Finding a New City in the New Year

by | Dec 15, 2023 | Recruitment & Relocation

Two couples in my family who live elsewhere are in the midst of a relocation. Three have fully remote jobs or schooling, and the fourth is only required to be in the New York City office one day/month allowing them the freedom to live anywhere. The decision of where to live can be overwhelming with so many options.

My relatives are having to figure it out on their own as they were not offered services of a professional relocation firm like Executive Arrangements (EA) which provides local experts to help guide their decisions on a new hometown while getting to know the lay of the land.

For the last 40+ years our team has helped recruits decide on the neighborhoods in Cleveland/Akron that worked best for them based on their lifestyle, interests, and price range. I offered my family insights by using several of EA’s pre-trip phone call questions, and after hearing their answers we worked together to narrow down the endless possibilities to a handful of towns that met their criteria.

If you had the luxury of being able to live anywhere, and for this exercise lets assume it’s within the United States, what questions should you consider as you dream about your next port of call?

  • Why did the city grow there and what are it’s historical roots?
  • Do I want a city that is growing and in transition or stable and without huge changes coming? If it’s growing fast, will that impact the town’s personality in a few years?
  • Does the town have enough going for it that it attracts a regular influx of visitors that helps contribute to the economy and vibe?
  • Am I seeking a town that has diversity of people and thought, perhaps anchored by a college or university with a high percentage of residents under the age of 40 rounded out by professors who are a bit older?
  • Are there evident signs that the community I am considering has a healthy economy such as a lively “downtown” with plenty of community gathering places?
  • Does the town provide opportunities for people of different backgrounds to interact daily?
  • Do you feel a sense of “safe and secure” from noticing things like kids riding bikes or walking to school? Are the public streets and parks litter free and well lit? Are residents able to leave items in their yards without chaining them to a fence?
  • Are their local, independent shops and restaurants that are being supported by residents that indicate a sense of community and a healthy economy?
  • Is there good public transportation?
  • Are people friendly and welcoming? Do they meet your eye and say hi as you walk down the street?
  • Does the community have a nice balance of locals who have been there for generations and newcomers to give you the feel that you could break into social circles and make friends?

The internet and social media give the allusion that you can get to know a town’s personality and vibe without ever visiting it in person. With EA’s almost half a century of experience we know this is not true. A virtual only experience on a screen will never replace the gut feel that comes from “oh yeah, this is a cool town” that an in-person visit can give. So here’s a handful of helpful ideas to begin your own exploration:

  • Visit a city/town multiple times before you move there, this is SO important
  • Visit on a random Tuesday VS only on weekends to get a true sense of the pace of life
  • Talk to locals who have nothing to sell you (AKA not a Realtor) and ask them why they live there – push them to be specific. Instead of “it’s friendly here”, dig deeper. They may share that they only lived in town for 2 weeks before they were invited to dinner by a neighbor. Now that is good intel. Ask them more about their specific neighborhood so you can start narrowing it down if that sounds like your kind of place
  • Use your connections to find that friend of friend who lives in the town and have lunch with them when you visit and pick their brain
  • Start a list of all the the positives and negatives of the towns you are considering and make sure it has both hard and soft data. Hard data is measurable and objective (population size) and soft data is more emotional and subjective (it doesn’t feel too crowded here)

Good luck to all who are embarking on a new adventure in moving to a new place in the new year. Annually, we work with 100+ candidates/new hires leaving behind all and who they know, are exploring a new city, and are trying to find “home”. It’s hard work, we get it, hopefully our shared insights gained after doing this for so many years will help!

Headed to Cleveland/Akron for a job or considering a new professional opportunity here and think the organization moving or recruiting you would be interested in providing a fun, informative, and engaging experience to help narrow down all the neighborhoods you could live in, spaces to do “your thing” in, or schools your children could attend? Give us a call at 216.231.9311.