If you’re planning a move to Philadelphia and don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. Your first step is to just relax. It’s not too different from moving to any other major city. It’s even easier when you tackle it in an organized, step-by-step manner. Follow these steps to make your move to Philly super easy.
1. Decide whether to buy or rent an apartment
Do you want something to rent or buy? There are a myriad of factors that go into the decision.
Renting may be the best option if you intend to stay for the short term, don’t have enough saved up for a house deposit, or simply prefer the care free lifestyle and amenities that go along with renting. If you decide to rent, you simply search online to find apartments for rent. You can easily do this yourself. Most people in Philly are easily able to find rentals without real estate agents, which is different from markets like New York. You have lots of choices for rentals from garden-style communities in the surrounding areas, mid-rises, high rises, and even townhomes for rent.
If you have longer-term plans, have a deposit saved up, and don’t mind the upkeep and on-going expenses, you may choose to buy. It’s probably a good idea to find an agent in addition to searching online to help you make the right decision for your specific needs. The good news is Philly doesn’t have the same high real estate costs as Boston, Washington D.C., or New York, which is easier on your pocket.
2. Consider your lifestyle to narrow down neighborhoods
Philly is a big city with dozens of Philadelphia neighborhoods, each of which has its own charm. To help you narrow down your options based on your lifestyle, consider these:
- What is your family size and style of living? If you need more space and bedrooms, that will generally cost more, so perhaps you consider living a little further out from the city to get the space you need.
- How close do you want to live to your workplace? Do you need to be right near work? How far are you willing to commute. Do you need to be near public transport? SEPTA is the public transportation system in Philly.
- Do you need parking? Philly is a pretty driveable city but traffic does exist. If you need a car, parking in Center City can cost $300/month for surface parking and $350/month for covered parking. These prices are approximate but a good ball park. If you go out further from Center City, parking costs go down
- What’s your lifestyle? Do you need a gym, shopping near by? Consider what you like to do in your free time to narrow down.
- What is your budget? The neighborhoods in the heart of Center City will be the most expensive and generally cheaper outside of the core.
The most expensive neighborhoods will be in Center City Philadelphia, including, Rittenhouse, Fitler Square (not many rentals available here other than single homes), Washington Square, Old City, and Society Hill. Less expensive neighborhoods, though rising in cost, to the North include Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and parts of Kensington. Less expensive than Center City and similar to the neighborhoods above, are some neighborhoods in Northwest Philly near all the major parks, including Manayunk, Roxborough, and Chestnut Hill. To the immediate south, you have growing neighborhoods like Bella Vista, Queen Village, and Passyunk. If you will be working or going to school at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, or one of the biotech companies out in that area, University City is a rapidly growing neighborhood, albeit very expensive.
To the Northeast, you get incredible value in neighborhoods like Bustleton, Somerton, Fox Chase. There are of course other neighborhoods, but this helps you understand the rough geography. Bustleton and Fox Chase were ranked Top 10 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in the Entire United States by Redfin.
Many of the metropolitan area jobs are located either in the Center City or King of Prussia area. If you work in these areas, you may want to evaluate neighborhoods close by but keep in mind, they might be a little more expensive.
3. Schedule a visit to narrow your options
Before renting or buying in Philly, you’ll want to get a feel of the entire city. So, it may be a good idea to schedule a visit to narrow down your options. Try and visit a few weeks before the big move so you can walk around the city to find neighborhoods that best suit your needs and budget. Call up apartment communities in advance and see if a tour is required.
4. Talk to friends and family who live in the area
If you have friends and family who live in the area, now is the time to pick their brains about living in the city. Find out as much as you can from people who are familiar with the city to help you feel more confident in your decision to choose a particular area.
5. Plan your move carefully
Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to start planning your move. When is the best time to move? Do you need a moving company to help you bring your furniture and bigger items over or do you simply have your clothes and intend to purchase everything once you’ve settled in? Be sure to consider all these factors and make a checklist of everything you need for your move to make it as smooth as possible.
Moving to Philadelphia doesn’t have to be too hard when you are organized and methodical with your planning.