Should You Relocate for a Job?

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jun 16, 2011 in , , | No Comments

Before you call the movers, there are many factors to take into consideration when relocating for a job opportunity.

Moving within your own state is costly and traumatic enough, but when you’re looking beyond the state line, even more needs to be weighed carefully.

Here are a few important items to think about before you make a move, the key is proper planning:

1.) Is the unemployment rate where you are now higher or lower than the area you are exploring? If it’s lower where you live, think twice about relocation. Be very cautious about figures. For example, the state unemployment rate might be much less than the county you are researching.

2.) What is the cost of living in the new area, higher or lower than where you reside now? This is a major consideration. When you take into account your rent or mortgage eats up a large chunk of your income, relocation to an area with a lower cost of living is wise. Do you have a former classmate in the new location who needs a roommate? This would be one way to save money on living expenses.

3.) Long-term, is this move worth the cost (movers aren’t cheap), trauma (emotionally it affects everyone, including the pets), and future opportunities that aren’t guaranteed? Speaking of movers, be sure to get a reputable one and fully understand your legal rights. Buy their insurance, this way, if something is damaged, you are covered. Check references and complaints against them (BBB) and through their industry, which monitors activity and rates them based on the service they provide. Interview and take bids from at least three legitimate movers, compare what you are getting, then make your decision at least 3 weeks before you want to move. If you pack yourself, you’ll save money. Never give them cash. If you can, put the bill on your credit card.

4.) Moving means major personal adjustments. Have you considered the added stress this will place on you having to make new friends, being farther from your support system of family and friends, and dealing with a new environment you know little about?

5.) What is the financial health of the state or town you are considering? Is it financially broke (California) to name just one state that is at this time? The financial health of a place means a great deal to programs and services provided to those in residence–police and fire–are just two important services. Check out the crime rate, if police services are cut, the crime rate could be high.

6.) Are you financially sound enough to make this major transition? Once you pay the movers, find new housing, and start your new job, what’s left in your savings account? Don’t count on an employer to pick up relocation costs. Do you have less than 6 months of emergency money (to pay all your bills should you lose your job)? Without enough in savings, should you lose your new job, you could be in serious financial trouble.

7.) If you have a spouse who will need to find work, is this new location good for their future? If not, that will mean one less person working, how will this affect your financial situation?

8.) Will moving mean a long commute? This is important to consider for a few reasons; a.) what if the price of gas goes up? b.) can you afford the added maintenance on your car? c.) can you handle the added stress of a long commute?

9.) Be sure you do your homework, research a new location carefully. Don’t rely on glowing articles by the Chamber of Commerce, or realtors, they never say anything negative about their area. Also, don’t believe what resources say when they give statistics for “Best Places to Live”. Often, their information gathering and criteria is flawed, giving you an incorrect view of a town. You need to be a good investigator and look at facts. Take time to read the local papers, check with the police department about crime, see the local hospital to verify adequate emergency health care is available.

10.) Take into consideration the weather. If you are moving from a warm climate to a cold one, can you adjust to driving in snow in the winter? Remember heating cost will be higher too.

11.) Don’t forget your health. Moving to a crowded city usually means more air and water pollution. But don’t think moving to the country is any better–some small towns are toxic waste dumps for big cities, or allow agricultural and backyard burning. Also, rural areas don’t have the same health care quality, or availability, you might find in urban areas. Allergens are different in a new location, how will this affect your outdoor lifestyle?

12.) If you have a home to sell, don’t move until it is sold. There are no guarantees these days that a home will sell, or that you will get a decent price if it does.  Moving before your house sells is a very risky plan of action. You are leaving a house vacant–ripe for vandals–and setting yourself up to be paying a mortgage, and rent elsewhere. Consider the closing costs, buyers wanting inspection items repaired, and the realtors fees when calculating selling costs.

In summary, it pays to take your time, make a list of the pro’s and con’s of a relocation, do thorough research and by all means physically go to the place you are considering to actually see what you are getting into. Ask the locals specific questions about the best neighborhoods, schools, employers and problems they are aware of in the area. Contact HR of the company making an offer of employment for information too.

If you do move, be sure to take time to de-stress after unpacking. Spend a weekend getting to know your new town by obtaining a detailed map. Circle places you’ll frequent (grocery store, post office, doctors office, etc.), take time to enjoy your new location. Join groups, a gym, or volunteer in order to meet people, making your transition an easier one.