Whether you are about to enter the workforce, considering a career change, job transfer, wanting to be closer to your family, or needing a change of scenery, there are many factors to consider when thinking about a new destination to call home. For many people, this could be an exciting time in your life or an overwhelming one. Regardless of your age or gender, or whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married, picking a new place to call home is an important decision for everyone.
At Invitation Homes, we are in the business of creating homes for you and your family and we work with many people who are moving or thinking about moving. Based on our experiences, we’ve created a list to help guide you through your decision-making process. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing where to move:
1. Cost of living
The cost of living may be the most significant factor to consider when moving someplace new. Housing, food, taxes, healthcare, and schools all contribute to the cost of living – and geographic areas vary greatly across the spectrum for these categories. There are many areas that are undergoing periods of revitalization and offer attractive incentives to entice new residents. Therefore, when identifying possible destinations, research the cost of living to determine what and where you can afford to live.
2. Size of the City
Do you prefer a small town or big city, or maybe something in between? Some say that it’s easier to get to know people and there’s less traffic in smaller towns and others say that in a bigger city you’re more likely to have more things to do for entertainment and make new friends. Either way, think about the different benefits that come from the size of town.
Housing will be one of the most important factors in choosing where to live once you decide on a destination. And, since it is a major component to the cost of living, it is important to research housing options thoroughly. Whether you will lease or buy, start by looking at neighborhoods and how they compare. Is the neighborhood close to public transportation and in a good school district? It’s no surprise that we think leasing is a great option – especially when you’re new to an area. But we’re not the only ones that think so. Leasing a home is increasing both in popularity and in inventory as individuals and families choose to live life on their own terms, with freedom and flexibility.
Perhaps traffic is a reason for wanting to leave your current city, or perhaps you are considering a city with more traffic? Much will depend on where you choose to live in relation to your job, but think about how you will be getting to and from work. People with long commute times often want public transportation options, so be sure to research ahead of time. Others may be looking at smaller destinations or more rural areas to be able to spend less time on the road.
If you have school-aged children or are planning on starting a family in the future, chances are that school districts or access to academic choices will be an important decision. Make a list of academic criteria and needs, and research schools in areas that make your destination list to see how they stack up.
Many people have health needs that may require being close to medical facilities or hospitals with specialized care. Other people may want to move someplace that has better access and options to healthier lifestyles. If you fall into one of these categories, you’ll want to look for areas with these considerations.
Whether you are single, have a family or are planning one, research the crime rate in the cities on your list as well as the neighborhoods you might consider.
8. Job Prospects
If you are looking at a city or geographic area because of a specific job industry that you are interested in or already working in, it is important to think about how certain markets can offer long-term job sustainability. For instance, the entertainment or tech industries in the Silicon Valley/Bay area; the travel and leisure industry in Florida; or the tech industry in the Carolinas. No matter your current career level (entry, mid or senior), think about long-term options within that industry and what the city offers in terms of future employment. Most people no longer stay at one job for their entire careers so you’ll want to consider how your future city stacks up for future job options.
9. Entertainment and Social Scene
Consider how you like to spend your leisure time. Do you have an active, outdoor lifestyle and want access to nature hikes, trails and parks or do you like exploring a city’s many museums? If you’re thinking about moving someplace without any family or friends nearby, how will you meet people? Chances are that bigger cities have more social groups to join but smaller cities may offer the charm and personal connection you prefer.
We’ve carefully selected our portfolio of homes to ensure that they are in those great locations that people want to live. But wherever you choose to live, we hope these ideas help guide you to the perfect home for you.