Moving For Work: 5 Essential Steps

Bobby Fenner, Lic. in VA
Bobby Fenner, Lic. in VA
Published on October 10, 2016

Relocating for work happens to almost everyone at some time or other. Perhaps where you grew up and went to school isn’t big enough or does not have the industry to support your family and or career ambitions, maybe your company promotes you to a higher and better position in their corporate structure or maybe your spouse accepts a job on the other side of the country. Regardless, there are several commonalities that are present in any move, and you should grab a moving checklist and a moving guide to get you started on the right track.

Print out your moving checklist and tape it to the fridge. Keep a folder of moving documents and understand which expenses are tax deductible when you are moving for work. Keep everything in this folder. It’s better to have too much information than to be missing the one document you end up needing. Once you have this firm foundation set, it’s time to jump into your relocation adventure.

Step 1: Understand Employer Benefits

Your employer may assist you financially. You should talk to your HR department about their relocation benefits before you accept any job offer. If you’ve already accepted a position, but have not discussed relocation benefits, it’s not too late. Start by getting a moving estimate so that your employer knows what the cost will be. Most moving companies offer free moving estimates.

Common relocation assistance packages often include lump sum payments, all or partial reimbursement of moving expenses, or the provision of a partnered moving company. Basically, your company could either give you a sack full of money based on what they think the move should cost, pay you back for the approved money that you spend, or introduce you to their preferred moving company that will take care of you from there. Or, they could tell you that you’re on your own. But don’t fret. You will make it through this!

Step 2: Time to Sell Out

Depending on the distance of your relocation, you will want to begin preparing to seriously downsize. The less things you own the faster, cheaper and more simple your move will become.

If you own your home you are considering relocating and now you have to put it up for sale give us a call or visit If you rent, review your lease agreement and understand what it will take for you to move out. Once your home is on the open market, or your lease expires, you’ll need to decide what you want to take with you. Go through your home and put all of your household goods into two piles: “must have” and “other.”

Tip: If you haven’t used it in three months then it’s not a “must have” item. Anything that holds sentimental value but is not a “must have” item can go into storage.

Everything in your “other” pile can now turn into money when you host a moving sale. This not only saves you the cost of moving nonessential items, but it puts some cash in your pocket. It could give you a nice boost in your bank account during a time when money may be a little tight.

 Step 3: Send the Scouting Party

You have the perfect opportunity here to create an amazing environment for yourself. What are some things that are important to you? Would you love to be five minutes from the office? Do you want to be on a golf course? Would you like a white picket fence and a huge yard to plant sunflowers in? It’s time to make that happen!

Make a list of your new home “needs”, “wants”, and “can’t haves”. Make an updated budget and understand how much you can afford to spend on rent each month. With this information in hand you can begin making a list of potential candidates. Go online. There are hundreds of online real estate and apartment listing websites. Start weening down your list to about 3-5 options.

It’s recommended that you rent in your desired area at first, if possible, especially if you are moving from a long distance. Renting will allow you to acclimate to your new community and see things that you weren’t able to see during your house hunting trips. This could prevent a disaster. A 6-month lease to familiarize yourself with an area is a lot safer than signing up for a 30-year mortgage after just one visit.

Step 4: I Like to Move it, Move it

You sold your house, sold all your household goods, and selected the perfect landing spot in your new community. Great! Now it’s time to move into your new life.

Choose a moving company to pack up and relocate what’s left of your stuff. Moving is exhausting and once you rent a box truck, pay for gas, and incentivize your friends with pizza and beer you’re not saving much money. If your flat screen T.V. or laptop gets broken then you will actually lose money. Plus, the last thing you need to do is throw out your back right before you start a new job. Seek out a moving company with a long history and a good reputation.

Bonus Tip: It is illegal for your moving company to ask for a deposit. If someone asks you for a deposit, choose a new company immediately.

Step 5: Settling into Your New Life

It’s never easy being the new kid on the block but there are some simple social hacks that you can use to ease the adjustment period.

Trick 1: Ask someone you know for a recommendation. People love to share their opinions. It’s a great way to break the ice.

Trick 2: Join a common-interest club. Whether you’re a fan a BMW’s or rock climbing, there is sure to be people with similar interests that meet up on a regular basis near you. Search for these groups online.

Trick 3: Make a goal to try a new activity at least once a week. Try to do things out of your comfort zone.

If you follow these five steps when moving for work you’ll feel at home in no time!

Bobby Fenner  is a Full Time Realtor with over 30 years experience in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Real Estate Markets. He and his team of Real Estate Pros offer the highest level of service.  If you’re buying or selling a Coastal Virginia home, call (757) 439-5779 or email [email protected] We’ll be happy to assist you in your move.


Moving For Work: 5 Essential Steps
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