Make Your Move

How to Best Make Your Move in 2021

Moving can be bittersweet.

Though leaving behind friends, coworkers and familiar places can be challenging, getting a fresh start is often reinvigorating. Moving to a new city offers a chance to reinvent yourself, test your limits, try new things, and meet new people. It’s an opportunity to start that business you’ve been dreaming about for years, earn a graduate degree or grow your family.

But how exactly do you decide where to move? Maybe it’s been decided for you — a new job or promotion, a budding romance, a family health issue. But if you’ve got a blank slate, you may be tempted to close your eyes and throw a dart at a map on the wall. And while that may certainly lead to some interesting results, we’ve got a few other ideas.

For many people, deciding where to relocate often boils down to affordability and opportunities, which go hand in hand. What does it cost to live there and, conversely, what job and salary opportunities can I find? Livability’s annual Top 100 Best Places to Live lists place heavy emphasis on affordability since a lower cost of living makes a community more accessible to people from all walks of life. 

Understanding a city’s cost of living (and other affordability factors like median home prices and average monthly rent) can help you make a move that works with your budget and lifestyle. For instance, now that they have the ability to work anywhere they want, remote workers are interested in moving to affordable communities where their salary goes further, according to Livability’s national study on remote workers and relocation. The 72 million millennials in the U.S. also want to live somewhere that won’t break the bank.

It can also help to ask some very specific questions about each community you’re considering: What’s the climate like? Is the city walkable? How’s the library system? Then, if you’re on the fence about a new community, take your city for a figurative (and, if you can swing it, literal) test drive by doing things like taking a walking tour, trying Airbnb experiences or swapping homes with a local. And consider how much you value things like being within driving distance of family or easy access to nature.

When it comes to logistics, be sure to work with a reputable local real estate agent and lender if you’re buying or chat with people who already live there to understand which neighborhoods have the best rental options (and consider a short-term rental if you’re not yet ready to commit to a lease or mortgage). Make — and follow — a moving checklist, taking care to remember to move non-physical things like bank accounts and doctor’s offices.

And after you arrive in your new city, greet each day with enthusiasm and confidence. Put yourself out there, say yes to new experiences and don’t be afraid to play tourist in your town. 

Ready to make your move? Start searching for your best place to live today!

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