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13 + 6 Criteria when Choosing the City and… Neighborhood to Move to

Now that you’ve done your research on the criteria for the country to move to here, it’s time to dig deeper at city and (surprise?) neighborhood level. 

Why? Well:

  • Two cities of the same country can be very different: Vancouver is very different from Toronto (even Canadians say that) and Munich is a different sorry than Cologne (believe me, I lived in both)
  • The neighborhood and its characteristics will directly influence the quality of your life and your everyday life experience.

Remember Mira & Stefan’s Story

Without being aware of it, they rented a place to live in Surrey, BC, Canada, which was the center of the Indian community, full of facilities and events dedicated to Indians. This place would have been perfect for an Indian family arriving to Canada, but for Mira & Stefan coming from a European country, it wasn’t the best choice and they decided to move to another city.

So, do you want to make the best decision about the city and neighborhood you’re going to move to right off the bat? My wild guess is that you do, because this is why you’re reading this. This already brings you steps ahead of any person moving abroad, isn’t that great?

What should you consider when choosing your future home city?

  1. Demographics: population, density, gender, average age, minorities (nationality, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), occupation, income
  2. Cost of living, including what percentage of your income will be taken up by the rent​​
  3. Quality of life: including crime rate, safety, etc.
  4. Job opportunities, employment rate, and average income
  5. Housing prices and trends
  6. Cultural hub: events, history, and tourism
  7. Cleanliness and/or pollution
  8. Aesthetics: buildings, streets, parks, nature
  9. Traffic, public transportation & parking
  10. Predominant leisure activities
  11. Level of pollution
  12. International airport
  13. Friends or family in the area

… aaand what other criteria do you have?

And what should you take into consideration when choosing your neighborhood?

  1. Facilities in the area: grocery store, school, hospital, pharmacy, park, church
  2. Type of neighborhood: more expensive, family-friendly, hipster, touristy, financial district, ‘Little Italy’, China Town
  3. Demographics: population, density, gender, average, age, minorities (nationality, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), occupation, income
  4. Public transport & connections to other parts of the city
  5. Proximity to city center
  6. Landscape & aesthetics (why not?): buildings, streets, parks, nature

… and don’t stop here, find additional ones that are important to you!

Do your due diligence and look into this when making such important decisions which will influence every day of your life from now on. It’s really worth your time and effort. We truly admire you and cheer you through this process. You know what’s best for you. Go for it!

For more tips and awesome resources for your smooth move abroad:

  • Sign-up for the newsletter to receive the upcoming posts and videos with awesome tips on how to move abroad faster and cheaper and free tools
  • Get your Master Guide Moving Abroad: The Essentials, to receive a complete walk-through the whole process of moving abroad, a must read if you want to have a smooth move and a great bonus: The Budget Guide, woohoo! – find it here.

Be 10 steps ahead of everyone else! Have you signed-up yet?

15 Criteria when Choosing the Country to Move to

At Smoovster we put great emphasis on how to choose the best location to move to. Why? Because it's the most important decision of all and it influences everything else, duh!

And if you don't do it right the first time, it will cost you a lot of money, time and energy to “fix it”. But don’t worry, this is why you are here and Smoovster has made it it’s mission to guide you smoothly through this process. Let’s do this!

How do you approach the process of making this decision?

By getting yourself as informed as possible about the place you’re moving to, of course. The more you know, the more informed your decision will be and you will:

  • Be able to decide where it’s best for you to move
  • Reduce your chances of being negatively surprised by things you don’t like and
  • Prepare yourself better for the whole endeavor of moving to and accommodating in your new country.

Enough with the “theoretical” talk now!

By what criteria should you choose the country you’re moving to?

  1. Politics: trends, government (also potential government changes), internal & external directions
  2. Authorities: bureaucracy, people’s trust in authorities, reliability
  3. Justice system: laws, reinforcement of laws
  4. Economy: trends, forecasts, stability
  5. Healthcare system: reliability, expenses, access, duration of maternity leave, disabilities
  6. School system: accessibility, reliability, traditional vs. modern, international renown of universities, child care
  7. Pension plans: options, average pension after ‘x’ years of work
  8. Citizenship: process, duration, double citizenship, sponsoring family members, compulsory military service
  9. Distance from home country: flight duration & cost, additional connections, time difference
  10. Openness to immigrants: programs, percentage of immigrants in the overall population, how are immigrants perceived, welcoming culture
  11. Attitude towards minorities: different nationalities, religions, sexual orientation
  12. Language, including if people can speak another language, in case you don’t know the local one
  13. Regulations around bringing kids, having kids, marriage, common law and divorce
  14. Legal drugs
  15. Climate, including potential natural disasters

This is our checklist. What would you add to this?

And… there’s more! Doing your research on the country is not enough. The next levels are doing your research on the city and… the neighborhood, as well:

  • Sign-up for the newsletter below to receive the upcoming posts on how to choose the perfect city and neighborhood for you, on where to look for the most reliable information regarding where to move to and many more surprises like this
  • Get your Master Guide Moving Abroad: The Essentials, to receive a complete walk-through the whole process of moving abroad, a must read if you want to have a smooth move – find it here

You've got this and we've got your back!

8 Criteria for Picking a House Abroad

This is not an easy one, huh? But it’s one of the most important. Finding and living in a house you love and fits your needs is indeed essential!

Well, then good that you’re here and congratulations on deciding to take a thorough approach, to make sure you make the best choice from the start. You know that guiding principle of ours: do it right the first time! Why? Because it’s such a waste of time, money and energy to move around with all your stuff. Having a mid to long term home is a huge contributor of you and your family feeling stability and peace.

Let’s get to it!

What are the decisions you need to make before even looking for a place to live?

  • Renting vs. buying a place
  • Type: house, townhouse, apartment or other
  • Building age: consider even its seismic degree
  • Number of rooms desired: bedrooms, plus living room, bathroom(s), patio
  • Neighborhoods to exclude
  • Acceptable price range: rent vs. mortgage per month
  • Furnished, partially furnished or not furnished
  • what else is important to you?

OK, phew! That wasn’t that hard. Once the above are decided upon, what are the additional criteria to take into consideration when moving?

  1. Parking: some homes have parking space included, but some don’t; for the ones that don’t, make sure there are other free parking options around the building
  2. Storage: in some countries, you have the options to look for places with extra storage space, which can be very handy
  3. Laundry: it can be in-apartment or shared; it may not include a dryer; when shared, you will probably need to pay every time you use it, either by coins or card. Make sure you are aware of the process around it
  4. Kitchen utilities: in some countries, homes (including the ones for sale) have the stove, refrigerator or dish washer included
  5. Other utilities: the electricity, water, gas, internet, cable, etc. might be included in rent or maintenance costs, depending on the building or municipality
  6. Building restrictions:, e.g. pet-friendly (some buildings don't allow pets), age restrictions (some buildings no kids allowed... believe it or not), other rules, such as those regarding noise (not allowed to listen to loud music after 22:00, so that's it for your parties)
  7. Public transport: connections to other parts of the city
  8. Location (besides neighborhood), i.e. distance to: your work place, kids' schools or daycares, stores, hospital and pharmacy, community centers, restaurants and entertainment, sports facilities, parks & nature, church or other
  9. ... aaand don’t stop here, is there anything else that is of importance to you?

Always feel free to add criteria and items to our checklists or decide that some criteria we've included are non-essential to you. We promise we won't mind :).

The purpose of including as many criteria as possible in our checklists, is that you need to make an informed decision about what is important and what is not to you. You can then avoid surprises, expensive mistakes and disappointment, isn't that what you want?

But things don’t stop here. We need to dig even deeper on the following topics together:

  • Your best sources of information regarding finding a place to live in
  • The market-specific aspects and language you need to be aware of
  • The logistical aspects when renting, respectively buying a place
  • How to choose the perfect neighborhood

These topics will be covered in future posts, so sign up for our newsletter below, as well as in great detail in our wonderful first Master Guide, Moving Abroad: The Essentials, which contain a wealth of information – it’s a must read if you’re moving abroad. Get it here.

We’ve got work to do, Smoovster! Stay tuned for more awesome content. Why should you do that? Because you want a smooth move abroad!

PS: Remember to sign-up for the newsletter. You won't miss out on any article, video or free tools we're creating for you! 

Your 3 Must-haves of the Perfect Location for You When Moving Abroad

Thinking of moving abroad, but not sure where? Don’t worry, you are not alone in this confusion and indecisiveness.

You probably have several potential destinations in mind and this is normal, because nowadays our options are endless. Which is exciting and also scary, I feel you! 

I will suggest a structured approach, which will help you narrow down your options and help you make a conscious and informed decision about this very important aspect of your life: where to live.

The decision about where you will live is probably the most important decision of all, because it influences everything that happens afterwards. This is why, you need to do it right and... do it right the first time! 

OK, but how?

The first step, even before starting your research, is to identify 3 must-haves of the location you are moving to, i.e. 3 essential and non-negotiable criteria you are not willing to compromise on.

It’s the same as with dating: deciding on these will help you prioritize, will make your choice easier and will eliminate some options from the get-go.

What are the 3 must-haves of the location you are moving to that you are not willing to compromise on?

Here are some examples to inspire you:

  • Ability to speak or to learn the language easily
  • Proximity to my home country so I can visit at least 2 times per year
  • Having close family or friends in the area for emotional and social comfort
  • Good education opportunities for myself or my kids
  • Options to bring my elderly parents at some point in the future
  • Affordable housing prices
  • Great options for outdoor activities
  • Minority rights
  • Top quality of life

… and the list can continue forever. Our Moving Abroad Master Guide: The Essentials contains all. 

What are your 3 must-haves of the place you want to spend the next period of your life or... the rest of your life in?

Laura’s story

My friend Laura from Ireland moved to Vancouver, Canada, with her husband, Nick. Their 3 must-haves were:

  • The weather, i.e. not too warm and not too cold – both Ireland and Vancouver are rainy, so that wasn’t an issue.
  • The possibility of bringing their dog Pixie – the shiest dog in the world – without putting her into quarantine.
  • Good and stable job opportunities, which was not the case in Ireland at the time they moved.

Your first step is to decide on your 3 must-haves. The following steps will come so much easier to you once you’ve done this exercise. Advance to the next step only when you have them written down and you feel good about them. 

So, what are your 3 must-haves?

Well done, your first important step is completed! Let's move on ;).