Are you relocating and looking for some tips? It’s no secret that there are countless logistical tasks that need to be completed (packing, calling the moving company, selling your house, canceling your utility services, to name a few). Sometimes, there is so much to do in the moment, that it’s difficult to plan ahead for your arrival in your new town. If, though, you can carve out a little bit of time to “pre-orient” yourself to your new home, it can make the transition much smoother. The good news is that, if you have a reasonable amount of advance notice before you are actively packing and moving, you can do a lot of these things well in advance.
Top 10 tips for relocating
Talk to a realtor
I know I may be biased (as I am a realtor!), but real estate agents are really well-equipped to answer all kinds of questions about a particular town or area. What you might not have considered is that they are not just experts on housing, but also can address ancillary concerns like commute times, school districts, popular hot spots and the best places to find what you’re looking for whether it’s a karate studio or homemade ricotta. If you are relocating, a call to a real estate agent should be one of your first points of contact. Realtors are a fount of knowledge and, if there’s any chance you might be buying a house, they are usually very happy to spend time helping you!
Join local Facebook groups
The link above will take you to an article I wrote on this topic, but the upshot is that these social media groups can be a great place to learn about the area to which you are moving, Don’t be shy; ask questions (and get lots of answers and great information). Additionally, they can be great places to form connections that can be nurtured into friendships upon your arrival. You might be shocked how many people respond to questions you may ask with comments like, “Oh, I moved from there 3 years ago; would love to meet you for coffee!”
Pin up some maps
Put up a couple of maps of your new home-to-be. I’d suggest having a local one so you can see the layout of the town and figure out where important destinations are (school, shopping, restaurants, airport). I also encourage you to get a map of the larger region so you can see where you’ll be in terms of day or weekend trip options. Maybe you’ll say, “Hey! I didn’t realize we would be so close to Washington D.C.!”
Research top sites and attractions
Whether it’s just you moving or a whole family relocation, if you have highlighted some activities or destinations that sound exciting, you’ll have something to look forward to doing once you arrive. Whatever entertainment you favor, from rock climbing to antiquing to eating at new restaurants, a little research will stand you in good stead. You are also certain to learn about things you never would have thought to look for like, in Philadelphia, taking a walking tour to see many of the murals the city is famous for, or visiting Valley Forge Park, where Washington’s winter headquarters were built.
If you have kids, call schools
Feeling confident that your kids will be in a school environment that is a good fit is one of the major concerns for parents who are relocating. I suggest starting with some online research as well as talking to that realtor that you should have already established a relationship with. You might want to ask about parent’s experiences in some of those local Facebook groups, too. Then call the schools that you think might be the best choices, talk with an administrator, request information and, if possible, arrange a visit for you and your student(s). For more on moving with kids, click here and here.
Identify service providers
Request recommendations for the services that are most important to you so you can scope them out before you need them–doctor, dentist, veterinarian…the Facebook groups are great places for this task. You can at least do some of the legwork on the phone so that you have a sort of “emergency contact” list (like the kind people used to have on the refrigerator) when you arrive. Obviously, it may morph over time, but it’s not a bad idea to have a doctor and some other basics.
Ask about “newcomers” clubs or similar groups for transplants (book clubs, coffee meet ups, etc.) Your realtor (and those Facebook groups, too) are a good place to start. Your friend, Google, will also provide some direction. Most communities have at least one or two loose organizations that cater to transplants.
Do you know anyone?
Ask your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers if they have any contacts they could introduce you to in your new locale. Especially with social media’s ability to keep people in touch, you might be shocked at how many of your friends know someone in the city where you’re moving. Don’t be shy; they can’t help you if you don’t ask! And remember, the value of a personal introduction will be worth its weight in gold.
Start getting the news
Subscribe to a local magazine or news publication (on line or in print) to learn about what’s happening in your new home. From reviews of restaurants to civic issues, building development, events, etc., you’ll start to feel like a resident if you’re familiar with local news. You may also start some kind of list or file about places you want to see or activities you’d like to try.
Take a deep breath
Prepare yourself emotionally. Moving is stressful. There will be frustrations and disappointments with things that are different from how they were at your previous home. My recommendation would be try to look at it as an adventure, and make an effort to notice the good surprises–a great museum, a lovely park or an annual event that the whole family enjoys.
If you are relocating to the Philadelphia/Main Line area, please go to my relocation tab. If you’d like to and read other blog entries related to relocation, please scroll down a couple of lines and click on RELOCATION (to the right of FILED UNDER). Thanks!