The Psychology of Moving to Atlanta

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Moving BoxesPrepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Moving is tough—no matter the circumstances, any time you have to pack up all your worldly possessions (read--old magazines, items you have been meaning to fix, kids’ drawings) and move them to a new residence is staggering for even the most organized and optimistic among us. When you've secured your dream job—five states away--and your significant other will have to leave their career, when life has thrown you a huge curveball and you are basically forced to move, when living alone is no longer safe---you have to deal with a bunch of emotional ups and downs along with the stress of the physical move to Atlanta.

One aggravation in moving is coping with the whims of the real estate business. You are a mature adult, esteemed in your community, and your life is completely in the hands of a bunch of people you have never met--what if your house doesn't sell? What if the people who put an offer on your house decide they want to buy another house? Suppose they demand you to leave the washer & dryer and the kids' sandbox? What if the appraiser sees the rift in the foundation that is sort of unseen behind the shrubs? Suppose the inspector discovers your new house has a bad roof or there is a gas station and travel plaza projected for across the street from your new subdivision? Here is the truth. You have no control over any of these things. The best you can do is to ensure that the realtor helping with your home and the realtor helping you with the new house are capable and do their jobs--and communicate with both to have a contingency plan should something unexpected happen.

Think about real estate transactions as a huge run of dominoes--closings usually depend on another closing happening on time. One hiccup several steps down the line can have an impact on your buyers timeline, and a similar thing goes for the house you're purchasing—unforeseen mishap may mean you can't close when you had planned, and you're up at night pondering how you are going to cope when you are homeless for a few days, or if you might be able to move into one of the moving company’s moving vans and set up camp.

Take a deep breath. One of the benefits of the recession is that real estate standards have changed and there aren't the number of last-minute updates with your closings. You should discover any potential problems far in advance of your closing time, and in case that something does vary, moving companies are very adept at working with changing timetables. If something does slow you down, you could have the choice of moving in a few days before you actually close--again, a good realtor plans for contingencies, so you don't have to stress about them.

Talk to your realtors and lender once per week before your scheduled closing to make sure all the inspections and repairs and whatnot are going as planned; being on top of it gives you at least a feeling of control, and if there is a speedbump you're not hit unexpectedly.

If something dreadful does take place, like if you're building and weather has pushed back inspections and you do not have the occupancy certificate several days prior to closing because the wiring is not finished, AND you have fixed closing date on your old residence and the movers are lined up, do not lose it. Most moving companies can provide temporary or long-term storage until you can move in your new residence, and your realtor can help you find short-term housing until your house is ready. Problems like these are very common, but when they do arise your anxiety levels skyrocket--so count on your team to help you deal with it.

Moving - Moving BoxesThe Emotional Stages of Moving

So, you are moving to Atlanta--and it may be welcome, it might be a challenge. You might be moving four blocks or four hundred miles away. Everybody's circumstances are unique, but people are mostly similar--the emotional rollercoaster just varies from residence to house. Some are kiddie sized, with happy Disney cars to ride in, and others mirror a death-defying, nausea-producing Loch Ness monster. The trick is to turn that roller coaster into a smooth ride with cheerful little people singing "It's A Small World" as you pass through your closets.

Some researchers and psychologists have equated moving--in any circumstance--to the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief model. Meaning, you feel denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

When you've built a life in one place, it is very normal to have mixed feelings about selling the home where you lovingly painted every room just the right color, where you brought your kids home, where you observed all those birthdays and other special occasions. If your move is not choice but necessity, it's alright to rage at the fates that have deposited you at the location where you are moving from your home because you have no choice. Be mad, shriek and scream at the walls and ask your family and friends for encouragement. Take some time attempting to formulate how to not have to move—perhaps your significant other could commute, or rent an apartment in the new city; if you require help keeping up with your house, you might be able to get live in help. Working through your choices, as insane as they could be, helps you work through the reality of moving so that it's a bit easier to accept it.

Then, you might spend a couple days or weeks in denial, of sorts. This is when your relatives ask if they might stop over and help you go through your things, and you fib a little and say you are almost done, when in fact you've thrown out two matchbooks and one pair of those disposable pedicure flip flops and don't have a box to your name. If you are really having a hard time with the specifics of purging and packing, have your family help you. Or, ask your moving company to pack things up for you—most full-service movers have professional packers who can either get you started or do the entire job for you.

In the end, you will accept the transition and change. It may not be the moment the trucks pull up, it could take several months. But the human spirit is a resilient thing and you will come to accept and embrace your new abode in Atlanta. That's not to say it will be without angst, but being agreeable to start a new life and doing new activities can ease the nostalgia for your old home and your old life.

The members of your family might all have the same feelings, although with varying degrees of ferocity--teenagers’ reactions will most likely a bit more aggressive than that of a younger child. If you're moving from your family home for senior living because one spouse is not doing well, then the more active spouse may feel more anger and denial. The important thing is to keep in mind that the emotional twists and turns are normal and it would be weird if you didn't feel sad or mad or a little upset during the process.

Keeping your move in perspective is critical to getting to the new home safe and sound. Your life isn't kept in the walls of your old house, your life is in the memories you've formed there. Keep in mind that you won't lose old friends, and that you'll meet new ones. And one day soon, you will open the front door and say to yourself, "I'm home."

Moving - Moving BoxesEasing the Transition

People are creatures of habit--even toddlers pick their snuggly stuffed animal and you’ll be in trouble if it is in the washing machine at nap time. So, when you move, you're lots of times shaking up all your habits in place and even when you are looking forward to the new home, the new life you've got to evolve around it is challenging to even the most even keel person. When you are moving and worried about establishing a new life for you and your family in Atlanta, here are some ways to assist with the transition.

Get your family enthusiastic about the relocation to Atlanta. If this translates to agreeing that your teenage daughter can paint a life-size elephant on her wall, put a smile on your face and get the paint. It might mean that finally you have enough yard for a dog—figure out what kind of dog you would like, and as soon as you are settled into your new home, head to the local shelter and find your new best friend. While you are at it, adopt two dogs, as everybody needs a pal. Let your boys put up tents and camp out in that big backyard. Of course, it its bribery of a sort, but it's all for the best and the thrill of new privileges and besides, puppies are hard to beat. And, if you are the one having a hard time with it, seeing your family settling in goes a long way to improving your spirits.

When you are moving, the information superhighway (if you're older that expression makes sense to you) makes the trip a lot smoother. You possibly scoured real estate websites to look for your new house and research schools and neighborhoods, so you have a decent view already of your new bubble. Use social media to link up with people--towns of all sizes have mom groups that offer all kinds of things from dermatologist reviews to the best swim lessons--and don’t forget that your new neighbors can be very helpful. Lots of neighborhoods have websites and online directories that tell you whose kids babysit, dog walk and rake leaves.

If you have children, transitioning activities is much more important to them than that dentist. Being able to jump right back into volleyball or swimming lessons or ballet keeps them active and helps them feel a part of their new community-the last thing you need is to have moping children around the home grumbling that they hate you and do not have any friends. And here is an interesting fact—research shows that moving in the middle of the school year is smoother for new students than moving over during the summer months. If you begin a new school at the start of the year it's more likely to get looked over in the craziness of the new year , but when you come in when school's in session, it is more possible your kids will make friends faster and be more interested in school.

The loss of a feeling of belonging can be a tough part of a relocation for the grown-ups. When you are accustomed to stopping by a neighbor's abode just because you see her car in the driveway, being in a new place where you don't know a soul is hard. Bear in mind that your new neighbors are most likely interested in meeting you, because they have probably said adios to their drive-by buddies and are wanting to meet the new neighbors (aka – you!). Walking your dog is a sure-fire way to say hello to the neighbors--their curiosity about you is high, and this gives you a low-key way to meet everybody.

The majority of churches and synagogues have newcomers’ groups that that you can join, and help you to work out how you fit within that community. Many schools welcome volunteers, so contemplate getting involved. And, if you're an affiliate of a national organization such as Rotary or Junior League your membership can be easily transferred.

Life changes are tough, but by allowing yourself and your family the okay to be a little sad about the past will help everyone accept the future.

If you are planning a move, contact A-1 Freeman Moving Group to begin on your free in-home estimate. We promise to do our part to make your move to Atlanta as seamless as possible.