Top tips for relocating

“Life is like riding a bicycle” said Albert Einstein. “To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

And while Einstein’s “moving” meant moving forward with your life, in practice it often included moving home too. In fact, he lived in six different countries during his life: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and finally the United States.

“Moving” can mean a new relationship, a new interest or, well, a new development in theoretical physics. But sometimes, as Albert discovered, only a new house can cut it. And that’s when you need our Relocation Report. Read it, and you’ll already be one up on Einstein.

Incidentally, you’ll notice that the initial letters below spell out “RELOCATION”. We mention this, because we wouldn’t want to have done it, and then you not notice. Anyway...

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R – Right Reasons

Moving is expensive and time-consuming, so make sure your reasons for moving are good, and that everyone in your gang – especially your partner – is on board.

So has the new location got the potential to make your lives better? Then go. Are there pros and cons? Then make two lists: one of what you’re gaining (bigger house, better job), and one of what you’re losing (some friends, some sanity).  

And resist the temptation, however strong, to burn boats. Don’t tell that pedantic boss, landlord, neighbour, exactly what they can do with their pointy finger. It’s only a five-minute pleasure, and the old boss could pop up as the new boss years later in a different town.

 

E – Employer Enforcement

A change of job is a major reason for moving. If the change has been your choice, that’s not a problem. But that move to a flimsy suburb of a depressed grommet-making town which lost its grommet industry 30 years ago may well be your employer’s choice.

So do you have to move when the company asks you to? That depends on your Employment Contract. Many employees in the UK have a 'mobility clause' in their contracts, which allows firms to move the workers when they want to, with reasonable notice.

If there is no 'mobility clause', then relocation constitutes a change of contract and the company will have to negotiate with employees. This is better for you; if they want you, you’re more likely to get some form of package to help with moving costs.

 

L – Look at Letting

Younger readers will have no problem with this – they’ll be used to renting their homes. Older readers, more used to owning, may take more persuasion.

The truth is if you’re moving to a new area you don’t know very well, then an initial period of renting might be a good idea.

You can rent a whole house, sub-let or move in with a friend for a while. It just gives you a vital few months to suss out the job, the people, the area, without the full commitment of an expensive new home.

 

O – Organise and be On The Ball

It’s never too early to plan. Grab a notepad or an Excel spreadsheet and write down every move-linked task you can think of.

Once you have all your tasks on paper/screen, organise them into categories. You can then start ‘time-lining’ everything out, so you have a sort of planning diary.

You’re right: hardly anyone does this. But they should. It saves having to jam dozens of unfamiliar jobs into random spare corners of your brain, like the latest clutter in a junk shop.

 

C – Calculate The Cost

As you read this, be aware that 100,000 UK households are currently badly behind with their mortgage repayments. Their biggest asset – a great place to live – has become their biggest problem.

It isn’t nerdy to have a budget plan before relocating. Write it down, and show it to someone you trust, for reassurance.

Remember everything changes when you relocate; not just the cost of your rent/mortgage, but also your salary, taxes, rates, travel expenses and just the general cost of living in a different part of the country. So plan...

 

A – Analyse In Advance

We know of at least two people who have relocated to a different town without ever visiting it.

Make time to scout out your new location; not just where your new home is, but also the travel-to-work time. Visit the nearest shops, medical centre, and – if you’ve got kids – particularly the nearest schools. You can’t visit too often.

And if you know someone who already lives here, use their knowledge too.

 

T – Treat It Like Tourism

You’ll get to know your new place better and more quickly if you pretend you’re a tourist for the first three months.

Arm yourself with up-to-date street maps of your city or town and the surrounding area as soon as possible. Get a few guidebooks too. Visit the Tourist Information Centre.

Find the fun in your new place - the landmarks, the best shops, restaurants, parks, places to visit, restaurants and cinema. And don’t forget to ask advice; treat your new neighbours, co-workers etc. like they’re tripadvisor or something. They won’t mind.

 

I – Instinct Is Important

Most often, gut instincts are good guides. The problem is that people don't always follow them.

If you've been spending time thinking of good reasons not to go, don’t go. You're not yet comfortable with moving on. On the other hand, if you can't stop grinning about this exciting move, you also have your answer. Take a leap of faith.

But being a bit nervous about the future isn’t a reason to stay put. Everyone gets nervous; some just hide it better.

 

O – Optimism Overload

Excitement and adrenaline will carry you through the very early post-move days, but you will need to be more disciplined when the honeymoon period wears off.

Remember it’s entirely normal to have doubts over whether you made the right decision in moving to a new village, town or city.

Stick to your plan for immersing yourself into your job and your community. It will be at least six months before you can legitimately compare the new place with the old place.

 

N – New Network

Start building a network of friends, contacts and places to go even before you move.  

Your new office might come with a ready-made set of drinking pals, a party a fortnight and a five-a-side team – but maybe it won’t.

Perform some web-based research to find local clubs, societies and networking groups that you may wish to get involved with. Shamelessly use your kids, if you have them, to launch your own social life.

Einstein didn’t have a theory of relativity that related to moving homes. But if he did, it would be this: be relatively organised, relatively realistic and relatively positive. That’s the way to make your relocation experiment a real success.