Today’s guest column is written by Eliot Ward, a REALTOR® for Harvest Park Group in Draper, Utah. Prior to being an active real estate agent in Utah, he was a broker in California and was the broker of record for a property management company with close to 2,000 leases.

Perhaps you recently accepted a job offer in a new city, or you just needed a change of scenery and decided now was the time to make that change. Uprooting your life isn't an easy feat—yet, it's exciting and new. You'll get to explore a whole new place and all that that new place has to offer! There'll be new activities, new restaurants, new neighbors, new parks, and more.

What should you know about your new hometown? What research should you do ahead of time to ensure you relocate to a place you'll be comfortable living in? Here's what you need to know:

Look Up the Neighborhoods Before Buying (or Renting) 

The neighborhood makes your home what it is. Check out Google Maps before your big move and get to know the neighborhoods prior to settling on a new place. Maybe even make a list of the advantages and disadvantages to each—it can help make the decision easier.

If your kids are in school, you'll likely want a school facility close by. Do you want them to attend a private or public school? Is there one close by? What about grocery shopping? Is it easy to get to? Do you like to have a gym you can walk to? Are there parks in the neighborhood? Ask yourself these questions ahead of time. Determine their importance to you and your family.

Research the Local Big Activities and Events

With a new city comes a new list of annual events and festivals. Find out what big attractions take place. If your family is into skiing or mountain biking, look to see if there is a place close by to partake in these activities. Plus, finding activities and fun events to look forward to can lessen the impact of a move, such as moving far away from friends and family. It's exciting, but it can also be really tough. Make the best out of it!

Research the Costs of Your New City

This is a big one. Cities come with different price tags. For example, housing prices in the downtown of a large city like New York are going to be far more than a small town, such as Cold Spring, N.Y. Make sure you know what you'll be spending before you commit.

Even grocery prices tend to change. In California, you'll see grocery prices skyrocket in L.A. compared to surrounding towns. Calculate what you can expect to spend in your new city—does it work for your budget? The worst thing that could happen is you move and find out you can't afford your new city. Financial planning makes all the difference, and it can help you avoid future panic or crises.

Moving to a new city can be a great change of pace. Enjoy it—but don't forget to plan for it. Do your research ahead of time and make sure the new city you choose is right for you.

Visit blog.rismedia.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from blog.rismedia.com with permission of the RISMedia.

House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS®. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com