Moving to a small town or suburb can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move. Its important to understand the culture youre joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone whos lived there before.

Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you cant get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if thats not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like drivers licenses, car insurance, renters insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved. Meeting new people in a Small town can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: country life is often more laid back. It is all about what you make it. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in your new location. Try new things. Volunteer. Join Civic Clubs. Small towns offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Be Informed. Talk with a local resident. Engage your Realtor. Eva Best is a great resource for information.