Tips for Relocating

Other Things to Remember
Frequently Asked Questions
Health Insurance


How to Find an Apartment

What to Consider

  • Transportation how long will your commute take?
  • Parking - how available it is and how much it will cost?
  • Noise any place near public services (police stations, fire stations, hospitals) will be noisy. Also, you may want to choose an apartment facing an alley. Apartments on busy streets in metropolitan areas can be very noisy.
  • Tour the area and talk with people who live there.
  • Buildings with a doorman cost more, but the doorman will do little things for you like hold your dry-cleaning, accept packages, etc.


  • Usually, first month's rent and security deposit will be required.
  • Security deposit make sure it's saved in an Interest Bearing Account, so you can get it back with interest.
  • You will need proof of wages/offer letter/references/credit check/copy of a bank statement.
  • Talk to your bank about your situation because they will waive fees, and be aggressive about it. Tell them that you're in transition.


  • Be sure you know the length of your lease.
  • Make sure everything works and that the apartment is clean, repainted and fixed before moving in. This includes the air conditioner, heat, appliances, hot water, leaks and windows. If something is broken, be sure to get it in writing that it will be fixed.


  • The person who signs the lease is ultimately responsible for paying the lease, no matter what.
  • Your credit score may be hurt if you fail to pay your rent on time.
  • Subletting means lending out a living space to someone not on the lease. There is no legally binding contract involved, so the subletter can be kicked out at any time.


  • Generally include electricity, gas, phone, cable, and internet. What you are responsible for paying (versus what the landlord covers) should be stipulated in your lease.
  • Make arrangements to have services turned on when you arrive.
  • Most utilities require a deposit if you have not used them before.

Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance

  • Landlords may require tenants to carry renter's insurance; this will be stipulated in your lease.
  • Insurance is recommended if you have valuable possessions.

Moving In

  • Check for restrictions on move-in days. Some places forbid people from moving in on weekends, for example.
  • If moving into a city, investigate the parking situation. You may need a permit to reserve a space outside your building for convenience.



  • If you plan to commute by bus, trains or subway, do some trial runs before your first day.
  • Find out how easy it is to catch a cab, and how much time it takes to get to the airport.


  • Registration find out how many days will it take to register in a new state.
  • License you will need a new license if you want residency in that state. Register your car where you spend most of your time.
  • Inspections some places will require inspections.
  • Insurance it is your car that is insured by auto insurance, not you. Therefore, friends may drive your car.



  • Grad students' income can be taxed.
  • can tell you how much you will pay per month in taxes depending on your location and salary.
  • City tax you will pay more if you live in a larger city like New York.


  • The government will take out too little or too much.
  • You will usually claim 0 or 1 dependents. Claim 1, because you will probably pay an accurate amount. If you claim 0, you will eventually get a refund but the government will hold the money until then.

Pay Yourself First

  • Develop a budget that includes putting a set amount from every paycheck directly into savings. Most online banking sites allow you to set up automatic transfers to savings accounts, making it easier than ever to guarantee that you put the money away.

Student Loans

  • Check the current rates. They usually change on July 1.
  • The cap is the highest amount that you can accrue.
  • Know what your grace period is - how long you have until your first payment is due after graduation.
  • Consolidate your loans (
  • Consider paying electronically.

Credit Cards

  • Try to pay your balance every month. Credit card debt can affect your credit score (FICO score) and that number determines not only your credit limits and eligibility for a loan, but may also be considered in your job application process.
  • Get a card with rewards.
  • Know the terms of your card, the interest rates and penalties for late payments.
  • Having a joint credit card with your parents still builds your credit.

401(k) and 403(b)

  • It allows you to save money for retirement without being taxed. Money is taken from your salary and placed in mutual funds provided by your employer.
  • Your money grows tax free, but it can't be taken out until age 59; withdrawing early will lead to penalties.
  • If you work for the government, you may have a 457(b), and if you work in education you may have a 403(b)
  • Read more information about 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) on the IRS website.

Matched 401(k) and 403(b)

  • Your employer matches the amount of money you put in your 401(k) or 403(b), up to a stated limit
  • Be sure to max out the percentage, because your employer is effectively offering you free money by doubling it.
  • When you leave your job, your fund stays with you, not your employer.

Employee Stock Purchase Plan

  • You can set a part of your salary aside through payroll deduction to purchase the company's stock at a discount.
  • Do not use this benefit as a retirement plan.

Flexible Spending Accounts

  • You choose the amount to be deducted from each paycheck. There is usually a limit on the total amount that can be deducted.
  • Deductions are pre-tax, so your taxable income is reduced and you pay lower taxes for the year.
  • It can be used to pay medical expenses like deductibles or co-payments.
  • If you do not spend the entire balance, it will be lost at the end of each year.

Health Insurance


  • Deductible Pay a certain amount before insurance kicks in to pay the rest.
  • Co-payment the fee you pay for every doctor's visit or when you have a prescription filled. You may be charged less for generic brand of drugs.
  • Premium Monthly payment for insurance
  • PCP (Primary Care Physician the family doctor you have to see before you see a specialist
    • Provides medical services and referrals to specialists.
  • HMO least expensive, least flexible.
    • You need to contact your PCP, then use the doctors in the HMO.
    • Outside of the HMO, you're on your own.
    • PPO most flexible, most expensive.
    • You don't have a main doctor, but a book of preferred providers that you can go to. You will pay more outside of the list of preferred providers, but your insurance company will pay some of the costs.
    • POS (Point of Service plan) Part HMO, part PPO.
    • You must contact your PCP first, then you can go to any doctor in the network. It gives you the flexibility to go to any doctor outside of the network for an added cost.


  • Get to know your doctor early. Do this when you feel fine, not when you're sick.
  • Forward your medical records.
  • Get the number for the nearest pharmacy.

Other Things to Remember


  • Know the dress code before your first day of work.
  • Buy most of your wardrobe after your first day of work.

Networking in new cities

  • There are regional electronic network groups on the Career Services's Facebook page.
  • Penn alumni association with chapters around the world.
  • Just like in college, meet people by doing things you like: find an intramural sports league or look into local night school classes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should I start looking for an apartment?

A: It depends on the city. If you are starting in August, start looking in May. Apartment complexes require 60-90 days' notice before ending a lease, so start looking for apartments then.

Q: What if you can't go see your destination first?

A: Check out local papers while you're there, Craigslist and online housing lists. Try to get as much information as you can beforehand. You can contact Penn alum clubs, too.