It’s finally happening: you got that call back and the next step is relocating for a dream job. Moving expenses, finding a new apartment, and navigating a burgeoning relationship with your bosses is a lot to get your head around.
Getting the best deal for your new job starts with the interview and stretches well beyond your first visit to your new home. Here are the four things you need to do before packing up your things and starting the new adventure.
Start at the negotiating table
Before relocating for a job, the first thing to think about is whether your new employer is willing to pay for your relocation. Often employers are more willing to negotiate a relocation package than a pay increase. Use this to your advantage!
Relocation packages involve either the company’s HR coordinator setting you up with a relocation company or a lump sum payment. This process is designed to cover moving expenses like renting trucks and tricky things like the apartment search or temporary lodging.
If there’s a written policy against relocation assistance, try pitching it as a signing bonus. Before doing so, calculate how much it would cost to move without company assistance. Again, this will be preferable for many companies when compared to asking for higher salary.
If your new company refuses to budget, there’s still the IRS. If your relocation passes their distance and time limits, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses come tax time.
Explore your new home ahead of time
Try to plan several trips to your new city before relocating for a job. Just because you’ve heard that Seattle is rainy doesn’t mean that the gravity of its regular deluges has sunk in. Getting on the ground lets you figure out the lay of the land and start visualizing yourself in a new place.
Weekend adventuring also lets you check out different parts of the city. Making sure that the place you come home to is right for you will make the transition all the easier.
Your preview visits are also a chance to find community. Using services like Meetup.com let you connect with real people in your new home over shared interests. Making new friends or acquaintances before you move really helps with the mental half of moving. Locals will also have insight into the safest neighborhoods, the greatest transit options, and the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
Checking out local blogs in your areas of interest is a distance free way of researching your new home. Are there any cool foodie blogs? Coffee hunters? Bouldering pros? This can tell you a lot about what neighborhoods you’ll want to live in.
Figure out your new cost of living
The nitty gritty of relocating for a job comes into play when figuring out budgetary changes.
Using a cost of living calculator is a great way to start. They tell you all about the differences in eating out, gym memberships, and necessities like produce. If you’re moving to a more expensive city this kind of information is especially invaluable.
Knowing how your spending habits will need to change can also give you more information at the negotiating table. Be honest with yourself. If you regularly spend $500 on fun a month, then put in the time to figure out how much more you’d be spending in your new home.
On the housing end of things sites like Trulia shed light on reasonable rates for both renting and owning.
To buy or not to buy
By now your life is in boxes and the interstate awaits. It’s time for a new walls in a new place, but to rent or to buy?
Moving to a new neighborhood is a risk. Even if you plan trips ahead of time, it’s impossible to truly get a feel for a place before living there.
Sometimes the neighbors are noisy. The bells at a local church go off at 8:00 a.m. every Saturday, prompting the local dogs to riot. These are things which are hard to predict and harder still to fix when you’ve already committed to a year-long lease or down payment.
Using Airbnb or subletting in a different neighborhood can give you a great feel for life there without committing heavily. Staying somewhere centrally located can give you the freedom to explore the city at your leisure. What’s more, it’s almost always easier to get to apartment viewings if you already live in the city, even without a permanent address.
You can also try to negotiate for temporary corporate housing as part of your relocation package for your new job. Often times, large companies will have deals on short-term accommodation for visitors and new hires.
Home sweet home
At the end of the day, balancing work and life will always be hard, especially in a new place. But with proper preparation, caution, and an eye for detail you can make relocating for a job perfectly painless.