We never considered living anywhere else until the pandemic – a move can get you more space, a raise and possibly more sun if you broaden your horizons. Learn why and how we did it.
My husband and I met in college in what we deemed (and still do to some extent) to be the greatest city, New York. We both grew up in Queens and the furthest we ever considering moving was Long Island. I mean we were both bonafide New Yorkers – my favorite memories growing up were visiting museums down museum mile with my father after school and then strolling down the Central Park Conservatory Garden before heading back home. After my father passed away shortly after our engagement, I couldn’t look at any venues – it wasn’t until we returned to the Conservatory Garden that I felt it was the right place, beautiful, romantic and I could feel and remember my father’s love there. We got married at the Central Park Conservatory Garden and we picked our reception venue, Terrence on the Park in Flushing, because it had a great view of the city skyline.
Why did we move then? While there are several factors to consider these are the ones that influenced our decision to move West to Texas:
- Home prices: We’d been saving up for over six years in New York but every time we thought we had saved enough we were disappointed with our savings could afford us – New York median house prices increased by over 40% since we started to look in 2014. In Texas, we paid less than the NY medium house price and got more square footage in the house so we can grow into it, and a bigger backyard which is huge since my husband loves gardening.
- Taxes:Income taxes in New York took about 11% of my gross income which is already pitiful as I struggle to make ends met. So while many companies are deciding to keep salaries and bonuses low or flat, you can possibly get a small raise if you can negotiate to keep the same salary.
- Weather: Don’t get me wrong I love seeing snow fall in New York, but having to shovel my sidewalk and dig out my car is not my favorite. What we loved about Texas was that is is moderately warmer, 8 months of fall/spring weather, 2 scorching summer months and 2 months of a mild winter with hardly any snow ever. New York is 4 months of winter, 2 months of spring or less, 3 months of summer and 3 months of fall. Yes, there is rain sometimes and lighting storms in Texas but honestly they’re not that bad – rain can happen anywhere. Here it typically rains in the morning or evening and during the middle of the day it is bright and sunny. So when I get to log off from work on close of business Eastern time, I get to soak in the sun while I jog. Lastly, the winter cold air was impacting my husband’s asthma really badly, so the reprieve was need and as we grow our family, I don’t want my children to suffer as badly as my husband has.
- Community: I guess we may have been jaded New Yorkers but I didn’t know my next door neighbors, they at times stole my garbage bins and the closest park involved either a 12-minute drive/15-minute bus ride or subway ride. I’m proud to say that despite the pandemic in Texas I know my neighbors, they’re polite, helpful and cordial and that I’m a five-minute away light jog to one of the largest trail systems in the Dallas-Forth-Worth area.
How did we do it? Moving across the country is not an easy feat, there are many things we learned along the way from prepping to execution that you might want to take into account:
Cash is king: While moving companies will allow you to book with a credit card, approximately 60% of the final cost including tips will need to be in cash. The final estimate is almost always lower, weather it is you gave them the wrong dimensions, they typed in the wrong dimensions, you ended up bringing that piece of furniture you were going to throw out or you accidently made a box to heavy and it had to be repacked.
Heavy-duty boxes are a must: You want boxes that can withstand anything, even if they’re labeled fragile they may end up under a heavier box. Avoid odd shaped boxes, the more stackable the better – remember it will cost you more in cash if your boxes end up needing to be repacked and at times their packing will be worst – like they just threw my things in without car into a box – so do it right and get the heavy duty box!
Break-proof electronics, pictures/paintings, glass, china and mirrors. You can easily ensure the safety of your large valuables by bubble wrapping them 2-3 times, Ceram wrapping 2-3 times over the bubble wrap and then wrapping them with a moving blanket. For smaller valuables like cups/china wrap it repeatedly 4 times or more until you can’t hear the “ding” sound when tapping on it, then add bubble wrap twice and place cardboard or more bubble wrap in between these items and other items in the box.
Book directly: Do not use a broker, book with the carrier that will delivery your vehicle directly – this will give you more transparency on cost, estimated time of arrival, quicker response times and piece of mind. Another thing to consider is asking if you can leave some things in the trunk/backseat – if you’re a plant lover this may be the best way to transport your plants safely since moving companies can take them and shipping can be tremulous. You may also just consider turning the move into a road-trip to transport week-one essentials, plants and other valuables yourself or just renting a truck to take all your things.
Label based on rooms: Label your boxes based on where they will need to go in your new place not where you had them or what it is. You need to make it as easy as possible for movers/yourself to know where to go with your boxes.
Keep your essentials with you: For us that was a pillow, inflatable air-mattress, sheets, blanket, pillow, clothes for 10 days, medications, coffee/tea and personal care items. You never know what can happen – for us the moving company arrived five days after their estimated arrival date and many companies do not guarantee a date for that reason. In my book it is always better to be safe than sorry.