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Danville Express

Real Estate - February 13, 2009

How to feel at home after you move

Stay organized and proactive

Moving to a new community can be a great adventure, if you go with the right attitude and a sound strategy for settling in. Make an action plan and you'll stay focused, organized and proactive - just what's needed to put roots down fast.

Before you go

* Complete a change of address form with the post office, which can be done online at usps.com. You'll also want to send your new address to any publications you subscribe to, as it can take up to eight weeks for the change to become effective.

* Contact the local Visitor's Bureau for materials about your new town, which should include a map. Identify important routes, such as those between your home and your office or your child's school.

* Make initial contact with childcare facilities. Depending on the area you move to, you may need to put your name on a waiting list.

* If possible, enroll your children in school. Firm plans will reduce the stress.

* Pack a box with essentials for your first few nights, such as prescription medicine, toiletries, a telephone, clothing, towels, toilet paper and bed linen.

* You'll also want to make arrangements to have utilities transferred to your name or turned on. In addition, you will want to set up appointments to have services such as telephone, cable and high-speed Internet connected.

Upon arrival

* For safety and peace of mind, change the locks. You never know who has a copy of the house key.

* Locate emergency services - police and fire stations and the closest hospital.

* Hang drapes or curtains to give you some privacy.

* Select one room, perhaps the family room, as a place of refuge. Make it a cozy space, free of unpacked boxes, empty cartons or anything else move-related.

* Stock the fridge with prepared entrees and the makings for no-fuss meals.

The first week

* Check with the post office to see if they are holding mail for you. Finish sending out change of address to credit card companies, clubs, associations, friends and family.

* File away all documents related to the move. You'll need them for verification of moving expenses at tax time.

* Call your waste removal company or department of sanitation for a trash collection schedule.

* Open a bank account and arrange for a safe deposit box, if needed.

* Obtain a local driver's license and transfer the vehicle registration.

* Register to vote. Call the local Board of Elections for information.

* Take a tour of your neighborhood to become familiar with your new surroundings. Learn the routes to work, school, grocers, etc.

Help your children adjust

* Maintain family routines. Kids will appreciate the continuity of family life.

* Involve the kids. Allow them to select new furnishings or decorate their rooms.

* Take your children to the local playground. If you move during the summer, it's likely they'll make friends there, which should ease the transition to the new school.

* Try to be home when the children return from their first day at school. Kids feel reassured when a parent is there to hear about their day.

* Watch for signs of adjustment problems. These can manifest with trouble-making friends, academic difficulties and irritability or depression.

Get involved in the community

* Spend time outdoors. Neighbors may greet you and come by for sidewalk chats.

* Walk your dog in an area where you see other dog owners congregating.

* Schedule an after-work coffee or dessert hour. Invite neighbors to drop by.

* Subscribe to the local newspaper.

* Choose a place to worship and get involved; consider doing volunteer work.

* Select professional service providers such as doctor, dentist and financial and/or tax advisor.

* Find out if your community has a Newcomers Club. Your local library is a good place to start.

* Join a club or take up activities you enjoyed before the move.

* Take a job-related class to develop new professional contacts and update skills.

Don't hesitate to contact local financial and real estate professionals for more ideas or information about your new community. By re-establishing daily patterns and developing ties soon after arrival, your new environment will feel like home in no time.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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