Tips for Moving to the Best City for You and Your Family

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps your company is transferring you to Houston, or maybe you made a romantic connection that’s lured you to the Golden State. Before you invest in a moving and packing service, however, you want to pick your final destination. What city should you choose? What parameters can help you make the decision?

First off, identify the ground rules. Obviously, you will be bounded by a few things, including budget, your job, your social circle, and your natural inclinations. For instance, you may not like big city living, in which case places like Los Angeles or New York or Chicago would be out of the question. Make a list of these parameters before you begin your search. If you do enjoy the city life, San Francisco and San Jose are two great Houston cities you may like.

Imagine handing off the project of picking your city to somebody else. What would you tell that person to do and not to do? For instance, you might say things like “make sure I’m near great schools” or “find me a home in a safe neighborhood” or “find a place near a park and a lot of outdoor space,” etc. These guidelines can help you narrow your search.

Do your research and create a list, but minimize the number of choices. According to an exciting new theory in psychology called the Paradox of Choice, too many choices can actually lead to dissatisfaction and bad decision-making. Why? When you have too many options, you feel tempted to compare any option you choose against all the options you don’t. This is why people often feel “menu fatigued” when they look at giant diner menus — any item you choose will, on some dimension, pale in comparison with some other dish. Same goes for moving. Sometimes it’s just too overwhelming.

Use a combination of online tools, networking, and personal travel to winnow your choices further. Sites like gopetfriendly.com, airnow.gov, greatschools.org and local.com can give you insights into attributes of different communities. Your social network and people who live in prospective cities can also help. You may want to travel to check out the finalists yourself.

Lastly, time bound your choice, so that you’re forced to make a decision by a certain date to avoid procrastination.

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