The good news: in the middle of a really tough economy, you land a job offer. The bad news: you have to explain to your 14-year-old that it means moving out of state. Whether it’s for a new career opportunity or to move when a current employer relocates its business, people who may not otherwise have considered relocating are facing the potential of moving boxes in their future.
There are, however, steps you can take to make the transition moremanageable:
Do your homework as a family: Like most homework, this research will start with the Internet. City and state official websites are a good starting point to get a sense of the school system, recreation and services. Look to local bloggers to get the “voice” of a neighborhood, including city, or even neighborhood focused real estate blogs. Check out, for example, the Curbed network of real estate blogs to get a read on how neighborhoods are regarded by locals. And for the move, visit relocation.com for resources on moving, real estate, insurance and how to locate local contractors in your new neighborhood. Divide up the research among the family (you may be surprised to learn that your five year old can spell Wikipedia) so everyone gets to be an expert.
Take time to talk about the unknown: With everything that goes into relocation, it is easy to turn family life into a never-ending series of “to do” lists. Find time to let your family talk out loud about the move. Some days it will seem like a great adventure, other days it’ll be daunting. Let your kids know that’s okay.
Find where your hobbies live: If a family member has a special hobby or sport, locate the best ways to connect with that passion as soon as you get to the new location-it’ll feel more like home when everyone is doing what they love.
Start gathering medical and school records: We’d like to think we live in a paperless world-that is, until we roll into the emergency room in a new town and can’t access key information. Start early gathering data from your physician, dentist and school administrators.
Tap into the professionals: Finding the right real estate agent and, later, a good mover can make the difference between a straightforward-or a nightmare-relocation experience. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home right away or are opting to rent an apartment or home while you familiarize yourself with the area, these professionals can provide both guidance and support during your relocation. Take time to check out reviews, get references from people you trust, and then narrow down options to a short list. It’s worth the work to get these relationships right.\
“Having professionals on your side makes every difference during a move,” says Sharon Asher, chairman and founder, Relocation.com. “It’s understandable to want to do it all yourself, but people who are able to rely on strong professional services throughout the process come out of the experience saying the move was much more straightforward than if they had tried to handle it all on their own.”