Just the thought of relocating is enough to make some people reach for the aspirin.

Moving from one home to another can be stressful enough, but that stress can easily more than double when you're relocating to another city or state.

Whether it's for a job or personal choice, relocating is a big step that involves careful planning to avoid the headaches that frequently accompany this type of move.

It can take anywhere from six to eight months for someone to really call the new environment home. That's why taking care of as many important tasks as possible before the move can help to ensure a smooth transition.

Here are some vital things to consider before you commit to a new location.

Motive for Moving

Your motive for moving is very important. For instance, if you're moving to care for a loved one who is ill, the move is already more stressful than if you were relocating to take another job that perhaps is paying more.

Consider the pros and cons of the move and how your family will be affected. If kids are part of the move, involve them in the process by doing things such as collecting magazines from visitor's bureaus, Chamber of Commerce and real estate firms. Let young children make collages using pictures from the magazines that feature activities they'd like to do in their new town. Give older children journals or video cameras to document the move.

What Your Dollar Can Buy

Many people are eager to move from one location to the next but they sometimes forget to consider the difference in the economic environment, such as how much house their money will buy.

Moving from a small town in the Midwest to San Diego will surely create severe housing sticker shock. But if the motive is right for your move, then you're likely to still enjoy relocating despite having to compromise your budget.

Research the new city online using city comparison calculators. Many sites have them and they are easy to find by searching for relocation tips on the Web. Also, call friends, real estate companies and escrow firms for various reports on the housing industry. When you visit the town, stop in at local libraries and review past periodicals to see what the local newspapers are covering. It's also a good way to see the types of open houses that have been held in the area you're considering. Another excellent resource is relocation software; it takes your financial information and applies it to the city where you are relocating. The Internet can be your best resource during a move. I found www.rpsrelocation.com particularly useful.

Make Your Home Showable

When you know that you're going to sell your home to relocate elsewhere, it's time to make sure that it's showable. Realtors have a saying: The way you list a home and live in a home are two different things. To get your home ready to list it's a good idea to take advantage of the homestaging services in your area. Homestagers will prepare your home to show and make it appeal to the masses. This service can be the difference between getting top dollar for your home or leaving money on the table, especially when you're in a time crunch.

Temporary Housing

Many times when people relocate they have a need for interim housing. Your Realtor can assist you with finding somewhere to stay while you're selecting the housing that's just right. But the most important thing is to alert your agent about that need. Also, make sure you are pre-qualified before house-hunting; this process will give you and your agent a better idea of a price point for your home so that no time is wasted looking at the wrong properties.

Career Transitions

In a job relocation move, one spouse has their new position secured but frequently, the other spouse is left to work out their future job transition and that can be difficult. Start by subscribing to local periodicals in your new city. Make use of career counselors and headhunters in the town. Job database banks and professional networking groups will also provide invaluable information.

Make Children's Needs a Priority

Relocating is generally hectic, but some of the hassle can be alleviated by making sure the kids are going to have as seamless a transition as possible. Be certain to get school reports, crime statistics, information on extracurricular programs, daycare providers and health facilities in your new area.

Before You Pack

Make sure that you have necessary medications, paperwork and any other essentials that you don't want boxed up for days or even weeks.

Strategically planning ahead and doing research on your new city can ward off problems and minimize potential headaches.

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