We were incredibly fortunate that James’ company offered to fly us to Maryland ahead of our move in order to scout out the area, and find somewhere to live. Although it was somewhat hectic as we flew out a month before our move date, amidst the chaos of packing and selling our home, but I’m so glad we did.
Prior to our trip we spent hours trawling through house listings, wandering through neighbourhoods on street view, and reading every school review. We even created a spreadsheet that contained links to our favourite properties, the school ratings and rental price, and ordered them from our most to least favourite.
By the time we came to visit all of the places on our list were no longer available. But we did have a condensed list of areas that we liked and had good school ratings. This was our #1 priority as Emma has always done well in school, and we didn’t want the move to affect this.
Over our very brief 4 day trip we spent hours driving around to view different properties, looking at different neighbourhoods and speaking with locals. We experienced some technical difficulties with our phones whilst here, so we weren’t able to view all the places we wanted to. However we did manage to pinpoint the area that we wanted to move to. Interestingly, it wasn’t our top choice from our initial research. But whilst here it became clear to us that this is where we wanted to be, we just needed to find a house.
The day of our flight back we had a house viewing, we didn’t love the house but it was in the location we wanted and it was a good size, so decided it would work for us. However upon landing in England I saw a new listing for a property that was closer to the school and local pool than the one we’d seen the day before. There were only three pictures online but from what we could see, it was a better fit for us. So we expressed interest to the realtor, and found ourselves negotiating for a property we hadn’t seen.
It took some convincing to get the landlords on board, and understandably so. Afterall we hadn’t seen the house, we had no US credit history, and we owned our home so didn’t have any landlord references. We had to write a long letter about our situation and background, show bank statements, pay a significant deposit, and the first two months rent up front. But we secured the house. Surprisingly, this wasn’t actually the craziest thing we did during the moving process, although it’s up there.
Turning up to a house we’d never seen to pick up the keys was pretty nerve-wracking. I was exhausted and emotional, and I’m honestly not sure I could have handled any more stress. Thankfully all played out well. And whilst the house isn’t perfect, it suits our needs, and our landlords are amazing.
We’re still working on furnishing the house and making it feel like home. But we’re very happy with the area, and we’re glad we researched as much as we did. I’m also incredibly grateful for the house hunting trip, because we definitely wouldn’t have ended up here if not for it.
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