June 15, 2021 Posted in How-to
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience

How to Decide Where to Live – Factors to Consider

There are many significant aspects about every relocation that include considering your career path, thinking through whether you will be able to afford a house, and if it is a smart choice to hire a cross-country moving company to get you from A to B. But, where is your B? And how to decide where to live so you won’t regret it after a while?

Street view of Santa Barbara, CA, after moving cross country overlay
Deciding on your future location wisely will affect your life in a good way

It’s not easy to change your scenery and leave many memories behind. Although people relocate all the time – in fact, an average American may move up to 11 times during their lifetime, every change brings obstacles. We may move for a relationship, or perhaps we’re relocating to another state alone because we have finally gathered the courage to venture out of our parents’ nest and start our own story. Whatever the case is, being in a position to decide on your own where the next step leads you means that you should be aware that choosing where to live is not something that should be taken lightly. The obstacles may be minor or not that neglectable at all, so deciding where to move must include lists and a lot of considerations.

How to Decide Where to Live – First, Consider What Drives You to Move

Relocations are often work-related or personal (about 40-40), while some people move for government or military positions. Renters tend to move more than house owners, and 1 out of 3 people who are renting move every year. While we may not always be able to pick the moment when our change of scenery comes or to think through whether it is the best time of year to move, we usually have the privilege of choosing a place to live.

Keep in mind that this decision will affect many aspects of your life for the next few years, your lifestyle, career path, finances (and not just your moving budget), and above all, happiness. That’s why you should try to avoid making a common relocation mistake of picking a location on a whim (just because a city has a perfect beach doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford the rent) and putting yourself through a last-minute move.

The US through the magnifying glass overlay
Deciding about where life takes you next may be driven by a need for a change

Basing Your Decision for Moving on Job Opportunities Is a Good Starting Point

It’s that time of the year again when you’re getting itchy feet, and this time you have made up your mind about searching for a new place to call home. Perhaps you feel that you’re stuck in your workplace, and it’s bringing you high levels of anxiety to which no amount of anxiety about moving out can come close. You feel unhappy and unsatisfied with your workplace or paycheck, and dealing with relocating stress seems pretty insignificant compared to it. That’s when finding another job and thinking about how to pick a place to live based on your career choice makes it a great starting point.

How to Decide Where to Move While Looking for a Job?

So, how to get a job before you move or steer your search for a location based on the job options? Start the same way you would if you were looking for employment near you – research the market thoroughly, but this time broaden your search to a wider area or even the whole state. Look for positions in your specific industry, pay attention to anything that might suit you, and above all, bookmark the ones that catch your eye. You can talk to your current employer about the move and make a list of relocation questions to ask, such as whether there are available positions within the company in another state, or if you would be allowed to work remotely. This is a modern, technology-driven era, and it might be needless to point out that digital nomads may answer “how to pick where to live” more easily, as their work is not location-dependent.

A businessman talking on the phone overlay
Look at the job market for opportunities

Affordability of a Place Is a Decisive Factor

“How do I decide what city to move to?” – you wonder, and what’s equally important, will you be able to afford a city you dream about? When we are younger, we often fantasize about places brimming with nightlife where crystal clear seawater is close at hand, but the reality check of adulthood tells us something else and usually steers us in another direction. When the time for relocation comes, perhaps we could consider hiring cross-country moving services to take our whole household to such a location.

Researching the cost of living prior to your move is essential, and thorough planning must include leaving some breathing room in the projected budget. After all, financial security is on top of the priority list for most Americans. Thorough budget planning and the cheapest way to move out of state also include donating unwanted items before you move out, and it will enable you to save up a bit more for settling in.

Research the Cost of Living Before Taking a Leap of Faith

Planning a budget for relocation doesn’t mean only thinking about how much it would cost to invest in a packing service, or if you would be able to pay for auto transport from reliable cross-country movers. The more important aspect of budgeting is to research the cost of living in the desired city, and for some people, this may be something that comes first, even before finding work. It includes the prices of utilities, housing costs, but also prices of groceries, transportation, as well as health care.

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Look at the Real Estate Prices or Decide How Much Money You Are Willing to Pay for Rent

The affordability of the city can not be considered without looking at the real estate prices if you’re planning on buying a home. Good house hunting tips, besides research, include getting recommendations and hiring a realtor who will work in your favor. Researching the market is equally important for renters, as they will have to plan their monthly expenses. If they can find a location that suits them and has a lower rent, it may help them set money aside for a downpayment.

A couple holding house keys overlay
An affordable housing market might be just what you’re looking for

How to Choose Where to Live Based on the Size of the Location

Are you asking yourself “Where should I move to start over?” believing that this question has a complex answer? In fact, this is pretty easy to answer by determining what kind of a personality you have, what you like best, and what you vibe with. Before you call your long-distance movers and place your belongings in a storage unit, consider your lifestyle and what you expect of your surroundings.

Are You a City Dweller or a Village Type?

If you have a family but enjoy cities and urban areas with all their amenities such as museums and entertainment venues close at hand, you’ll likely be looking at suburban parts of a metropolis with great transportation. Digital nomads living on their own might enjoy a quieter location, with proximity to open space and recreation options, and they’ll be looking at towns and villages, away from all the fuss. Young professionals who aren’t ready to start a family just yet will probably look at how to choose a place to live in the heart of it all, in centers and downtowns where all the fuss is happening.

Choose the Best Neighborhood to Live in Based on Your Needs

Choosing to reside in larger cities will give you an option of picking between very different types of neighborhoods, and making friends in a new city will be much easier if you settle in a district that best fits your lifestyle. For those who don’t mind being in the middle of the urban buzz and dense population, but with high walkability and outstanding public transportation, while being near their workplace, the urban core neighborhoods are a perfect choice.

Suburban areas are usually chosen by families and young professionals. They are less populated, homes are mostly owned by residents, and there are a lot of open green spaces. Master-planned communities are neighborhoods that are strategically built and have many indoor and outdoor activities included, as well as grocery stores, shops, restaurants, and parks.
In the video below, you can see and hear some pros and cons of life in locations of different sizes.

Will I Buy a New House or Rent a Place?

People who already own a home will probably decide to sell and buy a new one in their desired location, and renters may look for an apartment complex that fits their needs. But what drives us to decide between the two before we invest in long-distance moving services and step towards that significant change?

First of all, compare the amount of monthly rent to the cost of a monthly mortgage needed for a new house. Also take into consideration that renting will require you to leave a deposit every time you sign a lease, which you might not get back when you move. On the other hand, buying an abode requires you to have enough for a down payment. Maintaining is not your responsibility when you’re a renter, while you have to invest in repairs when you’re a homeowner. All of these pros and cons may help you decide.

A white and red house overlay
A single-family home might be what you’re looking for

How Important Is the Infrastructure of a Location?

There are probably some aspects of the infrastructure in cities you may not find important at the moment, such as healthcare options or proximity to great schools if you are not planning a family yet, but all of these factors affect the prices of an area. And after all, when you plan to move, one of the relocation essentials is that you consider all your options and think a few years ahead. Here’s what to pay attention to:

  • Healthcare services are something that we often don’t consider an important factor when we’re younger. But having a good healthcare system at your disposal should be high on the priority list for a family with children, for retired people, as well as those nearing their retirement, and above all for all of those who have chronic health issues. While we may believe that large metropolitan areas are guaranteed to have a good system, you’d be surprised – smaller towns often have research facilities and medical universities at their disposal.
  • Transportation options and commuting are something we mostly pay attention to when looking for a job. But commuting to your workplace is not the only reason you may require great transportation options, and you should keep in mind that you’ll need to get around to finish your everyday errands.
  • When you have kids, it’s a common thing to look for proximity to quality education options, and answering a question like “how do I decide where to live” becomes easier if you know there are good schools around. It’s also important to point out that, if you’re looking to invest in the housing market, districts with quality school systems tend to become more expensive over time.
  • If you are relocating with pets and don’t want to give up on your furry companions, you might want to look for places that are rich in dog-friendly restaurants and have a lot of parks nearby for your daily walks.

While it’s sometimes hard to check off every single thing on our list of necessities, it’s smart to take some time and try to tick most of the things you need. Make sure your future home will make you happy before you pack your bags and contact a long-distance moving company.

The Safety of a Location Is Crucial

An essential part of any relocation when moving cross country, besides the household inventory list, is researching the crime rates and safety of a neighborhood. Paying for additional moving insurance will make you feel at ease during your transition to your future home, but to look ahead and protect your belongings once you unpack after the move means that you have to choose your surroundings carefully. You can look for statistics online through sites like CrimeMapping or simply contact a local police station and ask around.

researching on the security is a must-do preparatory step before moving cross country to a specific neighbourhood overlay
Make sure you check out the safety of a town before you move there

Consider All the Factors, but Let Your Heart Decide

Relocating to completely different surroundings is adventurous, as well as fun if you have done your research thoroughly. But one of the most important relocating hacks which will make sure you have a stressless move is to visit the location you want to reside in and get a good feel of the area and what living there looks like first-hand. After you’ve made sure it is what you want and what suits you, gather your things, find out how to change your address when you move, and go for it.


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