Like millions of Americans each year, FeiFei decided to make a move for her career. And, like millions of Americans, she had to make some tough decisions. As part of our #BeBrave series, we’re featuring real people facing real choices regarding homeownership. If you’re getting ready to relocate, there are some things you need to think about.

Transferring, moving or relocating. No matter what you call it, it can be stressful. So much so, that it’s often ranked among the most stressful life events. If you’re getting ready to relocate, or starting to think about it, here are some things you should consider before you start packing your boxes.

Do Your Research

Relocating can be a huge expense, depending on the distance you’re moving and how much of the work you’ll do yourself. Getting a good idea of how much you’ll be paying requires some preparation. Before you contact moving companies for quotes, take an inventory of what you’ll be taking with you and make sure to measure large pieces of furniture. This is important information that moving companies will ask for, along with an estimate of how many boxes they’ll be transporting. You’ll also need to figure out whether you, or the moving company, will be packing your possessions. If you’re comfortable packing your own boxes, you can save some money. Make sure to contact multiple moving companies for pricing, and don’t forget to see how much it will cost to rent a truck and do everything yourself. If you’re moving for a job, ask your new company if they cover relocation expenses. Even if they don’t, you can add relocation costs to your list of negotiable items. If you plan to do this, you’ll need to have a good idea how much your move will cost, which makes getting a head start on this crucial step that much more important.

Know Your New City

Whether you’re a seasoned mover, or planning to relocate for the first time, you need to become familiar with your new city. If you’re lucky enough to have a new job already in place, you have one less thing to worry about. But, if like FeiFei, you’re moving to a city without a position in place, you need to do some research into the local job market. See what the local unemployment rate, largest employer and biggest industry is in your new city. Contact a local real estate agent to find out what the best neighborhoods are and take a look at local crime reports. Consider asking your new employer if they offer tours of the local city, or if they have relocation experts you can work with to make your transition easier. You also need to investigate cost of living. There are a number of costs to consider, including state and city tax rates, insurance rates and average rent or home values. Compare your budgets to see if you’re making a financially viable move.

Set Yourself Up for Success

You never truly know a city until you’ve lived in it, which means making a blind move can be a bit of a risk. What seems like a glamorous place to live could turn out to be a bad fit. If you can afford it, take a trip to your new city to investigate the more mundane aspects that will affect your daily life. Test the local transportation system, or drive around the city to see what traffic is like. Buying a home is a great option, but if you don’t know your city, or how you’ll fare in it, you might consider a short-term lease. Not only will you have an easy out if your city isn’t a good fit, it will allow you to get to know different neighborhoods and find one you’d like to purchase in.

Make Connections

It’s a small world and it’s amazing how often you, or a close friend or family member, ends up knowing someone in your new city. Reach out on social media and see what comes up. If you’re interested in buying a home, real estate agents can also be a wonderful resource for getting to know the local area.

Whether you’re moving across town, or across country, relocating can be incredibly stressful. But with some preparation and research, your move will be an easier one. #BeBrave.

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