by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best
Moving is stressful—regardless of the circumstances, any time you have to pack up all your treasured goods (read--old magazines, lamps you've been meaning to repair, kids’ drawings) and move them to a new home is overwhelming for even the most chipper and hopeful among us. When you have obtained your dream job—four states away--and your significant other will have to say goodbye to their career, when life has tossed you a big roadblock and you are essentially forced to move, when living alone is no longer possible---you have to handle a bunch of emotional ups and downs at the same time as the tension of the actual move to Houston.
A big stressor in moving is getting a handle on the whims of the real estate business. You are a mature adult, valued in your community, and your life is completely in the hands of a bunch of people you've never met--what if your home doesn't sell? What if the buyers with the contract on your house change their minds? What if they demand you to leave the curtains and the kids' playset? Suppose the appraiser takes note of the crack in the foundation that is sort of hidden behind the landscaping? What if the home inspector finds your new residence has a wornout roof or there is a new bowling alley and travel plaza projected for across the road from your new neighborhood? Here's the truth. You have little control over any of these items. The best plan of attack is to make sure that the realtor selling your house and the realtor helping you with the new house are competent and do their jobs--and communicate with both to have a emergency plan should something unexpected happen.
Consider real estate transactions a giant run of dominoes--closings usually are dependent upon another closing happening as scheduled. One hiccup six steps up the line can have an impact on your buyers timetable, and a similar thing goes for the home you're moving to—a last minute snag may mean you cannot close at the time that you thought you could, and you're up at night thinking about how you are going to cope when you are homeless for a a couple days, or if you might just move into one of the moving company’s moving trucks and set up camp.
Calm down. One of the benefits of the recession is that real estate standards have changed and there aren't nearly as many last-minute surprises with your closings. You should learn of any probable problems far ahead of your closing time, and in the event something does fluctuate, moving companies are super adept at working with changing time frames. If an issue does slow your move down, you may have the alternative of moving in a few days before you actually close--again, a good realtor plans for contingencies, so you do not have to stress about them.
Talk to your realtors and lender once a week before your closing date to be sure all the inspections and repairs and specifics are going as planned; being in the know provides you at least a feeling of control, and if there is a hiccup you're not caught unaware.
If the worst does happen, like if you are building and weather has delayed inspections and you do not have the occupancy certificate several days prior to closing because the electrical isn't completed, AND you've got fixed closing date on your old home and the movers are lined up, don't freak out. Most moving companies have temporary or long-term storage until you can get in your new home, and your realtor may be able to assist you in finding short-term housing until your house is ready. Problems like these are not likely, but when they do crop up your stress levels skyrocket--so rely on your team to help you find a remedy.
The Emotional Stages of Moving
So, you are moving to Houston--and it could be desirable, it may be a challenge. You might be relocating five blocks or four hundred miles away. Everybody's situation is distinct, but people are pretty much the same--the emotional rollercoaster just varies from residence to house. Some are kiddie sized, with happy Disney cars to ride in, and others mirror a death-defying, nausea-producing Loch Ness monster. The feat is to change that roller coaster into a peaceful ride with cheerful little people humming "It's A Small World" as you float through your closets.
Some researchers and psychologists have likened moving--in any situation--to the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief model. Meaning, you encounter denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance.
When you have constructed a life in one place, it is very normal to have regrets about moving from the house where you lovingly painted every room just the right color, where you brought your babies home, where you observed all those birthdays and anniversaries. If your move is not choice but a requirement, it's fine to be angry with the circumstances that have brought you to the location where you're leaving your residence because there are no other choices. Be mad, wail and whoop at the walls and lean on your family and friends for encouragement. Take some time trying to figure out how to not have to move—maybe your significant other could commute, or rent an apartment in the new town; if you require help keeping house, you might consider getting live in help. Going through your options, as crazy as they could be, helps you think through the reality of moving so that it's a bit easier to accept it.
Then, you may spend a few days or weeks in denial, of sorts. This is when your friends ask if they can swing by and help you sort through your things, and you fib a tad and say you're nearly completed, when in fact you have pitched two old socks and a broken spatula and haven’t picked up the first box for packing. If you're really having a hard time with the specifics of purging and packing, let your friends help. Or, ask your moving company to box things up for you—most full-service movers have professional packers who can either get you going or do the entire job for you.
In the end, you'll accept the transition and change. It might not be the day the trucks arrive, it might take a few months. But the human spirit is a resilient thing and you will come to accept and embrace your new abode in Houston. That's not to pretend it will be easy, but being willing to start a new life and attempting new things can ease the nostalgia for your old house and your old life.
Your family members will all have congruent feelings, although with different degrees of ferocity--teenagers’ reactions are going to be a little more aggressive than that of a child. If you are vacating your family home for senior living because one spouse's health has declined more rapidly, then the more active spouse may go through more anger and denial. The important thing is to keep in mind that the emotional ups and downs are normal and it would be weird if you didn't get sad or mad or a little upset during the process.
Keeping your move in perspective is vital to arriving to the new residence relatively unscathed. Your life isn't kept in the walls of your old residence, your life is in the memories you have formed there. Keep in mind that you will not lose old friends, and that you'll make new ones. And someday, you'll step in the front door and think to yourself, "I'm home."
Easing the Transition
Most people are intrenched in habits--even young children pick their cuddly stuffed animal and you’ll be in trouble if it's nowhere to be found at nap time. Similarly, when you move, you are most of the time shaking up all your habits in place and even if you are pleased about the new house, the new life you have got to construct around it is challenging to even the most adventurous. When you're moving and anxious about creating a new life for you and your family in Houston, here are some tips to assist with the transition.
Get your family excited about the relocation to Houston. If this means agreeing that your teenage daughter can paint a life-size elephant on her wall, put a smile on your face and go purchase the paint. It could mean that at last you have a big enough backyard for a dog—think about what sort of dog you want, and as soon as the last box is unpacked, head to the local shelter and find your new best friend. While you are at it, adopt two dogs, as your new furry friend could use a pal. Let your kids set up tents and camp out in that big backyard. Of course, it its bribery of a sort, but it's all for the best and the delight of new activities and besides, puppies are hard to beat. And, if you're the one having a difficult time with it, seeing your family doing well goes a long way to fixing your spirits.
When you're moving, the world-wide web (if you're older that expression means something to you) makes the trip a lot easier. You possibly used real estate websites to look for your new home and analyze schools and neighborhoods, so you have a decent view already of your new area. Use social media to connect with people--towns of every size have mom groups that suggest all kinds of things from dentist reviews to the best piano lessons--and do not forget that your new neighbors are great resources. Many neighborhoods have social media pages and online directories that tell you whose kids babysit, dog walk and mow grass.
If you have kiddos, transitioning activities is much more vital to them than that dentist. Being able to get right back into basketball or piano lessons or ballet keeps them active and helps them feel a part of their new surroundings-the last thing you want is to have pouting children around the house complaining that they hate you and do not have anything to do. And here is a fun tidbit—findings show that moving during the school year can be easier on children than moving over during the summer months. If you commence a new school at the beginning of the year it's more likely to get looked over in the crowd , but when you come in in the middle of the school year, it is more possible your kids will make friends faster and get more interested in school.
The loss of a sense of community can be a tough part of a relocation for the grown-ups. When you're accustomed to swinging into a neighbor's home just because it’s part of your routine, moving to a new area where you don't know anyone is rough. Bear in mind that your new neighbors are probably interested in being friends with you, because they've probably said goodbye to their drive-by buddies and are looking forward to getting to know the new neighbors (aka – you!). Walking your dog is a good way to run into the neighbors--their inquisitiveness about you is high, and this gives you an easy way to get to know everybody.
The majority of churches and synagogues have newcomers’ groups that you and your family can be a part of, and aid you to figure out how you fit within that community. Many schools love volunteers, so contemplate getting involved. And, if you are an affiliate of a national association like Rotary or Junior League your membership will transfer from one city to the next.
Life changes are tough, but by granting yourself and your family the okay to be a little sad about the past will assist everyone accept the future.
If you are planning a move, contact A-1 Freeman Moving Group to get started on your free in-home estimate. We promise to do our part to make your move to Houston as smooth as possible.