They say that you never know until you try. Well, that saying is easily accomplished if the thing you are trying is a brussel sprout, as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, moving across country?
Why am I qualified to talk to you about this topic? For one, I’m a licensed real estate professional. Also, because I did it. Yep. Me, myself and I, along with my husband (and my dear old dad who tagged along for a cross-country road trip, although he insisted he just wanted to help us with the move – God bless his soul).
Making the Moving Decision
Making the decision to move is a feat in and of itself, and let’s face it, moving across town is hard, let alone moving two, or maybe three thousand miles away (maybe one day I’ll talk about international relocation, but for now, I’m not that cool…yet).
It all started when I met the man of dreams in my home state of California. Through dating conversations, I found that he was from the North Star State, aka Minnesota (I mean, c’mon, that accent is unmistakable). For a while I had the mindset of “Over my dead body will I ever move to that God-forsaken wasteland of a winter tundra,” which in turn made me question how far I was willing to take it with this guy. But the good old Mid-West boy that he was (and still is) quickly won me over.
After a few months of dating, I flew to Minnesota to meet his parents during a breathtaking Minnesota Summer. Soon after that, we made the decision to make Minnesota our home, and now, nearly seven years of living in the Northern U.S., I am officially a local Minnesotan, and I couldn’t love it more.
But, Let’s Back up for a Second
We didn’t have access to a transporter to beam us, and all of our crap, two thousand miles away. That took planning, money and patience. It took two plane trips and hours of internet searching to determine where we wanted to be. It also took lots of funds to buy plane tickets, a moving van, gas, and real estate needs. On top of that, it took endless dedication to try to secure jobs. Most of all, it took courage, beyond what I imagined I could ever have, to say goodbye to everything I ever knew; my family, my friends and that oh-so-sweet-laid-back California lifestyle.
Still, we did it. Now here we are, living life in the north, together with our son, who made his grand debut about a year and a half after we made the move. For those parents who also have children in tow, you are my heroes
Let’s get down to business now, shall we? You are thinking of relocating. Your reasons may be many, or may be one in particular. Perhaps you have an awesome job opportunity. Perhaps you want to be closer to friends and family. Or perhaps you want to give your children a better life. Or perhaps you are tired of living where you are and want to try something new. Whatever your reasons for considering relocation, I can help ease the stress and confusion of such a decision, BECAUSE I’VE BEEN THERE.
6 Steps for an Easier Relocation
So, without further adieu, let’s look at my top 6 tips and tricks to make relocation easier on you and your family…
- DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you are simply moving for a change of scenery, figure out what is most important to you now and in the future. What states will suit your lifestyle? Where are the good jobs? What are the school districts like? Do you prefer urban, suburban or off-the-grid living? Where are the closest airports? What is the housing market like? These are simply a few of the many questions you should be asking yourself. If you are moving for a job and already have a place in mind, contact the area’s local REALTORS.
- Speaking of REALTORS, now is the time to HIRE A REALTOR. Relocation is something that you absolutely do not want to do on your own. A REALTOR who works in the area to which you are moving will be able to assist you through every step of your relocation process. They will be able to find homes that fit your criteria. A realtor will be able to negotiate on your behalf. They can refer you to the best mortgage lenders, appraisers and inspectors, and if you have a technologically savvy agent, they can even provide you with virtual tours while they are at a property of interest to you. When you are choosing a REALTOR, figure out who they are, what they know, and why they are the best fit for you. Check out their social media pages. If you are of the younger generations, someone around the same age who understands what the younger generation is looking for would be your best bet. If you are looking for someone who communicates solely through telephone calls, a more seasoned agent might be a better fit. You’ll be in close contact with this person, so it is important that you feel comfortable with them. Follow your instincts on this one.
- PLAN, and then PLAN SOME MORE. A decision to relocate should not be made on a whim (unless of course you are in your early twenties and like the vagabond lifestyle). Look at your finances and plan your budget. I cannot stress this enough. If you currently own a home, talk to a mortgage lender about options for loans, particularly bridge loans to assist you while you find another home elsewhere. Plan for the move. Research the best moving companies and compare prices and services, and most importantly, LOOK AT THE COMPANY’S REVIEWS. Moving? Compare rental van prices. Map your route. Get some friends and family to help you pack up by hosting a packing party complete with refreshments and food (and maybe convince one of them to travel with you to unload – thanks dad!). Also something to keep in mind, figure out what time of year the weather will be in your favor. You don’t want to be moving into a home during a bitter winter or mega-hot summer.
- DOWNSIZE. Moving anywhere, whether around the block or across country is the perfect opportunity to get rid of unwanted and unused items. Make a KEEP and GIVE AWAY/ SELL pile or list. This is also a great chance to make a buck or two. Host a garage sale, or sell items on online platforms such as craigslist or offer-up. This might just pay for gas mileage and meals along the way, or even airline tickets!
- KEEP THE KIDS OCCUPIED (AND FED). While during this particular cross-country move, our son had not yet been born, we have driven back to my home state with our little guy, and I can tell you, it is an ENTIRELY different ballgame when kids are involved. They are sitting for days on end. They get bored. Kids, of course, need to poop. They have an endless appetite. Their voices seem to get louder about an hour into the journey. Serenity now! My biggest piece of advice here is to accept the fact that stops will be frequent and necessary. Invest in a tablet or car-tv, and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY about it. Have a plethora of snacks and drinks readily available for easy access. If you have a baby, keep those diapers and wipes handy. If your kids are a bit older, indulge in some fun car-games. Our favorite is the alphabet road trip game.
- SAY YOUR GOODBYES IN ONE FELL SWOOP. Take this from someone who had to say goodbye to a multitude of family and friends (I have forty-three first cousins, if that gives you an idea). Find a place to gather for your good-bye party. If you try to say good-bye to each and every person individually and at different times, you may never find the time to move! With that being said, you may not want to invite people over to your home. Chances are your house will be in total chaos. Find a local park, restaurant or a willing friend to hold this occasion. You will be able to, not only say good-bye to all of the people you hold dear, but you can have a lot of fun, one last hurrah, while you do it, and it will make the good-bye process much easier on you.
Moving at any time to any place is scary, exciting, stressful, and promising all rolled into one crazy adventure. Embrace it. Remember the reason you are doing it. Best of luck to you as you embark on your journeys!