Staying Organized Before The Move
You’ve just received exciting news. Along with your new job title, you’re being relocated to Houston! After the excitement subsides, your next action step is to become proactive in the relocation process to plan for an orderly transition for you and your family. This doesn’t mean you have to do all the heavy lifting; on the contrary, it presents a great opportunity for you to involve the family in preparing a detailed relocation timeline that can be adjusted and updated routinely.
Moving is a significant undertaking, and while it may seem like you have all the time in the world to prepare, it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you don’t plan ahead. If your company is handling the relocation, find out exactly what is covered and what you’re expected to do. This can be an exciting time full of new opportunities. It also can be a time of increased stress and massive “to-do” lists.
It’s never too soon to begin planning for a move. To manage all of the components of a successful move, it is wise to plot out a moving timeline. Most families have at least two months in which to executive the move. Your moving timeline might differ if you are selling a house and have accepted a quick closing date. Push everything forward as necessary to accomplish your move as quickly and as easily as possible.
Since you currently navigating www.RelocatingToHouston.org
, you may be aware of its many additional benefits. If so, the following information simply will serve to underscore and enhance your knowledge about the various services Relocation Resources offers and how it can help make your relocation process smooth and successful.
On the other hand, if you have just stumbled upon this site in the beginning of your moving process, take the time read on and then explore the rest of www.RelocatingToHouston.org
for free access to everything Relocation Resources has to offer.
Relocating to Houston Website
As a “.org” resource, www.RelocatingToHouston.org
is a venue for unbiased, informative editorial content intended to provide you with access to information that will guide you on your move to, and start in, your new city.
At its onset, the website was built simply as a duplicate online presence for the print guide. In the past year, it has evolved into so much more. Now, in addition to featuring in-depth expert articles and expanded information that supplements the printed guide, the website also features up-to-the-minute industry news and other content unique to this online platform.
The Relocating to Houston
website is now a convenient, free portal to essential tools to help you make all of the important decisions during the complicated moving process. Here you will find a treasure trove of more than 1,000 pages of relevant vendors, their contact information and key knowledge that will make your move a success.
More than 100 of the collected vendors are Relocation Resources’ Preferred Partners, whose pages have enhanced features, such as videos, photos, incentives and other relevant information that can make your moving decisions easier and more beneficial. These pages are accessible through the Resource Directory on the website’s homepage or from the link in the navigation bar.
From there, you can search and learn about many of the companies in the greater Houston area that can meet your needs as you find your place in, and get to know, this truly great city.
Found on the Relocating to Houston
website, ReloRewards lets you download and print dozens of coupons to use during the months of planning, preparing for and executing your move to offset the costs you inevitably incur.
You can access all of the current coupons that are available at www.RelocatingToHouston.org/coupons/
, by clicking on the ReloRewards icon on the homepage or the Coupon link in the navigation bar. Otherwise, during your search, you also can find and click on relevant coupons on the landing pages of participating Relocation Resources’ Preferred Partners.
— Enrolling and Registering
If you already have ordered the print guide online, you automatically were enrolled in the free ReloRewards program and have immediate access to coupons and discounts from relevant vendors. If you received the guide through another source and are just beginning to explore the website, simply visit click on any coupon you find on this website to receive a free account invitation by e-mail.
By registering a password-protected account, it helps Relocation Resources protect both its vendors and you. When you download or print coupons, it automatically registers with a vendor so they know what offers have been tagged, thus minimizing miscommunication at redemption. On the flipside, you can be reassured that the offers are legitimate, timely and truly valuable to your move. In addition, during your four- to six-month moving process, you will receive an e-mail every three to four weeks detailing new and updated coupons.
Launched in early 2012, the newest application at www.RelocatingToHouston.org
is ReloGenie, which gives you one-click access to and communication with vendors of interest that will help you with your move to your new city. Best of all, it’s free and accessible right from the website.
If you’re already a ReloRewards member, you automatically have access to ReloGenie. Simply go online with your login and password and enhance your basic profile information stored in the system.
After you have completed the enhanced profile, which includes your contact information, moving date and demographic details that help vendors begin to assess your needs, ReloGenie becomes a simple and effective way to customize your moving decisions. In addition, having this profile saves you hours of effort. By using ReloGenie, you enter your personal data only one time while you contact multiple vendors for your many moving needs.
While using ReloGenie, you can reference the red question-mark boxes as tutorials or reminders about features or functionalities on the site, but the following walks you through the application and shows you how you can make your move marvelous with ReloGenie.
Step 1: Select Your Decisions
To begin, use the Select Your Decisions listing in the middle column to choose the decisions you will need to make throughout the moving process—click Show All for a complete list. The list has every decision you could make during a move, but since every move is different, choose only what applies to your situation or needs.
When you click on a decision, a green checkmark appears next to it on the list and the system adds that decision to the Timeline section in the right-hand column. As you add decisions, they will appear in a predetermined order based on many years of mover feedback and best-practices research. A red numbered box next to a decision indicates the suggested number of months before your move that it should be addressed. A white numbered box next to a decision indicates the suggested months after your move that you should accomplish it.
Of course, this order is not mandatory; you can drag and drop each decision or event within the Timeline to put it in your preferred order. Plus, at any time, you can remove decisions by clicking on the green checkmark in the Select Your Decisions list. The system even will allow you to work on decisions after the moving date should something happen and you need to revisit an aspect of the move at a later date.
Step 2: Compare Vendors
When you’re ready to make a decision and want to begin researching and contacting vendors, click on the appropriate category from the Timeline, and all relevant local vendors in the system—regardless of their affiliation with Relocation Resources—will show up for you to review and compare. Many categories contain additional filters to help you narrow your search parameters (e.g., homebuilders with quick move-in models available, child-care in a particular part of the city or with a certain religious affiliation).
In the category list, click the name of a vendor or the downward-pointing blue arrow for more information. Relocation Resources’ Preferred Vendors show up as enhanced listings with additional features, such as photos, a detailed profile description or coupons (accessed by clicking on the red ReloRewards box at the top of the listing.
Select the vendors you want to consider further by clicking the star next to the name. By doing so, the vendors are added to the Leaderboard in the right-hand column to show that you are communicating with them. In turn, the vendors automatically receive an e-mail with your contact information. If you wish to add details or unique requests to this e-mail, click on the envelope icon next to a vendor’s Leaderboard listing to create a pop-up comment box.
As you communicate with or research the vendors, use the drag-and-drop feature to rank them in order of preference. The top selection turns red and features a Choose button that you can click when you are ready to make this your final decision.
Step 3: Work on Active Decisions
There’s no to rush in making your decisions all at one time. Select favorites in several categories and go back to those decisions at any time to research them further or reorder your preferences. Decisions at this stage in the process can be accessed directly through the Active Decisions link in the left-hand column.
Once in this menu, clicking on a category’s blue downward-pointing arrow reveals a list of only the vendors on your Leaderboard; however, you can view the complete list of vendors by clicking on the category name. The vendors not already on your Leaderboard will have a star to click on if you now want to add them to your list for further consideration and communication.
Step 4: Get Decisions Made
Once you click Choose for a vendor, the selection turns black in the Leaderboard list and moves it from your Timeline to Decisions Made in the left-hand column. This functionality helps you track your progress as you go.
Making a final decision automatically notifies your chosen vendor so you can begin further negotiations. Furthermore, the system updates the vendors you did not select about your decision, thus stopping future unnecessary and unwanted communication.
Even after a decision is made, you always can revisit it and reopen the door to other vendors. To do so, click the Edit button in black box on the Leaderboard, and all vendors on that list are notified again that you are reconsidering your decision.
The ReloGenie one-stop moving shop not only will make your move easier, you may discover essential aspects of the moving process that you hadn’t even considered. So keep exploring www.RelocatingToHouston.org
, sign up for valuable ReloRewards and start using ReloGenie today.
Why Should You Use ReloGenie?
- List and prioritize all your moving decisions.
Getting it in Print
- Avoid retyping personal data with a standard profile.
- Send Requests for Information (RFIs) to more than 1,100 vendors.
- Add specific details to individual RFIs.
- Set preferred method and time for communication with vendors.
- Manage all your moving decisions in one place.
- Once a decision is made, an automatic update notification is sent to all favorites, eliminating further unnecessary communication with those not chosen.
Sometimes a hard-copy version of a timeline or to-do list of your decisions can offer you peace of mind as you make notes or cross off items as you go. Relocation Resources has thought of that, too.
Throughout 2012, Relocation Resources will be adding to its website condensed portions of the printed guide by chapter—corresponding directly with the ReloGenie moving decisions you need to make—that can be downloaded and printed for your use. In addition to containing the most salient information presented in Relocating to Houston, these PDFs will feature space for making your own notes and checking off details as you go.
But for now, those who prefer working in real space instead of cyberspace can use the following timeline, which offers month-by-month suggestions and tips to help you manage your time right up to moving day. As the weeks go by, you can cross out completed items as they’re done, showing that progress is being made.
12 to 9 Weeks Before the Move
This is the planning and information-gathering period when there is still plenty of time before the move begins. Equip yourself with red markers and highlighters to cross off items as they’re done. You can buy gold stars to place next to your child’s contributions to make them feel even more a part of the process.
8 to 7 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- If you are being relocated by your company, verify what your company relocation policy covers and what you will be responsible for doing.
- Confirm with your employer the dates for your move, including the first day you need to report to your new position in Houston.
- With your spouse, establish, prepare and lay out schedules for your planning calendar. This includes school schedules, important dates and any previously booked travel plans.
- Select or contact your local real estate agent to put your home on the market, or notify your landlord of your intent to vacate. At the same time, ask your real estate agent for an agent referral in Houston. Chances are that if you’re working with a large, national firm, it will have an office in Houston.
- Working with your employer, begin the mover selection process, which includes contacting the moving company yourself to confirm any moving dates discussed and to establish a direct contact at the moving company for the many follow-up phone calls that may be necessary.
- With a Houston real estate agent, plan a preliminary house-hunting trip to the Houston area not only to look at neighborhoods but to learn more about Houston public and private schools and other services. Be on the lookout for printed materials, such as brochures about attractions, fun and recreational activities, that you can take back home to show your kids. Better yet, bring your digital camera to take photos of homes you liked and show them other sights along the way. It will help get the family excited when you return home.
- If you plan to rent for an extended period because you’re building a home or you’ll be remodeling, ask your real estate agent to help find you and your family a rental home or unit. Be prepared to share your needs, including number of bedrooms and desired location.
With two months to go, you’re starting to see progress and even getting a little excited about what’s ahead. Staying focused is important now as you work with your family to begin the process of cleaning and downsizing your household belongings.
6 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- By now, the moving company has been selected. At this point, request any checklists or helpful aids for your family’s move.
- Prepare a comprehensive list of everyone you’ll need to notify of your move. Update your contacts or address book to ensure that you have the most updated information.
- Plan to stop by your local post office station to pick up a Mover’s Guide and official Change-of-Address kit, which you will need to submit to the post office two weeks before your move.
- With the family, start to sort out household items, clothes and school papers you don’t intend to take to your new location. Plan a date for a garage sale and notify your friends. If you prefer, plan to sell your excess goods online through Craig’s List or other services. Whatever isn’t sold, plan to donate to a charity.
- Along with keeping track of all of your reimbursable expenses, contact your accountant regarding forms and information about tax-deductible moving expenses. That way you’ll know in advance what is allowable and you can save the pertinent receipts.
There is now additional urgency as major decisions are being made and the community is learning about your move. It will generate phone calls and well wishers. Try not to get distracted from the main event because only six weeks remain.
5 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- You’ve selected your new home in Houston and are arranging financing. With your agent, you’ve scheduled a tentative closing date.
- Visit your child’s new school website to learn about schedules and the enrollment requirements. Make sure your child’s immunization records and birth certificate in order.
- Ask your real estate agent for referrals regarding a daycare or child-care provider. Consult the information provided in these pages on what to look for in a daycare or child-care provider and the options available.
- Let your local clergy know that you’ll be leaving the area and ask for their referrals for names of houses of worship in Houston.
- Select an insurance company in Houston to set up coverage on your new home, its contents and your automobile insurance. You’ll have an updated inventory list from the move, which will come in handy.
- It’s not too early to start the packing process. You can fit it in when you have a spare moment. Either buy boxes or request them from your mover. Use a permanent marker to note the contents of each box and room designation. Stack the boxes as you pack them with the labels visible to you.
- Select a new bank in Houston, if yours is not a national one, and establish accounts, including an electronic bank account, which will allow you access to your records and balance at anytime.
- Sketch out the floor plan of your new home and get room and window measurements. Determine how your present furniture, appliances and décor will fit, and make a list of the things you will need to buy before you get there.
- In the event that you have not found a new home, secure a post office box for mail forwarding.
- Now that you have a new home address, you can contact each utility and determine any requirements to commence service (e.g., deposits or prepayments).
You’re nearly halfway there, and so much already has been done. Give yourself a pat on the back and try not to stress out about what you’re forgetting. Reassure the family that everything will be great in your new home and get them excited about features in the new home and the kinds of activities they can look forward to doing in Houston.
4 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- Notify your child’s current school of your moving date and arrange for the records to be transferred to the new school system.
- Confirm the pickup and delivery dates with your mover. If you’ll need storage, make arrangements with your moving company now. Is it your responsibility to pay the moving company when they arrive? Determine payment details now to avoid any confusion on moving day.
- Continue sorting your belongings, dividing them into what will go in the moving van, what will go with you and what you are giving away or disposing of.
- If you have high-value items (like antiques) that you expect to be shipping, obtain an appraisal and get receipts.
- Make travel arrangements. If you will be flying, remember that most airfares are cheapest if booked at least 30 days in advance.
Okay, breathe deeply and stay calm as you close in on the final month.
3 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- It’s time to organize your garage sale, or donate items to charity.
- Reconfirm and verify your time schedules with your real estate agents and/or landlord.
- Send change-of-address cards to the post office, relatives, friends and any magazine subscriptions. Also notify your daily newspaper carrier.
- Do you or family members have a sufficient supply of prescription medication to last you past the move? If not, make sure refills are addressed before you move.
Reality-check time. There are only three weeks left. The process seems never ending, but you’re almost there.
2 Weeks Prior to Your Move
- Organize and gather all of your personal records from doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, church and school. Keep them in a file box with you during the move for easy access.
- Reach out and network with others, including coworkers in the Houston office and your real estate agent, for physician referrals in the Houston area.
- Notify the utilities at your current address of your disconnect dates and your forwarding address, and contact those in your new town to begin service. This includes cell phone, Internet, home security service, gas, electricity, water and cable TV.
Now, you’re either feeling stressed out or you’re in denial! If you’re overwhelmed, ask others for help and organize an informal get-together. In exchange for help with packing and sorting, you’ll supply the treats for kids and wine for the adults. Not only will you get help, but you can enjoy spending time with good friends for the last time in your home.
- Take care of financial arrangements, such as transferring bank accounts, moving contents of safe deposit boxes, notifying your broker or investment counselor and settling any outstanding bills.
- If you have a pet, take it to the vet to be immunized in preparation for the journey. Arrange for transportation of your pet and obtain copies of your pet’s records or licenses.
- If you are moving into or out of a high-rise building, contact the property manager and reserve the elevator for moving day.
- It’s important to drain oil and gas from all your power equipment, including lawn mowers and power generators.
- Cancel deliveries and services, such as newspapers and trash collection effective by your moving date.
- Drop off the completed change-of-address information to your local post office and, if possible, let your neighborhood letter carrier know that you’re moving.
- If necessary, consider hiring a sitter for kids and pets on moving day.
At last, the final week has arrived along with the last-minute thoughts about what’s still not done, items not crossed off and people who never called you back. You should be off work this whole week to address the final details and to provide moral support to your family.
After The Move
- Clean out your refrigerator and plan to eat through the frozen food left in the freezer. Throw away perishables you won’t eat in the next few days.
- Plan to give any plants you can’t take with you to a loving home, such as a neighbor or a friend.
- If you are driving to Houston, make sure your car is serviced and the tires are checked.
- Now is the time to pack your luggage and anything you are taking with you. Keep it all together in a corner of your bedroom so you can add to it up until the time you leave.
- Use only those household items you absolutely must, such as towels, sheets, pans, coffee pot, broom and a few tools; anything else should be ready to go.
- Plan to take a large cooler with you in which to store ice and cold drinks for the drive ahead.
- Plan to have your moving company pack everything you are not taking yourself. Withdraw enough cash for the trip to handle incidentals and divide it with your spouse.
You finally can relax even though unpacking has yet to begin. Congratulate yourself and your family on surviving the move.
Welcome to Your New Life in Houston!
- Explore the new area with your family. Try a new restaurant and plan to shop at your grocery store. Preparing the family’s first home-cooked meal can be a real celebration.
- It’s time to purchase home furnishings, including drapes and additional furniture for empty rooms.
- Reach out to your new neighbors and introduce yourself and your family. Chances are that the neighbors have children the same ages as yours, which will help your child feel part of the new neighborhood.
- Join a health club and get back to the routine that has been disrupted by the move.
- Now is a great time to peruse your copy of Relocating to Houston to learn about regional attractions, recreation and other fun facts about living in the Bayou City.
- Within 30 days, visit your local office of the Department of Public Safety to apply for a Texas driver’s license and register your vehicles.