It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving. Searching for a new place, packing up your things, daydreaming about your new space… There’s a rush of energy that comes when a new chapter is on the horizon.
It’s great to feel this excitement and we’re certainly not suggesting you bypass the high-flying feeling of enjoying your move. Make sure you add some practical questions into the mix, so you can be sure you have the whole picture before you get started. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before moving.
1. Why do I Want to Move?
This one may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how often many people don’t stop to really check in on their motivations. The answer will be an important factor in deciding where you move, and what type of home you choose.
You may want to move in order to:
- Get out of (or into) the city
- Buy your own place instead of rent
- Have more space for a growing family
- Find a better school district for your kids
- Accept a job offer, or find a new role
Understanding your motivations and what is important to you in the place you go will help guide your search.
2. How Much Does it Cost to Move?
Before you start to take the big leap, check on the costs of moving. Local movers charge based on how much stuff you have, how many movers will help, and how long the job will take. Long-distance moving companies take other factors into account, such as the distance traveled, the size of the truck needed, and whether they’re also hauling anything like a car or a boat.
Your timing will also affect the cost of your move. If you’re looking to save money, this is an important consideration. The summer months, holidays, and weekends tend to be in higher demand. This leads to higher prices at these times. Understanding your moving costs early can help you schedule your move carefully.
3. What is the Cost of Living?
Once you’ve calculated your moving costs, remember you’ll have other financial implications to consider. Can you afford a raise in rent? Will you have homeowners fees? Will your commute to work mean more gas or public transportation costs? How will having a larger space affect your utility bills?
Take some time to look at the big picture, and consider the potential recurring costs. If you’re moving to a new area, city, or even state, what effect does this have on rents or property taxes? Gas and grocery prices can also vary. You don’t have to get too formal and investigative over every small detail, but be realistic about the costs. Then, be realistic about whether you can afford them.
4. Who do I Know in My New Neighborhood?
If you’re currently living in a place where you’re surrounded by friends and family, moving somewhere new can be a hard transition. You may feel lonely or isolated and find it challenging to really settle in.
If you’re relocating for a job offer the choice of location is likely not yours. But if you’re following the allure of a new city or town, give some consideration to what you’re giving up. Being walking distance from the beach definitely has its appeal, but does that mean you’ll have to give up your weekly brunch with family? Of course, you won’t be on your own forever in your new place. Just be prepared for the transition time, and make sure you’re ready for the new distance between yourself and your loved ones.
5. What is the New Area Like?
If you’ve considered the financial implications of moving you’ve taken a big factor into account. But what about other elements of your possible destination? Consider what the reality of living there is like. Oftentimes people visit somewhere as a tourist and plan to make a big move, only to find out the “off-season” isn’t quite as appealing.
Learn about the year-round climate. What about public transportation options and networks? Consider if there are any major cultural differences that make take some getting used to. What do people do on their weekends? What about the culinary options? If you’re used to living by the sea and are eyeing a spot far inland, this will have an effect on the foods you have available! Try to get the full picture of reality as a local.
6. What is the Job Market Like?
If you’re not moving for a job relocation and will instead need to find a new one, this is a big factor to consider. Through rose-colored glasses, your new destination may seem full of opportunity. This isn’t always grounded in reality.
Do some research to find out what the job market is like. Not only available opportunities, but unemployment rates as well. If you have the ability, you could start applying for roles before you even move – once you’ve gotten set on that destination.
Don’t find yourself in panicking job hunting stress on the other side. Get to know the ins and outs of employment reality. And don’t forget to bring your expense list with you, so you don’t stretch yourself beyond your means.
7. How is the School District?
If you have a family or are planning to start one, consider school districts. This should not only play a factor in the city or town you move to but the neighborhoods where you look for a place to call home. Do some research on the caliber of the schools and the reputation of the district.
If you plan to involve your kids in extracurricular activities, it’s also important to know what’s on offer. That goes for both in school, and through other avenues. See if you can find other parents to chat with about their experience with the schools in the area.
8. What are the Good Neighborhoods to Live in?
This decision may be guided by school districts or budgets, but it’s still important to understand what the good neighborhoods are in your new hometown. Start by doing some research on your new city, and see what the most liveable areas are.
What is “the best” is subjective of course. Do you want access to public transport or many green spaces nearby? After you make a shortlist of neighborhoods look into the cost of living. Research homes or apartments and see what the purchase or rental price is. Narrow it down to a place that meets your needs and one that you can afford without going over the top.
9. Should Everything I Own Come with Me?
This is a question we recommend asking yourself whether you’re moving across the street or across the country. An important step in any move planning is evaluating what you have, and what you’ll keep.
Moving is a great time to start fresh, and here’s your chance to really clear some space. Make piles for donation, selling, gifting, and trashing (or recycling!). Not only will you have more space and spend less time packing, you’ll lower your moving costs. If your move is temporary, maybe you’d like to store some of your things for a while. Get the full picture on what you’re taking, what you’re getting rid of, and what you might want to move into a storage unit.
10. How Can I Make My Move as Smooth as Possible?
Consider the ways you can eliminate stress and prepare for a smooth move. Sorting and packing early is a good early step. This will help you stay organized in the process so you can unpack swiftly on the other side.
Decide what help you’ll need on moving day. Moving companies will obviously take you from point a to point b while taking care of the heavy lifting. Do you want more help than that? Full-service movers will also bring the supplies, pack your boxes, and disassemble your furniture. Once they arrive in your new home, they’ll do all the same in reverse. They’ll even take the empty boxes away with them.
When it’s time to start planning, FlatRate can help. For all of your packing, moving, and storage needs, we have you covered.