Approximately 35 million Americans move every year. But unlike most times when homeowners largely change addresses within the same city or county, 2020 saw a sharp increase in relocations between 50 to 500 miles away.
“The pandemic has opened the eyes to many that they can effectively work remotely. Thus, homeowners are leaving pricy or cold-weather areas for warmer and more affordable regions, such as our community in Georgia where the cost of living and weather is more appealing,” says Raoul Rushin, real estate business developer and president of The Landings Company, a master-planned community located 10 miles outside downtown Savannah, Ga.
However, as exciting as it is to relocate to a dream area, heading to a new city is one of life’s most stressful events. Use these tips to ease your concerns.
Ready, Set… Research
The best way to overcome the stress of the unknown is with research. Learn more about areas you’re considering online. Find local publications with ratings of communities and suburbs. Gather data on average temperatures, extreme weather tendencies and proximity from key features, such as water, work or transportation. These factors will help you narrow in on a few top areas.
Next, social media can help you gain insights on the people. Join neighborhood or city Facebook groups. Post questions. This is also a great forum to gain recommendations for a realtor.
Finally, visit in-person to ensure you’re choosing the location right for you.
“Once you’ve narrowed your search, it’s important to experience the community,” says Rushin. “At The Landings, we offer Discovery Visits to allow potential homeowners to fully immerse themselves during a three- to four-day stay in one of the neighborhood homes.”
Relocating also means changing your healthcare and many times insurance providers. Ask your current doctors for recommendations in your new area. Research local hospitals or specialists. Depending on your healthcare needs, this could be a key consideration. Ensuring that your physical health is covered is key to reducing stress and maintaining good mental health.
Location, Location, Location
Think long-term. “Many homeowners choose to relocate based on a favorite vacation spot,” notes Rushin. “However, the remote, relaxing feel of your getaway may not be ideal for your forever home. Proximity and easy access to shopping, entertainment, schools and professional services should be key considerations.”
Once you’ve keyed in on the city, don’t just jump to house shopping. Instead find the right community that fits your lifestyle. Are you a golfer, biker, nature-enthusiast? Think about the things that bring you the most pleasure and look for neighborhoods or communities offering these activities.
One of the most difficult parts of relocating is leaving your support system of friends and family. Research social clubs or other activities that you can get involved with to meet others with similar interests.
“At The Landings, more than 50 percent of our buyers are from out of state, so we help facilitate friendships through our New Neighbors group,” says Rushin. “The unique social group welcomes members to participate in a variety of activities and events for the first two years after their move to make new friends, as well as learn about the rich history of the area and the community.”
Relocation is stressful, but with research and preparation, the life change can be smooth and exciting.