Choosing a new place to live is an important decision that will have a huge impact on your life. Whether you’re a recent college graduate planning for the future, a digital nomad in search of the next best destination, or you’re simply ready to start a new chapter of life, it’s important to research your destination options. From affordability and the job market, to taxes, climate, and the size of your new city, here are the most important things to consider and research before deciding where to live next:

1. Affordability

Affordability means living comfortably within your means. That includes rent, housing expenses, utility services, and self-storage rates. But it also includes the cost of groceries, eating out, and the price of gasoline, etc. Before you actually make a move, it’s important to check out how far your income will stretch in your prospective new location.

Living in a large metro area usually comes with better income opportunities, but the cost of living is a lot higher – so make sure you pick a city or town that allows you to enjoy a good life based on your income. Online tools such as Numbeo can help you get a better sense of how well you’ll manage in different locations.

2. Job opportunities

Take your time and do thorough research of the job market in the places around the country – or around the world – that you’re interested in. Don’t limit your search to only the well-known hotspots for your field. In other words, don’t limit your search to the Bay Area if you’re pursuing a career in IT, or New York City if you’re planning to work in finance.

Ideally, you’re looking for an emerging job market where you can strike a good balance between your income and the cost of living. As a test, send resumes/CVs to companies located in the cities or towns you’re considering. The reply rate is a good indicator of how in demand your profession is in a certain area. There are also online platforms like that compare pay rates across the country, helping you make an informed decision.

3. Taxes

Income and sales taxes vary significantly from state to state. Also, states provide different levels of property tax credits, or other similar homeowner exemptions. It can get complicated to research and understand how taxation works throughout the country. But you can use tools like Tax Foundation––a website that compares federal, state, and local taxes throughout the country.

4. Climate

Climate can have a huge impact on your quality of life, level of activity, and even health. If you’re planning to switch climate zones, such as moving from Florida or Texas to the Midwest, or vice versa, it’s important to experience “the worst,” or most extreme, of what your prospective destination endures in terms of weather. If you grew up in the South, spend a week in the middle of a Midwest winter before deciding to move there for good.

Also, if you’re passionate about sports or outdoor activities that depend on a certain type of climate, take that into account too. You might think that the decision of moving to a certain area should be based on things that are more pragmatic than how many months per year you’ll be able to ski – and you’re right. But if good skiing conditions will bring you day-to-day joy and happiness, it definitely counts as a factor.

5. City or town size

Maybe you’re the kind of person that thrives in a busy, noisy, bustling city. Or maybe you’re actually craving peace, quiet, and a close-knit community. You should factor that in when deciding where to live: A big city might provide access to a higher income, but if you’re uncomfortable in a city, it’s not worth it. The opposite is true too – if you really love the energy of a busy city, it’s worth the higher cost of living. If you’re struggling to narrow down your options, consider moving to these US states for better life and opportunities, including Massachusetts and Iowa.

6. Proximity to your family and friends

For some people, being near family and friends is extremely important. If you feel that way, you should narrow your search to a reasonable distance from your inner circle of important people. However, don’t let that keep you from reaching your full potential. You can easily communicate with family and friends no matter where you’re living. If a great professional opportunity arises that involves you moving across the country, don’t rule it out right away.

7. Connectivity

If you love traveling all over the world and are always planning your next adventure, it would be beneficial for you to live within about 50 miles of a well-connected airport. You’ll save not only money, but also hours of time you would otherwise waste in traffic or changing multiple flights while trying to get to your destination. And if frequent travel is mandatory in your line of work, easy access to a large airport is essential.

8. Access to good education

Access to good quality schools and universities will be greatly beneficial for your kids in the long-term. When considering a move to a new area, you’ll want to look at the quality of the public schools, as well as the availability of private schools too.

9. Safety

Check out crime rates and other statistics related to safety before deciding on a particular city, town, or neighborhood. You can do that by reading the area’s local media, contacting the local police department, or accessing websites like Neighborhood Scout or CityProtect.

10. Local Vibe

After all your hard-fact researching, it’s helpful to hear what others think about actually living in your potential new area. Local community websites or social media community pages are great places to get a glimpse of the general feel of the location. You can even start a conversation on sites like or Facebook groups that unite people in that specific location. Chatting with and asking questions of community members will give you important personal insight, which can help you figure out if this area might be a good overall fit.

All these factors, plus others that might apply to your particular circumstances, should be thoroughly analyzed before deciding where to live. It’s a decision that only you can make – and you want to make it knowing all of the facts.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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