What To Consider Before Moving To A New City

Listen Money Matters is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. How we make money.

Whether you are looking to move to Denver or Denmark, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before moving to a new city.

When you are moving to a new city, everything is new and exciting, but it can also be a little scary. Preparing will help you get past that insecurity the unfamiliarity of a new city can bring. And overspending is almost always a result of under planning.

One of our awesome listeners has been thinking of making a move to a new city and asked us for some tips on how he can prepare. Thomas has been planning a move to Denver and will share some tips and resources he in today’s episode.

Financial Prerequisites

Before you move to a new city, you want to have your finances in order. Get your debt situation under control and work on your credit score. If you are planning on renting, landlords look at that very seriously when considering a tenant.

Make sure you have a job when you get there. If you’re moving because of a job, get a relocation bonus. ASK FOR IT! You’d be surprised what you can get if you ask.

Creating a moving budget. This will show you how much money you will need to save up for all expenses including broker fees, security deposits, moving companies, possible storage, furniture and at least the first month’s rent.

Step 1: Choosing the new location

If you’re relocating because of a job or school, either for yourself or a spouse, apparently you’re skipping this step. For Thomas, he just wants to leave Iowa so he can have a new place to call home. Start by researching locations you might be interested in. Figure out what you want out of a new location and make a priority list with value scores.

Don’t get caught up in what you might do when you get there. Make a list of real priorities and things you truly value. Maybe you don’t have a car, so you want a city to be walkable. You love hiking and the outdoors, so you need to find a place with the nice weather most of the year.

Since it is more likely than not that you’ll need a job when you move, some of your top priorities should be:

  • What’s my industry like in this city?
  • What’s the probability that I can get a good job?
  • What’s the cost of living index, and will my likely salary be able to manage it?
  • Will I have to downgrade my current lifestyle because the new city won’t let my dollars stretch as far?

Compare your cost of living now to what it will be on the move along with your new salary. Thomas has been using Numbeo to compare the cost if living between Des Moines to Denver.

He figured out he will need $4,837 each month to get the same standard of living I’d get on $4,000 in Des Moines. Also, check out tax rate differences. If you have children or plan to have kids, then you need to consider schools and daycare costs in the area.

Once you have all the info you need, start scoring cities you’re interested in based on your priorities.Check out city-data websites, forums, and Reddit to get the low-down from locals. Thomas has found this pretty helpful except for those few people who don’t want any newcomers in town.

Once you have your shortlist, visit a city or two if you can. It’s probably not feasible for most people to visit every potential city, but if you can try to Air BnB it up for a few days in your top pick. You can tour some apartments and get a feel for the place. Thomas did this in Denver, and that was fantastic. It solidified the decision for him.

Get our best strategies, tools, and support sent straight to your inbox.

Step 2: Start preparing

Moving sucks, so make a plan for everything that needs to be done way ahead of time and work on it in little chunks. Pare down your life and get rid of stuff you don’t need or use. You are starting a new life so leave some of the old behinds.

Sell some of your stuff. Only take what’s necessary and sell the rest on Amazon or eBay. Give yourself ample amount of time for packing. There is plenty stuff you don’t use on a daily or even weekly basis.

When looking for a moving company get a few quotes. Last time we moved (two blocks away) we got one quote for $1600 and one for $400. Clearly, someone was trying to rip us off. Boxes are pricey, so we went around the neighborhood on recycling day to find free moving boxes. You can also try your local supermarket on shipment days.

Tell your landlord that you’re going to be moving if you rent. If you need to break a lease, talk to your landlord and ask if you would be able to sublet until the end of the lease. Hopefully, you can avoid a fee.

Step 3: Secure a place to live and a job

Now you have to find a place to live. One option is getting an Air BnB and live in it for like two months while you look at apartments locally.

You get time to get a feel for neighborhoods, vet a lot of options, and decide on a place to live at a leisurely pace. However, an AirBnB for two months can be pretty expensive. You will also have to have put some of your stuff in storage.

Your second option is getting a place locked down before you move. This will require more research into the city.Research different neighborhoods on City-Data, Yelp, Reddit, etc. Keep in mind your family size, age, style of living, budget, and distance to work, and try to find a neighborhood that matches those things best.

In some cities, the renter’s market can be fierce, and you want to make sure you get the place you want. If the lease starts before you move you may find yourself paying double rent for a month or two.

Before you put any money into an apartment you need to find an excellent job. This can be hard not living in the area, so you need to be the person companies want to hire.

When finding a job out of state, you need to be prepared for phone interviews. If you are having trouble finding something permeant because of the distance try for temp work.

Ultimately it’s better to look for a place where you can properly continue your career. When you do land a job, ask about what they can offer you, monetarily, to help you with the move. You might need to negotiate, but it’s worth it. Every little bit counts.

Step 4: Ok, it’s time to move

Create a big task list in your to-do manager for everything you need to do before you move to a new city. Secure your U-Haul rental early. Especially if you’re moving during a busy time, like right around back-to-school time.

About a month before, do a change of address with the post office. You can do this online; it costs a dollar. Call your credit cards and debit cards to change your address and arrange cancellation dates for all your utilities.

A couple of weeks before you move, make sure utilities are set up in your new place. Many apartments make you manage certain things on your own. You don’t want to show up to an apartment with no water hooked up. Hire someone to clean your old place, so you hopefully get your security deposit back.

Do your final packing. Have a box or bag of “essential stuff” – things that you’d be devastated if it gets lost in the move. Keep it in your car if you’re not driving the U-haul or if you hired a company.

Write things like “open first” in the boxes that contain the things you’ll want right away when you move like your tools, paper plates, and toilet paper.

And of course – have a going away party with all your friends and family!

Step 5: What to do when you get there

Try to set up your move in such a way that you have a few days free once you get there. Moving to a new city one day, and having to report to work the next, would be stressful. Explore your new town and get involved in cool activities so you can start building relationships.

Remember, a new city doesn’t just hand everything to you. You’re starting from scratch, and you have to take advantage of any and all opportunities

Show Notes

Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter – Andrews Beer

Get our best strategies, tools, and support sent straight to your inbox.

Laura Fiebert - Head of Operations Laura is a huge part of what keeps LMM going. She edits the podcasts, books the guests, writes, manages social media (except twitter, she hates it) and a million other things that keep the wheels turning. Most importantly makes sure everything gets done.

She's an avid knitter, wine drinker, and thrifter. A passion of Laura's is second-hand shopping and refashioning vintage clothing. She now has a side business reselling thrift store finds using Poshmark. You can check out her closet here https://poshmark.com/closet/laurafieb. Very soon she'll be launching a site documenting how she runs her Poshmark business so she can teach others how to make money thrift flipping.
She loves cheap champagne, traveling and crappy reality TV.
learn courses podcast popular toolbox