Deciding to pack up and move to a new place means a fresh start for most people. With the continued trend of remote working combined with the flexible renter lifestyle, people take advantage of their expanding freedom to make a change of scenery and try new cities on for size. If you’re one of them, we’ve got you covered with this guide to what you need to know when moving to a new city, from finding an apartment to getting to know the place.
Finding an Apartment
After deciding on the city you want to move to, finding a place to rent is going to be a priority. It’s important to get to know the market first, especially if you’re coming in from a different state. To do this, start browsing for apartments online and check the price ranges. You can use a rent affordability calculator to help you out.
However, most numbers found online are going to apply to a generic situation, so it’s best to set down your own priorities and figure out what you need from the new place, ultimately to create as accurate a budget as possible. To do this, you have to think about a number of different aspects:
- Where are you going to rent?
If you are moving for a job or for school, you might be required to physically be at a location every day, so renting close by might be the best option for you. If you need to be within easy reach of different interest points, look for an apartment that’s close to public transportation options.
However, if you don’t depend on a specific location, renting in a more affordable neighborhood is a smart choice that will allow for more space and freedom. Make sure you check out the neighborhoods of the city you’re interested in and figure out which one is the best fit for you.
- How much space do you need?
In order to live comfortably, you need to decide on how many rooms you’ll need in a home. Here is where you need to decide whether you are looking to split rent with roommates, move in with family, or by yourself. Even if you plan on living alone but need a home office, it’s best to go for a larger apartment. Also, if you have a pet, especially a dog, make sure you get an apartment with plenty of space, and preferably somewhere close to a park. Make sure the place is pet-friendly first.
- Scouring the market
After you figure out how much space you need and where you want to rent, it’s time to start looking for your next apartment. Make sure you have defined your budget and set a lower and an upper limit to the price. Use online listing services to easily filter according to what you need. Check multiple apartments and request virtual tours, so you can figure out the layout and placement of the apartment.
After you have narrowed down the search, schedule appointments to see the apartments; you can ask for self-guided tours if you are worried about social distancing regulations. If you’re coming in from a different state, it might be wise to set all of your appointments during the same day, if possible. Make sure to account for traffic if you do so.
- Recognizing and avoiding rental scams
When you’re browsing for apartments, be wary of rental scams. Ever since the pandemic started and reliance on the online has increased, scammers see more opportunities. Educate yourself on how to best recognize and avoid rental scams, and if you are faced with an offer that seems too good to be true, remember to err on the side of caution.
After finding the perfect place, it’s time to prepare for the big day: the move. Here are some of the things to keep in mind:
- Decluttering and packing
Start with a heavy decluttering session to make sure you are not carrying unnecessary stuff all the way to another city just to dump it later. Go through your belongings and sort them into things you want to keep, what you want to dispose of, and what could be donated. After doing this, packing will be so much easier.
It’s a good idea to pack by room, and not by item type. Create dedicate boxes for each room in your new apartment and divide your belongings. Make sure to use sturdy boxes—perhaps even plastic ones over cardboard—particularly for heavy items like books. Wrap fragile items like artwork or screens in protective layers; you can use towels or blankets instead of bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
- Hiring movers
Keep in mind that you are moving to a different city, so unless you are living out of a backpack, it’s likely you’ll need movers, especially if moving furniture. Try to find a hiring company that has updated COVID precautions and address possible questions and concerns before hiring them. For more efficiency, schedule the move during the middle of week and the middle of the month, if possible. That’s when moving companies have a more open schedule, so perhaps you can negotiate a better price for off-peak dates.
- Moving day
For the moving day, create a dedicated bag with all your necessities, including spare masks, gloves, disinfectant, and snacks. If you have a car and are driving to the new city, coordinate with the moving company to make sure you are all set up when your stuff arrives. Prior to this day, you should have thoroughly cleaned the new apartment—either yourself or with the help of a professional company. So, when you arrive, your new home will be ready to welcome you. Make an effort and unpack the day of moving. Otherwise, you might end up with boxes and bags lying around for a week until you eventually find a place for every item.
Getting to Know the New City
After the move is complete and you’ve found yourself in a new place, it’s time to explore your new city. First of all, check for local regulations and restrictions related to the pandemic, to know what to expect. Then, start by exploring your neighborhood; get to know the surroundings and identify important locations, such as the closest grocery store, pharmacy, public transit station, vet (if you have a pet), and whatever else might be of interest to you.
After that, venture to the heart of the city, find the best nature spots for relaxation, and enjoy your new home. Best of luck on this new adventure!