Jun 20, 2022
When you become a remote worker, your flexible work situation frees you up to move anywhere. Rather than being held down by a physical work location and commute, you’re given the opportunity to imagine where you would want to live and make it a reality. While the world is literally open to you, there are certain things you may want to consider before uprooting.
If you already have a remote position before you move, determine whether your headquarters prefer you to stay close by. Some employers want remote workers to live in the same state for reasons such as state income taxes or having an understanding of the local way of life, and they may want you to live close enough to stop in for a meeting from time to time.
Other positions truly allow you to live and work from anywhere. In this case, it’s exciting to have the freedom to move to a new destination, yet you might get stuck on how to pick where to live. After all, there’s a whole world in front of you that holds thousands of amazing places to live.
There are different ways to narrow down your list. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Check whether it’s possible to move to a destination that’s always been a dream of yours.
Create a list of a few regions, countries, or cities that appeal to you, and then research those areas to further narrow the list one by one.
Think about whether you prefer bustling cities, smaller cities with a hometown feel, suburbs, or rural areas. Do you want to participate in exciting activities and be part of cultural and artistic scenes, or are you seeking to get away from crowds and have more peace and quiet in your life?
Search for areas that include certain features, amenities, or activities you’re looking for, such as outdoor, family-friendly, vegan, or artistic activities. You may decide to move near a specific school or into a school district.
Look at areas based on the cost of living so you can get the most out of your money. Weigh the cost of living with other factors, such as your income and real estate values in the area.
Determine whether it’s important for you to live near friends or family members.
Search based on safe countries and regions of the world, as well as parts of cities and regions that have minimal levels of crime.
Think about whether the climate is a deciding factor for you, which could range from enjoying outdoor winter activities and wanting noticeable season changes to seeking a temperate climate year-round.
Check the incentives offered to move to certain cities as a remote worker to see if any of them appeal to you.
Of course, many of these things are important. That’s why it’s good to start with something that’s a priority for you, create a list of narrowed-down choices, and then do further research to determine the best places to consider moving to. For instance, you may make a list of three to five dream destination countries, then narrow it down to certain cities/regions, and then do research on schools, crime rates, activities, and so on in each area. Compare your lists to see which spot makes the most sense based on your preferences.
How do you research all of these aspects of an area? You can perform a Google search on aspects that are important to you, such as “best family-friendly cities in the U.S." Also, try these resource websites:
Realtor.com/Zillow/Redfin/Other real estate websites
Location-based Reddit/NextDoor/Facebook groups or threads
In addition, MakeMyMove helps you connect to incentive opportunities for moving to certain areas as a remote worker and learn more about communities wanting to attract new residents.
When you’re narrowing down candidates for a new home, it’s worth looking into certain aspects of the new state and area where you would be living. Take a deeper dive to see how living there would impact you and your family going forward.
Here are some factors to consider when moving to a new city:
Do preliminary research to better understand the real opinions of local residents through location-based comments online. This can help you figure out whether an area truly is a good place to live and which sections may be better than others based on certain preferences.
Visit an area before you move there. It may be tempting to uproot and move across the country or world based on what you read online, yet you might not feel the same way about the place when you arrive. If possible, aim to spend some time visiting, checking out different parts of the city, and talking to real people who live there before you commit to moving.
Consider short-term housing at first. Similar to visiting before you move, it might make sense to have a temporary living situation in the beginning until you know the area better and are ready to set down roots in the right place. Think about staying short-term in a hotel or Airbnb, or signing a short-term lease on a house or apartment. Another option is to stay with friends or family if possible.
Think about state taxes and the potential complications of living in a different state from your company headquarters. Some states have no income tax, while others pose complications when you work in a different state from where you live. Be aware of state taxes before you move.
Consider other taxes as well, such as sales tax, property taxes, business taxes, and others that are based on where you live, work, and shop.
Factor in that it will be more difficult to move your belongings, including a vehicle, from the contiguous U.S. to Alaska, Hawaii, or another country than it would be to move within the country. Even within the mainland, you’ll want to think about whether you’ll pack up a moving van and drive it yourself or whether you’ll hire a moving company.
Know where the closest important amenities and services are, such as health care facilities, airports, public transportation, and so on.
Be aware of the internet options and speeds available in an area, as these will have a direct impact on your remote work. Phone service is important as well.
Think about the realities of a situation. While dreams are important, it’s also good to be practical about a move. For example, if you really want to move to a dream destination, think about whether there are sacrifices you would have to make to live there, such as having a smaller home or spending more on the cost of living. Weigh that with whether your life would be better by moving to a place with a lower cost of living.
Last but not least, check whether there are any incentive programs that could pay you to move to your new destination. You definitely don't want to miss out on this kind of opportunity!