When you’re looking for a new place to live, you are often leaving something in particular or looking for something particular, but sometimes the goal is simply to live in the best place for you, to have a better overall feeling about life through making a big change.
No matter where you are in your journey to find the best place to live, it’s much more than just finding a home and moving immediately. Here are some ways to get started, informed by recent insights from real estate agents.
The way you start narrowing down where you want to live is going to involve some big questions, starting with simple things like, do you want to stay in the United States or live somewhere outside the United States? If you’re open to worldwide options, that’s great, but you want to start considering whether you have the language skills for all the countries available, whether there are expenses that make traveling to and from the US to see family that are too much to handle, etc.
Within the United States, you’ll use your needs to narrow your options further. Most people begin with the reasons they want to move: they want a more urban or more rural setting. They want greater job opportunities or a particular industry’s job opportunities. They want warmer weather or cooler weather. They want to be close to interest, be it mountain climbing or a particular beloved sports team. One of the biggest reasons is to be closer to family, so many people look within reasonable driving distance of family they want to be close by.
This allows you to create a shorter list than “all towns and cities in the United States.” Once you’re down to a few different areas, you can start really digging into the details – if a place doesn’t meet your big picture goals for the move, they shouldn’t move to the next round of narrowing down.
When you look at a place you want to live, there are a variety of factors that typically are considered as signs of a ‘best place to live.’ These include:
- Access to nature and green spaces.
- Access to jobs that pay well relative to the costs of living in that area.
- Popular attractions nearby.
- Temperate weather or weather conducive to specific needs, like cold weather for winter sports.
- Strong school systems for families with children.
- Low crime.
- Public transportation options as well as other services provided by local government.
- Pleasant people nearby.
Use these as a blueprint for researching your top contenders: does one place emerge ahead, or are there still two or three options that really could work for you?
Many people want to visit the place they will eventually live in before they make their decision; the data doesn’t perfectly reflect how you’ll feel in that place. Similarly, looking for work or home in multiple places and choosing based on where you find work or affordable housing first can be a way to break the tie. Ultimately, every place you choose has at least a couple of drawbacks, so it’s up to you to pick the place with the best options for what matters to you!