new home? Are there concerts and other arts activities as well as good restaurants available? How are the parks and local sports teams? Will you have good choices in shopping?
What can you avoid moving?
To reduce both the cost and hassle of moving, consider whether you can leave some things behind. Assess furniture, accessories and personal goods to determine what you no longer need and what you can replace in your new location.