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What If I Don't Have a Job? Can I Still Move?

How to Move Without a Job

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What If I Don't Have a Job? Can I Still Move?

My family has made a few moves without having any employment prospects in the new city and while it was more difficult, we found it is doable with proper planning and the right resources.

Calculate Costs

The first step you need to take when moving without a job is to ensure that you have enough money to live on while looking for employment in the new city or town. This should be in addition to all your moving costs. Take into consideration either six months rent or a solid down-payment for your housing needs plus food, living expenses, utilities and other moving in costs. We usually ensure at least three months of living expenses are soundly in the bank before we'd attempt to move without employment. This also depends on your skills, your contacts and network in the new location and how flexible you are in your employment goals. With our family, my skill set can usually land me a decent job within a two-week period, simply because I have such a varied background. My husband, on the other hand, has a very defined skill set and usually takes longer for him to find the perfect job.

Research the Job Market

To determine a reasonable time frame for finding a new job, you'll need to assess the job market in the new location - whether it is hot or not and if your particular skills are in demand - and be honest about what kind of job you'd be willing to take if needed.

Employment market information can often be found through headhunters, employment agencies and by looking at the local job placement ads in newspapers and on employment websites.

If possible, start sending your resume to employers before you move, noting in the cover letter your move dates and when you'd be available for interviews: include if you'd be willing to fly-in/drive-in for an interview before your actual move-date, too.

Get a Local Cell Phone Number

The easiest way to get a local employer to pay attention to your application is to ensure you have a local contact phone number and address. An address is more difficult to obtain if you haven't found a place to live; however, a new cell phone number is relatively simple depending on your provider. Ask about getting a phone number for your new location; it's worth the extra cost and will come in handy when it comes time to move, too.

Finding a Place to Live: Renting

The hardest part about moving to another new city is finding a place to live, whether you're buying or renting; trying to find a place to live without a job is even more difficult.

If you're renting, even for a short period of time, there are some documents you'll need to bring with you to help with the rental process:

  • Landlord contact information from the past three residences; this information will be used as references
  • If possible, obtain written recommendations from previous landlords - I've found that letters often push our application to the top of the pile
  • Bank statements
  • Recent credit rating records (if available)
  • Employment contact information (past and present)
  • Checking account from local bank - bring blank checks with you to the viewing
Without employment, keep in mind that if you're in a hot rental marketplace, landlords may choose local residents with a local employment history first, just because their references are much easier to check and to know that their applications will be accepted. This means that you need to go the extra mile to try to convince the rental agent that you're the best choice. Sometimes this requires a few months rent up front or at least proof that you have enough resources to pay the rent for the next six months to a year.

And if possible, it's best to try to rent a place in the new city while still employed in the old. For our more recent move this past year, my husband and I made the decision to live separately for a few months in order to complete our move. Needing to rent a place for a short period of time, I moved first, giving my husband's employer contact information as proof of employment status. Most rental agents were okay with this arrangement even though my husband was a thousand miles away. Most larger rental agency only need to fill in the blanks on the application form and as long as the references are confirmed, this is sometimes all that's needed to ensure your success.

Buying Property

Purchasing property can be a little more complicated if you don't have employment locally, although a solid credit rating and enough money for a good down-payment can sometimes be enough. I also recommend renting for the first few months, which not only allows you to get your accounts transferred, gives you time to find a job, it also provides an opportunity for you to explore your new city and community to help you find the perfect home.

  1. Find a Local Real Estate Agent

    The first step is to find a real estate agent in the new city or town, someone who can provide you with detailed information on the area and be able to fit your preferences to distinct communities, including schools and recreation choices. They'll also be able to advise you on housing prices, the local market and make recommendations on what areas you can afford.

  2. Find a Mortgage Service

    Once you have an idea of how much you're wanting to spend on local housing, your real estate agent may be able to provide recommendations of local mortgage service agencies who can provide you with a home loan. Make sure you also do your own research to find the best options for your needs.

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