When moving - whether for a new job, a change of scenery or family reasons - deciding on a new home is often a difficult task. What type of neighborhood is right? How big should it be? What household movers should be used in the relocation process? Of course, at the bottom of this, there is an even more fundamental argument: to rent or to buy.
Due to difficult-to-grasp factors such as personal finances, the state of the housing market and the economy's overall health, it is not surprising that many people who are moving out of state don't know how to start making this decision.
However, by keeping a few things in mind, this process can become much clearer. Here are a few ways of approaching the problem.
Know your credit score Your credit can have a huge impact on your options for finding the right home. If you are hoping to buy, a low score can result in much higher rates from your mortgage. For example, someone with a credit score of 620 would likely pay an extra two percentage points compared to a borrower with a score of 760, according to the American Bankers Association.
The community Being able to predict the future of a neighborhood can help you decide if buying a home is a good investment. A location that is on the upswing is likely to witness a comparable rise in rents, meaning you'd likely have to pay more the next year, or hire van lines in order to move again.
Conversely, a neighborhood that is becoming more desirable will likely make your home more valuable the longer you stay there - therefore earning you money back on your investment.
"If you buy a good property in a stable community with today's bargain prices and interest rates, it is virtually guaranteed that value will rise by more than that," Karen Eastman Bigos, head of Towne Realty Group, told The New York Times.
Maintenance and taxes Although it is easier to make monthly payments for a house you own, knowing that it is an investment, there are often many hidden costs to owning a home. Maintenance costs and property taxes are examples of how a home could cost significantly more than renting, at least in the short-run.
It is important to evaluate the property in order to gauge these costs. If the property is worth a lot, you will be paying high taxes on it. Conversely, if the house is in rough shape, you will likely be investing a lot of money into repairs and upkeep. Renting to avoid these costs might be wise in such circumstances.
Corporate relocation can be a good indicator of the economy's health. When times are tight, businesses tend to keep people where they are, rather than devote valuable resources to moving its workers. When things are looking a little more flush, on the other hand, companies are a little more apt to ship off or bring in employees in the interest of their expected growth.
Employee relocation Based on how employers expect to manage relocations in the coming year, it appears that the economy might be strengthening. The recently released Employee Mobility Survey reports that 40 percent of companies predict increased relocation activity in the next year, while another 54 percent expect them to stay at the same level.
These results indicate that companies are feeling hopeful about next year's economic climate. Being willing to spend on employee relocation - for such things as out of state movers and moving van lines - means that they believe business will be good enough to make it worth their while.
Optimism about the economy can lead companies to take more risks not only when offering relocation benefits for employees, but also when it comes to deciding to relocate themselves.
Moving headquarters Another recent study on the relative operating costs for corporate headquarters lends insight into how some companies decide where to base their business. The report, called BizCosts, analyzed 55 North American cities and compared the prices associated with maintaining offices in those areas.
Based on such factors as taxes, construction costs and power expenses, the report helps companies decide where to base their operations.
New York City, unsurprisingly, topped the list with a projected cost of $47.2 million for a 100,000-square-foot headquarters with 500 employees. On the other end, Halifax, Nova Scotia, came in at $32.9 million.
Long-term savings With the economy showing signs of recovering, these factors can come into play for a company considering relocating. The expenses of hiring corporate relocation companies or even, in the case of Halifax, an international moving company might seem daunting, but could be worth it when considering the long-term savings associated with a less expensive city.
With a more favorable economic climate expected, next year could be a big time for both employee and corporate relocations.
Relocating to a new place is rarely easy, but when your new home will be somewhere dramatically hotter than your current location, you have a whole new wrinkle to deal with. Instead of sweating, though, there are a few things you can do to make moving out of state to a warmer climate a breeze.
Pick your month wisely Although you'll have to adapt to the climate eventually, selecting a cooler month for the travelling and unpacking will help. If you have any flexibility, use it to select the coolest time available.
Keep easy access to fans While packing, try to keep an eye on things that might help you beat the heat. Knowing where your fans, air conditioning units and coolers are will help you be prepared if you get uncomfortable. Keeping those items in your car, instead of packing them with household moving company - can help you get relief on the car ride.
Start early Packing earlier in the morning will help you stay out of the heat as well as give you more flexibility when you arrive at your destination. Instead of rushing to get everything unpacked before you go to sleep, arriving at your new home will afford you a more leisurely process.
Stay hydrated Now that you have that cooler next to you in the car, use it. Drinking plenty of fluids during your travels and as you pack will help you maintain a cooler temperature. Although you're likely anxious to get to your destination, making regular stops to get drinks or just take a breather in an air-conditioned spot will relieve some of the pressure.
Get your car inspected Having your car fully checked before you depart is a good idea. Ask specifically about the air-conditioner to ensure that you have cold air when you need it. This is also a good opportunity to see if you will need to make any adjustments to it when you begin your life in the hotter climate. Are there any differences in maintenance? What can you do to keep it driving smoothly? Asking a mechanic the right questions before you get there can save you a headache or two.
Pet precautions Unlike you, your cat or dog can't dress differently in the heat. Ask your vet what you should about keeping your pet happy and healthy in the new location. Also, asking your out of state movers to set you up with professional pet movers can help make things easier for you during the move.