Relocation Guide

Terri White May 13, 2024

Peak moving season is upon us. In fact, according to Move.com , almost 70% of U.S. moves occur between May and September. Although the percentage of Americans who move each year has declined in recent years, the desire to relocate remains strong. In fact, Architectural Digest recently declared “Americans are restless” after a survey found that 55% of adults “are moving, plan to move, or want to move” in 2024. The top reasons included: increased affordability; desire for safety; and closer proximity to work, family, or friends. If you’re one of those millions of Americans yearning for a change, this guide is for you. Moving is notoriously stressful, sometimes overwhelming, but can also be exhilarating or exciting.
 
We’ve outlined six steps to make your move easier. Our hope is to alleviate some of the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the adventure ahead!
 
1. CHOOSE A COMMUNITY
When planning a relocation, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is where you want to live. This could be as broad as an area of town, or you might narrow it down to a specific neighborhood. Depending on your priorities, you may want to start with communities that are close to work, friends, family and/or your preferred schools. If you commute, map out the route and check on the availability of public transportation, if you plan to use it. Then, if possible, try out the commute during rush hour to see what it’s like. If you're using my RealScout home search tool, you can enter your commute locations and it will calculate the commutes for you from each home you are considering.
 
Next, it’s crucial to consider housing prices and cost of living, so you keep your budget realistic. You can also check local crime statistics to ensure the community is safe. Finally, visit any neighborhoods you’re considering to gauge the vibe and observe characteristics, like pedestrian accessibility, retail offerings, and population density. Researching the ins and outs of various communities can be a time-consuming and sometimes difficult process, but we’re here to help! Give us a call to discuss your needs, and we’d be happy to provide our recommendations of neighborhoods that may be a good fit for you.
 
2. FIND YOUR NEW HOME
Once you’ve chosen an area to settle, the next decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to rent or buy a home. Renting can be a good option if you’re new to town, especially if you’re still saving up for a downpayment or you’re not ready to commit to a permanent location. Benefits include flexibility, less maintenance, and lower upfront costs.
 
But, if you want to avoid multiple moves, and have identified the area where you want to live, there’s no reason to delay the benefits of buying a home. Not only has homeownership been shown to increase your quality of life, but it’s also one of the best ways to protect and grow your wealth. The value of real estate, particularly in the East Bay where there's been a steady 40+ year equity gain, is likely continue to appreciate over time, so owners can build equity as they pay down their mortgage. Homeowners can also receive federal income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. Perhaps most importantly, homeownership offers stability. Property owners aren’t subject to the mercy of their landlords each year. According to Statista, average U.S. rental prices have risen more than 42% in the past 10 years. In contrast, a fixed-rate mortgage payment is just that, fixed.
 
If you decide to purchase a home in our market, we would welcome the opportunity to assist you, so you can rest easy knowing that we will be there for you throughout the entire journey, as we work hard to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. If you’re moving to a new area, we have a large referral network of great local agents who share our commitment to excellent client service.
 
For more information about buying a home and a timeline of the home buying process, reach out to request a free copy of our Home Buyer’s Guide.
 
3. SELL OR RENT OUT YOUR CURRENT HOME
While preparing to move, if you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of either selling it or renting it out. We can help you evaluate your options, based on current market conditions. In many cases, our clients choose to sell, so they can use the equity in their current home to make a downpayment on their next one. Selling your home while simultaneously buying a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner. Be assured we are here to help you through the process. We've been through this more than a few times, and can guide you through all of your options. We also have a Home Seller's Guide to help you through the process.
 
Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients and our tips for addressing them:
  • What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one? There are a number of options for temporary lodging. Check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals, and short-term rentals like AirBNBB or Vrbo. A short-term rental arrangement can even offer you an opportunity to get to know your new neighborhood better.
  • What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time? It’s possible to add a contingency to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. There are also a number of loan products that allow you to bridge your purchase and sale to avoid the additional burden of two mortgages. We can discuss the pros and cons of these types of tactics and what’s realistic given the current market dynamics.
  • How do I avoid burn out from all the stress? Enlist support as early as possible. It's our job to guide you and advocate on your behalf, so don't be afraid to lean on us throughout the process. We’re here to ease your burden and make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible. In addition to answering your questions, we can give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home before the sale, so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one. Part of the sales process will include a plan to maximize your current home’s sale price. We utilize a proven strategy that’s designed to achieve an efficient sale while boosting your profits, and getting your old house sold as soon as possible. For a thorough breakdown of the technologies and marketing activities we use to get you the best return on your investment, let's talk more about how we would set up the ideal marketing plan for your particular situation.
4. PLAN YOUR DEPARTURE
Preparing for a move can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything in a day, and you don’t have to do it alone. We’ll be there every step of the way to help you navigate this process with ease.
 
To that end, here are some of our top tips to help you plan for your departure.
 
If you have children, we typically advise that you start by sharing news about the move in an age-appropriate way. If possible, take them on a tour of your new home and neighborhood, and involve them in the decision-making process, even if it's a small decision. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move. Don’t forget to contact their current and future schools, to arrange for transfer and enrollment.
 
Next, you’ll want to start packing. To maintain order and make unpacking easier, we recommend packing one room at a time, well in advance of the move if at all possible. Clearly label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to. Using color-coded stickers on the boxes can make it easy for movers to deliver the boxes to the right room in the new house. As you pack, set aside things you no longer need. There’s no use taking extraneous items with you. Use this opportunity to purge or donate possessions that you no longer need. If you need resources for where to donate items, let us know, and we can direct you to organizations that accept donations of everything from home improvement to pet supplies.
 
If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. Good moving companies can book several weeks in advance, so make this a priority. Once you have a moving date scheduled, you should schedule your utilities to be turned off or, transferred into the new homeowner’s name. Finally, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes. Parting with a home and community you love can be hard, so try to stay focused on the exciting opportunities ahead. Feel free to reach out for referrals to trusted moving companies, packing services, housekeepers, or any other resources that will make your move easier. We’d love to help.
 
5. PREPARE FOR YOUR ARRIVAL
While it’s tempting to get wrapped up in the departure details, don’t forget to plan ahead for your arrival at your new home. To make your transition go smoothly, you should start preparing well before moving day. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
 
First, think about the utilities that will need to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity, gas and internet. Be sure to notify any relevant parties—banks, credit cards, subscriptions, etc.—about your change of address so you don’t miss any important bills, notices, or deliveries. You’ll also want to notify the postal service and submit a mail forwarding request.
 
If you plan to remodel, paint, or install new flooring, it’s easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings. You may also want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. We can help with referrals to professionals for all of your needs. Don’t forget about the items you’ll need (think toothbrush, towels, bedsheets, first aide kit, medicines, coffee, snacks, pet supplies, water bottle) to make it through the first night in your new home. Designate some boxes with “Open Me First!” labels. (Pro tip: Keep a tool kit front and center for all that reassembling if you're not opting for a full-service mover.) Finally, create a list of all the restaurants you want to try and places you want to visit around your newly purchased home. Having a "to-explore" list keeps the excitement level high and gives you starting points to settle into the neighborhood. It also helps to break up the monotony of unpacking. If you’re relocating to our area, we can help! Reach out for a list of recommendations.
 
6. GET SETTLED IN YOUR NEW SPACE Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects. Here are a few strategies to help you and your family get settled in the new space without being so overwhelmed.
 
If you have children, start by unpacking their rooms first. Seeing familiar items will help ease their transition and establish a “safe zone” where they can hang out away from the chaos of moving day. Let them have a say in how their room is decorated, so they feel they have some control.
 
Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, bed, treats, food and water bowl. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.
 
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Try to schedule breaks to get out of the house and investigate your new area, even if that means something simple like taking a short walk in the neighborhood. If you travel by foot or bicycle, you’ll also gain the mood-boosting advantages of fresh air and exercise.
 
You can combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship, or volunteer for a cause. Don’t wait for new friends to come knocking on your door, go out and find them. To that end, make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home. As an added bonus, if we're helping you with the purchase of your new home, we'll sponsor and cater a "get to know the new neighbors" event.
 
LET’S GET MOVING
While moving is never easy, these steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. With a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience.
 
We specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and less-stress relocation. Along with our referral network of moving companies, contractors, cleaning services, interior designers, and other home service providers, we can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give us a call or message us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!
 
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

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