Thinking of relocating? You are not alone. Every year about 1 in 10 Americans packs up and hits the road in search of a new home. The reasons people move are many, but some of the top ones are:
- To keep their job, get promoted, or change jobs
- Because of a change in family situation (divorce, to be closer to family (like maybe newborn grandkids), etc.)
- To reduce the cost of living (for example, to lower taxes or find a more affordable home)
- To move to a safer neighborhood
- To shake things up in their lives
You may have one or more of these reasons going, or maybe something else entirely, but in any case, it’s an excellent idea to do some critical investigations into the place you’re considering moving to.
Even if this isn’t your #1 reason for relocating, you might want to make sure that you like the weather where you’re headed. Overlooking this could really inhibit your ability to engage in some of the activities you enjoy. Maybe you love to go hiking. Well, Phoenix in the summer is probably not where you want to be. On the flip side, as you age, you may not want to ever lay eyes on a snow shovel again. Be sure to consider what you like to do (and what you don’t like to do!) and your ability to do it there.
Cost of living
Not all cities are created equal, and a quick look at real estate and taxes will tell you that. Check out the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator here to get an idea of what a monthly budget, including money for taxes, would need to be in different cities and counties. This can be critical: A move to the San Francisco metro area will require TWICE the monthly budget as a move to Toledo, Ohio.
Once you’ve got a good idea where you’re headed, you’ll need to spend a good amount of time narrowing it down to a specific neighborhood. You can do some initial investigation with Google Maps and Google Street View, but pretty quickly you’ll want to connect with a local Realtor to tap into his/her extensive knowledge of the area. (We can help connect you with a Realtor where you are headed—contact us here.) Neighborhood crime, the quality of area schools, proximity to services and activities, traffic and length of commute, public transportation…all of these things and more will need to be on your radar so that you can maximize the likelihood of being satisfied with your choice.
There are dozens of other aspects of a move you might want to think about; the important factors for you are likely to be different from those of someone else. So be sure to begin by taking some time to brainstorm a VERY broad list of areas of investigation. Next, prioritize the list, especially items 1-10. If you have other family members who will weigh in on the decision, now would be a good time to meet with them to compare lists. Are there things that everyone agrees are important? Is there something that is very important to a family member but not to you (or vice versa)? Brush off your negotiation skills and work to make everyone reasonably satisfied with how you’ll proceed. Note that this is not a “my way or the highway” moment! Although relocation has its logistical, physical, and emotional challenges, if you undertake the process with everyone’s interests at heart, you’ll go far towards making the bumps in the road as small as possible.