Researching Before You Relocate

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Whether you are considering a job offer or planning to land a position in a new locale, it pays to do your homework before you take the leap. Conditions can be very different from what you are accustomed to and once you have accepted all the terms of an offer, it’s too late to back out. Taking the time to thoroughly research before you relocate will save you time, money and headaches and all systems will be set to go for you to succeed in your new position. Here are some guidelines to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Do a Cost of Living Comparison

Sometimes professionals get so enthusiastic about changing latitudes that they skip important steps in the research process. Take time to calculate your current cost of living expenses. Don’t hesitate to nickel and dime yourself and tally in costs associated with your profession like dry cleaning or gas prices. Compare these costs with what you will be paying in a different city. Use the Internet to research what people pay for services and take time to visit online salary surveys (you will find one at http://appleone.salary.com/). Keep in mind that surveys can inflate salaries, and consider varying housing markets, taxes and utilities.

If possible, talk to someone already located there about their living expenses. “I did a fair amount of cost comparing before I accepted a job in Denver and moved from Atlanta,” says medical technician Lamont Day. “The thing I didn’t factor in was the much higher cost of gas and electric bills.”  Professionals with families have to weigh in the cost of schools and preschools, medical facilities and daycare expenses. And don’t forget the cost of the move itself. If you are fortunate, your new company will be paying for your move. If not, remember relocation expenses for work are tax deductible.

Big Ticket Items

The biggest financial mistake that most people make isn’t getting a $3 cup of coffee every day when they could make their own or eating out at restaurants instead of cooking meals at home. Big ticket items like rent and mortgage payments, car costs, vacations and student loans are what put people at a financial deficit. Most of your time should be devoted to investigating your housing costs, which can vary widely from city to city. Does the salary you will be making afford you the same amount of space or will you be compromising? Consult police logs to see if you may be moving to an area with a higher risk of criminal activity. Instead of sweating the small stuff, prepare a budget that focuses on the impact that big ticket items will have.

Look for a Lifestyle Match

In a livability survey comparing cities across the United States, those polled ranked climate high on the list. Do you prefer warm weather or can you cope with the cold? Read the newspaper and note the weather patterns in the region you are considering. Determining how far your new commute will be is important, but don’t forget to include traffic headaches. You may be opting for a congested drive that adds stress to your day. Are you a person that puts a premium on cultural events like restaurants and entertainment? Consider how accessible these things will be after you make your move. For example, does attending the theater mean you have to drive a long way and pay extra to park? The best way to get a feel for a place is to visit first, and Internet sites, message boards and chat rooms can provide a lot of good information about activities ranging from sports to university classes.

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