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sylph

Done a long-distance move? I want to hear from you!

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Thinking seriously about taking hubs and the cats and skedaddling for places distant. Picking up and moving 2,000 miles to get to better weather, better environs, and somewhere we actually want to live, rather than just where our families deposited us into adulthood.

 

Current worries:
Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.)

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly)

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about)

Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz)

Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months

 

So, if you've done it, or something similar, I'd love to hear how you dealt with the above (or didn't) and what you wish you'd known before embarking on such an endeavor. This is totally an underpants collection exercise, but a valuable one, I think. I want to do this, but I'm also vaguely terrified to take the plunge.

 

:)

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I've moved countries a few times now and the take away for most of your concerns is suck it up and deal with it. :P And that nothing's permanent.

 

26 minutes ago, sylph said:

Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.) - This one I can't really help with as I've never owned a house, but as a guideline my instinct would be to do everything locally as much as possible. I don't think making lots of trips would help as you won't really know what it's like to live somewhere until you're actually living there.

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly) - They'll adapt. I'd try to keep their routines like eating schedules etc and environment as consistent as possible, but really they'll be fine.

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place - First of all remember nothing's permanent. If you hate it you can move again, it sucks but it's no big deal. The way I usually do it is to look at a map and mark downtown, work, the circus places (very important) and based on the public transport connection I draw a circle that has a radius of x minutes commute/walk to each important location. That narrows down my neighbourhoods. Then I just google them for prices and availability and opinions, if they're known for it's nature or for their clubs or whatever. Once you narrowed it down a bit further, and if you have the opportunity, I'd travel to the city and wander around and see if you fall in love in any of them. Finally you just have to try. Of course if you work remotely or it's a driving city you might be more flexible in your approach, especially since you don't have kids that you need to bother taking into account, but that'd still be my basic approach.

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about) - There will inevitably be surprises, but you just deal with them as they come along. If it's important you'll find out soon enough. Especially when it comes to taxes. ;) A quick google for moving to country/state/city will lead you to government/local council pages with the most important info, but I wouldn't let that dictate your choices in any way.

Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz) - I just do everything on a as I need it basis. Google is your friend. 

Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months - You just move back. There's no shame in that, it's just a bit of hassle that's all.

 

Let me know if you want more elaborate answers. But the main point really is that IT WILL ALL BE FINE. Sure some bank or government official or some random asshole will inevitably give you uphill with paperwork at least once, but then you just grumble a bit about it and do it anyway. And of course the logistics of moving is a PITA, but again, you just deal with it. It's only temporary and that annoying initial phase doesn't last very long. On the flip side that initial phase is also a lot of fun at the same time, when you keep discovering new places and settle into new routines. And it's definitely worth a try to find somewhere where you actually want to live! :) 

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A few things coming to mind:

 

3 hours ago, sylph said:

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly)

 

Depending on where you move, find out about regulations regarding pets to make sure you can import them and bring them back if needed (check both countries for rabbies regulations in particular, chipping, paper work and so on). Then there is the travel itself, in particular if you travel by plane (airline regulations vary). To get in the UK, at the time, my only option was by boat and I had to follow the pets' scheme. Had I known earlier I would have gone through the procedure earlier, and avoided pension's time for my 2 cats :(

 

3 hours ago, sylph said:

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place
Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live?

Rent first. I'm not sure just traveling there a few times really help that much. This is a sort of knowledge that come by living there with your own constraints (commute and so on).

Can you rent your current house or is it easier to sell?

 

3 hours ago, sylph said:

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about)
Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz)

Not sure where you are going, but if it's a new country you will need to sort out your tax status. Sort out social security if it applies. Know legal requirements to be entitled to work there or stay there unemployed for a while.

Depending on where you go, you might be able to find help and todo list to go through, locally and online.

Find out in advance what is required to open a bank account... (if it's a new country, it can be painful when you need a residential address to open an account but need an account to be able to transfer money and rent a place.... been there :blink:)

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I've moved countries a few times now and the take away for most of your concerns is suck it up and deal with it. :P And that nothing's permanent.

 

 

Let me know if you want more elaborate answers. But the main point really is that IT WILL ALL BE FINE. Sure some bank or government official or some random asshole will inevitably give you uphill with paperwork at least once, but then you just grumble a bit about it and do it anyway. And of course the logistics of moving is a PITA, but again, you just deal with it. It's only temporary and that annoying initial phase doesn't last very long. On the flip side that initial phase is also a lot of fun at the same time, when you keep discovering new places and settle into new routines. And it's definitely worth a try to find somewhere where you actually want to live! :) 

Thanks, m'dear. I know you've done this a few times, so really value your input. Especially the 'circle on a map' strategy. 

 

Hubs is an engineer and I'm an over-planner so we both have a tendency to over-think and over-orchestrate everything. :) I'm trying to forestall whatever possible roadblocks and figure out what we can do to make things go as smoothly as possible. Recognizing that everything won't go perfectly and we will have hiccups is excellent advice.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, @mu said:

A few things coming to mind:

 

 

Depending on where you move, find out about regulations regarding pets to make sure you can import them and bring them back if needed (check both countries for rabbies regulations in particular, chipping, paper work and so on). Then there is the travel itself, in particular if you travel by plane (airline regulations vary). To get in the UK, at the time, my only option was by boat and I had to follow the pets' scheme. Had I known earlier I would have gone through the procedure earlier, and avoided pension's time for my 2 cats :(

 

Rent first. I'm not sure just traveling there a few times really help that much. This is a sort of knowledge that come by living there with your own constraints (commute and so on).

Can you rent your current house or is it easier to sell?

 

Not sure where you are going, but if it's a new country you will need to sort out your tax status. Sort out social security if it applies. Know legal requirements to be entitled to work there or stay there unemployed for a while.

Depending on where you go, you might be able to find help and todo list to go through, locally and online.

Find out in advance what is required to open a bank account... (if it's a new country, it can be painful when you need a residential address to open an account but need an account to be able to transfer money and rent a place.... been there :blink:)

 

 

US (midwest) to US (southwest) so most of the financials and animal-related bureaucracy isn't too worrisome. Health certificates and rabies vaccs are always up to date, so I'm not too worried about that bit. The actual trip (either by car or via plane) is going to be rough on all of them as they all hate the cat crate, with varying levels of vociferousness. There will be tranquilizers involved regardless, but I want it to be as easy as possible on them (and us). Then the fun times of finding a new veterinarian (as opposed to the one <5 mins from my house, that I worked at in high school and have been seeing my family's pets since I was 6 years old.

 

We'll definitely have to sell our house here as managing a rental long-distance is not something we want to do. Currently, I think we'll find a short-term rental/sublet while we're here and sell the house essentially uninhabited (rather than full of clutter and cat things). Then rent for a little while (up to a year?) on the other end while we figure out neighborhoods and where the good grocery store is and how long it takes to get to the movie theater or the ER/ED or the mall or whatever...

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9 hours ago, sylph said:

Current worries:
Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.)

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly)

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about)

Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz)

Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months

 

I have moved a lot, but most of it was international so much of my experience may not apply to your situation.  Probably a lot of this you already know, but adding my 2 cents anyway:

 

Selling the house - Long distance selling is a huge PITA so unless you have a really great agent that you really trust, you will want to get that taken care of before you leave.  However, selling a house is a huge unknown with regard to timeline unless you live in a really hot real estate market, so you will ideally want to have a flexible moving schedule so that you don't end up selling before you are ready to move (and end up renting), or stuck hanging around because the house isn't selling (new place sitting unoccupied waiting for you to arrive).  What I have seen a lot of families do is to have part of the family move first (usually wife & kids) while the rest stay back & finish everything off.  Sometimes it works the other way around because of work so the husband/primary breadwinner moves first while the rest of the family takes care of the outstanding affairs.  Work scheduled often do not align exactly with housing timing so you may want to keep this under consideration.

 

Finding the right neighborhood - I agree with the other comments that short trips are not going to really give you a feel for the area, so it may be good to rent for a while while you get to know the area.  Also, it makes it easier to cut bait if you decide you want to move back or go someplace else.  Depending on what you are planning to do kid wise, checking out schools should also be part of your neighborhood search.  If you do not expect to be putting kids through school there, you may be able to find more affordable housing because the houses near the good schools tend to be pricier because the demand is higher.

 

Daily hassles - In my experience, most of the hassles come from commute times (finding places that are close by vs the places that best match your needs). In the end you will need to make some compromises, but if you have to settle too much, it will sour your whole experience there.  Again, this is why renting until you know where things are is often a good idea.

 

Getting re-settled - This one is probably the easiest of the bunch, but it depends a lot on how well the above items go.  For the most part, though, it just comes out as luck of the draw.  You may get some great neighbors who help out with getting settled in and you are able to quickly make some good friends there or it cold be awful with creepy, nosey neighbors and all the places you want to go are filled with jerks.  This one you really don't have much control over, so all you can do is play your cards and see what you get.  

 

 

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I have little experience trying to move a household but just want to chime in with encouragement and excitement for this endeavor! 

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Did about 10,500 miles, England to Australia, few years ago.

 

On 1/2/2018 at 1:02 AM, sylph said:

Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.)

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly)

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about)

Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz)

Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months

 

Okay, numbering points:

 

1) There are pros and cons to every avenue, and in the end the best advice is to do what works for you.  When I moved I slept on my grandma's couch for a month after my lease was up just to get my finances and paperwork in order without the stress of added bills.  That's not entirely possible for everyone.  If you operate better with a deadline, sell the house when you're living in it and then short term rent there.  I know a couple of people who kept their old house and leased it out as a secondary source of income.  

 

2) Other people have better advice on this, I rehomed my kitty with my ex, she didn't travel well.

 

3) If you've not vacationed there, take a vacation.  Go for a couple of weeks, rent a car and drive around.  Find neighbourhoods you like the look of, go back after dark and drive around again.  A neighbourhood during the day can be completely different after dark.  

 

4) You've always got time in advance to do your research, make lists and think about this stuff.  When I got here the amount of stuff I urgently needed to get done was actually a lot smaller than what I thought it would be.  I needed tax documentation, a medical card and a bank account.  I'm discovering other things as I go along, but nothing has sprung up on me suddenly enough for me to go "Whoa, this has completely thrown my entire living here out of whack!"

 

5) Resettling is pretty easy, to be honest.  Do your research on things like banking beforehand and you won't have to stress about them.  The rest is an adventure.  Life isn't set in stone, you can change a doctor or a grocery store pretty easily.

 

6)  Then you go back.  Or you pick up and go somewhere else new.  Avoiding new experiences for fear of the unknown is a recipe for monotony.  I know plenty of people who are quite happy with their static, unchanging routines.  But for those people, the idea of moving 2000 miles away wouldn't even occur.  Personally, I would rather take on the experience of a mistake, than spend the next 20 years wondering what could have been.

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Since 2005 I have moved from CO to KS to OK to AL to WA to GA to AL (again) to NM. 

If you have more than an apartment's worth of stuff, hire somebody to move you. Some stuff will get broken, just be prepared and put the irreplaceables in your car. 

I don't have cats, but my Lab is getting up there and as long as she is with us, she is fine. 

Driving through Texas is the absolute worst. Mostly it is boring, with nowhere to stop and eat, then you get to Dallas, which is a horrible city to drive across. If you have to go through Texas, take the long way around Dallas. 

City-Data.com is good for learning about where you are headed, but like everywhere else on the internet, there are people who will try to make everything sound terrible. If you are moving from a rural or low-crime area to a city, understand that all cities have crime, but they also have nice parts of town with low crime. Learn these areas before you sign a lease. 

 

Some people hate moving and will never do it, but people who never see anything more than 30 miles from their place of birth have a very narrow perspective. Moving is stressful, but it shouldn't be terrifying and you shouldn't avoid it out of fear.

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If you want to do it, do it.

Shifted cities within NZ (800km), then to Scotland (kind of a cheat shift as there are similarities, just not with the accent, and linguistically easy as a version of english is spoken in both countries). 

 

There will be hassles at both end of the shift - its an excellent chance to shed belongings, and inevitably you keep the wrong things, and discover that replacing other things is way more awkward than anticipated.......  I certainly appreciated renting to get to know my new home town (well, buying was not an option at the time), but it gave me opportunites to try out different areas, and eventually settle.  Random info - I shifted with two suitcases of stuff, followed by shipment of semi-essentials, leaving other things in storage for quite a few years.  It was worth the storage/shipping fees.

 

One thing that massively helped me was getting out and doing some community things soon after shifting - meeting people who have nothing to do with your work is incredibly useful.  Creating a network of friends from different areas made me feel at home.  For me it was also a sight unseen shift - so reading up about the area and town and local culture was incredibly helpful for deciding whether to go for the shift. 

 

A big shift, and a shift into a different culture (which it sounds like you'll be doing) is an amazing opportunity for adventure.  It also can be an amazing opportunity to enrich your partnership with your husband - my parents shifted from NZ to Sweden for about 17 years, then headed back again - their shared new joint experiences really strengthened their marriage (I guess this could go either way - in their case it was a positive).

 

15 years on, I still miss regularly seeing people (friends and family) from nz, but am delighted to be living where I am, no regrets at all for my big shift.

 

Good luck with it!  How exciting.

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On 1/1/2018 at 11:02 AM, sylph said:

Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.)

Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly)

Finding the right neighborhood in the new place

Dealing with the unknown daily hassles (car inspections or city taxes or whatever it is that a long-term resident would take for granted and I'd have no idea to even think about)

Getting re-settled in a new place (doctors and grocery stores and bank branches and all that jazz)

Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months

I've moved a lot, both nationally and internationally, and this is what I've picked up:

 

I've never sold a house so I can't help there.

 

Talk to the vet about possible medications, strategies, etc. They can be really helpful with travel ideas and also strategies for introducing the cats to new environments and possible issues that might arise.

 

If you know people there, start talking to them now. Online resources can be helpful too. For instance, if you're in the US, see if your new area is listed here: https://www.movoto.com/guide/move-to/

Or here: https://livability.com/find-city

Or go through the forums here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/#u-s-forums 

If you really want to get into the weeds and see the worst part of that city, visit Topix.

 

Read the local paper for a bit if you can. And find crime rates. See what people are complaining about when they write to the editor.

 

I also can't help with daily hassles except making a list and making sure to go through it as soon as possible when getting there. If you can get some stuff done beforehand or right after you get there (like moving your registration to vote, once you have an address), go for it. That way you won't forget.

 

If you can do any research in advance, like once you find a place but before you move there, I'd recommend it. When talking to realtors or whatever, they can often give advice. Also some sites like Zillow or whatever sometimes have information on the neighborhood, like schools in the vicinity and such. Doctors can be a bitch to deal with, especially if you have a chronic condition. There are usually hospital networks that you'll be able to search through, but I would also use online listings as often as possible just to see what kinds of things come up. You can use sites like LifeScript, RateMDs, and HealthGrades, though keep in mind people generally only use sites like those when they love or hate a doctor. Still, it might give you a good idea if you see someone with a lot of shitty ratings.

 

If it happens, it happens. It'll suck, it'll be expensive, but it's not the end of the world. Just move back and appreciate the experiences you've gained as a result.

 

Another piece of advice: Get rid of as much shit as you can now. Even if you are like, "Oh, I regularly go through and donate/sell/throw away old stuff." You will hate yourself if you start unpacking and you're like, "I don't even know where the fucking put this piece of shit." Decide what to keep, not what to throw out.

 

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I'm not sure I have anything terribly original to offer, but I've moved 8 times in 11 years, including one international so I figured I'd chime in.

 

1) Selling the house (and order of operations around this--sell, and short term rent here? Short term rent there? Make lots of trips there to find a good place to live? Sell from long-distance? Ugh.) Call several real estate agents in your city. Most agents worth their salt will come out to your house and do a free assessment. They'll tell you whether they think they can rent it or sell it or what have you. I'm fortunate enough that I managed to rent a former dwelling at just above the monthly mortgage. For rental properties, the US tax code allows you to write off one trip a year (airfare, hotel costs, etc) to check on the property. (Or it did at any rate. I haven't checked on it lately.)

 

2) Upheaving three cats (one of whom is getting toward elderly). The worst part of moving cats is the actual transportation. Mine did NOT like being put into carriers and cried all the way. They adjusted to their new digs just fine once I let them out.

 

3) Finding the right neighborhood in the new place: I'll second the utility of sites like Zillow and City-Data. Wikipedia is another good resource for understanding the city to which you're moving. Personally I usually rent at one of those extended-stay motels like HomeAway for a month or two while I'm getting my bearings in the city. That's my time to drive around, see houses in person, walk the neighborhoods in both day and night time (an oft-overlooked change) and get a feel for the neighborhoods I want to live in. Some moving companies will hold your belongings in a warehouse for short period (90 days or less) until you have a new address in your home city.

 

6) Deciding it was a terrible mistake and wanting to return in a year or eighteen months. That depends on why you're moving. Are you moving just to get away? Are you moving to get a job? Are you moving for better schools? The "why" is probably the most important question to ask here. I move for work, often, but I'm not the "putting down roots" type, so I rarely have that regret.

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I moved from Indy to Colorado then to Nebraska

 

Indy to Colorado - We half jumped into it. We did a quick visit once to scout out the school Hubs wanted to go to. Then we packed up 90% of our crap and the cat and moved Hubs there. I stayed in Indy because I had a semester of school left. We got sedatives from the vet for the cat but all it did was turn the frantic "meowmeowmeowmeow" into a drugged "mmmmeeeeooooowwwwmmmmmeeeoooowwww". We ended up putting him in the car that was being towed behind the Uhaul for our sanities sake. We didn't have a place lined up, just stayed in a hotel for a few days while we searched for an apartment. We got him an apartment on a 6 month lease which was great because we learned pretty damn quick it was way too far away to deal with long term. He scouted around and found us a house to rent in a much more central area. 5 months later I moved out there with my dog and the last of the stuff. Dog traveled great and wasn't a problem.

 

Colorado to Nebraska - We did a couple of scouting trips and met with a realtor to look at houses. Then I moved out 3 months before him and got a 3 month lease on a furnished apartment. I got a job and found us a house. He visited to check out the house and agreed so we bought it. We closed the day after he drove out with all of our stuff in a moving truck and unpacked right into our house. We flew out a couple of friends from Indy to help with the move. I don't remember where the cat was, but I had a momma dog with 4 one week old puppies in the car I drove, our roommate had my two male dogs in her car. There were rats somewhere too.

 

Moving itself, not so bad as long as your somewhat flexible and okay with being uncomfortable short term. You've done all the adulting stuff like registering cars, getting licenses, doing your taxes before so you just have to figure out the nuances of your new area. DMV's are used to explaining rules to out of staters and won't get upset if you don't know you need an inspection (Colorado needed them, Indy and Nebraska do not).

 

My biggest regret was buying that house. Partially because we were young and dumb (22) but also because we didn't know the area well enough. We weren't settled and didn't know what things looked like long term. It worked out okay since I changed jobs a couple of times and went for my Masters in a town the opposite direction from the house as Hubs job but we were hobbled by having a house we couldn't sell (oh yeah, we bought in 2008.....) in an town we didn't really want to live in. We finally sold it (for sale by owner, I can talk about that too if you want) and moved to the city both of our jobs are in in 2015 and are much happier for it

 

Beyond that my biggest piece of advice is to have money saved up for it. Moving doesn't have to be super expensive but it will nickel and dime the crap out of you with drivers license fees, pet licenses, deposits, boxes, gas/plane tickets, utility hookup fees, etc, etc

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