Is It the Place or the Space: Deciding What Matters in a Move

Sometimes things just resonate with you. Whether it’s that cozy bungalow that reminds you of your childhood home or a destination that provides a lifestyle you crave, there are all sorts of reasons people find a home. 

Admittedly, though, moving is a major life decision, one that’s often filled with complex — even conflicting — emotions. Depending on the circumstances, its prospect can feel joyous, exciting, paralyzing or sad. All these reactions are fair. It’s also perfectly normal if you’re feeling a mix of all of them at once.  

Perhaps it’s hard to leave a place where many of life’s momentous occasions occurred. Maybe your neighborhood or school district changed, leaving you disconnected from a location that once felt like home. Then again, you may simply feel you’re “done” and need a fresh start. 

The Mayflower 2022 Finding Home Study identified a noticeable shift in priorities when it came to why people did — or didn’t — move. Of the 1,100 surveyed U.S. respondents — 550 of which moved to a new state in the last two years and another 550 of which plan to move soon — there were revelations aplenty. 

Whatever your reasons for considering a move, it’s a time to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace as you work through decisions shaping the next phase in your life. Here are some things to ask yourself, and consider, while you do. 

What Stirs Your Soul? 

Ask anyone who’s moved and searched for a home: When you find it, you just know. Risks, change and scariness of the unknown aside, you straight-up know when it feels right. Sometimes that happens on vacation, when you’re in a beautiful place you never want to leave — and don’t. Other times, it’s being immersed in a community that feels supportive, architecturally inspiring, family-oriented or professionally or politically likeminded. (Interestingly, 13% of those surveyed actually prioritized political views.)  

Many of the best things in life happen when you go out of your comfort zone to embrace change, provided it makes sense in the context of your life. That idealized vision of a white-picket-fenced home is still a baseline and life goal for many people. Understandably though, between the pandemic, whacked-out job market, housing market and recession concerns, a lot of people did find themselves reevaluating what matters most. Still, 18% of survey respondents admitted to having compromised on a less-than-ideal location (be it city, state or property size). 

What’s Important from a Resale Perspective? 

From a resale perspective, your home’s location is one of — if not the — most important factors in determining the long-term appreciation of a home. Are you expecting to stay in a location long-term? To sell your home in a few years? Either way, your home’s location should be a strong consideration.  

Of course, climate cannot be overlooked. What may have seemed like a dream location years back may be a reason to take a pause from a property ownership perspective today. Whether you dreamed of living by the coast, settling into the mountains or seeking solace in the American heartland, things like the flora, fauna, proximity to water and potential for natural disasters are important to weigh — especially since lenders typically won’t commit to a mortgage they deem is a risk.  

How About Taxes? And Rent? 

One unpleasant reality for those purchasing a home is the fact that property taxes are always on the rise. Renting instead? Well, that increases at a regular clip, too. If you’re considering staying where you move for a period of time, it’s wise to consider not just a location’s cost of living, but also the potential for the cost of living to increase. 

Come to terms with whether you’re willing to pay more to live in the place (hello, ever-present sunshine!) or if what matters most is truly the space, in which case you’re not alone. In fact, 36% of those who plan on moving or recently moved leaned into finding their “forever home”. 

What’s the Educational System Like? 

As homeowners know, a significant portion of property taxes goes to the local school district. That’s a fact that not only impacts home prices in the neighborhood — it also can significantly impact a home’s resale value. 

Regardless of whether you’re buying or renting, those with school-age children would be wise to consider the quality of schools. After all, a good education opens doors for the future, while setting kids up for success.  Not surprisingly, 25% or those surveyed considered schools a key component in their moving decision. 

Are You Close to Family and Friends? 

Your proximity to loved ones is always a consideration. Depending on your reason for moving, you may want to be closer to family (32% of our survey respondents do). Then again, proximity to outdoor recreation may matter more (as is the case with 21%). If it’s the amenities that have you beginning anew, is that something you’re comfortable with for the long haul? Many seem to think so — 13% say the ability to work remotely has opened up doors. 

Then again, it doesn’t have to be one or the other — outdoor recreation and closeness to family can exist in tandem. As a past mover noted, “I want to see new places and be able to be close to my family.” 

Take time to weigh the pros and cons of your destination and its potential to bring you long-term happiness or the happiness you need right now. In either case, it may be one of the best decisions you’ve made. 

Want some more insight into how people are “finding home?” Check out our coverage here

Let's Get Moving

Other Moving Tips and Guides

  • Beacon Hill Boston Massachusetts

    Things to Know Before Moving to Massachusetts

    From the seaside towns of the east to the halcyon hills of the west, Massachusetts is the very embodiment of New England charm.
    Continue Reading
  • Nashua New Hampshire

    Complete Guide to Moving to New Hampshire

    Known as the Switzerland of North America, the Granite State is famous for far more than its stone quarries.
    Continue Reading
  • Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to Maryland

    Whether you call it the Old Line state, the Free State or America in Miniature, the state of Maryland is known (and notable) for so many things — including the
    Continue Reading