Leaving to live overseas can become very stressful in the months up until you ship out your belongings and get on the airplane. On Expat Guide Asia, we often talk a lot about destinations and how to make that move happen on the foreign side of things, but some homeowners will have their own concerns and priorities in the last months of living in the United States. To that end, this post will look at five things soon-t0-be expats should consider and prep for in the year before they move abroad.
Prepare Your House for Sale
Your biggest asset that will likely fund some of your life in your new country is the sale of your house. To that end, you should prepare early getting the house in the best possible condition. With the economy issues cycling through Western countries, you never know what the housing market will require and prepping and selling your home early in the process can be a major stress reliever. Consider cleaning your carpets, and floors, mitigate stains and really make your house shine. We love these home care tips from a cleaning company out of San Francisco–quick advice like this will help you maintain the state of your home while you’re waiting for the sale.
Streamline Your Snail Mail
Forwarding mail to an overseas address can be a huge headache, and yet at the same time you really need to make sure that certain communications make it to you in your new home. This is a task that can be saved until the month before you leave, but you will want to talk with trusted family members about handling your mail. If that’s not ideal, consider a service like Earth Class Mail; they will email you scanned copies of every mail item you receive, and you can use their online interface to even sort mail, trash some, and have other items mailed to you anywhere in the world. I prefer using a service mostly because you never have to worry about wearing out your welcome with a family or friend if you end up living overseas longer than you had planned.
Find Social Organizations and Language Classes
One of the easiest ways to make a new place feel like home is to immediately join in with the local community and find sports teams and activities for your children. To that end, join expat communities before you leave so you can get the lay of the land, make some friends in the expat forums and have a good idea of what to do and see once you arrive.
Storage and Selling Possessions
One of the hardest things to plan for when you are looking at your first time moving abroad is how much stuff you will need not only when you are there, but once you return home. For many soon-to-be expats, there is a fear of letting go of the possessions you have accumulated over the years. This is understandable, but for what it’s worth, most expats and travelers regret paying hefty storage fees for the bulk of their belongings. Consider paring down what you own really only to those items that have a deep meaning to you–eliminate the rest in the six months leading up to your trip. If you struggle with this step, I recommend: Getting Rid of It: The Step-by-step Guide for Eliminating the Clutter in Your Life.
Sort Out Bank Accounts
You will be getting a bank account in your home country, but many expats also maintain a bank account in their home country with other funds. Consider consolidating your banking institutions so you can more easily sort the details and track money through their online interfaces. Also look at fees for international withdraws and any international restrictions–though you will use your local bank account once you are settled into a new country, knowing the exact travel specifications on your various credit and debit cards is highly recommended.
These handful of steps will take you closer to figuring out your move overseas. It’s not a one-step process, but the many layers of planning can be easily broken down into actionable steps if you wisely budget out the time you have before you relocate overseas!