Not sure how to choose where to live? It’s a tricky question when there’s so much to consider. But there are a few big things you’ll want to keep in mind before you decide where you want to find your dream home. Here are just a few.
Quality of life
Your first thought on how to choose where to live should probably consider what kind of life you might expect once you get there. Many sites release yearly rankings of states with the best quality of life—but what factors do these rankings consider? Two big ones are healthcare and education, which account for things like ease of access, quality, and affordability.
Other considerations include a healthy job market, performance of the state’s economy, bridges and roads, neighborhood safety, government, and overall opportunities—how easy is it, for example, to find an internet connection? Or how walkable is the area?
With these factors in mind, some of the top states include Florida, North Carolina, New York, Washington, and New Jersey. Of those, Florida and North Carolina might be the more affordable ones with new construction homes starting in the low $300s.
Cost of living
Speaking of costs, when deciding how to choose where to live, you want to factor in how much money you might need to create a comfortable life for yourself. Many cities may offer affordable everyday costs, like groceries or utilities. Others are known for their low cost of housing. It’s much cheaper, for example, to afford new home construction in Texas than in New Jersey or California.
Texas can save you in other areas, too, since they don’t charge state taxes. However, you might also want to consider property taxes if you’re thinking about buying a home. Colorado has a low property tax rate of .51 percent, but the median home price in the state is $345,000, while property tax in Alabama is only .41 percent, and the median home price is $165,334. New Jersey and Illinois have some of the highest property taxes.
Type of lifestyle
Of course, different cities offer different ways of life—even within the same state. If you live off the coast of California, for example, you might expect a life of steady sunshine and beach weather. But moving to San Francisco will provide much more of a city life with easy access to transportation and increased walkability.
When questioning how to choose where to live, deciding whether you prefer a city center or a suburb will also make a difference. Suburbs might offer more access to nature, but they’re spread further apart and may provide less entertainment. On the other hand, large cities can be dense, easy to walk, and filled with fun—but you may not be able to see the stars at night, and air quality is probably lower.
The weather might also impact the lifestyle of an area, access to hiking or biking trails, and the type of jobs that are available in the area. And don’t forget about family. For many people, being closer to family helps establish a sense of community and can easily improve their overall quality of life.
Ultimately, deciding how to choose where to live comes down to your personal preferences. You should set a budget first, of course. But with a budget in mind, the world is your oyster, and you’re bound to discover a place that’s right for you.
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