When to Move: 15 Signs It’s Time to Start Packing

Evelyn Long

Jun 30, 2023

when to move

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Whether you own or rent your home, sometimes you dream of living somewhere better. If that dream starts demanding your attention — and you find yourself making Pinterest wishlists, frequenting Zillow and talking nonstop about visas — those are pretty good clues you’d be happier somewhere else. Here’s how to decide when to move. 

1. You Want a Better Job

A career change is one of the most common reasons to move, whether to another part of the city or even another country. If you received an offer for your dream job but it’s halfway across the state, maybe it’s time to start looking at houses. You never know what opportunities await. 

2. You Plan to Grow Your Family

If you’re living in a studio apartment but expecting twins, things are about to get really crowded, really fast. This is one of the most surefire ways to know when to move. Do yourself and your kids a favor by finding a place with more than one bathroom. 

3. You’re Getting Married 

Although roughly 3% of happily married Americans live in separate households, most people like to be cohabitating by the time they get married. Is your current house out of the question? Maybe it’s too small, you like your partner’s place better or you want to move into a new home together. Either way, this is one of the most exciting reasons to move.

4. You’re Going Through a Divorce

One unfortunate life change that often precipitates moving is splitting up. Although you might be divorcing amicably and don’t mind each other’s presence for now, at some point, you’ll almost certainly want to part ways. Start packing up your things and look for a new place to live. 

5. You Want Your Own Space

Living with your parents has many benefits, but it can also come with extra rules, a lack of privacy and a sense that you haven’t quite grown up. Similarly, having roommates can be a fun way to split the rent, but it isn’t right for everyone or during every phase of your life. Are you tired of asking people to quiet down when you’re trying to sleep? If so, it might be time to move. 

6. You Want a Different Lifestyle 

Maybe you live in the city but dream of homesteading on 20 acres. Or, maybe you live in the country but want a faster pace, and you miss the days when you went to bars, gyms and a new restaurant every week. Perhaps your kids are growing up and you want them to attend a better school. Whatever the reason, another home would probably better meet your needs. 

7. You Need Something More Affordable

The U.S. has seen an almost 31% average increase in apartment rental prices since 2017. With the cost of food, gas and health care increasing and the federal minimum wage holding steady since 2009, many people are getting priced out of their homes. Finding a cheaper house could improve your quality of life in many ways. 

8. You’re Getting Older

That spiral staircase was one of the main reasons you fell in love with your house 40 years ago. Now, however, your knees hurt just looking at it — and say nothing of the long, uneven sidewalk you have to traverse to get to your car. You might also want to live closer to your doctor, hospital or children.

9. You Need More Security

The sound of police sirens doesn’t exactly soothe people to sleep. If you live in a dangerous area with frequent criminal activity, it’s time to look for a new home. One of the easiest ways to know when to move is if you fear for your safety in your own neighborhood.

10. You Can’t Stand the HOA

A homeowner’s association (HOA) is supposed to organize your neighborhood and uphold community standards to make it a safe, pleasant and visually appealing place to live. But it can also get controlling. If the homeowner’s association is setting unreasonable rules — like saying you can’t use a clothesline or have a certain color trampoline — it’s time to ditch that HOA, ASAP. 

11. Your Property Value Has Shot Up

Maybe you bought your home when the town was small and practically unheard of. Now, the local college is growing, apartments are popping up and even people in other states have heard of your hometown. If property values have increased dramatically since you bought your home, it could be a good time to sell. 

12. You’re Tired of Commuting

You know it’s time to move when your daily commute counts as a part-time job. Whether traffic has increased, your new job is farther away or you’re simply over it, spending hours on a congested highway every day is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a house that will shorten your travel time. 

13. You’re Going to School

Another easy way to know when to move is if you’re considering a higher education. Going to college is exciting and can advance your career, so if you’ve been accepted into the university of your dreams, moving will probably be worth it. 

14. You Want Pets 

Does your HOA forbid you from having backyard chickens? Is your landlord not on board with you owning a mastiff? No-pet policies can be a dealbreaker for many people, so it could be time to find a new place. 

15. You Have Aging Parents

If your parents are getting older and need help with daily tasks, consider moving so you can be near them. Being closer will allow you to help with cleaning, giving medications, mowing the lawn and even just keeping your parents company — older adults often feel isolated at home. This is one of the most selfless reasons to move, and your parents will likely be very grateful for it.

Deciding When to Move

Ultimately, knowing when to move comes down to your personal preferences, finances and family status. You’ll probably know deep down when you need to look for a new place to live. And even if now isn’t the right time to move, you can still start saving for the future. Your dream home is out there somewhere. 

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