It's time to move, what do I do?
Recently, I was contacted by a young military couple who were moving to the Ft Carson area. They were looking for a home, and couldn't decide between buying or renting. At first, I assumed the wife was calling from their old location preparing to make the move. As we talked - I soon realized that they had moved here with 3 kids, 2 big dogs and had made no plans other than to get in their truck and start driving to Colorado. They had been in a cheap hotel for about 2 weeks when they called me. As I listened to their plight, I felt sorry for these kids, who were running low on funds, feeling pressure to find a place to unpack their vehicle and stop eating out at every meal.
It was obvious that they didn't know what to do when it was time to move and they needed to rent rather than buy, so I set up a rental property search, ( a courtesy I provide), then took them around to several choices. They eventually settled on a place close to the army post.
Back in the day of our military moves, we were assigned a sponsor who would contact us 6 weeks ahead of time and help us in the transition. Maybe in today's tech-centric society, everyone assumes they know what to do when it's time to move and can just do it all on their smart phone. Well, you can, but you do need to pick up your phone and start the process 6-8 weeks before you hit the road with the kids, cats and dogs.
- Decide if you're buying or renting, then contact a REALTOR or a property manager. Start the weeding out process before you move, looking at the properties online. Pull up the address on Google Maps- zoom in and you will get a pretty good idea of what the neighborhood looks like.
- Research the school districts. Colorado Springs does have open enrollment ( your kids don't have to go to the neighborhood school.)
- Once you've decided which part of town you want to live in, go ahead and search for temporary lodging close by that will be your base of operations until you find a home. Ask for pet accommodations, military discounts, additional portable refrigerator and microwave. Hotels even have rooms with connecting doors inside the room, so you don't have to go out in your jammies to check on the kids next door. Several chains also offer hot breakfast bars - when you don't have to spend $40 each morning feeding the kids at IHOP, the savings add up.
- Now that you've unloaded your car, call your REALTOR to set your showings and start the house hunting process - actually looking at the homes that you previously selected. When you're walking through the home, be sure to look for subtle signs of problems: dried water stains on the basement floor - this house probably has sewer pipes backing up. Is the roof going to keep you and yours dry? Are there cracks in the walls and foundation? Do the neighbors have loud dogs that will keep you up all night? Sex offender registry? (a smart phone app)
- Great - you found your dream home. Now it's time to call the movers and schedule the delivery date. I've always found it very advantageous to have pizza and a cooler of drinks on hand for the movers. Plus, they work way harder than I can imagine and I want them to take care of my stuff!
- Go to your school of choice and register your darlings.
- Call the cable, phone, satellite, newspaper( yes I do!) and utilities to get them started.
- If you're going to add accent paint inside the home, use the time before your goods arrive to do this. It's so much easier to paint an empty room! Add your dressing mirrors behind the bedroom doors and extra cabinetry in baths if needed. Unpacking is a breeze when you have a place to put everything.
- Before the movers show up, walk through the house and decide where your zones will be: linen closet, pantry, coats, medicines, junk drawers etc. If you can scrounge a few pallets to put your extra boxes on - they can save hours of messy work, should your basement pipes back up.
That about does it! Taking a few early steps, and knowing what to do when it's time to move will have a huge pay off down the road. It's no fun being in a car packed to the windows, driving around having no idea where you're going to live. Do yourself, your family, and your REALTOR a favor - plan ahead!