How to Prepare for a Big Move to a New City


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All the planning in the world cannot actually prepare you for a big move as a family to a new city. The past few months have been absolutely maddening, but I would like to think that long-term, it is the best decision for our family. We decided to move from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Gainesville, Florida. Carrie lived there from 1997 – 2002 while working on her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and we have visited many times over the years. We determined together that it would be a really great area to raise our family. But as we quickly learned, moving as a family is much more challenging than moving used to be when I was a single guy or after we were married and childless.

{This is our previous home.}

We moved into our previous home in Spring of 2009 when Carrie was pregnant with Lydia. It was a simple move, from a 2/2 townhouse to a 3/2 single-family home just 10 minutes away. The process of buying and selling a home in completely different parts of the state can be very grueling, but I’m hoping through our experiences, we can help other people pursue their dreams of life in a new city. So here are my suggested steps to moving to a new city with your family:

Step 1: Find a community you love. Research schools and neighborhoods. Speak to people who live there. Look around to make sure there are lots of children within the community. Drive down random streets and through each shopping plaza to ensure all your favorite businesses are nearby. We found a community that had all the amenities

Step 2: Seek employment. Find out what the local job market is like. In order for us to move, I obviously had to leave my teaching job in my old school district and apply for new jobs in Gainesville. I submitted an application online, attended a job fair, and found jobs on the school board’s website that matched my skill set and career path. It was important to also know that I would have to take a pay cut, but since the cost of living is less in our new community, it won’t have too much of an impact.

Step 3: Prepare for the sale of your home. We made a few simple updates to our home that increased its overall appeal, like painting the master bathroom and bedroom, painting the front door, and sprucing up the landscaping. We tried to keep it spotless during scheduled walk-throughs.

Step 4: Find realtors. We were very fortunate that a quick internet search yielded us amazing realtors both in South Florida and North Florida. They were both very dedicated to helping us make our dreams come true.

{This is our new home.}

Step 5: Begin house hunting. The trick to house-hunting is being open-minded. Don’t judge a home by the photographs on a real estate website. Sometimes the aesthetics {like horrible old wallpaper and an outdated kitchen} can turn you against even checking out a home, but it may be worth visiting anyway. If the seller is willing to negotiate the price or the place can be easily fixed-up, you may be able to find your dream home! Be open to renovations.

Step 6: Sell your home. South Florida has become quite the seller’s market. Within about 72 hours, we had 9 offers on our home. This gave us the ability to really pick the most qualified buyer and accept the best offer on our home.

Step 7: Find a mortgage company. Our realtor referred us to a mortgage company that was able to offer us the exact type of mortgage we wanted. We knew we wanted a home we could renovate, so we got a mortgage that allowed us to bundle the cost of our home and the cost of renovations. This is simple with the assistance of a general contractor.

Step 8: Place an offer. We placed an offer on three different homes. With the first two, we were denied because we had not sold our home yet. The third one was accepted. With the home selected and a contractor who was able to evaluate the cost of our desired renovations, we were ready.

Step 9: Apply for a mortgage and complete the process. The process of getting your mortgage approved is very tedious. We had to send and sign so many documents. Each time we thought we had finished, there was more to do. Keep your goal in mind each time you feel frustrated.

After that, it’s just a matter of packing and selecting the right mover. Then you and your family are ready to relocate! Sounds simple enough, right? Well, remember, I had to complete all of that while working my normal job, helping take care of the children, getting in some exercise, and supporting Carrie as she moved through this process. We also wanted to make sure we were enjoying our life in South Florida while we were here {like when we took a trip to the Keys the end of April}. That’s not an easy task, and it was certainly exhausting. That’s where it’s time for the natural caffeine from green tea in Emergen-C® Energy+.*

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About Richard Wells

Richard Wells is an English teacher, husband, and father of two young children who lives in South Florida.

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One Response to How to Prepare for a Big Move to a New City

  1. I’ve done those moves – it can be nerve wracking, but I’m so glad it worked out for you! #client

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