Living in a small town has many benefits, and while you give up some of the conveniences of a city, if you prefer a slower pace and a calmer atmosphere, it may be ideal. Choosing the place you’ll move to should be done carefully. Read on for tips on how to make your selection.
Research the cost of living
First and foremost, you want to be able to afford living in your new place. You can use an online tool to compare the cost of living in your current location with other towns. For most areas, data are available on costs of lodging, gas, groceries, utilities, and other basics. If you’re moving from a big city where you relied on public transportation, you may need to buy a car, so be sure to factor in car payments, maintenance, and insurance costs. Scan real estate websites to get an idea of housing options.
Sort your priorities
Identify your needs, such as affordability, and wants, such as proximity to bike trails or coffee shops. For the more spreadsheet-inclined, it may work well to assign each need or want a numerical value and score each town with a total value. Then it’s easy to compare how closely each place meets your hopes. Of course, looking ideal on paper is not the same thing as feeling right in person.
Visit if at all possible
There’s nothing like an in-person visit to feel the vibe and gather information. Go to restaurants, pubs, public parks, and stores. Introduce yourself to people, tell them you’re considering moving to town, and ask questions about neighborhoods, schools, eateries, and anything you want to know. If the climate is drastically different from what you’re used to, visit during more than one season. Visit virtually, too, with online videos, blogs, Google maps, and comparison sites. If you’re still feeling tentative, you might consider renting in the new town, so you can experience life there before you commit to buying property.
Consider your employment
If you can do your job online from any location, then your only concern in this respect will be the availability of Wi-Fi – be sure to check with locals about speed and reliability options. If you’re seeking a job, be aware that employment opportunities in a small town will not be as abundant as they are in a city. If you own your own business or plan to start one, it’s important to research the local culture and think about whether a place would be a good location to grow your business. If you’re moving from out of state and wish to form an LLC, be aware that laws and regulations vary in different areas. There are online sites to assist you in making this change. You can hire an attorney, use a formation service, or file the paperwork yourself.
Plan ways to meet people
Socializing may be easier in a small town, as business and personal life are often combined. Go to community events, and introduce yourself. Check out neighborhood associations and sports leagues and visit the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re returning to an area near where you grew up, look up your classmates from elementary or high school. You can do this online using the school and town names with graduation year and your friends’ names. Renewing these connections could be fun, and they may lead to meeting more people, too.
Be aware that nothing is perfect
Every place has pros and cons for residents. While small towns generally offer a strong sense of community, a slower pace, easier parking, less crime, noise and pollution, a shorter commute, and easy access to nature, there are also tradeoffs. You’ll probably have to drive a greater distance for entertainment, variety in groceries and restaurants, and medical specialists.
Moving to a small town may be a great idea for you if you’re ready for a more laid back and community-oriented lifestyle. If you’re coming from a city, there will be major changes, many of them for the better. Before taking the plunge, do your research both online and in person, and you might find that this move is the start of a very satisfying part of your life.
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Special thanks going out to the awesome Hazel Bridges for this excellent article for our blog!