Moving to a new city can be daunting, but there are ways you can make it easier.
Moving to a new city can feel overwhelming. You’ll soon be surrounded by all new places and faces, which will certainly take some time to get used to. One thing that will help you get settled more quickly? Choosing the perfect place to live – one that makes you feel comfortable right away.
You may be thinking, “How can I find a home I love in a new city I know nothing about?” If you know exactly what to look for and the right questions to ask yourself, it will be easy to narrow down your options. First things first: Hit your new city for a day of exploring.
Rent or Buy?
First you’ll need to make an important distinction: Are you looking to rent a home or buy? Your finances may answer this question for you; buying a home is a major monetary commitment that takes serious planning, so be sure you are ready.
Thinking beyond bank accounts, there are other reasons it might make sense to rent rather than buy at first in a brand new city. Many real estate agents recommend renting first to get to know the area.
Rent in a new city before buying to give yourself a chance to get to know the areas. What corners you like best. Get a good understanding of how long certain commutes are to your work and other important activities.
It also gives you time to make sure you’ll actually like the new job and city.
What a nightmare it would be to buy a home in a new city, only to end up hating the job (or city) and moving back within a few months.
Lastly, the type of home you’re interested in may help narrow down your choice to rent or buy. If you definitely want an apartment/condo in a high-rise building, that is more likely available for rent.
Learn the Neighborhoods
As you start apartment hunting, keep in mind the three most important words in real estate: location, location, location. Choosing your new neighborhood can actually be more important than most other things.
As you check out the neighborhoods in your new city, consider the following: Do you want to live downtown, or in a more suburban or rural area? There are certainly pros and cons to each option.
Downtown, you may be within walking distance to great restaurants, fun entertainment and, conveniently, your place of work. That being said, you could also deal with negatives like loud street noise or frequent construction.
In the suburbs, you could have more green space with parks and playgrounds. However, if you’ve decided you’re looking for an apartment, your options might be limited outside of downtown.
Your transportation situation is also a key factor to consider. Do you own a car? How far are you willing to commute to work, and where does the neighborhood fit into traffic patterns? Take commute time into account, not just the distance.
Once you’ve pinpointed the general area you want to be, try plugging the coordinates into GPS to determine if your driving time is satisfactory to you during rush hour.
Other key factors to keep in mind when exploring a neighborhood are the specifics that fit your family’s needs. Do you have children, or are you planning a family in the future? If so, find out about the schools in the areas you’re considering.
If possible, drive around each of the schools those neighborhoods feed into. Even if you don’t have children this can give you a feel for the area.
And, of course, talk with someone familiar with the city – your new coworkers or friends in the area.