Moving to a new city can be one of the most exciting yet challenging things you’ll ever do. If you move into a new place without knowing the area at all, you’re casting yourself into uncharted territory. So, if you’re considering moving to a new city, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can before you move there.
We want you to be best prepared for what to expect when you get to your new home, so in this post we’ll walk through our thoughts on how to research a city before moving, how to effectively get new information about an area, and what to consider before moving to a new city.
1) Travel There Yourself
Simply put, traveling to a new city is the best way to learn about it before a move. This will let you absorb the environment in a way any amount of research won’t do justice. We recommend booking a hotel or an AirBnb for about a week, and taking time to familiarize yourself with the area you’re interested in. If you already have a job lined up, test out to commute to and from work during rush hour and see if it’s tolerable.
See what restaurants are around, what different neighborhoods are like, and what areas would be within walking distance without a vehicle. Taking time to visit in person, snapping pictures, and keeping a journal of areas of interest is one of the best ways to decide whether a particular city will be a place you could envision yourself living in.
2) Talk to Someone who Lives There
This is possible online but is best achieved while you’re visiting in person. Locals almost always have something to say about the neighborhood they live in, whether it’s good or bad. Take it all with a grain of salt, but if you ask enough people, you should have a pretty good idea about what to expect and whether you’ll someday be able to call a particular community your own.
3) Check Online Forums
City-Data.com contains a vast amount of information about almost any city in the United States. Their city profiles include the population’s demographic information, median income, along with the size and ranking of specific schools. It even has the specifics of restaurant inspection ratings and their safety violations.
The forum section of City-Data.com is particularly useful if you’re interested in hearing from locals. Reddit.com also has dedicated sections for cities, and the people who interact with them are usually locals from the area or other people who are interested in moving there.
If you have any questions about a city, these are the places to ask as you will likely receive more than one response. There’s also a good chance you aren’t the only one who has had the same question, so feel free to browse around and look for common and shared sentiment about an area.
4) Look at maps
A lot can be gleaned about cities and their neighborhoods by simply looking at a map. Keep an eye out for large highways, airports, rail lines and prisons, and keep these locations in mind
when you’re searching for a new residence. When you see a house listed, type the address into Google’s Street View. This is a good way to look around a neighborhood if you’re unable to visit the area in person, and you’ll be able to take a virtual walk around from the comfort of your own home.
We still recommend traveling in person, but this may be a way to narrow down your checklist without spending money on the endeavor. You’ll also be able to see what gas stations, restaurants, shopping centers, schools, and grocery stores are local to a particular neighborhood without ever visiting.
5) Investigate Job Opportunities
Whether the city hosts businesses pertaining to what you’d like to do, what you can do, and what options you’ll have to fall back on are all important parts of what to consider before moving to a new city. Indeed and LinkedIn are great resources for seeing what’s available and in demand.
Take into account the average income in the area and the cost of living. Then start doing the math to determine whether the local economy is healthy enough to support the jobs you’re skilled in and the lifestyle you envision yourself having. Wherever you move, you’ll need to find a way to support yourself. If you don’t have a job lined up before you get there, make sure you’ve contacted a few different job recruiters, and a resume prepared with references from previous employers.
6) Research Natural Climate
You obviously shouldn’t move to Maine for mild winters, or Florida for its ski resorts, but there are many more aspects to climate than simply hot or cold weather. The relative humidity you feel comfortable in is an important factor to consider when moving to a new area, and cities further from the coast generally have dryer air. Annual rainfall is another thing to think about if you enjoy spending time outdoors, commute a long distance, or enjoy gardening.
Wikipedia.org and City-Data.com have generalized information, but these are typically things you must experience first-hand to determine. If you’re worried about the weather in a certain area, consider traveling at a time of year when you’re most likely to encounter it. It’s also worth taking into consideration the frequency of natural disasters. The probability of earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, or hurricanes are all events with the potential to directly impact your daily life, so check and see whether the area you’re looking at is prone to any of them.
7) Read Local News Articles
Check out an area’s local news stations online, or if you’re visiting in person, pick up a local paper. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with local happenings, and the concerns of its residence. You should be able to gauge a community’s politics, as well as the issues it considers important from doing so.
Sunrise Moving Has you Covered
Wherever you plan on moving, whether it’s locally or across the country, Sunrise Moving has professional movers ready and waiting to help you throughout the process. Contact us today for a free quote, or if you have any questions about our variety of services.