The Psychology of Moving to Houston

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Moving BoxesPrepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Moving is difficult—no matter the conditions, any time you are packing up all your worldly possessions (read--old college papers, items you have been meaning to repair, kids’ popcicle stick snowflakes) and move them to a new residence is overwhelming for even the most chipper and positive among us. When you've landed your dream job—three states away--and your significant other will have to say goodbye to their career, when life has served you a large roadblock and you are more or less forced to move, when living independently is no longer an option---you must deal with a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs at the same time as the anxiety of the physical move to Houston.

One aggravation in moving is understanding the whims of the real estate business. You're a successful adult, valued in your town, and your life is completely in the hands of some people you have never met--what if your house doesn't sell quickly? Suppose the people who put an offer on your house change their minds? Suppose they demand you to leave the washer & dryer and the kids' swingset? Suppose the appraiser notices the crack in the foundation that's kind of hidden behind the hedge? Suppose the inspector discovers your new house has a bad roof or there's a mall and travel plaza planned for across the road from your new neighborhood? Here's the deal. You have no say over any of these things. The best plan of attack is to be sure that the realtor selling your home and the realtor helping you buy the new house are skilled and do their jobs--and communicate with both to have a back-up plan should something unexpected happen.

Real estate transactions are like a long run of dominoes--closings usually are dependent upon another closing happening on time. One blunder five steps down the food chain can have an impact on your buyers timetable, and a similar thing goes for the home you're moving to—unexpected mishap might mean you can't close when you thought you could, and you are up all night thinking about how it's going to feel to be homeless for a few days, or if you might be able to move into one of the moving company’s moving trucks and set up camp.

Calm down. One of the perks of the recession is that real estate regulations have changed and there are not quite as many eleventh hour changes with your closings. You should discover any possible concerns far in advance of your closing time, and if something does change, moving companies are very adept at working with changing timetables. If something does slow you down, you could have the option of moving in a few days before you actually close--again, a good realtor plans for contingencies, so you don't have to stress about these things.

Touch base with your realtors and lender once a week before your closing date to make sure all the inspections and repairs and whatnot are going as they should; keeping in the know provides you at least a feeling of control, and if there is a speedbump you're not hit unexpectedly.

If the worst does take place, like if you're building and weather has pushed back inspections and you do not have the occupancy certificate three days prior to closing because the electrical is not finished, AND you've got an immovable closing date on your old residence and the movers are booked up, don't freak out. Most moving companies can provide temporary or long-term storage until you can move in your new residence, and your realtor may be able to help you find short-term housing until your house is accessible. Issues like these are not likely, but when they do happen your angst levels skyrocket--so depend on your team to help you figure it out.

Moving - Moving BoxesThe Emotional Stages of Moving

So, you are moving to Houston--and it may be welcome, it might be a challenge. You may be going four blocks or five hundred miles away. Everybody's scenario is diverse, but people are mostly similar--the emotional rollercoaster just varies from house to residence. Some are kiddie sized, with happy animated cars to ride in, and others parallel a death-defying, nausea-generating Loch Ness monster. The trick is to change that roller coaster into a smooth ride with chipper little people singing "It's A Small World" as you pass through your closets.

Some researchers and psychologists have likened moving--in any circumstance--to the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief model. That is, you encounter denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

When you've constructed a life in one place, it is very normal to have mixed feelings about selling the residence where you lovingly painted every room just the right color, where you brought your babies home, where you celebrated all those birthdays and anniversaries. If your move is not choice but necessity, it's fine to be angry with the state of affairs that have deposited you at the location where you're moving from your residence because you have no other options. Get furious, yell and holler at the walls and rely on your family and friends for support. Spend some time trying to think about how to not have to move—perhaps your significant other could commute, or get an apartment in the new locale; if you require help taking care of your house, you might be able to get live in help. Working through your options, as insane as they could be, helps you think through the reality of moving so that it is a little less painful to accept it.

Then, you might spend a couple days or weeks in denial, of sorts. This is when your friends ask if they can swing by and help you go through stuff, and you fib a tad and say you're nearly done, when in actuality you have pitched two matchbooks and a broken spatula and haven’t picked up the first box for packing. If you're really wrestling with the details of purging and packing, let your friends help. Or, ask your moving company to pack things up for you—the majority of full-service movers have professional packers who can either get you started or do the full job for you.

Finally, you'll accept the transition and change. It could not be the day the trucks arrive, it might take several months. But the human spirit is an adaptable thing and you will come to accept and embrace your new locale in Houston. That's not to pretend it will be without angst, but being agreeable to start a new life and attempting new things can ease the nostalgia for your old home and your old life.

The members of your family will all cope with congruent feelings, although with varying degrees of intensity--teenagers’ reactions are going to be a bit more bold than that of a child. If you are leaving your family abode for senior living because one spouse is not doing well, then the more active spouse may go through more anger and denial. The important thing is to remember that the emotional twists and turns are normal and it would be weird if you did not feel sad or angry or a little upset during the move.

Keeping your move in perspective is critical to getting to the new home safe and sound. Your life is not kept in the walls of your old home, your life is in the memories you've formed there. Don’t forget that you will not lose old friends, and that you'll make new ones. And someday, you will step inside of the front door and think to yourself, "I am home."

Moving - Moving BoxesEasing the Transition

People are creatures of habit--even young children select their favorite stuffed animal and there’ll be a small catastrophe if it's in the washing machine at nap time. So, when you move, you are most of the time giving up many of 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 courageous. When you're moving and worried about creating a new life for you and your family in Houston, here are some suggestions to help with the transition.

Get your family excited about the move to Houston. If this means agreeing that your teenage daughter can paint a life-size elephant on her wall, grit your teeth and get the paint. It could mean that finally you have enough space for a dog—figure out what kind of dog would fit best with your family, and as soon as the last box is unpacked, head to the local shelter and get a new furry family member. Plan to bring home two, as the only thing better than saving one life, is saving two. Let your boys set up tents and camp out in that new yard. Of course, it its bribery of a sort, but it's all for the best and the excitement of new experiences and besides, puppies are a surefire way to put a smile on everyone’s face. And, if you're the one having a difficult time with it, seeing your family happy goes a long way to improving your state of mind.

When you are moving, the information superhighway (if you are older that terminology makes sense to you) makes the move a lot smoother. You most likely scoured real estate websites to look for your new house and investigate schools and neighborhoods, so you have a adequate idea already of your new area. Use social media to connect with people--towns big and small have mom groups that suggest all types of things from pediatrician reviews to the best piano lessons--and remember that your new neighbors can be very helpful. A lot of neighborhoods have social media pages and online listings that tell you whose kids babysit, dog walk and rake leaves.

If you have children, transitioning activities is a lot more crucial to them than that dentist. Being able to hop right back into volleyball or swimming lessons or gymnastics keeps them active and helps them fit into their new area-the last thing you want is to have pouting children around the house grumbling that they hate you and don't have any friends. And here is a fascinating bit of information—findings show that moving in the middle of the school year can be easier on children than moving over during the summer months. When you begin a new school at the beginning of the year it is more likely to get looked over in the craziness of the new year , but when you arrive in the middle of the school year, it is more probable your kids will meet friends faster and be more involved in school.

The loss of a feeling of security can be a tough part of a relocation for the grown-ups. When you're accustomed to swinging into a neighbor's abode just because you see her car in the driveway, moving to a new locality where you don't know a soul is tough. Remember that your new neighbors are probably interested in meeting you, because they have likely said adios to their drive-by buddies and are wanting to meet the new neighbors (aka – you!). Playing with the dog outside is a great way to say hello to the neighbors--their eagerness to learn about you is high, and this gives you a simple way to meet everyone.

Many churches and synagogues have newcomers’ groups that you and your family can be a part of, and help you to figure out how you fit within that community. The majority of schools love volunteers, so contemplate getting involved. And, if you're a member of a national association such as Rotary or Junior League your membership can be easily transferred.

Life changes are difficult, but by granting yourself and your loved ones the okay to be a tad sad about the past will assist everyone accept the future.

If you are contemplating 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.