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So a little bit of back story - I am about 6 months out of college, worked through most of it in fast food and retail, and have only been working in a job related to my field (computer science) for about a year. Out of the blue, someone from Amazon contacted me about a possible career through my University's Career services. This is INCREDIBLY EXCITING FANTASTIC NEWS.

Unfortunately, with my stint of minimum wage jobs, and my rinkie-dink "IT" job where I spend roughly 10-15 hours a week answering phones with IT questions being eaten up by books and trying not to get too far in debt with student loans, I'm basically dirt poor; I still live with my parents and on my current salary have absolutely no hope of moving out and starting my own life in the next ten years.

Ignoring personal issues with moving away from home; What should I take into consideration given the possibility of relocation? What questions should I ask of the recruiters extending employment? Should I consider an apartment or buying a house? If I get in with Amazon I will hang on to it for all I am worth.

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Source: I'm recently (2 years) out of college (Info Sciences + Technology degree)

Disclaimer: Speaking from limited personal experience (see above)

A lot of corporate recruiters like the prospect of hiring recent college grads of because of the location flexibility they have (typically own no real estate, are not married, and have no children).

  • "What should I take into consideration given the possibility of relocation?" - This is very broad, but if you're open to moving anywhere, let them know. Large companies that work nationally / globally should offer a cost-of-living adjustment (either separately, or built-in to your salary) depending on location. This usually doesn't equal the difference in cost of living, but it helps. They may also cover relocation expenses.
  • "What questions should I ask of the recruiters extending employment?" - That's kinda out of the scope of this site. If they want your input for finance-related issues (target salary), they'll ask.
  • "Should I consider an apartment or buying a house?" - You'll want to rent to start out. At the moment, you've got a lot of loan debt, a very short income history, and you're about to (potentially) change jobs. Also, relocation means you may not have a great context for where you want to live for the next few years.

If you get a job with Amazon and relocate, take a year to settle your finances, then determine if purchasing a house is something you can manage. If you don't have a savings set aside for a reasonable down payment on a house, you'll get hit with a mortgage insurance payment each month =\, and that's not fun. Don't try to do too much at once, and make sure you have a full assessment of your finances before making any major purchases.

I follow this general rule: Every few months, I fully re-assess our expenditures, and see what we can cut out or cut back on, put a bit into savings, and put the rest against outstanding student loans.

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If the job looks good, I wouldn't let having to relocate stop you.

Some companies will help you with relocation expenses, like paying travel expenses, the movers, the security deposit on an apartment, etc. It doesn't hurt to ask if they "help with moving expenses". If they say no, fine. I wouldn't expect a company to decide not to hire you for asking such a question.

I would certainly not buy immediately upon moving. Buying a house is a serious long-term commitment. What if after a few months you discover that this job is not what you thought it was? What if you discover that you hate the area for whatever reason? Etc. Or even if you are absolutely sure that won't happen, it's very hard to buy a house long distance. How many trips can you make to look at different houses, learn about neighborhoods, get a feel for market prices, etc? A few years ago I moved just a couple of hundred miles to a neighboring state, and I rented an apartment for about 2 years before buying a house, for all these reasons.

Assuming the company won't help with moving expenses, do you have the cash to make the move? If you're tight, it doesn't have to be all that expensive. If you're six months out of college you probably don't have a lot of stuff. (When I got my first job out of college, I fit everything I owned in the back seat of my Pinto, and tied my one piece of furniture to the roof. :-) If you can't fit all your stuff in your car, rent a truck and a tow bar to pull your car behind. Get a cheap apartment. You'll probably have to pay the first month's rent plus a security deposit. You can usually furnish your first apartment from garage sales and the like very cheaply. If you don't have the cash, do you have credit cards, or can your parents loan you some money? (They might be willing to loan you money to get you out of their house!)

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