Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Advice on Moving

It's very strange, packing up my things and getting ready to move out of this lovely little apartment that has been home for the past year or so. And yet, it feels very right to be making this move.

Funny, I don't think about it until other people comment on how unusual it is for a woman my age to be making a move like this so quickly.

At any rate, I thought I would share some of the lessons I'm discovering as I get ready to move:

1) Organization. Totebags are great for packing things that need to go in the car. No wasted space, they conform to whatever shape I need them to be, and I can organize them. Each essential category--car, health, new home, etc.--can have its own totebag. Of course, as a writer, I have lots of totebags from all the writers conferences I attend. But truly it helps. When I get a call that the insurance agent needs certain information to write the policy on my new home, I know exactly where to find what I need. And when I get there, I will know how to find what I need quickly.

2) Books. The postal system has a great rate for media/book mail. Mind you, you must be careful to follow the regulations but if you do, it's a great rate.

3) Change of address. You can do a change of address online and even ask the post office at the other end to hold mail until after your move in date.

4) Arranging services. Sometimes it's faster and easier to call rather than try to do it online, even though we're all accustomed to doing things online these days.

5) Allow time to laugh as you pack. It's a great way to reduce stress.

6) Make lists. Lists are helping me remember the million and one things I have to do every day to get it all done in time! They also reduce stress because I'm not up half the night worrying that I will forget things.

7) If you go househunting, make sure you know what you can afford BEFORE you begin to look. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking at a home you love but can't really afford OR not looking at one you can.

8) Finances. Banks these days will lend people mortgages for fairly generous amounts. More than might be wise for YOU. Know yourself and what level of cash reserves you need to feel comfortable/safe. You do not have to buy as much house as a mortgage broker would allow. Take into account ALL expenses--mortgage payment, property taxes, homeowner's insurance (& PMI if you put down less than 20%), utilities (including water and sewer, phone and cable).

9) Get prequalified for a mortgage (and boost your credit score if you can). Also, know whether in your area houses typically go for more, less, or at asking price.

10) Know that your credit score affects everything from interest rates on mortgages to insurance rates to getting a job.

11) Know what you want and need in a house and keep looking until you find it.

Well, back to packing. Back to saying good-bye to a place that I've loved and get ready to move to a place I love even more.

If any of you are getting ready to make a change, good luck! May you discover just the right place for YOU.