General Question

erichw1504's avatar

Have you ever relocated for a job or known someone who has?

Asked by erichw1504 (26420points) June 30th, 2011

By the end of July I will be moving to Virginia for a new position within my company. There is still a lot to do and things to figure out. Like, moving expenses, finding a place to live, figuring out how to get all of our cats down there, and more.

So, what I want to know is if any of my fellow jellies have relocated for a job (or know somebody that has) and could give me some tips.

How did you find a place to live? Did you have to get a hotel room or did you secure a home before you even got there? How did you move all your stuff? Did the company give you any expenses? Did you get a U-Haul and do it yourself? How far away was this new position? Did you have any pets at the time? Anything else you could tell me about the experience?

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20 Answers

geeky_mama's avatar

Oh man. I’ve moved quite a bit for work and for love.

The biggest pains are:
-Finding a new dentist, doctor, trusted car mechanic…blah blah blah. You get the idea. The full network of people you know to call when something goes wrong. Starting over in a new place means having to rely on Angie’s List or a trusted coworker in the new location.
-The whole move. It’s never easy, even when you’re relatively light on material possessions.

I have friends who’ve been relocated by their company. The company paid for their car and home furnishings to be hauled cross-country and for them to stay in an “extended stay” type hotel for the first few months while they house-hunted. Company paid for it all.
If your company offers this, I heartily suggest you go this route. Resist the urge to accept a rental that is anything other than month-to-month initially if you can…and if you can stay in an extended stay near your new employer initially while home-hunting this is best.
Take the time to look for a new place to live..don’t feel guilted into being in the office..considering finding a Buyers Agent (a realtor – even if you’re not going to buy a house yet) to discuss the best areas in town to live for you and your family. They’ll know where the schools are best, which neighborhoods are mostly young families, etc.
Most buyers agents will jump at the chance to help you-even if you only intend to rent now—because you WILL want to buy eventually, and so building the relationship is a good thing.

Friends that have recently relocated (DC back to MN) tell me that they made several trips house hunting—both for their DC rental (when they were moving to DC for a couple of years) and then before returning to MN.

I went the U-Haul route because I left my job to move cross-country. (OH to MN)
Last time I did this my wonderful future in-laws came with my future husband and helped me move from my 3-bedroom house over 2000 miles. I packed in advance of their arrival – so we loaded the truck and took off. I drove with my (future) MIL and my dog in my car, my (future) FIL and fiance drove the UHaul. The U-Haul sucked eggs and had mechanical issues—but my fiance is a handy mechanic so he did his best to keep it running (since UHaul was NO help)—which required a few stops for parts and MacGuyver style side-of-the-road fix-it sessions.

I suppose my one bit of advice would be: once you get there resist the urge to settle quickly. I recall that you’re expecting..and your wife will no doubt want to set up the nursery (the nesting instinct is REAL!)...but if you end up at a place that you don’t love it’s that much harder to move with an infant.

Hopefully you can make some trips together to find a place to live that meets all your criteria (close to work, doctors, pediatrician, shopping—but in a really nice area you’ll enjoy living in..and Oh, affordable!)..that’s probably the key to happiness in your new location.

Another thing to remember: banking. You may need to, depending on how national the presence of your current financial institution is, need to set up new bank accounts. That’s one of the first things to do—‘cause you need that before you set up utilities & bill payments for the new place and so forth.

Good luck! Enjoy the adventure.. hope your new home is wonderful. :)

dxs's avatar

Yes. Not me, but it wouldn’t seem to bother me saying as I am pretty cosmopolitan anyway.

marinelife's avatar

We moved for a job four years ago and then five years before that.

If the employer is going to provide moving expenses, they usually tell you that in the offer letter, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

We traveled to the new location for three days (once paid by an employer, once on our own) in advance to look for a place to live.

We flew the first time and took out cats, left them in the rental place with someone to come in a feed them twice a day.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Excellent tips @geeky_mama!

How did you find a place to live? All of the moves took place before the internet, so I relied on the apt. brochures. A few friends have used a placement agency.
Did you have to get a hotel room or did you secure a home before you even got there? I had a hotel room/suite first, but I was in the hotel business. It gave time to get familiar with the area and check out locations before making the final move.
How did you move all your stuff? Did the company give you any expenses? Did you get a U-Haul and do it yourself? In all cases, except for the first, the company covered the move. It was fantastic having the agency come in and pack up all of the belongings. Only one time was there any damage done (to a chair), and the company paid to have it repaired to a like-new condition.
How far away was this new position? Did you have any pets at the time? Anything else you could tell me about the experience? I’ve moved from southern Va. to the DC area, to Minneapolis, to Chicago, and then to Memphis, all work related. For several of the moves, I had a cat. She went with me in the car to the final destination, as well as any plants. If I recall correctly, professional movers would not take plants.
Anything else you could tell me about the experience? Yes!
—It was really helpful to talk to co-workers and get their opinions on where to live and recommendations. Ask for co-workers’ input on locations and recommendations, based upon your immediate needs. Get your hands on a detailed map of the area. The internet is great, but the insight of less unbiased opinions of others is valuable.
—Should you choose to stay in a hotel at first, look into the tax laws. The company may pick up the tab, but if there is an expense to them involved, you may have to claim it on your taxes.
—And speaking of taxes, read up on Virginia state taxes for budgeting purposes. You will have to file a state tax report each year, in addition to federal. The costs for owning a car is different than some other states, including licensing and property tax.

The best of luck to you and your family! Virginia is a wonderful state for many reasons, and I hope that y’all enjoy living there. If you would like information on a specific area, feel free to send me a PM, and I’d be glad to help you out if I can.

MrFacade's avatar

My career requires much relocating, so I could offer a few suggestions:

1) Ask your employer how much they’d be willing to assist you with the relocation. Never hurts to ask. My employer pays for my hotel for a few weeks to a couple months while I secure a home. Not all employers are that nice, so you should know before you go. Also, figure out HOW you want to move your things (whether you want to rent a truck or awkwardly stuff it all into the back of your car is up to you).

2) Find a reasonable, affordable, and safe place to stay temporarily (hotel, motel, even check Craigslist for people in that area that might be renting a room/basement for really cheap) and also a place to keep your belongings temporarily. You don’t wanna move all your cherished belongings before you have someplace to move them to (that’s including your pets and sometimes even your spouse/S.O lol).

2) If possible, before you move there contact a realtor in the area that can offer you some photos/info of places to live via email OR compile that information for when you arrive on DAY 1. Let them know what you’re looking for (rent, mortgage, size/accomodations/pet rules) so they can tailor their search to your specific needs (especially since you have cats). Since you might not find what you want immediately (although you hope you do), keep the lines of communication wide open between you and the realtor, and just go about your day to day like you need to.

3) Meanwhile you can make acquaintances in the area quite easily through your new job, so ask them if they know people who are renting/selling as well. The realtor is helpful, but you can still employ your own efforts as well. And don’t feel bad if YOU find a place before the realtor does. It happens, and you are not obligated to take them up on their offers, even if they’re super duper nice to you.

4) Once you or the realtor secures a place, start making the arrangements to acquire your personal possessions from wherever they’re stored and haul the hell out of it in as few trips as permissible. After the struggle of hauling all those things, wrangling up the kitties and whatnot, get cozy and relax. Unpack and organize your stuff over a few days, not all at once (unless you’re a masochist like me). That’s it!

I’ve made the long relocation from NY to VA once. VA is such a great place that you kinda don’t mind the stress associated with moving there. I hope you enjoy your new life and your new job!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@erichw1504 “How did you find a place to live? Did you have to get a hotel room or did you secure a home before you even got there? How did you move all your stuff? Did the company give you any expenses? Did you get a U-Haul and do it yourself? How far away was this new position? Did you have any pets at the time? Anything else you could tell me about the experience?”

I relocted so many times that I lost track! Usually the company will pay for all your relocation expenses. We kept our home in the old location while we took several trips to find a new one, always at company expense. I stayed in a motel at the new location while my family was still at the old home. The company contracted with a moving company to move all our stuff. We moved from Georgia to Kansas, from Kansas to Maryland, from Maryland to Virginia, from Virginia to Upstate New York, from New York to Cincinnati, from Cincinnati to North Carolina, etc. Yes, we always had pets, which we just kept with us to travel to the new location with us.

Just be prepared for your expenses to increase temporarily, even with the company’s expense-paid relocation. Be prepared for at least one item to be broken in the move. Try not to underestimate your expenses, such as “earnest money” on a home, deposits to connect untilities, etc.

tranquilsea's avatar

We moved when I was 7 months pregnant with our 3rd child. When we found out he got the job I went out with my husband for a week (the week he was on orientation) and looked for a rental. This happened during a massive boom in the city we were moving to. It took all week to find just one landlord willing to rent to us. My husband moved first so he could get some things set up and he stayed with a friend.

I was left to pack up our house with a two year old and a four year old. I had help from family. I made sure to get recommendations from our, then, current doctors for new ones in our new city.

We hired a moving company to pick up our stuff as there was no way I was making a 1000km U-Haul drive with toddlers and seven months pregnant. Moving companies here in Canada can be scammy so I did a lot of research into reputable ones before choosing one.

We can claim moving expenses (for work) on our taxes so we just saved our receipts.

The process of finding new dentists, doctors, car repair etc. took a few months. I only started looking when we needed one. As with anything we didn’t like some and kept looking until we found professionals we did like.

If we made the same move today I would use to find people to connect to.

crisw's avatar

We are preparing to do this.

In addition to all the great stuff above, the City-Data forums are a great place to ask locals questions.

bkcunningham's avatar

We moved every couple of years for my husband’s job. I am really an expert on moving and relocating. First, his company paid all of our moving expenses. A secretary arranged for a company, usually Graebel movers to come into our home and do an inventory of our belongings, send packers and then movers to relocate us. We never touched anything as far as packing or moving except for emptying our boxes at the new home.

We just did this ourselves, at our own expense, recently for our retirement move. I was surprised how cheap it was to have Mayflower do the exact same thing for us. Very reasonable considering the cost of fuel, time and labor involved for us to do it ourselves.

We always started by asking the secretary at the new location where other employees lived. Then we looked on Craigslist and online classified ads in the local newspaper and contacting a realtor in the new location to show us listings.

The company put us up in a hotel while we did the search for the new home. All of this before a date was determined for the packers and movers.

Where are you moving in Virginia? I may be able to help you.

erichw1504's avatar

I see pretty much everyone who has responded has had their company provide assistance of some sort with their move. My company is only providing me with someone to give me info on where to live and what to do, no money or movers to help. Luckily I have one last move I can use from the Air Force and they are doing it for us!

MrFacade's avatar

@erichw1504, glad you’re getting the Air Force to help you. ANY assistance is better than none. Businesses are getting pretty stingy these days.

bkcunningham's avatar

@erichw1504, it cost us around $5,000 (give or take a few hundred) for Mayflower to pack us and move us from Pennsylvania to Central Florida. We moved a three bedroom house with garage, approximately 2800 sq. ft. home. Consider that if you have to pay. It was well worth the cost after we priced Uhauls and such.

Do you know the county where other employees live? Are you going to have to use public transit and need to be close to the Metro?

I lived in Prince William County in Woodbridge, Va. We lucked into a really nice five bedroom condo in a golf course community on a wildlife preserve called Belmont Bay. I can get the man’s name and number for you in a PM if you are interested. The develoopment has a website. Really nice. I think we paid about $1,900.

We lived in a really nice, but really small (about 980 sq, ft,) townhouse in Arlington. The man who owned the place rents it as an executive, fully furnished with all utilities included for about $2,800 a month. We lived there six months. I may still have this gentleman’s name as well if they would work.

Many of the younger couples we knew lived outside of Old Town Alexandria. Super cool area. Some really inexpensive (considering the prices in the area) homes and duplexes. Older homes in older neighborhoods but within walking distance of some good places to eat and drink and hear live music.

YARNLADY's avatar

Most of the others have covered the important stuff. One suggestion I have is to be sure and visit any place you want to live on a Saturday, when all the residents are home, to get an idea what it’s really like. We were very unhappy with our temporary apartment on the weekends.

We found a house in a neighborhood that really fits our needs. Be sure to check the crime reports on the internet.

bkcunningham's avatar

That’s a good idea @YARNLADY. Did you live in Northern Virginia?

tedibear's avatar

I moved after college for a teaching job in Georgia.

How did you find a place to live? My dad was friends with a realtor, who called a realtor where I was headed. She told us the nearest appropriate town for us to move to. (I was moving with a high school friend who got a job in the same district.)

Did you have to get a hotel room or did you secure a home before you even got there? We stayed at the Holiday Inn for 3 nights before we found a duplex to move into. In retrospect, I would have stayed their one more day until the electricity was turned on!

How did you move all your stuff? A 1983 two-door Ford Escort hatchback with a top carrier. And it broke down on the way! Yeesh, what a way to start.

Did the company give you any expenses? Nope. It was a dirt-poor school system in rural Central Georgia. They could just afford to pay us.

How far away was this new position? According to google maps, 905 miles.

Did you have any pets at the time? No. Though we did have some pet fleas in the apartment very briefly.

Anything else you could tell me about the experience? Be open to learning about a different culture – not just at work. Go exploring and ask questions of the natives!

beyonceboy's avatar

Yes my cousin did. I want to relocate too.

linguaphile's avatar

I hope I’m not repeating any of the things people said above- all of the information they’re providing is excellent—altogethr, I’ve lived in 7different states (AL,FL, DC, MT, AZ, SD, MN) and moved mostly for work.

What I’ve learned about renting is—don’t be afraid to use Craigslist or the classifieds. I’ve found the cheapest options there, not on or the other ‘advertised rental sites.’ There are pros and cons related to renting from a person and from a management company—know those pros and cons before you decide. I had terrible experiences with management companies related to their money-grubbing corporate structure, but that’s just me.

Don’t take just anyone’s advice for where to live, not even your good friends’ unless you have very similar socio-economic and educational expectations. One really, really good friend of mine suggested we live in Northfield, MN because it was cute, little education and art filled town. Yes, it is, but it’s also one of the most expensive in that region and I didn’t realize just how ‘tony’ my friends were until I moved here and balked at the rental prices there. I had a similar experience in Tucson. I was told this school had excellent education—yeah, excellent rigid, inflexible cookie cutter education that generated good test scores but not good thinking skills. So go by your values.

The same goes for dentists, doctors and hairdressers. People choose their service providers based on their values and what they like. It might take a year or two to find a great mechanic, groomer, etc, but don’t be afraid to switch if you don’t like the service provider you started with.

Be aware of any possible crazy-ass hidden unspoken nuanced cultural rules. That one got me bad in Minnesota- no rule book for this state. Even things like time management, food preparation, party hosting, talking about problems, holding the door for people, interacting with children, showing gratitude, declining and accepting favors- all influenced by culture. (Example… Minnesotans decline things 2 times before accepting the 3rd. If you don’t offer 3 times, they might take offense. They plan everything 2 months in advance. You can look and aww at their children, from 5 feet away- any closer, you get a dirty look and don’t expect them to respond if you talk about their kids. Minnesotans host potlucks in their own home and tell their guests to bring hotdishes (gasp! a horror to this hospitality-trained Southerner), they apologize after mentioning anything that makes them upset… Maybe I should write the rulebook :D ).

Even if it makes things a tad awkward at first ask how people do things in that area. A tad awkwardness in the askin’ is a heck of a lot better than the awkwardness and embarrassment of feeling like you’re in a cultural house of mirrors!

geeky_mama's avatar

Oh @linguaphile..I hear you. I’m also a transplant to Minnesota from the south and I agree with you so heartily..though I think @erichw1504 will not experience any such crazy nuanced cultural differences in VA. I think MN is pretty it’s..uh, culture.
I about died the first time my (native born) husband told me we’d be entertaining guests in the garage. (Garages are where many people have Graduation and Birthday parties here…or the potlucks where people are asked to bring a hot dish).

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