What to Look for in Your New Place

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Iowa State Fair

More isn’t better; it just may appear that way at first. For example, if you walk into an apartment that has a huge, open floor plan, you may believe you are getting more space for your money. But is the space usable? For example, they may have eliminated closet space, or the bedroom or kitchen may be quite small to make up for the larger living space. It may have lousy plumbing or not enough insulation. Decide just how much you are willing to sacrifice, and consider quality versus quantity.

If you are moving to a big city such as New York or Miami, rent will be more expensive in the city proper than in the suburbs. But, living downtown will probably mean walking, bike riding, and public transit rather than driving, which will save you money on gas and car expenses. And if you can find a small place in an area with the great shops, nightlife, and the plethora of opportunities that living in a big city provides, you may be happier than if you went with a larger place in a less-populated suburb, where driving to entertainment venues, restaurants, and grocery stores is a necessity.

And while you aren’t overlooking smaller apartments, don’t overlook smaller cities, as well. A small city is sometimes better than larger ones because they are more affordable but still often have the nightlife, shopping, and business opportunities of a large city. Odessa, Texas is a great example of a fun, small city. In Odessa, you have everything from historic sites such as the White-Pool House to a 550-foot meteor crater and a Stonehenge replica.

Olympia, Washington is coffee houses, public art, beautiful museums, and the Olympia Farmer’s Market. Outdoor parks, including the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, offer miles of hiking and outdoor recreation. Evergreen State College attracts young, educated, and arty residents, making Olympia a cultural hub for artists and musicians.

Des Moines, Iowa is Americana at its best – Victorian homes on tree-lined streets, enjoying cotton candy and amusement rides at the Iowa State Fair, and gorgeous parks. But Des Moines is also a financial powerhouse with several major businesses headquartered there. In fact, Forbes Magazine ranked it at the top of its Best Places for Business and Careers 2010 list. Other great small cities include Macon Georgia, Sarasota Florida and Davenport Iowa.

Finding a new place to call home is never easy, but knowing what to look for and what your priorities are before you start your search will help you make the perfect choice. Just keep in mind that a big city or a big apartment doesn’t necessarily translate into the best – so pay attention to the details. It is very true that often, less is more.