Elizabeth Tomlinson | 1/8/2007 6:15:27 AM
One of the options following the storms is whether to buy or build in a different community. Road Home awardees can choose this option with no reduction in benefit if they stay in the state. Awardees 65 years of age or older can move out of state with no reduction in benefit.
Families affected by the storms have seen a great deal of change and considering permanent relocation may seem like just one more challenge. But, making the move now may be easier than uprooting later, and there are advantages with the disadvantages.
The idea of relocating involves big picture thinking by you and your family. For the big picture, think 5-10 years down the line. Picture life as you would like it, don’t get hung up in the situation of today. Think about the environment that you want to live in, about your work, about schools and health care and churches and climate and cost of living. This is not easy. It will take effort at a time when the challenges of today and tomorrow dominate your thinking. But the process can be motivating and uplifting to just think of what might be possible.
The Internet is a great source of information. If you do not have direct access to the Internet, go to the local library. The librarian will be able to assist you with an Internet search or with other references. Almost every area in the country has a Web site and publishes information of interest to people thinking about relocating – to places near, or places further away. Through the Internet, you can find such things as the cost of medical care and housing in a community. You can access information about salary ranges of jobs in the area, job opportunities in the region, information about the schools, and much more.
Before making a final selection, you’ll want to visit the areas that look good to you based on research at a distance. Talk to residents of the area. Look into the housing market --your options for buying or building. If the new community is not too far way, can you get a location that is close enough for you to commute to your present job? Look at distances and the time required. It may be a good idea to rent for a while as you research you options of where to live and whether to built or buy an existing home. Get cost and availability of rental housing, particularly if the new location you’re considering is a long distance away and you can’t spend a lot of time visiting before making a decision.
When it comes to picking a specific location in the new community, you’ll want to consider whether the area is safe from crime, as well as its exposure to flood and wind. Sites near major roadways and railroads can have a higher risk of chemical spill through transportation accidents. Is the home site near hospitals, in the school district you want, and near shopping? Proximity to golf courses, parks, ball fields, fishing spots, spas, and malls may be just “lagniappe” for some, but high on your personal list of criteria in selecting a location. Consider, also, whether a house at the site you pick is likely to appreciate or go down in value.
It is unlikely that any site will be perfect in all aspects, but you should make your decisions based on a thorough knowledge of the location, balancing the pluses and minuses of each. If you decide to build in the new community, read Getting Started - Building on a New Site. If you are considering buying an existing home, you will need to take the same care in selecting the home as you would anywhere. Your primary concern – after location - will be the condition of the house, the likely requirements for expensive repairs and maintenance, the cost of insurance, and the average utility bills.
A new location represents a new beginning. By taking the time to consider all your options, you increase the chances that the decisions you make now will be ones you’ll be happy with many years from now.