Are you ready to move someplace new, but wonder how you can avoid a moving mistake? No one wants to waste money, time and stress on relocating only to end up with a bad case of mover’s remorse. The pressure not to screw up huge.
So, how can you avoid a moving mistake?
For starters, you can avoid making the same mistakes my husband and I made when we moved from a city in Texas to a tiny town in Iowa.
Moving mistake #1: Going about it in a rushed, disorganized way.
Researching locations online is an important part of your search process. But you don’t want to rely too much on online research. A location that looks amazing on paper could be a complete disappointment in person.
There are many things about a place you can only know if you see and experience them for yourself. That’s why getting “eyes on the ground” is crucial to help you avoid a moving mistake.
Scouting out a place in advance allows you to gather your own first-hand impressions, so you can make a more informed decision. It’s also vital to create and follow a plan, allow plenty of time to do your due diligence on your scouting visits, and not rush your decision.
We did not do any of these things.
I drove out to Iowa with only a vague idea of where I was going. To make matters worse, I gave myself only three weeks to find a place. Because we were in a hurry to move, I was determined not to return to Texas empty-handed.
We had four cats and a rabbit at the time. When it became clear renting was not an option, the scouting visit became more about finding a house to buy and less about where the house was located.
Which leads us to moving mistake #2.
Moving mistake #2: Putting the house before the place.
We were excited to find an affordable old farmhouse in a small Iowa town 30 miles outside of Iowa City. What we did not realize was just how much we would dislike living in a small town.
It wasn’t just the unsettling feeling of losing all the anonymity we had enjoyed while living in a city. (When you live in a small town, you are under a microscope at all times.) We missed having easy access to city amenities and social opportunities.
We regretted not slowing down and thinking through our decision more carefully.
Finding an affordable house is great, but it’s important to consider where the house is located. Unless you plan on staying in your house at all times, a more sensible approach is to first find a compatible location and then look for housing.
It’s also crucial to leave your rose-colored glasses at home.
Which brings us to the third moving mistake.
Moving mistake #3: Focusing on the idea, not the reality, of a place.
Living in big cities most of my life, I often dreamt about what rural living would be like. I spent many weekend get-aways in small towns over the years and imagined it would be idyllic to live in one.
Several years ago, my husband and I embarked on a monthlong road trip across the Midwest and ended up spending a lot of time in Iowa. We loved Iowa so much, we spontaneously got married in the tiny northeastern town of Elkader.
Soon afterwards, we decided to leave Texas for good. Buoyed by fond memories of our honeymoon and the area’s relatively affordable cost of living, Iowa became the focus of our search.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear that we acted on a lot of baseless assumptions. We focused more on our pie-eyed idea of what living in a tiny rural town would be like than the reality – and we paid the price.
Making sure you’re being honest with yourself about what your hopes, dreams and expectations of a place are versus what the place is really like can help you avoid a moving mistake.
Looking on the bright side.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have taken a totally different approach.
First, I would have focused our search on places that were aligned with our priorities, needs, interests and goals. Second, I would have crafted and followed a scouting visit plan for the locations on our short list to either confirm or disprove my online research findings. And third, I would not have based my decision about where to move on whichever location I found an affordable house.
Then again, there is a bright side to it all.
Had I not made these moving mistakes, I never would have gone through the experience that inspired me to create The Spark System to help other women in midlife and beyond find and move to their dream location – and avoid a costly and humiliating moving mistake!
Take the guesswork out of your search.
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