10 Things to Know Before Moving to a New City
Updated: Mar 3
Looking to move to a new city? Here are 10 things you need to know before moving. I have lived in a few cities in (and outside) the US as an adult: Austin, Bangkok, Macomb (45 minutes northeast of Detroit,) and now Orlando. So I know a thing or two about moving. I have had people ask me before about how to prepare a move to another city, so I hope to share my experience and the things I considered and researched before our latest move: from Macomb, Michigan to Orlando, Florida.
So congratulations, if you're looking to plan ahead before your move, you're on the right track. Note that this moving advice is from my personal experience while moving as a family, from someone who is risk-averse and often plan before I act. Besides securing a job first before you move to a new city, here are the 10 Things You Need to Know before Moving
1. Know Your Motives for Moving
Knowing your main motives for moving to another city is key, and it helps to list them out or make a mental note when searching for your next city. Mine was the climate and the lifestyles in correlation to the climate. Living in Michigan, I couldn't stand being inside the house for more than half of the year. The weather outside was frightful, despite the fire being so delightful, there was just no place to go. If the new city you are considering doesn't meet your motives for the move, then it's probably not a good move (pun intended.)
If you're just bored, then consider traveling or a change of pace in your lifestyle instead. Moving costs a lot of money, is life-changing, and is a hell lot of work. Don't lose sights of the reasons why you want to move, and make sure the next cities you have your eyes on meet your main criteria.
2. Job Market & Economic Outlook
Understanding the job market in the cities you're looking to move to is very important. This means the general economics of that city: What opportunities are there for you? What businesses or industries does that city depend on? For example, I really like the idea of Pittsburgh, but the job market has been in a bad shape for decades, and the future job outlook is below par (I moved to my current city in 2017.) Despite my love for the city's downtown landscapes, overall architecture, and its relative proximity to Michigan (where my husband's family is,) a bad job market is just not ideal to move as a family. If you work remotely or your job is in high demand, then this factor would be less of a concern.
3. Average Pay and Availabilities of Jobs in Your Field
Before I started applying for jobs (for my husband) I checked out the average pay and the availability of jobs in his field. The average pay (in correlation with the cost of living) has to obviously and potentially be more than what he was making, and the job availability in his field should be at least decent. You see, job availabilities is one thing but if the average pay is much lower than what you currently make, the move would not make financial sense. You're moving for the better, not for worse. Or if the pay in the new city will be lower, the cost of living there will have to be significantly lower as well. By having this information, it will help you narrow down your job search to higher potential states, or help you decide if the cities you had in mind will be feasible or not. I simply did a google search on the information below:
"Your job field/ field of interest + average pay + by state"
What type of climate do you thrive in? Believe it or not, we're a lot more like plants than we think we are. Different people thrive in different weather. Some people enjoys the rain, some people adores heat and sunbathing, and some people love the cold. It's important to know when you physically feel most alive. I thrive in an all-year-round 70s weather but I can't afford such luxury. So I go for the next best thing, and lean towards the warmer states. As you may know, weather can make or break your vacation, so of course weather will affect your everyday living and well-being. Some people get weather-related depression, so if you feel noticeably down when the weather is gloomy, moving to the state of Washington, for example, is probably a bad idea.
“If we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet.” – Rachel Wolchin.
5. Cost of Living
I always use Cost of Living Calculator when I do my research for which potential cities to move to. Housing/ Renting Cost is, of course, the no.1 criteria you need to look at. I love San Francisco (doesn't everyone?) and San Diego's weather would be ideal for me. However, the housing and cost of living in those cities are out of my reach. I can't sacrifice my family's livelihood for an all-year-round good weather, or wake up everyday in a garage studio in San Francisco (and to be honest, I don't think we can even afford that.) The fact about expensive housing cost in certain cities may be well-known to many, but you won't know just how much MORE expensive. Cost of Living Calculator tells you how much you need to make in your new city to maintain the same lifestyle you're enjoying (or not enjoying, hence that's why you're planning the move.)
This is an obvious one but besides the potential of making money, you also need savings in order to move to a new city successfully. I think the ball park number is equivalent to around 6-9 months of your usual expenses. This also depends on how much you are planning to start over. If you're bringing more belongings with you then you need less money. Keep in mind to weight in between the cost of a moving service vs. starting over fresh. Of course it will help if your employer provides a relocation fee, but even then it won't cover everything. Moving is an investment and carries risks. Having enough money to get settled in a new city, and be prepared for unexpected expenses is the smarter way to go.
How dependent are you on your current cities' amenities and the people living in it? It takes a village to raise a child they say, but my village relies on self-sufficiency, so moving to a new city made no obvious difference. To have help with childcare from the grandparents/ relatives is an enormous blessing (and a big cost-saving) so that is something to consider if you're used to getting the help. Finding assistance and comfort in a new city takes time, and sometimes you may never find it. Our version of dependency may vary, from a family member, a best friend, an awesome daycare, or your favorite hairdresser. Understanding your level of dependency to your current city is fundamental before your move. So you can get adjusted prior, and/or have a checklist of what you need to prioritize in the next city.
I am Thai and my husband is American. It is essential for me to live in a place where there's no obvious division between races and people who look different are, for the most part, not treated too differently. Our kids are mixed-race so I did the extra due diligence on demographics, to make sure that they will be raised in an environment where their different looks will not be an issue. It's unfortunate I know, but outer appearance does have an effect on how you're treated more or less, depending where you go. Living in downtown Orlando and being in a liberal neighborhood, I definitely don't feel the same energy as when I was living in Michigan.
It's beneficial to do research and familiarize yourself with the different neighborhoods of the cities you are planning to move to. First and foremost I check the areas with high crime, the website that I recommend (and that you may be familiar with already) is www.city-data.com/ Also, start looking for the amenities that are important to your weekly life. Mine was to have an Asian grocery close by, and I prefer to be close to downtown. Once I have my requirements, I looked at the neighborhoods I would like to be in, then I googled the buildings/ apartments in those areas. As I was moving with my then 2 year-old, I also searched for
Family-friendly neighborhoods + Downtown Orlando
Prior to moving here, I have never visited Orlando. Leasing a building without ever seeing the surroundings literally gave me gray hair. With luck and extensive online research, however, we ended up loving our condominium. I picked our building based on the downtown location, proximity to my husband's office (walkable,) the length of the lease, and online photos.
If you have a choice of visiting the city that you plan to move to beforehand, I would highly advise it. I also recommend doing a lot of online research (like what you're doing now) and staying at a short-term accommodation prior to signing your lease or rental. That way you have time to explore the areas you like in the city, and understanding your top requirements can help narrow down the number of properties you will be visiting.
10. Pack Smart
The costs of settling in a new place/ new city do add up. If you have quality furniture that "still bring you joy," it's better to pay a moving service to transport your existing furniture. Anything small, and especially storage or organizational items that you can reuse, just bring them with you. Sometimes it's the smaller items that's more difficult to find and replace. We moved our TV, queen bed, dining table and chairs, along with several other items which proved to be cost effective.
Obviously if you have the money to buy everything new, or you don't have a lot of belongings to begin with, you won't have to consider this point as much. Balancing out between reusing existing items and pay for a moving company vs. buying new things in your new city will make a major difference in your relocation cost.
I hope you find this article useful. These are just the essential 10 things that are highly beneficial for you to know before moving to a new city. Our preferences and requirements vary, and some other aspects are more or less important to you. For example, walkability and public transportation maybe high on your list, or you maybe looking for a dog-friendly city, or a state with many prestigious universities. List out what's most important to you, and work towards making sure you have the means to make a successful move. Best of luck to you and let me know where you end up moving to!
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Hi, I'm Ketsiree Tury. Let's Connect!
Foodie | Blogger | Content Strategist
I blog about affordable family-fun, food & travel around the Sunshine State 🌅 & Beyond ☕🥐🌸🍵
Bangkok bred. Orlando based. The original blogger of Direct Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap: Step-by-Step Journey.
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