Find out what housing costs
Housing is the most variable expense when you are comparing cost of living among US cities. If you are considering a job move to a new area, please don’t accept a salary without first considering what housing costs. Even if you are going to be making more than you did previously, is it enough more to balance a higher housing cost? Do your homework before accepting!
A cautionary tale
I had a client who accepted an offer which sounded like it was a significant increase. He hadn’t done much research on housing costs at that point. We looked for properties for about six months when he finally gave up and rented something. He admitted that he was shocked that the bump in salary actually translated to a step DOWN in lifestyle, as defined mainly by the kind of home he could afford. Even though the job was better than the one he had had in North Carolina, I got the sense that if he’d known at the time he took the job what housing cost in the Philadelphia area, he would have declined the offer.
How to determine housing costs
My advice is NOT to randomly look up properties on the internet that are within a certain number of miles from where you’ll be working. Unless you’re familiar with the area, you might choose a neighborhood with high crime, or poorly rated schools or where everything is in a flood plan. CALL A REALTOR. And just be honest about that fact that you are looking for information. Explain you’ve been offered a position but aren’t sure the salary will enable you to improve your standard of living. Discuss your needs and priorities with the agent and you will soon form a clearer picture of whether, from a strictly financial perspective, it makes sense to take the job.
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my blog page and search for posts using the relocation tag. Contact me to discuss your Philadelphia area relocation! firstname.lastname@example.org/610 308-5973