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

Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to the Greater Chattanooga area. If you can, visit Chattanooga and some neighborhoods before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before. Patrice and Jeff Wishmyer with Keller Williams Realty are a great resource.

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 can’t get to Chattanooga, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living here. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved. Meeting people in Chattanooga is easy but don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do here, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Chattanooga offers so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Mind your wallet. City life can be expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent so you may want to consider the North Chattanooga are, Southside or if children are a consideration, look at Signal Mountain.