When you’re facing a move to another state or even across the country, you know you’re not just shopping for the right house. You’re shopping for the right community, too. But with a long-distance move, it can be hard to get a feel for potential towns, cities, and neighborhoods.
So while you’re doing your research, here are some important things to consider:
Obviously the average cost of homes is going to be a big factor in your decision. Knowing what you can afford and finding the area that fits you and your budget should be consideration #1.
Don’t forget to look into taxes, too. City, income, and property taxes vary significantly from place to place, and you need to consider those extra costs when you’re working out where to look for homes.
Take a look at average temperatures and precipitation levels for different cities in the area. Depending on things like elevation and distance from the coast, you can see big differences in temperature or snowfall by traveling just a few miles.
Whatever it is you love to do, make sure you can find a place to do it near your new home. Check out the entertainment scene, from concert venues to fairs and festivals to clubs and movie theaters, look for a spot that has what you want.
Don’t forget to look into hiking and biking trails, state and national parks, lakes and beaches, and other places that make it easy and worth it to get out and go. Look for gyms and yoga studios, too.
Make sure there are grocery stores and other necessities close enough not to be a hassle. You don’t want to have to drive 50 miles any time you need milk or paper towels.
Every parent knows to look for the best schools. It can be worth spending more on a home for a good school, but find out if you’re moving to a place that allows you to choose the school your child attends—which would give you more freedom in choosing your neighborhood. Plan ahead if your kids are little; you don’t want to have to move in just a few years.
Check out the hospitals, urgent care, and other health care centers in the area. If you’re planning to grow your family in this new place, make sure you’re getting the best opportunities for healthcare.
Parks are a must for young kids, but they’re great for pets too. Look for dog parks and places where you can make sure your kids and pets get plenty of exercise and time outdoors.
Sidewalks are a big plus for kids’ safety, and they can tell you whether you’re looking at a place where people like being outside.
Look up the city’s parks and recreation department to see what kinds of sports, classes, and programs they offer so your kids have plenty of opportunities to learning and growth outside of school.