Over 7.5 million of us choose to move states each year. And moving out of state is a big deal. While it's exciting, you need to know you're landing on your feet - and not in a dodgy neighborhood in your new town.
The trouble is, if you've never been there before, you probably don't know an awful lot about the reputation of any residential areas.
So wherever you're heading, doing a little research in advance and keeping a weather eye out could save you a very stressful experience.
Here's what you need to know about selecting a neighborhood when moving out of state.
Check out house prices with local estate agents, and do what you can to dig up their history.
Has there recently been a plunge in prices, or have prices steadily stayed low against the city's average over time? If so, that is a sign that the neighborhood isn't particularly desirable.
You don't necessarily want to write it off at this point. It could be because of other factors, like the houses being smaller or older.
Do go along and check it out if you like, but if you see boarded up windows and so forth, there may be other reasons for the price drop.
An obvious one, but important. It's easy to give an area the benefit of the doubt. Particularly if you've been looking for a new home for a while prior to moving out of state, and feel rushed into a decision.
Scouting the neighborhood will give you a first impression - either good or bad. If you don't feel safe walking through the place, don't move there.
In some areas, it may be quite blatant that there are cars perched on bricks (because they've had their wheels stolen). Or there may be lots of vandalism and graffiti.
Keep an eye out for these things when looking around. If it's this clear that the neighborhood has a crime problem, steer away!
A Neighborhood Watch is a great scheme, where neighbors all work together to watch out for each other and keep crime down.
Find out if there's a watch scheme in each neighborhood you visit when moving out of state.
It's not only about the crime prevention aspect. A watch fosters a sense of community. Where there is a neighborhood watch, it's likely that the people living there take pride in their homes and surroundings.
So you'll generally find them to be more positive places to live than somewhere people only look out for themselves.
Neighborhoods with well-kept houses are a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, they're a sign of a good neighborhood, where people care about appearance.
That's good for your property in the future, as this will make it a more attractive place to live for buyers if you decide to sell up.
On the other, they're a message to burglars: "We have money and valuables."
So if the well-kept neighborhood borders a not-so-nice area, it's worth asking questions about crime rates. Talk to the people already living and find out what they have to say.
When you're moving out of state, asking for help from people who live in your new town is really valuable.
Asking the people who live in a certain neighborhood will give you one impression. They may not want to be so upfront, however, if they have reservations about their area.
It's worth talking to people from other parts of town to see what their opinion is of certain neighborhoods.
If they don't live there themselves, they may be more honest with you. Take particular heed of the advice of people who have lived in the town or city for a long time. They know what's what.
Registers can help you identify problematic neighborhoods before you even set foot in them.
For example, the National Sex Offender Public Website shows you whether this type of criminal lives in your neighborhood. Weeding that type of person out of your search is highly desirable.
For a more detailed look at your new neighborhood, Neighborhood Score's search tool gives you a statistical breakdown across four key areas.
It shows you economic details and gives data on employment in the area. It shows how expensive an area is, based on average rents. And it uses official crime reports to give you an in-depth view of the crime in that neighborhood.
Our unique system also then assigns each neighborhood a score, from A to F. This allows you to make decisions about a place at a glance. Helping you to quickly narrow down potential homes.
We're sure you'll find it useful in your search for a new home when moving out of state.
Census data can reveal a lot about the type of people living in each place.
If a neighborhood has lots of older people in it, it's more likely to be fairly safe. Older people generally take better care of their surroundings. And if they're retired, they're home more.
This is a deterrent to burglars and other criminals, as there would be witnesses to their crimes.
That's not to say an area with lots of young people wouldn't be safe. But if you're going to err on the side of caution, give some weight to the demographic when moving out of state.
Use our search tools to find out all you need to know about your new neighborhood.
If you have any questions, or you'd like us to add a new area to our database, please get in touch.
Good luck with moving out of state! We're sure you'll find a great place to live.