How To Move During COVID-19 & Create Your Dream Life Today

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woman searching for moving tips during quarantine
Self

As a result of COVID-19, everyone seems to be rethinking where they'll live. It's during this uncertain time that you might need moving tips more than ever.

But how can you decide how to move when you don't know what needs to be done during quarantine?

There are tips for moving that will help you feel comfortable setting out on a new life, even with so much uncertainty.

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This pandemic came along and changed everyone's priorities almost overnight. 

You're probably wondering how to move because home is everything now — work, school, entertainment, gym. 

A few months ago, you chose your home for a very different reason. For example, sacrificing a larger home for a shorter commute made tons of sense. But now that so many are working from home, you may not be so sure anymore.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 82 percent of employers polled in a recent Gartner survey say they plan to allow working remotely at least some of the time, while 47 percent said they intend to allow working remotely full-time.

“Home office” just got a whole new meaning!

With the distinct possibility of working remotely continuing into the future, you may suddenly find yourself contemplating a literal world of possibilities!

If your job allows it, you might be able to relocate anywhere your heart desires (and your bank account can support). This means you might not have to squeeze your family into that urban jungle 1,200-square-foot shoebox anymore.

It suddenly feels easier to breathe with that realization!

So, where would you want to live? And how will you know if you’d like it there?

Remember back to when you were a little kid, and you would spend time daydreaming and fantasizing? As you grew up, dreaming was sort of crushed out of you.

Well, it’s time to start dreaming again. Imagining a new life requires a little soul searching, and maybe a few reflection exercises.

Let’s see if we can keep this light and playful. This is your chance to create a happier life for yourself. Have fun with this!

Here are 7 helpful moving tips so you can move safely during quarantine and live your dream life.

1. Decide if moving is right for you.

When determining if a move is right for you, you have to look not just at the location where you’d like to move to, but also at you and your family.

What’s your current mindset, your intentions, your goals, your dreams? Does the place you’ve decided on fit your lifestyle?

Remember to recognize the times you’re living in. COVID-19 adds additional complications into the mix. Keeping everyone safe and healthy are top priorities, so that may limit your ability to travel, visit new places, attend open houses, or do in-person house showings.

Moving is challenging, even in the best of times. It’s listed as one of the top stressors in life.

2. Start with yourself and your needs.

I think it’s most important to start with yourself, rather than the location. Who are you? What are your values? What’s most important to you in life?

What are your likes and dislikes? What do you like about your current house now? What do you dislike?

What is it about your town you adore and couldn’t live without? What’s missing?

Spend some time recording what you’re grateful for about where you live now. Making note of these things will help when you go to look for your next residence.

Are you a city person? A suburbanite? If you go for a walk, do you prefer walking on sidewalks to a Starbucks, or on dirt trails?

Understanding why you want to move is key. Are your reasons for moving a knee-jerk reaction to what you’ve been living through during COVID, or are there deeper reasons?

These are all questions worth exploring. Grab a journal or a notebook, and start answering them. Write like no one is going to read it except you. No need to censure or edit. This is free-association writing, where you just let it flow.

3. Find your location.

Once you’ve got a handle on who you are and why you want to move, you can think of location.

Are you thinking of staying in the same area and just changing houses? Changing up your space, rather than relocating to an entirely different geographic area, might make your job somewhat easier.

Knowing that you like your area means that you can go straight to searching for a new house. Skip ahead to the next section.

However, if you’re dreaming of a completely new destination, then you'll need to do some research.

It can be done in a variety of ways, from recalling travel destinations that you loved, asking friends and family for recommendations, connecting with real-estate agents in areas you might be dreaming about, and searching online.

There are so many helpful websites and articles profiling different areas. For example, you can learn a lot from the U.S. News & World Report rankings “125 Best Places to Live in the USA.” Or Sunset Magazine, and their similar “best places to live” articles.

Once you have an area in mind, you can look up all sorts of stats on City-Data.com. Sites like SchoolDigger and GreatSchools can provide insight into an area’s school systems with ratings, descriptions, class sizes, and basic information on student demographics.

Even if you don't have children, the quality of the schools will impact the values of the surrounding houses. Good schools equal higher home values.

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4. Start house hunting.

Most housing searches these days start on the internet. Compass, Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, and Apartments.com are all possible sites to check out.

You can search these sites by area and price. You can use their maps, save your favorite listings, and get a feel for the local real-estate market.

To get a better feel of the street the house you like is on, check out Google Earth. You can move your point of view and see neighboring houses, aerial shots, etc. Google Maps are excellent for exploring the surrounding neighborhood.

You can put in the address of the house that you’re interested in, the name of the local grocery store, gas station, post office, and more to see how close you are to your essentials. There’s so much that can be done virtually now.

Once you start to get more serious in your search, you’re going to want to find a real-estate agent.

Not all agents are created equal, and it’s important to develop a working relationship with someone with experience who you have a good rapport with. Don’t just go with the first one you come across.

This is an important hire. A good agent will help with your home search, offer, escrow, relocation and move, as well as assist in you getting settled and making connections in your new life.

Eventually, when you’re really serious about a particular property or town, you’re likely going to want to see it in person.

5. Visit the area in person.

In pre-COVID times, a visit to a location you’re considering moving to would be highly recommended. It would be a vital way to see if you really resonate with a location and have an accurate understanding of it.

If you determine you’re able to visit a location safely in person, here are some suggestions of what to do when you’re there.

Connect with someone who lives in the area where you're considering moving. Maybe this is a friend of a friend, a distant relative, or a knowledgeable real-estate agent.

Making this connection in advance is helpful, because they can offer suggestions of what neighborhood to stay in based upon your self-evaluation, and what shops, restaurants, and other activities you might find interesting.

Plan your visit to include both a weekday as well as a weekend day, as this impacts the traffic, energy, and overall feel of a place.

Connect with your real-estate agent to see houses of interest in person, if this is allowed and deemed safe to do so in your area of interest. There are also ways to do this virtually through videos, Matterport tours, FaceTime, etc.

6. Act like a local.

Rather than stay in a hotel, find a vacation rental in the area that you’re considering moving to. Once there, drive the streets, to get a feel for the different neighborhoods.

If you have children, drive by the schools. If they're in session, see if you can arrange a tour. If they're not in session, perhaps the school can connect you with a currently enrolled family who would be willing to speak with you about it.

Local real-estate agents will also likely know families who attend the various schools and can either make an introduction or give you a lowdown on the culture and stats of each one.

Try to explore the types of activities and establishments that you would typically frequent were you to move to this location. Do you love Thai food? Check out a Thai restaurant (even if it’s only takeout).

Are you a hiker? Find some local hikes to wander. Are you a swimmer? Discover the options for swimming locally. Can’t live without Target? How far away is the nearest store, and what’s the shopping experience there like?

Going about a typical day with a visit (or at least a drive-by) to the grocery store, post office, bank, etc. will help you decide if this new town feels right to you.

If you are moving for work and you will be going into a place of business rather than working remotely, then plan to visit the job site, if possible. Meet the people you’ll be working with. Practice your commute during “rush hour.”

Even if we’re still sheltering in place somewhat, ask locals about traffic during pre-COVID times. This is your chance to gather as much intel as you can.

7. Compare the research with your needs.

Once you’ve done your research, either all online or virtually and also in person, organize it as best you can, creating an overall impression of the place. Then, go back to consult your self-evaluation and your reflections.

Include your lists of likes and dislikes, and see if this whole thing makes sense for you and your family.

Keeping an open mind and a sense of adventure can go a long way to creating a happy move and finding joy in your new home. Follow these moving tips to start living your dream life where you really want to today!

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Kira Gould is a certified divorce coach and the founder of Getting Unmarried and Moving On. Want to explore what life after divorce looks like for you? Reach out to her and discover how to move through this time in your life gracefully with compassion, intention, and forgiveness.

This article was originally published at Moving On. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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