Deciding to Move 

Deciding to move to a new home is a huge decision that needs careful consideration. Moving is not only a financial burden, more importantly it affects relationships and can be the cause of unanticipated emotional distress. Begin by working through the two steps below to start your decision process. Before finalizing your decision you should consult with a family member or friend and ask for their advice. Often by speaking with others you can get a broader perspective that will make your decision easier. If you are planning to move a family along with you, they are the people to speak with first. 

Step One: Why Move?

There are a multitude of reasons to move, each of which is personal in its own way. But the single most important question you need to ask yourself is, ‘why move’? All to often people uproot their families only to find out that moving was not the right thing to do. Let’s break down the question 'why’ into two categories labeled WANT TO and NEED TO.

Want to: when you want to move the decision process is a bit easier. 'Wanting' simply means that it is something that you would really like to do. Generally you have no outside influences forcing you to make a decision, unlike if you need to move because your company relocated. If this is the case you can slow the thinking process down a bit and apply good rational thought to your decision. Some examples of wanting to move include:

    • Moving on up: maybe you came across some found money or got that promotion; congratulations!

    • Get closer to family: wanting to be close to family is not just noble; it’s always smart to have them nearby.

    • Schools and neighborhoods: there is nothing wrong with wanting to move to a better neighborhood.

If your answer to the question ‘why move’ is because you want to, lets be cautiously optimistic and jump to step two to see if it's the right move for you. Even if your heart says yes, it may not be the best social or economic decision at this time.

Need to: when you need to move, regardless of the reason, your decision is more difficult just due to the added stress alone. Needing to move assumes that you believe there is no other choice available to you. Although this may be true, you still need to make that final decision. It could just be that there is another way out of your situation. Some examples of needing to move are:

    • Loss of Income: when your income is reduced due to job loss, divorce or some other situation, usually the first thought is to sell the home and move to a lower cost area or home. The fact is that mortgage companies may be able to modify your loan or defer your mortgage payments. Speak with them first before making your decision.

    • Job Relocation: Whether you applied for a new job or your company asked you to move, think twice. Your first thoughts are out of pride just knowing that the company wants YOU for that job elsewhere. However, often and too frequently employees move to a new location only to find that the job soon becomes obsolete or the company structure changes, leaving them out of a job in an unfamiliar community. In some cases it may make more sense to find new employment and stay in your current area.

There are countless other reasons why people think they ‘need to’ move. However, as with the examples above you should test that need to be sure there is not an alternative option. Moves are costly and psychologically taxing, so move on to step two to understand more.

Step Two: Research Your Move

Now that you’ve answered the question ‘why move,’ you’ll need to do some research to understand the impact that it will have on you and your family. The more information you can get up front, the easier your decision will be, even if the research takes some time to compile. Don't overlook this process is the most important part of your entire move! Gathering all of the information you need to know now will help all of the other processes fall into place later.

The proper research for your move will be broken into three categories: Financial Impact, Social Impact and Destination Assessment. Each category will have a variety of topics that will aide with your decision to move.

Decision Process Chart

Detailed views of the categories are listed in the Discovery Phase of ReloTutor, along with a chart to help you with your final decision. Click here to begin researching your move in ReloTutor’s Discovery Process. 

The Decision

After completing the Discovery Phase discussed in step two and completing the matching Discovery and Decision form you will be ready to make your decision. What did the decision process tell you? Do you feel in your heart that it is the right thing to do? Did you discuss the pros and cons with your family? If your answer is still 'yes' then review the Move Timeline section and start your move by reviewing The Move Process.

Move Acronyms

AMSA  American Moving & Storage Association

CWT   Cost per one hundred pounds

DOT    Department of Transportation

PBO    Packed By Owner

SIT     Storage In Transit


Real Estate Acronyms

BPO   Broker Price Opinion

CMA  Comparative Market Analysis

FDR   Formal Dining Room

MLS   Multiple Listing Service

TI      Tenant Improvement


Relocation Acronyms

CRP   Certified Relocation Professional

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

FMV   Fair Market Value

MVA   Market Value Analysis

PCS   Personal Change of Station (military)



Also see Definitions and Terms

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