How does one relocate?
June 20, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

How does one relocate to an area they're not familiar with? What resources are out there, what steps do you take?

My SO and I are considering moving further down the East coast. I don't need town/city suggestions. I am looking for practical advice on how we would accomplish this. We wouldn't know anyone in our new city, so how do we find jobs, housing, etc...? In what order should we do these things (job first?)?
posted by suchatreat to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I have moved, I found the job first (fortunately). Once you do that, you have an "in", so to speak. Depending on the job and company, you may get assistance in relocation (everything from basic information to compensation for moving expenses).
posted by Doohickie at 10:10 AM on June 20, 2005

I usually start out reading the newspaper of the location that I am planning to go to so I can learn a little bit about the neighborhoods, job situation and cost of living. I'll often go to one of the social software network type sites like Craigslist, Flickr or LinkedIn and see if I know anyone there, or if there are regional forums or groups. I'll poke around, get to know people and if I have questions, ask people specifically. Schools also often have good "welcome to the area" pages. If there is a large university near where you're planning to live, see if they have a link page or info page for people relocating to the area. Also area Chambers of Commerce can sometimes have web pages summarizing what the business vibe is in your chosen area.

In my profession there are state professional organizations [Vermont Library Association, New Hampshire Library Association] and if I don't know someone in one of those, I'll often know someone who knows someone and then ask for an intro. This works with other things like churches, hobby groups or MetaFilter meetups. I find that having a personal conenction, even if it's someone I don't know well or don't even agree with, is better than random information in flyers or web sites.

In general, the order you do things depends on why you are moving. When I moved to Seattle fresh out of college I found a place to live first and then set about looking for work. When I moved to Central Vermont with my boyfriend, I didn't do it before I had a job here because you basically can't live here without having some sort of job, or line on a job. Jobs are good ready-made places to meet people and get information on housing and other things in the area, it's also often beneficial to live somewhat near where you are going to work so starting with a job is rarely a bad idea.
posted by jessamyn at 10:26 AM on June 20, 2005

About a year before I moved to San Francisco, I bought a map of the city. I then read craigslist obsessively and mapped out apartments in my price range, and investigated locations of events and theaters and museums and yes, the neighborhood stereotypes found on CL. When I got here I was still pretty lost, but had at least heard of most areas and had a sense of where things were in relation to others.
posted by bendy at 11:14 AM on June 20, 2005

Well, here's my experience:

I am moving to Richmond this summer with my SO. He's starting grad school, so that decided on place and on occupation for him.

I found a job by applying to ones I was interested in and then calling and e-mailing just to let the hiring committee know that even though I was an out-of-state applicant that I was committed to moving there by 8/05. I had a series of phone interviews, then an offer.

Now we're looking for apartments. I've been scanning the listings of realtors and property managers, as well as craigslist and the classifieds. I've been communicating with everyone I know (friends-of-friends, etc.) who live there for their opinions. A nice MeFite actually did a drive by for me (and reported that the place wasn't so hot)! So, hopefully we'll have a place before we move!

So far, I've learned that the best thing you can do when moving is not be scared to call or e-mail strangers/friends-of-friends, whether it's about a job, an apartment, or just to collect general opinions about the place. You probably have more connections to any given city than you realize.
posted by lalalana at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2005

I'm relocating from Memphis to Boston. Why Boston? Well, I started by taking the quizzes on Best Places and Find Your Spot. I did a lot of Googling and reading of tour guides in bookstores and libraries. Once I decided where to live, I started doing lots of Google searches on my industry in Boston. My area is Psychology, so I took a look at the local associations related to my field. I also sent out several mass e-mails to my contacts in my field (no matter where they live) to ask if they had any Boston contacts. I checked local job listings, I made cold calls, I looked into licensure rules for psychologists in Boston. I'm on Tribe, which is a social networking site. I joined all the tribes that related to living in Boston, and I posted questions about living there to see what neighborhoods people like. I used Bloglines to subscribe to RSS feeds of job listings, social events, Boston blogs, Boston newspapers, and even Flickr pictures taken by people in Boston-related groups. Every little step I took got me closer to knowing what I wanted and who I needed to talk to. It definitely took a lot of time, but eventually, I got a call about an interview. I arranged a trip, went there, and (I was lucky) I got the job! While there, I tooled around town looking at neighborhoods and asking people about the place. When I got back, I read as much as I could about different places to live and which places would be most convenient for commuting purposes. Now that I know when I'm moving, I'm once again using Bloglines to subscribe to Craigslist searches for the kind of apartments I want in the price range I want (you will see the little orange "RSS" in the bottom right corner). The other thing I'm doing now is looking at services in the area: the closest gym, subway, restaurants, post office, vet, etc.
posted by abbyladybug at 11:30 AM on June 20, 2005

Visit the new city as often as you can - long weekends,saturday afternoons, whatever.

The jobs are pretty vital, especially as there's two of you, but whenever I've moved I've always investigated housing first, and scoped out the areas I like. What field are you in?

Hook up with someone online (I posted an ad to the "strictly platonic" section of craigslist in preparing for my next big move, and got many helpful responses) who'll answer a few silly questions. You'll have many.

And I agree with the above, hang a map of the new town on your wall & start reading local news for the city you're moving to. Try and place the stories on the map - it really helps in making the new neighbourhood feel like home.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:55 AM on June 20, 2005

This depends entirely on your resources.

How long can you afford to live in this new locale without work? Investigate rents and make that call. Then, if your prospects are good, make the jump and look for work. If you know you're not likely to find work in such a short amount of time (if it is short), then try to arrange work first. Research, then pound out those cover letters and cv's and send them off. You can also do drop-ins to these places while you're out there looking for somewhere to live.

If you have hobbies/interests, look on the net to see if there is a local chapter out there, and make contact, tell them your situation. When you arrive, buy a tourist guide. It will be full of info even locals won't know.
posted by dreamsign at 9:25 PM on June 20, 2005

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