Moving to a new city is an exciting opportunity for a fresh start. If you’re considering moving cities, you’re not alone; over 27 million Americans moved to a new city in 2021 alone. 

There are many reasons why moving cities may be on your to-do list this year. You might be starting a new job, pursuing a relationship, spending more time with family or just looking for a new adventure. Regardless of why you’re planning a move, there are many things to consider before taking the leap.

How To Move To a New City

Research the City

The first step in any move is to conduct plenty of research on the city you’re interested in. Research is a key part of the moving process. It will help you learn more about the culture of the city, make a realistic budget and decide which neighborhoods you want to check out. Research will also prepare you to tackle challenges that come your way during the moving process, rather than dealing with them at the last minute. 

When it comes to your research, here’s what to consider when moving to a new city

  • Cost of living. What are the average prices for things like rent, utilities, gas and groceries? 
  • Job opportunities. What industries are most prevalent in the city? 
  • Types of neighborhoods and apartments. Are you looking for something urban or suburban? Do you prefer a single-family home or a larger apartment community
  • Crime statistics. Where will you feel most comfortable? 
  • Entertainment. What do locals do for fun? Where are the best restaurants, parks, museums and entertainment venues? 
  • Schools. If you’re moving with kids, where are the best schools in the city? Are there any higher education options? 

There are many ways to research new cities online. Try to gather multiple perspectives on your new city, as everyone’s experience is unique. If you have friends, family or professional contacts who live in the city, ask them questions as well. Here are some great places to start your online research process. 

  • City websites
  • Social media groups
  • Local newspapers and magazines
  • Neighborhood guides (ie. USA Today, Niche, etc.)
  • Crime databases

Find a Place to Live

Finding a place to live is one of the most challenging parts of moving. Generally, you should follow these three steps. 

  1. First, determine which neighborhoods will work best for your needs. When making this decision, consider factors like proximity to work and school, neighborhood amenities, personal safety and types of apartments available. 
  2. Next, determine an approximate budget for your monthly rent. Start by looking at your monthly income. Many experts recommend keeping your rental costs under 30% of your income, but the exact amount you can spend will depend on how much you make and what your financial goals are. 

Consider average rental prices in the area and the apartment size and amenities you’re looking for. Can you afford a studio or one-bedroom for yourself, or does it make more sense to share a larger apartment with roommates? Do you need space for kids or pets? If you’d prefer amenities like in-unit laundry, central air or a dishwasher, keep in mind that you’ll likely pay more in rent. If you prefer to live with roommates, look for Facebook groups to help roommates connect in your city

  1. Begin searching. There are a variety of options for searching apartments for rent in your new city. Rental listing websites, such as, HotPads and even the websites of the apartment communities themselves are a great place to start. You can opt to browse and schedule tours on your own, but if you don’t have much free time, you could work with a local real estate agent. You’ll also want to keep an eye on social media. There are many Facebook groups for local apartment listings, and many realtors will post new rentals on Instagram and TikTok. 

Make sure to see the apartment in detail before you move in so there aren’t any unwanted surprises. Ideally, tour the apartment in person and speak to the landlord or property management company. Consider scheduling a visit to your new city to tour multiple apartments before making a decision. However, if you can’t make that happen, we suggest looking for rentals that offer detailed virtual tours

Prepare to Move

As you prepare for the move, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to get from point A to point B. Do you plan on flying or driving, and do you need help from a moving company? To find a reputable moving company, read online reviews and ask around for local recommendations. Get estimates from multiple moving companies before selecting one. 

Start packing well in advance of your move to ensure you have plenty of time to get things organized. You can also use this opportunity to do some spring cleaning and get rid of items you no longer use, which will make moving even easier.

Adjust to Life in a New City

After physically moving cities is behind you, it’s time to start adjusting to your surroundings. It’s normal to feel homesick at first, but you’ll acclimate as you start to explore the city and establish a routine. 

If you haven’t already, begin adjusting early by looking for work and school opportunities so you know what to expect when you arrive. Explore your neighborhood and find the nearest grocery store as well as amenities like parks, gyms and restaurants. Revisiting your online research will be very helpful for this, as you can compare what you thought before to the reality now that you’re here.

With the basics secured, you can start building a community and making new friends. While this is easier said than done, there are a handful of ways to put yourself out there and connect with others in your area. 

  • Say “hi” to your neighbors. 
  • Attend a local meetup group or happy hour. 
  • Join a sports league, art class or other groups specific to your interests. 
  • Reach out to your existing network and ask them to connect you with mutual friends. 
  • Volunteer at a community organization. 

These are just a few of the many ways to make friends in a new city. Focus on doing what you enjoy and reach out to like-minded people, and you’ll have a strong, vibrant community in no time at all. 

Moving to the Area? Southern Management Has What You Need

Now that you know what to look for when moving to a new city, it’s time to start planning. If you’re moving to the Washington, D.C. or Baltimore metropolitan areas, Southern Management is here to help you find the perfect apartment. We offer something for everyone with rental communities throughout the DMV area. Check out our unique apartment communities to learn more.