HGTV makes it look so easy. Sell a house, buy a house, and then move to a new town. And it all happens in one hour, with commercials. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. Relocation is often listed as one of the top three most stressful life events. Add children to the equation, and a family can feel as if they are navigating through a minefield.
This is a job for the professionals. “Relocation consultants help to insure that a family’s move to a new area goes as smoothly as possible,” says Susan Kellam, Director of Relocation and Corporate Services for Reinhart Realtors in Ann Arbor. Kellam offered some tips to families moving in the Ann Arbor area.
Do Your Research
Families should do their research before moving to any area. This can be as simple as visiting school websites or reading local newspapers and publications online. When visiting the area for house hunting, set aside time to visit local attractions like libraries, parks, museums and restaurants.
“Learn as much as possible about the area resources prior to actually moving here,” Kellam advises. “Take ample time to visit neighborhoods, schools, churches, etc., to become familiar with the area prior to actually arriving.”
Include the Children
Kellam feels that children should be involved in the moving process by accompanying parents on house hunting trips prior to the move. When choosing a new home and a new community, Kellam says that families need to examine their collective wish lists.
“Ideally, the house should include all of the ‘needs’ and many of the ‘wants’ that a family prefers,” Kellam said. “The best community is the one that fits the expectations of the family’s lifestyle and one that the family feels it can thrive in.”
Older children may have worries about their new schools. If possible, arrange a school visit before the move. “It’s helpful for school age children to visit schools to take the mystery out of what a new school will look like and feel like,” Kellam added.
Moving day can also be traumatic for young children. Kellam suggests a few ways to prepare for the big event. “Make sure that children have some ‘down time’ during the day, like walking to the park or playing in the backyard. Have some of their special items ready to open first thing so children have something familiar with them right away. Make sure there is ample food and water to get through the day!”
Get to Know Your Community
Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities are attractive to families, Kellam says, because of the many activities and events that the area has to offer. “Many of them are free and oriented to families,” she said.
When it comes to feeling settled in a new community after the move, Kellam offers some additional advice. “Get involved. If the neighbors don’t knock on your door to introduce themselves, then go to them with first introductions! Walking to the neighborhood park is a great way to meet other families.”