7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving to a New City
What To Do Before Moving to a New City [7 Questions to Ask]
There’s no single reason that 28% of Americans move away from their hometowns.
It could be the quest for Blue Ribbon school districts.
A recent job offer.
Or even to spread their wings and venture away from home for the first time.
Picking up your life and calling a new metropolis “home” isn’t a decision to make lightly or impulsively. Especially if the trajectory of your future is on the line.
So, don’t accept that job offer or put down that security deposit just yet.
Before moving to a new city, ask yourself these seven questions!
1. Why Do You Want to Move There?
Perhaps it was your first SXSW trip that helped you envision a future in Austin. Or maybe it’s the thought of crossing paths with Zac Efron or Rebel Wilson at the grocery store that finally landed your sights on Los Angeles.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to move, think long-term.
Are you eyeing a city that’s closer to your latest Tinder date?
Are you basing your decision on one exciting event that drew you in — like a festival?
Are you desperate to be just far enough away that your parents can’t visit regularly?
Moving to a new city doesn’t have to be permanent.
But when you’re uprooting your entire life, signing a lease, and straying far from what you know, make sure that you’re moving for the right reasons.
Advice: Sleep on it for a day, week, month, or even a year. If your feelings are still as strong in the future as they are now, maybe this new city truly is your calling!
2. What Is There to Do For Fun on the Weekends?
“Fun” is subjective.
Some folks describe the “perfect weekend” as a tubing adventure down the river with a cold brew in hand. For others, a weekend isn’t complete without taking the train to the city and galavanting through Times Square.
Understandably, not everyone values the excitement of living in a city of millions. Others find the silence of living “off the grid” to be eerie and anxiety-inducing.
Compare what you like to do … and what there is to do in your new city.
Do you like to:
- Spend time outdoors exploring parks?
- Take a weekend trip to the beach?
- Make quiet trips to local museums?
- Take the “long way home” on winding country roads?
- Get social at bars, clubs, or meet-ups?
- Do absolutely nothing?
Weekends are your two days a week to relax and enjoy yourself. Choose a city that brings you comfort, joy, and makes you feel like you’re truly at “home.”
Advice: Make a list of what you’d do if you had a free weekend and no limitations. Scout out your new city and ensure your top three are within driving distance.
3. How Much Does It Cost to Live There?
The allure of living in your dream city might trigger the internal “I’ll do anything it takes to make this happen” mindset.
Yet, no matter how strong the economy is, a dollar in Memphis, Tennessee, will go much further than a dollar in San Francisco, California.
So, think about your wallet, first and foremost.
No more than 30% of your monthly income should go toward rent if you’re vying to live within your means, build a safety net, and fluff your savings account.
Do the math.
If you earn $3,500 a month, your budget should be $1,050. Staying on-budget can give you some wiggle room if you encounter a financial hurdle (like job loss).
Advice: Look for apartments along city limits or within driving distance to save money without sacrificing the city. Or consider finding a roommate to split costs.
4. Does the Atmosphere Mesh With Your Lifestyle?
Does the thought of stepping out onto your balcony every morning to the sound of honking taxis give you heart palpitations? Or do you dread having to drive five miles or more to see any inkling of human life?
This new city should mesh with your lifestyle to a T.
Say you consider yourself a casual museum enthusiast. Choosing an artistic city for this reason alone will ruin the allure quite quickly.
Think about how you’d describe yourself in three to five adjectives … and how you’d describe the traits of your ideal friend or significant other:
Creative, artistic, musical
Millennial, Generation Z
Young professional, casual
Beach bum, nature lover, city slicker
Like the celebrities flock to Beverly Hills and urbanites settle into metro Chicago, some cities attract people just like you! The more folks like you living in the area, the more confident you’ll feel in your decision and the happier you’ll be overall.
Advice: Use your adjectives to do a Google search (i.e., Least uptight cities) and locate the cities calling your name.
5. Are There Employment Opportunities?
Dropping $500 on a one-bedroom apartment is a “steal” if you hail from the East Coast or ritzier metro areas. But if you can’t snag a high-paying job in your new city, you’ll wind up underwater in a matter of months.
So, do your job search before hiring the moving company. Make sure that your chosen city has a thriving job market in general and in your industry.
Advice: Begin applying for jobs and interviewing with companies in and around your new city before confirming your move.
6. Is It In a Safe Area?
When you visit touristy attractions on your weekend trips, you’ll notice that they all seem to be in upscale areas with positive vibes.
It’s incredibly misleading!
Venturing three city blocks to the north can leave you with questionable vibes and fearing for your safety. So, on top of checking that the city itself boasts low crime rates, verify that the particular neighborhood you’re eyeing is safe, too.
That might mean making a night drive through the city. Calculating how far away the nearest police or fire departments are, and reading up on local crime in the newspaper.
Advice: Figure out how large a “safety bubble” you’ll have in a specific area. If it’s a three-block radius, it might be too close for comfort — look elsewhere!
7. How Long Do You Plan on Staying?
Whether you’re looking to plant your roots or you consider yourself a modern-day nomad, you want to ensure your new city is in line with your time frame.
Will this new city be home until it loses its shine a few months from now?
Is this a city where you’d like to settle down and build a family?
Are you merely awaiting your employer’s next relocation request?
If you’re only planning to stick around until summer, it doesn’t make sense to rent out a luxury apartment that’ll make you want to stay. For long-term moves, make sure you can envision yourself there today and years from now.
Advice: Even if you plan to ride out a 12-month lease, don’t be afraid to make the most of your new environment. It might just be where you truly belong!
Now that you’re ready to check out apartments, schedule the moving van, and change the address on your driver’s license, you must be serious about this move.
So, it’s time for one final test drive.
Pay a visit to your new city when it’s not hosting exciting events.
Get a taste for:
- Local stores and shops (including price tags)
- Traffic patterns
- Things to do for fun
- Public transportation methods and walkability
- Internet speeds & WiFi availability
- Air quality
Now, for one final question:
Can you envision yourself calling this city “home” for at least the next 12 months?
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Quarry Trail to help them with their online marketing.