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Whether you’re moving to a new city across the country or just down the street, relocating is always exciting.  New surroundings, fresh faces, a clean start.  But as much as it is exciting, it can equally be a total pain.

I moved to the Bay Area nearly 2 years ago, but have moved apartments at least 3 times, trying to find the perfect place.  Since I was a little girl, I knew San Francisco was where I wanted to live someday.  What I didn’t think about was the fact that finding a downtown apartment with all the fabulous features I wanted, plus a view of the Golden Gate Bride AND the Bay Bridge AND a walk-in closet is next to impossible; even if you happen to win the lottery.  My first SF place had a great view, but it came at a steep price, a ton of roommates -with ONE bathroom, and the tiniest floor plan you can imagine (think: the apartment Linguini had in Ratatouille, but more crowded).

What I should have done, and what you should do if you’re planning on moving, is do a ton of research.  Research everything from the neighborhood, to your commute, to your budget, to floor plans, features, and anything else you can possibly think of.

Use an online source like Apartment Guide to explore any potential apartments.  Apartment Guide has photos, floor plans, features and tips to ensure you have the best moving experience.  Apartment Guide even suggests simply walking around your potential new neighborhood and asking the locals for their advice on activities, good restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.  Check out more advice on moving to a new city here.

Next week, I’ll be giving away  a $50.00 American Express gift card (thanks to Apartment Guide) so be sure to get a head start on the competition for this prize by “liking” Apartment Guide on Facebook, following them on Twitter @AptGuide and “circle” them on Google+ .

Disclosure Statement:
Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of this giveaway will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.