I am in the business of encouraging people to move, but I will be the first to admit it is not always easy.
This is an excerpt from my biography:
“We fell in love with the Venice/Sarasota area on vacation, went back and sold our real estate office, put our home on the market, and made the move to Florida! Now I get to share that experience with others. It is common for folks to discover this area by accident, and eventually make it their home.”
Wow! That sounds so simple!
Just like that. We like it. We are moving. Done.
Of course it was not that easy.
The decision to move is always tough because there are so many variables:
The Logistics of Location Changes; Finances; Emotions; Jobs; Friends and Family; Timing; Emotions; Planning and Implementation; Home Selling; Emotions; Home Searching; Fear of the Unknown; Packing; Closing and Moving.
Did I mention it is also an emotional time? It can be a roller coaster as you think excitedly about the future, and then remember all of the good times you have had in your current location, and the friends you will leave behind. The greater the distance between locations, the higher the peaks and valleys tend to be because things seem more “permanent” from miles away.
There will be ups and downs wherever you live, that is part of life.
I have friends and clients who are struggling with the decision right now, and it is prompting me to reflect on our big move, and put something in writing that may be of help to others in the years ahead.
Marci and I moved to Florida from Michigan with our daughter Belinda eleven years ago. It was a big move and many people thought we were crazy! We could tell, even if they didn’t say it. The fear in their eyes and concern for us was obvious.
Belinda was a fourth generation native to South Haven. Suffice to say, there were a lot of friends and family in the area. Most of my family was within three hours, a big change from twenty one hours away after the move.
We owned our own real estate company and were well established. People knew us and would simply call up and say, “Come list my house” or “I’m ready to find a new home.” That is a good position to be in.
My biography says we fell in love, sold and moved. What it doesn’t say is “we made the decision”. And that was the turning point in how things went.
November 2005. When we first returned from that fateful vacation we did not start making plans to move to Florida.
Just the opposite: We made an offer on the office building we were based in. That would have been a commitment to stay put for years and years.
The landlord had been marketing the property for months, with a “for sale by owner” sign in the front window of our real estate office.
Yes. Think about that!
He said, “I can’t list with you, you are my best prospect. And I won’t do you the disservice of listing with someone else.” Months pass and he is not negotiable. So upon returning from Florida, I wrote the contract up. His price, his terms, everything he wanted.
And he didn’t sign it.
I was puzzled. “Is there anything in this contract that is not exactly the way you wanted it?” I asked.
“No. You put in everything I asked for, but my attorney…”
I quit listening. If I couldn’t buy it on his price and his terms, then obviously I wasn’t supposed to buy it at all.
So then we made the decision to move to Florida, right?
No. We spent the next couple of months in La La Land. Not sure what we were going to do, or where. Just going through the motions of life, and running the day to day operation of a real estate brokerage. It was a successful company, so we didn’t feel any impetus to make a change. But there were conversations and ideas floating around. We just didn’t have anything decided.
The key seems to be, figure out why you are going (or staying) and make the decision to commit to that course. That is when the paths open up.
February 2006. We made another trip to Venice three months after our first one. This was not a vacation. We visited the high school our daughter would attend. Interviewed with several real estate brokers and learned what we could about the area that we were smitten with but knew nothing about.
Moving was a crazy idea, flat out. We would be jumping into a new market where no one knew us, starting from scratch. And not knowing what the future held, moving into one of the hardest hit markets in the country as the real estate crash unfolded.
The conversations were not easy. “We are well known and established” I would say. “We have agents working for us in our office. This affects a lot of people.”
But I also didn’t want to live with the regret of not doing things we wanted to, while we were young enough to enjoy them.
We had talked for years about moving to Florida when we retired. We vacationed there three or four times a year. All over the state.
One of the most compelling things Marci said was, “Do you want to move to Florida before, or after, the Baby Boomers do?”
I am the first year of Generation X. The Boomers have influenced my entire life, but I am always on the tail end of the trend.
We decided we were moving. We just had to figure out the What, When, How and Where. The Why was settled.
Because we were unknown in a new area, and our house hadn’t sold yet, we rented at first. It was a flurry of activity once the decision was made. Looking for a place to live; deciding on what brokerage to work with; getting things lined up for Belinda at school. We initially were thinking of just closing the office, even though some had mentioned we could sell it.
The day I followed up on the idea, I called someone who knew the decision maker at a brokerage we heard was looking in the area. The very next day, the decision maker was standing in front of our office when we drove past. Before I had the chance to call her, and my contact had not called her. It was fateful, and yes, we put that deal together.
It wasn’t all instantaneous. Our office sold in April and Marci moved to Florida right away. Belinda moved in August to start school. Our house didn’t sell until November, and I moved full time in December.
Moving to Florida at the beginning of the real estate crash was like jumping off a cliff. However, we are still glad we did it, even though it was not easy.
I just told Marci I was working on a piece that would help folks understand there is a lot to the decision making process, using our move as an example. She replied, “Our move was easy. Things just fell into place.” I agreed, “Yes, things fell into place, after we made the decision. Until then, we were just in limbo not knowing what to do.”
A lot more could be written about this subject. Let me close now with this: it often is a lot more involved than it appears on the outside. However, once you commit to the course of action, the path opens up. We didn’t have any answers when we decided, but the decision caused us to find the answers as we went along.
It takes some faith, whatever that means to you. In our case, I prayed that God would open and close doors as He saw fit.
Decide. Commit. Keep your eyes open to opportunities as they present themselves. The hurdles are just to test your resolve.
It’s your life, make the most of it.
All the Best!
Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO
Re/Max Alliance Group