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Relocating to another state is no small task. Purging, packing, organizing, feelings of anxiety and the general uncertainties of moving to a new city can all be overwhelming. Add kids into the mix and you’re also dealing with helping them get adjusted to a new location, new school and new friends.
There are so many unknowns in the equation when you are purchasing a home in a new state, but the good news is there are a few challenges we do know about.
- Resources – You definitely need to figure out what’s available to assist you with your move. Determine what’s available to you and what you might need to find on your own, whether school district reputations or suggestions for family-friendly neighborhoods.
- Network – Chances are that your network of family and friends is small to nonexistent in your new location. Check out local networking opportunities and social media groups you can join.
- Knowledge – Even if you’ve been to your new city before, it’s never quite the same as actually living there and knowing your way around. You can do some research, but you’ll be a bit of a tourist for a while.
Now that you know what to expect, there are a few ways to prepare for your upcoming move so you can make a smooth transition to your new location. The following tips are based on the expectation that you’ll make at least one visit to your new city prior to your official move.
Before Your Visit
Prior to visiting, there are a few things to think about in determining whether the move makes sense for you.
Find Local Amenities
Search the internet, local newspapers and local news stations to get a feel for what’s important to area residents. How far away are hospitals, restaurants and movie theaters from the neighborhoods you’re considering? Online resources often allow you to see demographics, schools, crime statistics, retail and more.
Seek Assistance if Moving for a Job
If you find yourself moving for a job, either to advance your career or start a new one, there are a few special things to think about.
If you’re moving for your current job, find out what assistance, if any, your employer is willing to offer to ease your transfer to the new location. The most obvious help may come in the form of monetary assistance with various moving expenses. Some employers even help with the sale of your old house and the purchase of a new one.
Beyond monetary assistance, if the company has had an office in the area for a while, you may be able to reach out to human resources or other coworkers in order to find information the local scene.
If you’re looking to move first and then get a new job once you arrive, one of the things to consider is whether there are jobs available in the field you’re searching. Also, consider whether the salaries offered in that market make purchasing a new home in the area possible.
Get Ready to Buy
Research home prices and contact a mortgage lender who specializes in relocation to determine how much home you can afford. Websites like Zillow and Trulia can give you a general idea of what home prices are like in the area you’re looking at. Narrow down the homes you want to tour by taking a look at pictures and video available online.
Knowing how much houses cost in your new target area will also help you figure out how much you need to have saved up. It’s not just the down payment; you’ll have to make sure you have two or three months’ worth of principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments in order to secure mortgage financing. If you need new furniture or appliances, set aside for that as well.
Obtain a preapproval letter and locate a real estate agent who will ask questions in advance so they can show you homes appropriate to your needs.
If you have children, you may want to research the public school district, to help you narrow your desired neighborhoods. Go online to evaluate academic and athletic programs and to find out what types of after-school activities are available.
During Your Visit
Discern Where to Spend Time
Once you’ve scheduled a house-hunting trip, it’s important to know the measurements of your current furniture if you plan on bringing it with you. You’ll be able to determine if a home’s layout and design will work with what you already own.
While you’re in town, arrange to visit schools, daycares, places of worship, senior living facilities or any other type of place that’s important to your family.
Think About the Paperwork
Once you’ve chosen your new neighborhood, if you have school-aged children, give permission to their current schools to send academic records to the new school.
Also, in order for your new doctors to have a seamless view of your medical history, get copies of all medical and immunization records for everyone in the family from your current doctors.
After Your Visit
Don’t feel like you have to make a decision on a permanent home right away. Many rental agencies and apartment complexes allow you to rent on a month-to-month basis, giving you a chance to get more familiar with the area and be comfortable with your decisions.
Double-Check Your Packing List
Nonetheless, there’s much to do and several moving checklists available to help you stay on track.
Pack up as much as you can. Live with the bare essentials until it’s time to move. Portable moving containers are a big help. They come in various sizes and will be delivered to your new place once you’re ready. Ship a box of things you’ll need (such as a few changes of clothes, towels, cooking utensils and an inflatable mattress) ahead of your departure, to tide you over until the rest of your belongings arrive.
One caveat: Don’t pack important papers – keep them with you! This includes birth certificates, a marriage license, Social Security cards and anything that’s needed to prove residency.
Set Up New Service
Determine all the places you’ll need to contact to cancel service in your old home (phone, utilities, lawn care, etc.) and start new service in your new home. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with a list of all the services you’ll need in your new home. Arrange for these utilities to be turned on the day before you arrive.
Find Your New Path
Last, but not least, plan to arrive a few days before your start date at work or first day of school. Get some of the basics set up at home and introduce yourself to neighbors! Drive around – find the best routes to work and school and locate a convenience store and pharmacy.
It definitely takes time to get acclimated after relocating to another state, but these basic tips can help make the transition less hectic as you start a new chapter in life. Plan ahead and get started on your mortgage today!
Are you looking for a new job? We have some tips to help you land it. If you have any questions, you can leave them for us in the comments below.
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