As New Jersey faces single-digit temperatures this winter, my family and I dream of moving to a warmer climate.
We frequently vacation in Florida - from the Florida Keys up to St. Petersburg and Orlando. The gorgeous beaches, picturesque palm trees, and sunshine are all-too inviting and captivating. I spend hours on apps like Zillow and Trulia, fantasizing about the homes I see and brainstorming decorating ideas. These apps, plus text marketing for realtors, makes asking questions and gathering information so easy!
My husband is due to retire in 2019, which means our hopes are to be settled in a home by the fall of 2020. With a young son, there are several things we need to consider before deciding on a final destination.
Here are just a few of the things to consider when moving out of state.
My son will be 10 years old and be entering 4th grade when we move. This means he’ll be smack in the middle of his school-age career, which means finding a good school system is extremely important.
Websites like GreatSchools.org are actually affiliated with realtor sites like Zillow. When you find a home you’re interested in, the nearby schools and their ratings are displayed for you. This is a huge help as a mother considering relocation.
Great Schools uses not only standardized test scores to calculate a school’s rating, but also academic progress, college readiness, and discipline and attendance data. The schools are ranked from 1 through 10. This is an invaluable tool and one of the first things I reference when considering a town or area.
Another important factor when moving with a family is the type of neighborhood the home is in.
Some neighborhoods are more family-friendly, meaning the streets have sidewalks, the development offers several cul de sacs, and children can be seen playing outside. Take note of whether or not your prospective new home is located near busy roads or highways. These factors can be both dangerous and noisy!
Are there necessities within driving distance? An attractive neighborhood will have all of your daily needs in close proximity, from grocery stores and banks to a post office, convenience store, and even shopping mall. Consider the types of stores you frequent most and calculate their distance from your home.
The commute from your home to the nearest grocery store isn’t the only one you need to consider. If you or your partner will be working, you’ll want to calculate the distance between your home and your office. This commute will impact several aspects of your life from childcare for your children to the type of car you drive, and how early or late you can leave in the morning.
You can research if there is public transportation available nearby. This might aid in your commute and cut down on wear and tear on your vehicle. How far are the public schools from your home? Schools offer busing, but your child might also be considered a walker or be able to ride their bike to school, depending on proximity. You can also drive your child to school if that works for your schedule.
Market and Affordability
Let’s be honest - the greatest factor most people consider before purchasing a new home is the price. When you begin your research, you’ll likely have a budget in mind of what you can and cannot afford. This figure can fluctuate based on your ability to obtain a mortgage, the projected taxes, inflation, and necessary repairs. These are all things you should consider before agreeing on a price.
Hiring a realtor is often a good idea, especially if they are familiar with the area. Realtors have a unique perspective on the market and whether or not property values are on the rise or decline. They’ll also have insider knowledge about the neighborhood and surrounding areas. If there are new developments or businesses entering the area in the near future, this might be the right time to buy. It never hurts to gain a professional’s opinion and perspective.
Make it a Family Decision
At the end of the day, the entire family needs to be somewhat accepting of the decision to move. Of course, as the parents, my husband and I will decide on our final destination, but there are ways to involve our son in the process.
We often “talk up” Florida - emphasizing the warm weather and potential of owning a home with a pool. My son loves to look at houses online with us, as we pick out the things we like and don’t like about each one. He makes small requests and I listen to them. When the time comes, he will most certainly join us in our search and help decorate his room. I want him to feel involved in the decision making process.
My husband and I are agreeable on moving to Florida. Though we’ve discussed and dreamed of moving to the Keys, we’re slowly realizing that a more suburban neighborhood might be necessary for our son. We’ve now turned our focus on the Rotonda West area.
No matter where we end up, we’ll need to do our research and plan ahead. Moving is a huge decision and investment for the future. One that I’m extremely excited for!