We are often asked, 'Where is the best place to live?" The truth is, the answer is neither simple nor easy except for one point: It's perfect nowhere. Furthermore, it isn't even close to perfect anywhere for everyone. What may be bliss to you could quite easily be awful to others. Our best advice is that when you choose where you want to live you should be extremely selfish. Where you live should work for your needs, likes, wants, and specific individual circumstances. Here is a checklist we have used in the past:
1. Where can you work and get a well-paying job that supports you and your family if you have one? Will you be able to build the career of your dreams (not other's expectations, truly yours)? Will you be working?
2. What educational institution/s do you or don't you need close by?
3. What weather do you enjoy most?
4. What cultural aspects are important to you? What is the variety and type of cultural institutions? Opera, symphony, rock concerts, art, museums, etc?
5. How suitable is the area to building a strong network of business colleagues and friends that would appeal to you most?
6. Does the area deliver the sporting activities you enjoy?
7. What is the cost of living and housing?
8. Do you like the beach, country, city, suburbs? Could you live in a place that is close to these...30 minutes, an hour, 3 hours?
9. What is the topography? Mountains, hills, flatland?
10. Do you like lush greenery or the desert?
11. Are you a gardener? What areas are great for types of gardens you love?
12. What is the quality of healthcare? How close is a good hospital?
13. Do you like driving everywhere or walking mostly?
14. Do you rely on public transportation? Will you commute every day and how long will that take?
15. How close do you need to be (or want to be) to family and/or friends?
16. Do you need to be close to an airport with many direct flights to the places you like/want/need to visit?
17. What is the quality of air, water, environment?
18. Is there an adequate water supply year-round?
19. How exposed/prepared is the area to climate change?
20. What is the level of crime? Where is the crime concentrated?
21. How clean is the area?
22. What is the condition of local government? City? Town? State? Are all well run? Fiscally
23. Is the area growing or shrinking population-wise?
24. Does the area have the kind, quality and variety of restaurants and food stores you enjoy? Food matters!
25. What kind of architecture appeals most? Modern? Historic? Both?
26. Philosophically, is the population in the area more left or right leaning? Does this matter to you?
27. What religious institutions are important to you?
28. What is the cost of help, services, staffing?
29. What is the history of the area? What is the more recent trajectory to help you gauge its future?
30. How long do you plan to live in this area? Forever? To retire? To raise kids?
31. How good/bad is traffic? Do you care?
32. What are the noise levels?
33. Are there lots of bugs? Do bugs love you or ignore you?
34. Are some of the things you really love that are not in this area things you can travel to easily/quickly and enjoy for a few hours/days/weeks of the year and be satisfied?
35. Have you spent time in the area at different times of the year (preferably for a more extended period) to know what life is really like? Somewhat akin to a test-drive?
What is important to you is often not important to others. All of us have to compromise on some things. Knowing yourself, your likes and dislikes is the key. Never choose a place for just one reason, unless it's a critical aspect such as a sick relative or specialized school.
We hope this helps a little when you navigate your future housing needs. No-one can tell you what to like or want. Asking the right questions can help guide you in the right direction.