Looking for a new home as a result of corporate relocation is similar to buying a home in general, with two major differences: first, you may not have been planning to move. Second, you may know little or nothing about the city or state to which you are relocating. In both cases you’ll find yourself doing more research for your relocation than you would a normal move, and may have to ask some questions that would otherwise seem obvious.
Renting is an attractive option for employees on temporary corporate relocation. Your monthly rent may be lower than mortgage payments, and you may be responsible for less, or even no, home maintenance. When the assignment is up there’s no pressure to sell a home before moving on. If your relocation will last more than a few years, buying a home could be a better investment with current interest rates being so low.
The New York Times has a renting vs. buying calculator with sliders you can adjust for price, payments and length of stay. It gives you a graphical readout showing which options may be best for you.
When you’re moving within the same city, or even the same state, traffic patterns are easy enough to figure out. You may know them from personal experience or have heard about them from friends and family. When it comes to a corporate relocation, you’ll want to do some more granular research into what it’s like to commute to and from your new workplace. One of the best places to start? Ask other employees who live in the area.
As with traffic, public transportation options in a new city are something you may know little about when moving for work. Fortunately there are a lot of resources to help you, as all cities will have an official website linking to transportation options. Publictransportation.org lets you view transportation options for all 50 states.
If your employer is asking you to move for work, it’s certainly within your rights to ask about flexible work options (if you feel comfortable doing so). The ability to telecommute certain days of the week, for example, can mitigate some of the tradeoffs you may be making on traffic and public transportation in your new city.
You’ll want to do research, as well as ask other employees, about ways to balance family life in a new city. For parents, finding schools will be one of the biggest concerns. Schooldigger.com is one of many websites letting you view schools in each state by academic rank, teacher ratios and other factors.
There are plenty of calculators that evaluate how far your salary can go in a new city. This cost of living calulator from CNN Money lets you compare salaries and also see percentages of difference between key expenses.
You can try calculators and review thousands of web sites to plan your relocation, and these will be helpful. However, you will weigh some pros and cons differently than any algorithm or reviewer’s opinion. If you feel comfortable, ask other employees who are from or have relocated to your new city for the “real deal” on costs, commutes and quality of life.
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