Relocating can be a highly intimidating and challenging, yet rewarding experience. It’s also an important part of the Praxis program. Our participants understand the struggle of making a commitment to another city and trying to figure out how to manage the jump.
If you’re relocating, we want to help, whether or not you’re a Praxis participant. This will be the first in a series of 5 blog posts that will break down the relocation process every step of the way.
First, you need to figure out where you’re going.
Sort out your priorities
Moving will be a different experience for everyone. The first thing you need to do is figure out what it’s going to look like for you personally. There are many priorities to focus on as you’re looking, but it’s up to you to determine the order of importance. Some of the things you’ll need to consider are:
- How close/far away are you willing to be from work? This will affect rent prices and commute decisions.
- Is privacy a concern? Apartments and townhomes may be cheaper, but you’ll sacrifice the privacy that comes from renting a house.
- Are you bringing a lot of stuff? Keep in mind you’ll need to have enough room to store whatever you’re taking with you. This might mean an extra bedroom/office.
- Is social life a must? Apartment complexes often hold events for their tenants, giving you great opportunities to network close to home!
Keep everything in mind and decide what’s going to influence your decisions the most. It’s going to reduce a lot of resistance when it’s time to make hard decisions if you’re aware of your priorities.
Do you want a roommate?
Before you begin any searching, you need to ask yourself this question: will you be able to handle finances and living alone? If not, you should find a roommate. If you’re in the Praxis program, you’re lucky to already have a network to prospect and pull from!
What if you don’t have an established network in the area? Don’t stress! It’s still easier than you think to find people in a similar situation, especially in larger cities. Start browsing local “_____ Housing” social media groups and make some posts about your situation. You’ll definitely find prospects, and make sure to FaceTime as soon as you can.
Don’t be afraid to be picky, but don’t put too much energy into finding the perfect roommate either. Find someone with a similar enough lifestyle, some shared interests, and most importantly, maturity.
Begin the search!
By this point, you’ve either found or decided against a roommate. Time to start looking for a place to live! This means you need to ask yourself another question; are you looking for a house or an apartment?
Houses can provide a lot of privacy and space, but they’re not always the best choice for a first time mover. They can require a higher level of upkeep and costs are higher in general. Apartments are the best option for someone moving out of their parents’ home for the first time or someone that is looking for simplicity and ease. Depending on where you’re relocating, a house may not even be in the realm of possibility, so do your research.
For the place itself, I’d avoid any social media groups entirely (unless you found a roommate that was already settled in) and opt for manual searching through services like Hotpads, Zillow, Rent, and sometimes Craigslist (really, be cautious). These services allow you to search for your exact price range and parameters. In my opinion, Hotpads is your best bet, but all of them will give you quality results.
Vet the place
When you find something promising, the first thing you’ll want to do is schedule a call. This step is crucial and superior to simply emailing back and forth as it gives both you and the landlord a chance to speak with each other. You’d be surprised how much of a difference that makes.
Ask questions about the area, amenities, utilities, and anything else you feel left in the dark about. This will allow you to make an educated decision on whether or not this place is a good fit. If the phone call goes well, try to arrange for either yourself or someone else to go scout out the area in person. This is another benefit of being a part of the Praxis network as you’ll likely have a few peers in that city that would be willing to do that for you.
It’s not always possible, however, so at the very least ask for a FaceTime tour of the home before you make your decision. This can save you a lot of headache from unwanted surprises.
So you’ve made a decision, now what?
Once you’ve decided on a residence, the next step will be filling out an application. Every place you consider will have an application, so if you’re genuinely interested, get it done sooner than later because someone else may take your spot. Some applications will have a fee, so be prepared to pay anywhere from $25-$75 per person.
After you’ve applied and (ideally) have been accepted, your next step is to start organizing and preparing your funds for a deposit and first month’s rent. There are many different ways this can be organized, depending on where you’ve chosen to live. For instance, you may pay first and last month’s rent, meaning when it comes time to move out, you won’t need to pay for that final month. At the same time, you won’t get a deposit back. If instead they ask for a deposit and first month’s rent, you will get the deposit back at the end of your lease (provided there’s no damage to fix). The latter is what you normally encounter, and deposits can range from half of rent to a full month’s amount. In general, it’s a safe bet to prepare twice the amount you’ll pay for your first month as you go into a lease.
How will you commute?
After you’ve settled on a place and locked it down, the final thing you need to consider is whether or not you’ll be driving to and from work or using public transportation. This is all widely depending on the city you’re moving to, where you are in relation to your work, local gas prices, and parking availability/price. If the city has a great public transportation system, it may be cheaper (and healthier) than sitting in rush hour traffic every day.
If you decide on driving, parking costs and the wear and tear on your car will be your biggest expenses. Ask the locals and budget the estimated monthly cost of driving/parking versus public transportation. Don’t forget the value of your time as well! If public transportation is cheaper but takes twice as long, you might be willing to pay more to drive yourself and have more time in your mornings and evenings.
The moving process takes a lot of research, so here is a list of all the resources you’ll need to find the place that works best for you:
- The Praxis network!
- Location-specific Facebook housing groups
- Local Craigslist
That’s all for this week! Keep in mind that housing is almost always temporary, so there will be several opportunities in the future to find your “perfect” place.