I’ll be focusing on some basic tips when preparing to move in the next few days/weeks, so I though I’d start with the most basic of needs: housing. When moving a long distance (like me) this becomes more complicated, so here are some things to think about when apartment/house hunting. Keep in mind that these tips are renters!
1) Research – Do your homework on the city or area you’ll be moving to. This includes basic things like: general knowledge of the neighborhood(s), public transportation options, safety (crime rates), housing prices, etc. Once you have an idea of what the area is like you can make a more informed decision on your housing.
2) Connections – Think about any connections you may have to the area. Ask yourself some questions: Do you know anybody who lives there? Do you know somebody who knows somebody that lives there? Have any of your friends gone to college there? You can almost always find a connection of some sort, and if it doesn’t result in a housing opportunity it can at least give you a knowledgable contact.
3) Budget – Come up with a price range which you’re comfortable in. I’ve had to do some serious thinking on this one, and have decided that it is worth a little more to be within walking distance to work. Decide what is most important for you – space, location, amenities, neighborhood – and then adjust your budget to see if its plausible. I’ve found that spending about 1/4 – 1/3 of your monthly income should be your maximum.
4) Search – When searching long distance, things can get complicated, that’s why #1 is so important. Once you have established the location you desire start searching. Obviously searching online is your only real resource, so start scouring Craigslist, rental sites, realty sites, property management sites, and university off-campus housing sites for places to live. I really enjoy using craigslist because it allows you to set a bugdet, search in specific areas and designate the number of bedrooms you’re looking for.
5) Basic needs – As I said above, research things like transportation, building amenities, nearby grocery stores, shopping, dining, and whatever else is important to you. These kinds of things will factor into every day of your life so make sure you are within comfortable distance to your basic needs. This is especially important for me, as I will be traveling on foot, by bike, and on public transport at all times.
6) Keep down the costs – Rent won’t be our only expense so think of ways to keep the cost down. Consider living with a roommate(s) in order to bring down the costs of rent and utilities.
7) Sublease – When making a move there are no guarantees that you will like where you end up, or that you’ll want/need to stay. For this reason, look into subleasing an apartment/house, or a room in one. This allows you to sign up for a short period of time in order to feel out your situation. Much less of a committment financially.
There are so many more things to consider, but these are major thinking points for someone who is planning to relocate. Hope these are helpful and good luck!