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How to Start a New At-Home Business While Looking for the Perfect Home

Starting a business and looking for a new home at the same time may seem like a stressful journey. However, with the right attitude and a little advice, you can make it as seamless as possible. Once everything is in place, you will have the right setup to achieve your personal and business goals. Consider this brief guide that highlights the most important elements you should keep in mind.

Look for the Home With the Space You Need

One study shows that self-employment has been on the rise for years. Working from home has perks, but it can be burdensome if your business begins to outgrow your space. The solution is to find a reliable real estate professional and start searching for a new home. Compile a list of your personal and business needs so your broker knows where to start in the search. Some things you might need include:

• An office area far removed from the high-traffic areas of the house
• Climate-controlled storage space for your products
• A space you can convert into a studio if your business requires a creative process

Remember that your personal life is just as important as your business life. Your home should still feel like a home. Try not to sacrifice the personal things you want in a home, whether it’s a big family kitchen, extra bedroom space, or a swimming pool.

Prioritize Setting Up Your Home Office and Make It Workable

In the eagerness to get to work, you can easily overlook the office setup. However, a disheveled office is distracting, and disorganization can slow you down. Moving can be a very stressful process, but building your new business requires consistency. Make your office the first room that you put together in your new home. Purchase some ergonomic furniture to help you boost productivity and plenty of storage, such as filing cabinets and labeled bins, to help you get organized. Once your workspace is ready, you can get work done while you slowly unpack the rest of your home, and your business will not suffer.

Work on the Logistics

So much goes into operating a business, but the most important component is making sure that you get paid on time. To keep your business running, you need a reliable way to invoice your customers. You can start with an invoice maker to create your own customer invoices. Personalize the text and images to include your logo and place a personal message to your customer for a nice touch. Make sure you use a generator that provides downloading services in your preferred format.

Start Looking for Support

Start thinking about adding staff to your business when you are ready to grow. A good business partner is someone who can act as a sounding board for your new ideas and support you when you present them to others. Build a team of people with diversity in expertise to ensure that you get knowledge from a variety of perspectives. Businesses thrive on innovation and growth. You want your business to keep moving forward and upward, and a strong team of people you can trust is a great asset.

Now that you are in your new home and have your home office designed to optimize productivity, you can look around and appreciate your hard work. You only need to keep your mind on your goals and be open to new ideas.

 

Author: Derek Goodman, Inbizability

Top Tips for Settling Into Your New NYC Home

Moving to a whole new town or city can be pretty intimidating, especially when you don’t already have a support network in your new area. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help yourself feel at home as fast as possible.

Prepping Your Home

Give your space a fresh look for the right start:

● If you can, take enough time off work to fully unpack and organize your home — living out of boxes can make you feel even more out of place.
● Hire a furniture cleaning company to knock out any cleaning tasks you don’t have the tools or time to handle, such as having your upholstery cleaned.
● Hang up wall art and put up decor as soon as possible in order to make your space as welcoming as possible.

Handle Logistics

If you’re moving to a new state, be sure to check off a few taskssuch as getting pre-approved for your mortgage at a bank near your new location, and ensure you’ve already landed a job in the area you’re relocating to. Make your move official by following these tips:

● Find your nearest DMV and update your drivers’ licenseand car registration.
● Practice the routes from your home to the nearest grocery store, post office, convenience store, and other frequently-visited locations.
● Use your insurance to find a new doctor and dentist nearby.

Make Yourself at Home

Find your place in your new space:

● Find local organizations for sports, hobbies, or activities you enjoy in order to meet people with shared interests.
● Reach out to friends and old classmates who live in New York City to help show you around town.
● Get to know The Big Apple by checking out all the popular attractions, visiting a few coffee shops, and planning to attend some events.
● Here’s a guide for getting to know your neighbors.
● Check out local clubs and nonprofits to build your social support network and get to know your new town.

These steps can go a long way toward making a new space more familiar, more welcoming, and more like home. We hope that you can use these resources to make your next major move as easy and smooth as possible. Transitions can be challenging, but finding your comfort zone in a new space is more than worth it.

Author: Cherie Mclaughlin

Home Pre-Purchase Maintenance Tips

Did you perform a Home Inspection which revealed some maintenance problems? The various systems in a property naturally wear out and break down over time, so it’s normal for homes on the market to need a few repairs. You just have to decide what to do about these issues! Is the seller responsible for making repairs? Can you use your home inspection results to negotiate a better sale price? If you’re considering purchasing a home “as is” — which is the standard in New York City — the answer to both of these questions is “no.” In fact, the norm in NYC is not even to have a Home Inspection performed in condo and co-op purchases at all.

Here we discuss that your best course of action will depend on what kinds of maintenance issues you’re dealing with and how much they are going to cost.

Common Maintenance Issues

Some of the most common home maintenance problems facing townhouse buyers include roof issues, rotten wood, electrical safety concerns, plumbing problems, and faulty HVAC systems. Repairing or replacing these defective home components can be very expensive, so make sure you know the estimated costs before starting your negotiations. Home Inspections are not as unusual in NYC townhouse purchases, and you can use this to your advantage.

Negotiations can be challenging without an expert to guide you through the process. As Forbes explains, there are several points relating to the transaction which are common grounds for negotiations. In New York City, once you’ve signed a Sale Contract you can no longer alter your price and terms, so be sure to perform your Home Inspection and review the subsequent report prior to signing your Sale Contract. In other areas like New Jersey, Home Inspection contingencies within Sale Contracts permit renegotiations after the Sale Contract signing.

Making Repair Requests

While the seller is responsible for disclosing any known defects with the home, they do not have to agree to your repair requests. However, it could be in their best interest to negotiate with you instead of looking for another buyer. If the home has been on the market for a while, the seller may be more willing to accommodate your repair requests.

According to The Balance, there are a couple of ways you and the seller can handle repair requests. The first option is to have the seller make the repairs. Keep in mind that your seller no longer has a personal stake in the home, so they may not put in the time and money to hire the best contractor and choose high-quality materials for the job. To avoid this problem and ensure your new home is repaired to your standards, you can ask for a cash credit. Credits at closing are a very common practice.

Maintenance Problems to Handle Yourself

When making your maintenance requests, try not to be too picky. Handing the seller a long list of repairs could prompt them to start looking for another buyer, especially if you’re in a seller’s market and there are a lot of people eyeing the home. Some maintenance problems should be left out of your repair negotiations. For example, if you need a tree pruned or removed, you can look online to find reliable contractors to complete this work. Just make sure to ask for references and always insist on a written estimate for the work that’s to be performed.

Likewise, don’t ask the seller to make any of those dream renovations that you’re planning. Just make sure to budget for these repairs and cosmetic upgrades so you have some funds left over after making your down payment.

Navigating home maintenance issues and negotiating repair costs are all part of the home buying process. After receiving your home inspection report, take the time to research the repair costs for the problems that matter most to you. And remember not to be too picky! You’ll have the best home-buying experience if both you and the seller leave happy.

Lastly, don’t forget that in New York City condos and co-ops, the norm is for all sales to be entirely “as is” and not even include a Home Inspection. So, if you are planning to buy a condo or co-op in NYC, be sure to stay realistic about the level of work you’re willing to do on your own post closing.

Author: Tina Martin, Ideaspired

Moving a Business: Tips to Reduce Stress and Minimize Downtime

Moving a Business: Tips to Reduce Stress and Minimize Downtime

Businesses relocate for a number of reasons, whether to expand their team, branch out to new markets, or lower their operating costs. And while there are many potential benefits of moving a business, there are also some challenges — like expensive moving fees, lost productivity, and several legal concerns. Review these tips to learn how to relocate a business with ease while reducing moving costs and minimizing company downtime.

Create a Moving Timeline

Aside from choosing a new location and finding the right office space for your business, there are several tasks you’ll need to complete when relocating a company — and creating a moving timeline can help you to keep track of each one. Your moving timeline might look something like this:

  • About six weeks in advance (or sooner when possible): Set a moving budget, hire a commercial moving company, and notify your staff of the upcoming relocation.
  • About four weeks in advance: Consider renting out temporary office space to reduce company downtime, or allow your employees to work from home until you’ve settled into the new space. You might also need to rent a storage unit if you need a place to store furniture, supplies, excess inventory, and equipment.
  • About three weeks before the move: Notify your customers, clients, and suppliers via relocation letter. This letter may be shared on social media or sent by email, mail, or fax. About three weeks in advance, you’ll also want to begin the process of setting up the utilities in your new office space. Be sure to find out when your existing utilities will be deactivated so you can plan accordingly and minimize company downtime.
  • About two weeks prior to moving day: Begin packing up the office, starting with unoccupied cubicles and private office spaces. If you’re working with a moving company, they may be able to assist with the disposal of unwanted office supplies and equipment.

Notify the Appropriate Agencies

You’ll need to contact your customers, clients, and suppliers as you prepare to relocate your business, but there are also several agencies you’ll need to notify when changing your company’s address. As a few examples, you’ll be required to change your address with the IRS — and if you’re remaining in the same state — your local Secretary of State and Department of Revenue.

If you’re moving outside of the state, however, you’ll need to register your business with the new state. You’ll also need to apply for any applicable licenses and permits in the new state, and cancel any licenses or permits held in the old state.

Update Your Marketing Materials

From ordering signage for your new office building to updating the address on your website, brochures, letterhead, business cards, email signatures, and social media pages, you’ll also need to update your marketing materials when moving your business. Your marketing department will typically handle this, but if you’re a solopreneur or a small business without an in-house marketing team, you’ll need to take this on yourself.

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your marketing materials, this could be a good time to make some additional changes to the design, layout, and content. Many free online tools can be used to affordably design marketing materials without help from a graphic designer, and all you’ll need to pay for is the printing. You can choose from some of the best business card templates online before adding your preferred colors, images, font, and text — or you can find customizable templates for logos, flyers, and other types of marketing materials.

The Bottom Line

A lot of hard work goes into planning a commercial move, and you’ll need to allow plenty of time for packing up your office furniture and inventory and moving these items into a storage unit or temporary office space. And while moving a business is certainly stressful, it’s best to remain enthusiastic and remember your reasons for relocating in the first place. After all, relocating to a new office space is oftentimes something to be celebrated!

 

Image credit: Pexels

Author: Suzie Wilson

Balancing Moving and Starting a Business Simultaneously

Balancing Moving and Starting a Business Simultaneously

If your current living accommodations aren’t adequate for the business you’re starting, it may be time to look for a new home in New York, New York, that meets your requirements. Knowing what you want and need can make the home search simpler. By staying organized and prioritizing while moving, relocating is less difficult.

Spend What You Can Afford

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re house-hunting, and you may be tempted to take out a loan versus buy in cash, so that you can afford a larger property — do not fall for this bad idea. If buying in cash is an option to you, then buy in cash. If you don’t have enough capital to buy in cash, consider waiting to make a move. And, if you absolutely want to take a loan despite better wisdom, then be sure to put down a bare minimum of 20%-30%, and make sure that you can afford the debt service payments comfortably when added to your other monthly costs. Most buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens will require 20-50% down and will reject applicants who do not illustrate post-closing liquidity to easily cover at least 2-3 years of monthly expenses after the down payment is made. It is best to establish your budget before you begin a home search, especially since you may need resources for your business as well.

Create a Home Shopping Checklist

Next, create a checklist of features that matter most in a house. This can help you remain on budget while you search for a home with all the essentials. For example, prioritize the number of bathrooms and bedrooms you require and make sure you have a space suited for an office or workspace for your business.

Also, consider the location, especially if you have children. You want a home in an area with attractions and amenities nearby for the entire family, such as Battery Park.

Simplify Moving

Moving can be physically and mentally demanding, so it helps to pack your belongings gradually. Box up items based on the room they belong in, and label each box. This makes unpacking much easier.

As you’re packing, declutter and downsize. You don’t want to haul items or pay to move belongings you don’t need. You also want to avoid cluttering your new home with useless things.

Consider hiring a moving company in New York, New York, to make the process easier and less time-consuming for you. Most buildings won’t permit you to kicks in without an insured Moving Company anyway. Be sure to obtain a copy of the Certificate of Insurance from the Moving Company, as this will likely be required by your new building.

Optimize Your Business

While your top priority right now may be moving, make sure you’re still focusing on your business. Have a business plan in place, and complete all necessary paperwork for licenses or permits that may be required.

To keep track of your finances, consider using a transaction data API that provides accurate, up-to-date information about your company’s spending so that you can carefully track your spending and alter your habits as necessary to optimize profit. The program provides transaction data to categorize your withdrawals, and you can even sign up for transaction notifications.

Prioritize Unpacking Duties 

As you unpack, work on one room at a time, starting with those that are essential to your everyday life. The kitchen and bathroom are priorities. Unpack your bedding, and make the beds so that you and your family have comfortable places to sleep.

Prioritize setting up your office or workspace as well. You may not have time to unpack everything right away, but at least set up what you need for your business to function each day, such as your desk, computer, and printer.

Moving While Starting a Business Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful

When beginning a business, you have a great deal of responsibility. It’s possible to make it work while relocating to better your company.

Moving While Starting a Business Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful

When beginning a business, you have a great deal of responsibility. It’s possible to make it work while relocating to better your company.

 

Image credit: Pexels

Author: Cherie McLaughlin

Upgrading to a Smart Home is a Smart Investment

As tech has advanced for commerce and science, its application to home life has followed suit. Smart devices add value to your home and can even make it more appealing to buyers if you plan on putting the property on the market in the future. As the demand for tech-connected homes increases, here are some considerations to automate your home — not only to increase its value on the market but for the convenience it offers.

Convenient Automations for Your Home

There are hundreds, if not thousands of smart gadgets for your home, and finding the right ones that meet your needs may seem overwhelming. If you are new to smart devices, start with a voice-activated speaker like Alexa or a Google-powered device. The convenience of voice-activated search, reminder functions, and on-demand music is a good introduction to smart technology.

As your comfort level increases, you will begin to see the value of other automation for your home. There are surveillance systems that connect to your smartphone and even smart outlets that connect to coffee pots, televisions, lamps, and more. Your home’s temperature and comfort can be set and changed by smart thermostats, which are easily programmed, voice-activated, and, as Rolling Stone notes, can save you loads on utility bills.

Why Smart Devices Increase Your Home’s Value

Most homebuyers are looking to purchase a home that meets their needs for convenience, security, and comfort. Smart homes offer a range of options that meet all these. Beyond the importance of a security system to protect their loved ones and belongings, a smart home that’s fully internet-connected could translate into a home-based office and, if you have school-aged children, can significantly help in their school work. Master Appraisal Services explains this is why smart homes are more marketable and often fetch a higher price tag.

There are other easy changes you can make to your home to increase its appraisal value and make it more appealing to buyers. Like most value-adding improvements, you’ll want to keep receipts and documentation of the upgrades you’ve made to show your investment in the space and justify a higher asking price.

Simple and Smart Changes

As you consider ways to make your home more marketable, make further improvements to up your property’s curb appeal, functionality, and aesthetics. Updating windows and doors and repainting rooms will give your home a fresh look — plus, these are all relatively inexpensive repairs.

Further smart home changes you can make include mesh networks to eliminate dead spots in your Wi-Fi and smart lock and heating control options. Making small changes will improve your home’s appearance, as well as show buyers how your smart connections make life easier.

 

Image credit: Pixabay.com

Author: Michael Longsdon, Elderfree

How to Prepare Your Home for Recovery After a Medical Procedure

The poet Maya Angelou wrote that “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” We decorate our homes with memories and the spirit of our family and loved ones; this is a positive environment for rehabilitation. If you are facing an upcoming surgery or other medical procedure, this means recovery time spent in your home. And while you are already in the best place to restore your health, there are things you can do to make your home even more conducive to a quicker and more peaceful recovery.

Here are a few suggestions:

Inform Yourself about Your Specific Recovery

Different kinds of surgeries and medical procedures require a variety of recovery recommendations and adjustments. This includes dietary needs, which requires stocking your pantry of particular items. Knee surgery means limited mobility, while other types of surgery might require longer periods of time in bed. Learn about the best protocol for your recovery in order to follow it at home and install the proper accommodations.

Healthline recommends installing handrails or using a raised toilet seat as precautions after knee surgery. This also includes preparing your recovery area, temporarily modifying your home to ensure you’re in the safest spot, avoiding stairs or long walks to the bathroom.

If your recovery will be lengthy and accessibility is still going to be an issue, upgrades may be in order. Renters might even consider finding an accessible apartment, or at least one with an elevator, depending on circumstances and projected needs.

Shift the Energy

If you have some clutter in your home, it might be a good idea to tackle it before your procedure. There is a practical reason for this, which is removing possible obstructions and obstacles that might cause a fall and impede your recovery.

Also, according to The Spruce magazine, clutter is low stagnant and confusing energy in your life. This drains your positive energy and often becomes distracting and stressful. This is precisely the opposite of what you need when recovering from surgery. Decluttering will help in opening up spaces and increasing feelings of positivity and new energy.

Embrace Nature

While your home is the most comfortable place to recover, one can suffer from cabin fever after being confined to one space for long periods of time. This is normal; we are used to a busy life and moving around constantly. One way to mitigate these feelings is to introduce nature into your home in a much more deliberate way. Consider the following ways of incorporating nature into your home:

  •  If you are not an allergy or asthma sufferer, add plants to bring oxygen and positive energy into your home. Plants like jasmine and rosemary can increase feelings of well being or as Today reports, aloe for its low maintenance qualities.
  • Create a herb garden in your kitchen. They are easy to maintain and water and can spice up your kitchen area.
  • Hang art on the walls. Landscape art can be a great way to invite nature into your home and utilize the healing power of art. A program in the UK, as reported by the Creative Review, decorated hospitals with art, suggesting the positive effects of visual stimulation on patients. The same can go for your home.

Light the Way

The ancient Chinese principles of Feng Shui are used in various areas of the home to encourage positive energy and happiness. One way to invite new energy into your home or to create a sense of comfort is by changing and experimenting with the lighting.

  • Good lighting will illuminate rather than obscure or create shadows.
  • Invite plenty of sunlight into your home.
  • Consider the light bulb. Use stronger lights for bigger spaces and softer lights for smaller spaces.

Home recovery doesn’t have to be long and arduous. As Angelou said, home is where you go as you are without being questioned, so modify your house for your specific needs. Make the most of the space you have available to invigorate yourself and your recovery process, giving your body time to heal and maintaining your spirit healthy and positive in the process.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Author: Michael Longsdon, Elder Freedom

Why New York City Is a Great Location for Your Business

The city that never sleeps offers ample opportunity for businesses of all kinds. Although starting or relocating a business in the city can feel overwhelming, there’s a reason why over 8 million people call NYC home. The cost of living can be higher than in smaller towns, but the community and customer base are invaluable and often balance out some of the costs. Below are some additional reasons that New York City is a wonderful location for your business.

Community

This is one of the categories where NYC shines. You should have no problem finding customers, mentors, fellow business owners, and local leaders to connect with. This type of community will help strengthen your business financially while also allowing you to learn, improve, and implement effective business changes at a rapid rate.

Quality of Life

Another category where NYC beats almost every other city is the quality of life. World-class restaurants, entertainment, education, parks, events, and so much more are around every corner. This is one of the main reasons you can feel that trademark buzz in the air when you arrive in the city.

Notable landmarks include:
● Central Park
● Broadway
● The Metropolitan Museum of Art
● The New York Public Library

Education

Narrowing in on education, New York City can be said to encompass an educated and capable workforce. This adds to the quality of the talent pool who will be applying for jobs at your organization. In New York City, more often than not, you can be sure that there are workers seeking employment positions with the specific skills that you are seeking.

Here are a few of New York’s best colleges:
● New York University
● Columbia University
● Barnard College

Of course, in today’s higher education world, it’s never been easier to get that elusive advanced degree thanks to accredited online universities. And the return on the dollar has never been better. Western Governors University, for example, offers online business degrees that generate an ROI that ranges from 202 to 267 percent, depending on the program.

Transportation

New York has excellent https://www.nationalexpresstransit.com/blog/9-benefits-of-public-transportation/ and is highly walkable. Not only will you be able to get around quickly and easily, but your workforce is not as likely to face delays. Affordable, unlimited public transportation cards are available for added convenience. In addition, New York City boasts iconic tax cabs, an ever growing presence of Uber and Lyft drivers, and some of the highest end luxury private driving services in the country. In addition, the city boasts a seemingly endless supply of parking garages, enabling staff to pay for hourly, daily, weekly or monthly parking.

Starting a business in New York is an excellent option for almost any industry. The large population automatically provides a customer base and workforce that fits your needs. With the resources above, you should be able to get started in no time.

Image via Pexels

Author: Tina Martin of Ideaspired

How Real Estate Investors Can Set Up a Safety-Conscious Home Office for Meetings During the Pandemic

Since the pandemic is still a concern for many, real estate investors are increasingly embracing safety-conscious designs for their home offices. If you want to do the same, here are some tips.

Core Safety Best Practices for Meetings

There are several critical best practices that all real estate investors should use for in-person meetings. Some of the biggest include:

Each of those can help slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, they are great places to start if you want to ensure your home office is safe.

Additionally, use technologies that help minimize contact. For instance, payment and invoicing software eliminate the need to hand over paper bills or handle credit cards, reducing the amount of contact.

Choosing the Right Home Office Space

When you get ready to set up a safety-conscious home office for meetings, you need to select the right space. Ideally, you want to use a room with a door you can shut. That way, you can minimize noise and distractions and create a level of privacy.

If selling your home is something you’re considering, building a separate home office space could work in your favor in today’s work-from-home environment when Home Offices are in high demand. Make sure you track the improvements and take before and after pictures. That way, you can use the information to get the best sale price.

Setting Up Your Home Office for Client Visits

When it comes to the layout of your home office, you can be safety-conscious by positioning furniture in a way that supports social distancing. For example, make sure that the seat your visitor will use is at least six feet away from yours and position a coffee table in between to ensure they don’t scoot up. For rectangular meeting tables, place chairs at the far ends. That way, you’re spaced further apart.

If you need an excellent option for seating, repairing a damaged chair or couch you already own could be a great option. By using a furniture upholstery service, you could potentially get a couch fixed up for between $1,200 and $3,500. Since the exact cost varies depending on the fabric choice, size, and other factors, you’ll want to get quotes. However, search online for “chair reupholstery near me” and make sure you read online reviews before reaching out to discuss your needs. That way, you can focus on reputable companies. Of course, buying brand new furniture for your Home Office is always a great option as well!

Lastly, try your best to keep clutter and messiness under control. You never want your clients to visit an office that is disorganized. For example, if you have a lot of paperwork that’s taking up space in your home office, consider digitizing those documents so you can easily access them on your computer. You can even use free apps to compress PDF files into smaller sizes; that way, you won’t have to worry about lots of large files clogging up your PC.

Preparing for Video Conferences and Virtual Visits

Since virtual meetings are safer than in-person ones, setting up your home office for web conferencing is a smart move. Make sure that you have a neutral background in a camera-friendly color, like light blue or beige.

Consider buying a ring light to illuminate yourself evenly, and consider using task lighting or opening your curtains to introduce more natural light into the room.

Investing in a high-quality microphone will help to ensure that you can be understood in your meetings.

Additionally, practice making eye contact with the camera – not the screen – to mimic eye contact with your client.

Bonus Tip: Protecting Your Assets

Finding ways to protect personal assets is crucial for everyone operating a business. For example, if you haven’t already done so, give yourself some extra protection by shifting your business structure from a sole proprietorship to an LLC.

With an LLC, you reduce your liability, safeguarding your assets from a range of potential issues. Plus, filing is surprisingly simple. While you do need to research local formation laws – as the rules do vary by state – in many cases, you can skip the hefty legal fees and either file yourself or use a formation company instead. With that approach, you can accomplish the same goal at a lower cost, making it a great option for budget-conscious real estate investors.

Author: Cherie Mclaughlin 

The Art of Moving to Another Country with Children: Choosing a School Without the Ability to Visit

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Once you have made the choice to move to another country, you still have a long list of decisions to make. From choosing a moving company to deciding what you want in your new home, you will have a lot of options to weigh. One of the most important options for parents to consider is the selection of schools in their new location. This can be even trickier if you are moving to a state like New York, where the law prohibits real estate brokers from discussing or advising on schools. In many states, you’d be guided by the expertise of a trusted real estate professional to consult about local school information, but in New York, your real estate broker by law won’t be permitted to assist in this way.

Deciding where your child will attend without being able to personally visit makes the task even more complicated. Luckily, through careful consideration, research, and phone calls, Trulia points out that you can make the important decision from afar.

Zero In On Potential Schools

To start creating your list of potential schools, there are some important questions to help you determine what is important to you in a school. Do you and your child prefer a traditional or alternative educational style? How important are extracurricular activities, and which ones are most important? What level of contributions (time or money) to the school is your family interested in making? Also, consider schools where your child has thrived and determine what characteristics aided in his or her success. Look for those same characteristics when searching for a school in your new location.

Standardized test scores are important, but they should not be the deciding factor in your choice. In order to get a good picture from afar, you will need to do a little more research. Use Facebook as a tool. Many communities and schools have groups and pages on Facebook where parents can post complaints, questions, compliments, and recommendations about the school.

Check out the school’s website, too. You may be able to find newsletters, PTA meeting notes, information on awards and certifications the school and its staff have received, and more. There are also sites that compare schools, such as GreatSchools.org and SchoolDigger.com. You will learn about student/teacher ratios, average numbers of students in each class, test scores and progress, reviews from parents, and more.

Make Contact

Once you have narrowed down your list to a few options, call the schools directly. If possible, arrange to speak with the principal, at least one teacher, and another member of staff, such as the guidance counselor. Inquire about the school’s approach to discipline and homework and how the school supports children with any unique academic, social, or developmental needs. Ask how information is shared with parents and what current parent involvement looks like. Also, inquire about the qualifications of teachers, as well as the rates of teacher turnover.

Adjusting to Living Abroad

After selecting the school, you can pretty much hammer down the rest of the details regarding your move. Prepare to have your belongings shipped to your new home, and make sure everything about your new home is ready to go. Additionally, spend time taking care of things that aren’t directly related to a move. If you want to stay in touch with loved ones at home, teach them how to use Zoom, or purchase an international calling card.

If a loved one, who lives in the Philippines, for instance, relies on you financially, look into transfer services that will let you send money home without charging you a lot of money in convenience fees. Remitly is one such service that lets you transfer money to places like the Philippines for around $4 (there is zero charge for three- to five-day transfers). All of these little steps add up, so make sure you keep a running checklist of things you need to do before the move.

Moving to another country with children is difficult, and when you have to choose a school without ever setting foot in its doors, it can make the process even tougher. You want to ensure your child’s school sets him or her up for success while also ensuring your child is safe at the school and home. Determining your family’s needs and wants from a school, carefully researching your options and making phone calls will give you peace of mind in your decision.