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Making a Move During the Pandemic?

Making a Move During the Pandemic?

July 29, 2020
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Since the lock down in March, companies across the nation asked their employees to work from home (where possible), it seems even some formerly reluctant workers are embracing the short commute to their home office, pj's, zoom calls and more family time. As an extrovert, the first few weeks felt like the twilight zone (no social interaction, grocery deliveries to my door with rigorous Clorox wiping thereafter, having to spend 24/7 with my husband and two boys under five all while trying to calm nervous clients about their retirement accounts declining sharply and all the while being fearful about the health of our family and my clients’ families). I remember those initial calls with clients where their main fear had nothing to do with their accounts, and everything to do with contracting the coronavirus.
As the months went by, I noticed the conversations with clients shift to a more positive undertone. My call with a client last week summarized it perfectly. “Carpe diem” she said-translation-“Seize the day”. As my client explained “You only live once, so we decided to just do it, we’re selling our house and moving to Florida.” Due to the pandemic, her husband is now able to work fully remote (because his once hesitant manager has seen that remote work is possible) and she is able to transfer to a different branch of the same company. Yes, their children are sad to be leaving their friends, but as someone who left my home country at 11 to move to Africa, I assured them that adapting to a new environment will make their daughters all the more resilient.
I wouldn’t be surprised if more of my clients call me over the next few weeks/months to let me know the good news-they’ve finally decided to move to their dream location. If you are also considering relocating, know you are not alone. This might be as great a time as any to reconsider your financial and life goals and create a plan to help you make the pipe dream a reality.
Here are a few items to consider if you are thinking about relocating:

  • Work situation and Income: First and foremost, are you planning to work for your current employer and get permission to be a remote employee? This seems like the path of least resistance, however if your current employer doesn’t agree to this you’ll need to consider the employment prospects and salary range in the area you are thinking about moving to. Consider any changes to your household impact and how that will impact your lifestyle.
  • House shopping & down payment: If you have already narrowed down the areas you see yourself moving to, you then have to decide if you want to rent or buy a home. Renting could be a good option if you aren’t quite sure about the area you are relocating to and want to give it a “trial run” before you fully commit. Sort of like dating before marriage. If you already have a home picked out, you need to compare your mortgage options and down payment requirements. 
  • Timing buy/sell of the house: This is only important if you’ve decided to list your home and make a permanent move to a new state/country. Many buyers try to sell their home before they buy since it’s the least amount of risk to them, but depending on the timing and the house market conditions you may not be able to wait for the sale before you sign on the dotted line. A good Realtor will help you understand the market where you are buying/selling to have more realistic expectations.  
  • Capital gain on house sale: If you sell your home, you can potentially exclude up to 250K/500K (single versus filing joint) of the gain on the house. *
If you're considering a move but need help determining how your finances would be impacted, we would love to hear from you.

This is meant for educational purposes only.  It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation to take a particular course of action. Please consult with a financial professional regarding your personal situation prior to making any financial related decisions. (07/20)