Are you sick and tired of living where you do? Do you dream of relocating to another destination far away, but stay anyway, paralyzed by fear of ending up in the wrong place? You don’t have to go into this big decision blind! Our quick guide will get you headed towards your dream destination in no time!
Many of us dream of making the leap and trying life in a whole new area.
There are many reasons people want to make a location change. Maybe you are tired of the cold Maine weather and see yourself living in the searing Arizona sunshine year round. Maybe the hustle and bustle of city life has worn you out and you seek the refuge of a quiet farmhouse in the country. Careers also often drive relocation decisions. Your employer may be moving and you are not sure whether to go, or you simply seek more abundant opportunities elsewhere. Perhaps a fresh start where no one knows you is just what you desire. Whatever the reason for wanting to go, what usually holds you back is fear of the unknown.
Is fear holding you back?
It’s normal to fear a major area change, especially if you want to go far and don’t really know the area! What if you can’t find work once you arrive? What if the people aren’t what you expected and you feel out of place? What if it turns out the surroundings aren’t to your liking after all and you get homesick? What if it all just turns out to be a big mistake??? Fear not! Here is your step by step plan to decide if the place you want to go is right for you!
1. Consult a map
Pull out a map (or globe if you really want to go far!) and take a look around! What climates appeal to you? Do you want to be in a big city or a small remote town? In the mountains or near the ocean? Maybe you want to be near an airport or some other transportation hub. Take a good long look at what appeals to you and pick out some possibilities.
2. Get familiar with local demographics information
Let’s say you have a town or city picked out, at least preliminarily. Now it’s time to dig deeper. Plain factual data about the area is a good place to start. The government collects and publishes such data on the Census Bureau website. One of my favorite places for this research is City-data.com, where demographic and city information are compiled and easily located. There is also a very handy tool to compare towns to one another side by side. Almost all cities and towns in the U.S. also maintain independent websites which can be a wealth of info and give you sense of the vibe of the area. Google that town hall or county hall! Read up!
3. Check out jobs and housing
Unless you are retiring, you’ll probably need to work. See what industries are thriving in your desired area, and check job listings - Indeed.com, monster.com, and Linkedin.com are good sources of job postings. If you happen to belong to a national professional network or association, see if any members are located in your desired area and seek their input on employment conditions. You’ll most certainly need a place to live as well! This is a great time to look over home listings to see if your housing expectations are in line with your budget for this location. Rents and home sales prices vary widely by markets. Zillow.com will give you an idea of what housing is available in any city in the U.S. and a google search for local real estate agents should lead you to real estate websites featuring local listings and local housing trends.
4. Find out what the locals are saying
By now you have a pretty good idea of what this area is like as far as demographics, housing and jobs go. Now it’s time to find out how the locals feel about the area, and what they are telling those who wish to move there. This is key information! Luckily there are plenty of places online to find these conversations nowadays. City-data.com has a fantastic forum for every almost every area where you can find loads of commentary from current and former locals, other hopeful re-locaters and local real estate agents. Other websites do provide similar content, but city-data.com is by far the largest and most active site of such and I highly recommend it. Spend some time reading up…everything still looking good?
5. It’s time to visit!
You’ve done all your homework and you are still really loving the idea of this new city. There’s just one thing to do now – schedule a trip to see it for yourself! Spend a few days to a week visiting this prospect new home and get a good idea of the neighborhoods, amenities, people, and just generally getting a feel for the area. No amount of online research beats experiencing it first hand.
Still in love after seeing it in person? Congratulations! It’s time to start planning your move!
Last Updated on January 25, 2018 by Minna Reid