Change, even for the better, is stressful. When a colleague suggested she was thinking of buying a house, I went into my “moving consultant” mode.  Even before re-reading “Is Virginia for Lovers?", February 2017, Journal of Research in Personality, I wrote her saying, “Before making a move, think about a location that centers you.”  

As I began making a list for her, the list kept getting longer because each thought generated another thought. Despite some Springtime snow that we have been seeing in regions throughout the country, March is the time for house hunting particularly for families with children. The goal is the move in the summer so that children can be settled for the beginning of the school year.

While we often do read about moving tips, we do not often read about the effects of geographic location on adults.  In the study, "Is Virginia for lovers? Geographic variation in adult attachment orientation," researchers pointed out that people moving to a different region might encounter not only moving stress, but also regional frustration. The study examined a sample of 127,070 adults from the 50 United States.

"The states that were highest in attachment anxiety tended to be in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the United States. The states that were highest in attachment avoidance tended to be in the frontier region of the United States. State-level avoidance was related to state-level indicators of relationship status, social networks, and volunteering behavior."

How much moving takes place in the United States?

According to the 2016 Census Bureau, 11.2 percent of the population moved in 2016. Among those who moved, 42.2 percent wanted a new or better home/apartment. For others who moved 27.4 percent said it was family-related; 20.2 percent employment-related reason.  

Moving involves a lack of predictability which affects children and adults. You can take some of the guesswork out of the move by asking yourself some questions even before you pack. Your answers may alleviate perplexing decisions. With pencil and paper -- walk around your home and make a few lists.

  • List One:  Note all that you love about your home from sunlight and closet space to great views.
  • List Two: Name all of the drawbacks of your home from that barking dog next door to the heating system.
  • List Three: The benefits of your present neighborhood and the drawbacks.

Here are 20 questions to consider when you are about to make a move:

  1. What do I want in a space that I call home?
  2. What do I consider an ideal location, community, or neighborhood?
  3. How much can I afford in terms of rent, mortgages or condo fees, taxes, car insurance and parking fees?
  4. Must I be concerned about schools either because I need them for children now or in the future?
  5. Is there sufficient storage and closet space?
  6. How much upkeep will it require?
  7. Do I want move-in condition or am I willing to renovate?
  8. Are bathrooms up to date?
  9. Are kitchen appliances under warranty?
  10. How close am I to my nearest neighbor?
  11. How safe is the neighborhood?
  12. Is the area built up or am I likely to one day find a construction crew in my backyard?
  13. Will the roof need to be replaced anytime soon?
  14. Will we be drinking well water or city water?
  15. Do I want a home that is overlooking the water?
  16. Can we walk to shops or a grocery store?
  17. What is the time frame of a commute to work?
  18. Do I want city or suburbs or proximity to outdoor sanctuaries?
  19. Can I find a community of poets, writers, academics, or athletes?
  20. Did I interview realtors and find one whom I can trust? 

As you can see, 20 questions can easily become 40 questions or even more. Thinking about the process and taking control will make it less likely that you will be swayed by the thoughts of others.

The gratitude factor:

To keep anxiety at bay, try gratitude. Express gratitude for the place you currently reside and the place you expect to be. Start a journal so that you can record the happy memories you experienced in your present home.  And if memories were not always happy, wave them good-bye and look forward to a new chapter in your life. Whether it is the city, suburbs, an academic community or a rural area — walk the neighborhoods until a street, a road, a path suddenly says “Home.”  

Copyright 2017 Rita Watson

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