When it comes to moving, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a cross-town transition that will probably require you to hire a moving company for a few hours (or at least convince a couple of friends to take pity on you). What isn’t a typical type of move for most people? Relocating to another city or state entirely.

Often, when a person’s job wants to move him or her to a different city, it can be a major source of stress. You’re on your boss’s timetable. Plus, you have to worry about finding a place to live in time for the move, packing all of your belongings, and not being a stressed-out mess when you meet your new co-workers. It can be tough, but if you’re smart about it, relocating doesn’t have to be a difficult process. That said, here are a few apartment-hunting tips to keep in mind when you’re relocating to a new city:

Know What You’re Looking For

Any time you start a search for apartments, you should decide exactly what you’re looking for. Are you trying to find a one-bedroom? A studio? Do you need it to be pet-friendly? What’s the maximum you can pay for rent each month?

The better prepared you are with the answers to these questions, the easier you’ll find the apartment-hunting process to be. It’s simple: When you aren’t specific, you’ll look at a much wider variety of apartments, most of which may not exactly be right for you.

Depend on the Web

So, you know what you’re searching for, but how exactly do you look for it when you live in another city or state? Use apartment-hunting websites, like Rent.com, that allow you to choose specific filters that can narrow your selection for you.

As you start to look for apartments, you’ll also want to use the Web for research. Look into what each neighborhood is like in your new city. See what people are saying in forums and on blogs about where you’ll be able to find the most affordable rent or which areas are the most active. You’ll be surprised at how much information you can glean just from the Internet alone.

Get to Know the Local Market

As part of your long-distance apartment search, you’ll also want to research what the rental market is like where you’re headed. How competitive is it? Is negotiating an option? How quickly do you have to apply if you find a place you love? The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be when you start looking at listings.

Talk to Locals

When it comes to things like understanding the rental market or getting to know the neighborhoods, the Internet isn’t your only option for research. In fact, the more you can talk to people who live in the city, the more realistic your view will be.

If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances who already live there, ask as many questions as you can. Even if the only person you know is your dad’s second cousin’s best friend from childhood, take advantage of that connection to learn as much as you can from a local.

Check With Your Work

When your job is responsible for your relocation, your boss or human resources managers should expect you to use them as resources. Unless you’re opening a brand new office in the city you’re moving to, there are likely already people in the location who are familiar with the area and can help you apartment hunt.

In fact, check with your work about all aspects of the move, from hunting for an apartment to hiring a moving company – if management asked you to move, it should at least provide you with some financial assistance.

Try to Make an In-Person Visit

If at all possible, see if your company will pay for you to make a quick trip to the new city before your move. While there, you can set up apartment viewings, meet your future co-workers, and get a better idea of what to expect.

Seeing apartments in person is vital for making sure you aren’t getting scammed or taken advantage of. If your company won’t help you visit, at least see if someone who works there can go on apartment visits for you, make sure the units are safe, take plenty of pictures, and test out all of the fixtures and appliances.

Opt for Short-Term Options

If you’re relocating somewhere you don’t know much about, a short-term sublet is the perfect way to move to the city without making a long-term commitment to an apartment or neighborhood you don’t end up liking.

Plus, if you can find people who are trying to sublet a single room in their apartment, your future roommates could help you navigate your new city and even become your first friends in town.

The most important rule of relocating: Stay calm. Ask your company for help when you need it, and remember that the stress will all be over soon. Have fun exploring your new home!

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