Whether you're serious about packing up and calling an entirely new city home—or simply daydreaming about a fresh start somewhere far, far away—there are a few questions to consider before you start looking up moving companies and plunking down deposits (or down payments). These gut checks can help you decide whether you're making the right choice.
What Type of Environment Do I Thrive In?
Do you like bustling cities or do you need a little space between you and your neighbor? Think about the places where you feel the most comfortable, so you can narrow down whether you should live in the heart of a city, out in the suburbs, or way out in the country. (This list of the top 10 cities to move to right now may help you on that front.)
What's the Weather Like There?
Fixer Upper may have made you fall in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines's world, but before you move to Waco, imagine 90+ degree temperatures for one third of the year. If you can handle the heat, keep it in the running.
How Close Do I Need to Be to the Water?
Or mountains? Or just nature in general? Think about how much the landscape impacts your mood.
Can I Find a Job There?
So you've narrowed it down: You need your own private island! Perfect! How will you pay your mortgage on this beachfront dream? If you work remotely, you can skip ahead. For everyone else, check out one of these top 25 cities for jobseekers.
If you're planning on finding a job after you move, experts recommend having at least three months' worth of expenses (rent included!) before you load up that U-Haul.
How Much Does it Actually Cost to Live There?
Some of the most desirable places to live come with the least desirable price tags. Do a sweep of sales listings in the area to see what you could get for your budget—and get a sense of how long your commute may be to get the square footage (or setting) you crave near the area you've been dreaming of. Just because it's pricey doesn't mean it's off-limits; just check out our roundup of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.—and the most affordable neighborhoods nearby.
How Noisy Will It Be There?
That question may seem odd at first, until you consider that 17 percent of people struggle to sleep after moving due to the noise pollution in their area. If you're considering moving close to the highway—or from the country to the city—pay close attention to how loud it is while you tour a potential home. Is it something a fan or white noise machine can fix, or will it slowly drive you insane?
What Are the Schools Like?
As you zero in on a neighborhood, it's a critical question to consider—and not just if you have kids or plan on raising a family. If you don't have kids, you may find that moving to worse districts works in your favor: On average, homes near high-ranking schools cost 49 percent more than the national median, the Chicago Tribune reported.
What Are the Property Taxes Like?
If you're buying a house, this can make a huge difference in your annual expenses. Don't gloss over it.
How Safe Will I Feel There?
While it's worth asking people in the area about the neighborhood, you can also use sites like CrimeReports and the U.S. Department of Justice's Sex Offender Search to get a sense for what types of crimes have been reported in your area, how that compares to the national average, and how close you'll be living to a registered offender. Additionally, sites like Niche offer a snapshot into crime in neighborhoods nationwide, providing an A through F grade for each.
Why Do I Really Want to Move?
Ah, the deep, soul-searching question that only you (or you, with the help of a therapist) can answer. Are you trying to escape your past? Is your family driving you nuts? Are you running away from a problem...that will likely follow you wherever you go, until you get to the root of what's bothering you? Knowing your true intentions behind a big move can make it a lot easier to adjust to a new area, and prevent that "I gotta get out of here!" feeling from creeping up again, once you've settled in to the minutiae of everyday life.
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