When my friend was looking to relocate her family for an improved lifestyle 13 years ago, I was pleased that she flew to several locations, spent time, checked out businesses, houses, restaurants, grocery stores and the like to see the daily life. They spent time in three states and finally went with Oregon, Portland-Metro area. While they focused on the beauty, safety and hometown feel to raise their children, they realize now that more research was needed. Not considering the local legislature, unique laws, quirks and more was a mistake. Our advice to you? Look at the bigger things, certainly, but as our friends learned, it’s equally important to focus on the other crucial things to consider before relocating. For example, if you are considering the South, you’ll want to look at hurricane and flooding history, and what flood insurance rates are regionally.
One tool for helping you make informed decisions is called a PEST Analysis. While a very handy tool for businesses, it can also be very useful for personal decisions such as this one. PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. All things to think about when making a decision to relocate. Some things we suggest you check before you consider a major move to a new county, part of your state or another state, both obvious and not-so-obvious:
Crucial things to consider before relocating:
- Crime rates, including sex offender map/listings obtainable from the police departments or county sheriffs.
- Weather – 10 year pattern for extremes, outages and more.
- Flooding and snowfall for the specific areas you are considering.
- Utility rates
- Tax rates
- School ratings. Even if you are past the age for kids, it will affect how tax dollars are spent. Know your demographics in the county and congressional district you are considering.
- Home values, foreclosure rates in the area and the cycle.
- What are the key industries that fuel jobs? Some states or regions have ONE industry or major employer. If something happens to one of them, the economy tanks and neighbors are on hard times. Will you be able do what you do in this new location? Any opportunity for growth? Will you have to travel more?
The Less Obvious:
- Where is the biggest voting population? Are the issues important to them in line with your own, or are you on the opposite side? Research proposed legislature. What is the state focusing on? How about the county? People in the Atlanta area have different needs for safety, medical, and schools than those in Bogart. How will it fit with you and your family’s needs?
- Look at past election ballot pamphlets explaining what the issues were, for and against comments, and see how the votes went, as well as the fallout.
- Is public transportation helpful to you or annoying? If you are going rural, will you have to buy a truck for those roads? Will you need more than one?
- What’s customer service like at local grocery stores and local Home Depot or hardware stores? If you move, you’ll be in both a lot.
- Do you have medical concerns, issues? How easy will it be to get new doctors and dentists in the new location? Will they take your insurance? How GOOD are the hospitals? If you are a heart patient, cancer patient or have other chronic issues, you need to seriously consider a move that will have you changing doctors. Perhaps you are moving so you can improve that exact situation. If so, visit the local hospitals, interview potential specialists.
- How about auto mechanics – how do they rate? Does your brand of car have a place nearby that can service it? Do you have room to park your RV? If not, how much and far is storage?
- Hair salons? Visit the area, check out the mall, stop in high end restaurants for an appetizer and look around – how are they looking? Goofy haircuts, DIY, or some style? Ask them where they get their hair done. They’ll appreciate you asked.
- Houses of Worship – is your brand of faith in the area? Faith communities can often be one of the best places to connect with new friends who are of like mind.
- Calendar of events – what types of events do they have annually?
- Check the stories published about the city and/or state you are considering in OTHER papers – such as the NY Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune. If they are writing about it, chances are it’s an “issue.”
- Check out the local papers for a few months. This is not a fast process. You are considering a big move – think it through.
- Set up a Google Alert for the area you are considering. Google Alerts send you an email when the specific word or phrase is mentioned online. This can help you automate some of your research. Here’s on online how-to: Create a Google Alert.
Make an Informed Decision!
We love Northeast Georgia, but it may not be for everyone. While it may seem like a gigantic task to check these things out, you and your family will be happier and more secure in your decision on where to relocate. Taking the extra time to consider these crucial things to consider before relocating will result in a happier move and a good fit.
WE LOVE WHERE WE LIVE!
If you think you’re ready to join us, we’re ready to help! Get to know Northeast Georgia. We consider ourselves local experts, and we’ll find you exactly what you’re looking for. Contact us today!