Phase I: Discovery

The Discovery phase is the first step and most important part of your move. During this phase you will discover everything you need to make critical decisions about your move. The research will help you understand all of the costs you will incur, the impact it will have on you and your family, and help you decide where to live.

Work through each of the following three categories to gain a comprehensive understanding of how a move will impact you: Financial Impact, Social Impact and Destination Assessment. These sections break down the assessment into a clear and discernible process. Although the list is quite thorough, we can’t cover every conceivable topic so use your best judgment and add topics where you think they are needed. Download and complete the corresponding Discovery and Decision form while reading through each section.

How to Make Assessments

Finding information: Use as many sources as you can. The more information you can gather about any one topic the better off you'll be. Use your best judgment when you find conflicting information or ask a knowledgeable professional.

Discovery and Decision Form

  • Real Estate Agents: Your single best resource is a Real Estate Broker, Agent or Realtor in the
    location that you are interested in, regardless if you are selling, renting or buying. The Real
    estate community gathers their information from many sources including public, private and paid
    materials. This information will be up to date, plentiful and free to you. When contacting a Real estate office ask for their best agent and have that person prove their credentials with documentation.
  • Chamber of Commerce:  Most towns and counties have a Chamber of Commerce department that can provide statistics and demographics about their localities. It is a great, free way to find out information on population, median incomes, schooling and more. If the township does not have the information on-line, call the municipality directly.

  • Service Providers: You will need to contact service providers to determine the costs for certain items, such as a household good van line agent.
  • For Fee Companies: There are companies available for a fee to help you find a home, collect data, provide spousal job assistance, emotional support and more. If you are a relocating employee these services may be available to you through your company. If you are moving on your own the services may not be worth the cost.
  • The Internet: The Internet is a great source for information but be cautious and use good judgment with what you read. Not everything on the Internet is accurate, and many times the information supplied is biased and self serving to the company that sponsors or publishes the site.
  • Colleagues and friends: Co-workers and friends are great for anecdotal information, but be cautious of the advice they give you if they are not experts about the subject matter you need. 

Sorting your findings: Use the Discovery and Decision form in the Checklists and Forms section to record your findings. List a summary of your results on the lines provided, then use the form's thumbs-up section to tally your results. Rationalize and list whether your results are positive, neutral or negative. The more 'thumbs-up' you have, the more likely is your decision to move. Good luck!

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

Trailing Spouse AssistanceTrailing Spouse Assistance

Your spouse is following you on this important move, but what's on the other end for him or her? Finding a job or going back to school might be what's needed.


Taxes: Personal vs RelocationTaxes for Personal Moves and Relocation

You can deduct moving expenses on your income taxes as long as you move as part of a job change, regardless of whether a company is paying for it.


Moving Company MysteriesMoving Companies and Van Line Practices

More than 40 million household moves take place every year, creating a growing need for legitimate moving companies. Most companies are above board, but you need to be aware.


Packing Your OwnPacking Your Own Household Goods

You can save a lot of money by buying your own boxes and packing yourself, but are you creating more expense by not being properly insured?