What can singles do to make a move to a new location easier? Part 1
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Moving at any age is a huge decision. I’ve moved to fifteen different cities in two countries. Psychologists consider it a major life change that can affect your emotional health in either a positive or negative way. You need to consider why you’re moving? Are you chasing a dream to live in your favorite location like the beach, mountains, desert, an exciting city, or foreign country? Is it financially beneficial to move for a new job, be in a state without state income tax or be closer to family? Are you moving away from a stressful situation or person who’s draining you physically, emotionally and financially? These are just a few reasons why Baby Boomers and singles of any age pack up their belongings and leave the security of their world behind. All of these determine your destination, the timing of the move and how you need to prepare. If you’re moving as a single person, especially to a place where you don’t know anyone, like I did, you’ve a great deal to consider before, during and after the move. I thought I could adequately cover it in one blog, but I’ll have to split it up into at least three to do it justice and even then, I may be only scratching the surface.
Planning your move
I used http://www.topretirements.com to search for places I was considering when I did my research. The site offered me most of the information I needed about each city and state’s: cost of living, culture, environment, average January temperature, tax burden and an overall rating plus a great deal of other information. It was just a start though, as it offered housing choices for active retirement communities for people 55+ who wanted to buy a home or condo. AARP offers a Livability Index, https://livabilityindex.aarp.org/?cmp=LVABLIDX_MAR25_015, to help you decide if the location you’re considering will suit your needs. Renting first, so you can become more familiar with the area and be better able to decide if you want to stay in that location or move somewhere else, is a good idea. Just visiting doesn’t give you enough information to make an informed decision if you plan to stay long-term.
You also need to declutter. I know you’ve watched shows on HGTV or DIY that show you how to do that and how to stage your home for sale if you’re a homeowner, so you probably have that under control. However, even if you think you’ve gotten rid of everything you don’t want to pay to move or that won’t fit into your new home, I assure you that you can clear out more. You’ll be happy you did when you find out the cost of your move, which is determined by the weight of your belongings and the distance you need to transport it. If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends who’ll help you move, that’s wonderful. If you don’t, you’ll need a rental truck plus people to help you move your things out of your old home and into your new place. If you have to go with a major or local mover, do your due diligence and look at reviews, talk to friends, inventory your things, take pictures of your major items and make sure you understand the contract before they load the truck.
If you decide to sell your home yourself, make sure you have the time, knowledge and temperament to do it. Selling your home is an emotional rollercoaster. Trulia, http://www.trulia.com can help you determine the best price for your home plus give you other advice on your sale. My friend successfully sold her home on Craigslist, http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites. However, like me you may need a realtor to help you navigate the treacherous waters. She had to calm me down during the negotiation process even though I’d been through it before. There are many reliable realtors in your hometown. Maybe you’ve had experience with one when you bought your home or can get a reference from a friend who’s had a successful experience with one. Again, you need to do your research and make sure your realtor is legally licensed, reliable and will offer you a fair commission rate. My realtor really earned her money. She held my hand during the entire process, returned my calls promptly, found a reasonably priced contractor to make the needed repairs, held two open houses and even paid out of her commission for repairs completed after I’d signed the closing papers and moved. It seems the buyer refused to close until an extra item they thought should be fixed was repaired. Let me know if you ever need a great realtor in the Chattanooga, TN area.
Finding a new home is basically the same as selling your home. Realtors can help you find both homes to buy and rentals. There are also great websites such as: http://www.rent.com, http://www.apartmentguide.com, http://www.rentbeforeowning.com, http://www.realtor.com and http://www.zillow.com to name a few. Looking at homes in person is the best idea, but if you can’t, then websites are getting better at giving you more photos and better information on finding the place best suited to your needs. Just remember that most online photos are wide views that make the rooms look larger and are staged with furniture that may not be the same size as yours. You need to have a checklist ready with your ‘must haves’ and wants. For me, a pet friendly place was essential as was a laundry in or close to my apartment. If you rent and have a handicap, the apartment building must have certain accommodations for you, but if your apartment needs special adjustments you may need to pay for them and return your rental to its former condition when you move out. Even if you’ve seen the apartment or home and made copious notes, you’ll need to talk to the office or realtor several times and send them a great deal of information including your financial status, personal information and sometimes recommendations from the owners of previous places you’ve rented. You’re also going to need insurance on your property and/or your new home. Make sure it starts as soon as you close or move your belongings in and cancel your former insurance so you get your refund. If you’re buying, your financing needs to be handled by professionals who have the experience and knowledge you need to help you make informed decisions.
You’ll have to say goodbye to family, friends, neighbors and professionals you’ve counted on for support over the years. Some will be happy that you can now start the next exciting chapter of your life. Others will feel left out, since they’re being left behind as you follow your dreams alone. There may be some who are jealous, because you have the courage and opportunity to move on. You’ll miss some more than others, but if you have strong ties you’ll be back to visit. Family and friends may come to visit you, but you need to start a new support system. I stay in touch through Facebook, phone calls, emails and other electronic methods. I’ve found that even if I don’t actually see someone for a long time, we can reconnect at any time. If you’ve had any kind of real relationship, you can still relive old memories and exchange stories about what’s going on in your lives. They may even become a travel partner.
Finally, a reader suggested that you label your boxes with their content and the room where they belong. Put your ‘must have immediately’ items into one box, so you can find them the first night you’re in your new place.
Although I’ve given you a lot of information, there’s so much more to preparing for a move than I can address here. Ask your family and friends, search the internet, library and watch T.V. shows to find as much information as possible. Research is the key and can even be fun. Next time we’ll talk about the move itself. If you haven’t added comments to my blog, http://singleboomerlife.com, or my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life, please do that. Also, sharing any articles you find will be appreciated.
Remember “Not all who wander are lost”. T.R.R. Tolkien