Whether you're moving across the country or simply to a new city for work or pleasure, relocating isn't easy. There is a lot to consider, including if you should rent or buy a home and how to go about navigating your new environment. Here are quick tips for adjusting to your new digs.
Before anything else, research the cost of living in your new place. This will help you determine how much money you'll need to make to cover your expenses, and how much you'll have to spend on rent or a mortgage.
6 Things to consider before choosing a new neighborhood
- Crime and safety.
- Proximity to your job (Do you mind a long commute? Will you need to utilize public transportation?).
- If you have kids or plan on having kids in the near future, you'll want to consider which areas have the best school districts.
- Is it important to you to be close to entertainment like bars, nightclubs, sporting events, restaurants, shows and shopping?
- How close do you want to be to places like grocery stores, coffee shops, drugstores and gas stations? What about doctor and dentist offices or urgent care clinics?
- Do you need a family-friendly area with parks and recreational spots?
7 Things to avoid while scoping out a new area
- Avoid areas that have buildings with abandoned lots, broken windows, bars over windows, graffiti and poor street lighting.
- Pay attention to whether there are homes with lawns that have not been mowed, trash that hasn't been picked up, overgrown weeds and broken fences or mailboxes.
- Be wary of neighborhoods without sidewalks or pedestrians — look for families playing in their yards or walking with dogs and strollers.
- Several "for rent" or "for sale" signs are an indication that people want out of the neighborhood — there must be a reason!
- Do research on foreclosures, as several foreclosed homes can be a sign of a financially unstable area.
- An area with unwanted noises and smells can be undesirable — think about whether or not you can tolerate living near train tracks, local restaurants and bars, airports, fire departments, police stations and medical centers, all of which can result in troublesome air or noise pollution.
- Living next door to a stadium, church, school, museum or any other large public facility can be a lot of fun, but it can also bring in a lot of traffic and strangers.
4 Resources for finding a good area to live
- Crowdsource on your social media sites. People love to share their knowledge!
- NeighborhoodScout uses research to tell you about the best neighborhoods in your state.
- StreetAdvisor helps you "discover and explore the best places to live."
- CrimeReports tells you what crimes have been reported in your area.
Renting vs. buying
Are you deciding whether you should buy or rent a home in your new city? If you plan on staying in your new town permanently, you should consider buying — that is, if you're ready for the responsibilities of home ownership. If you don't plan on staying more than five years, or are going to wait and see if you like it there before deciding to make it a permanent move, renting might be the better option.
Should you rent or buy? >>
New home buying tips
If you're ready for the commitment, buying a home that you can call your own might be a wise investment. Here is everything you need to know about buying a home:
If you plan to rent
If you're able, use social media to help you find your new apartment. Crowdsource on Facebook and ask your friends for tips on where to live, and be specific about what you're looking for. This includes how many bedrooms, price range and, if you already know, which neighborhood you're looking into. There are also many reputable websites that you can use as resources to find rentals, including Apartments.com, HotPads.com and Rentals.com, to name a few.
Here are more resources to help you on your way to renting:
More on moving to a new city
How to cope with a big move
House hunting 101
How to prepare your children for moving