If you are forced to move from a home you love for reasons beyond affordability, take care that you don’t become your own worst enemy during the forced decision-making involved.
When a move is dictated by reasons beyond money, the major mental shift required may get pushed aside by a natural urge to perpetuate the beloved home and its lifestyle whatever the cost, financially or to long-term goals.
Don’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start and how to proceed.
The emotional turmoil and stress of having to move out of a home you love because of health problems, relationship reversals, or both, can make clear thinking a challenge and could turn you into your own worst enemy:
• Having to suddenly find a new place to live because of permanent injuries, a medical crisis, or relationship collapse can feel like an assault or a violation. Your reaction to this disruption can distract you from major issues at hand. Trouble sleeping and upset of normal routines can compound stress and undermine decision making. Aim to maintain your wellness practices and welcome the support of others. You’ll benefit from efforts to stay strong.
• “The major mental shift required” involves letting go of dreams of preserving status quo. Reproducing the current home is usually not a possible or practical goal. The trauma of the unexpected health crisis or the unwelcome reality of a relationship end may make clear thinking about future work or lifestyle preferences very challenging. This distress is compounded by the move itself. It’s tough to face new challenges for life, work, and other changing realities head on. Would it help to ask yourself, “How can I make good come of this change?”
• Will the pressure of significant disruption of your life combine with being ejected into the rental or buying market at a time that is not favorable to you? If you are home shopping when there’s a shortage of practical property options or when prices are on a steady rise, you may have some serious strategizing to do. Reach out to the right experienced real estate professional and you’ll find the move more palatable.
Time is essential to absorb new considerations related to dramatic lifestyle change, but you may not have much time to decide on a new home and all that entails:
• Can you gain “time to think” by making a temporary or short-term move? Is it physically and financially feasible for you to relocate and then take time to carefully investigate your housing and future options? What short-term housing alternatives are practical and open to you, based on your immediate needs?
• Since this move is caused by circumstances new to you, count on the expertise of professionals to gain time for yourself. Depending on what’s the driving force behind your move, you may benefit from consulting professionals who work with issues related to your move and to the housing options available. Real estate, legal, and financial professionals are usually familiar with the issues related to family break-up and mobility change. If you’re adapting to medical challenges, you’ll probably find support through doctors, nurses, and community services.
What is your principal criterion in deciding on a new home?
Once limitations dictated by affordability are established, buying or renting a home can focus on one or more main issues, depending on your priorities. In what is probably a very emotional time, the focus can be on short-term reactions when the emphasis should be on long-term comfort and flexibility.
Your immediate and long-term choices may be very different from those you expected to face at this stage of life. For instance, a medical crisis that results in limited mobility or required use of a wheelchair or other mobile devices may dictate a move from a house, condominium unit, or an apartment that is not barrier-free or wheelchair accessible. A significant health change like this may also determine which locations will be more practical and which amenities would be beneficial.
Try zeroing in on the following top three issues to clarify your essential and preferred priorities and practicalities when choosing your next residence when you must move:
#1. Location and its local community
Your new neighborhood could enrich your life, perhaps in ways the current one hasn’t. How can your life be improved by the local connections you could make? Will you have a car, be dependent on public transportation, or prefer living within a village-style shopping area? If you’ll have less mobility in the future, the neighborhood you choose may be even more important. Location, the key real-estate element, remains a significant deciding factor for convenience, community, and quality of life regardless of why you’re moving.
#2. Personal space essentials and "love to haves"
Joy at home will provide you with energy to brave your new world. Don’t underestimate the value of finding “loveable” elements in your new space. Sunlight, views, outside space, gardens, welcoming communal areas...what would give you pleasure?
#3. Amenities and accessible facilities
Take a close look at amenities before you let them add value to a housing option. An accessible therapeutic pool may be a significant benefit, but a pool you can’t get in and out of just adds cost or monthly fees. Having a grocery store on-site or near-by may be a plus, but online grocery ordering and delivery may reduce that importance for you. What would you like to have just outside your door? What would entice you out of your space to enjoy your new world?
Take a deep breath. Focus on making decisions based on reason, not on frustration or disappointment. Concentrate on the directions that matter when faced with forced change: Onward & Upward!