House hunting and moving can be challenging when you have an autistic child. Autistic children thrive on a consistent routine. Periods of upheaval, like a big move, can be distressing and overwhelming. Planning ahead is key! As you search for the perfect new home and plan your move, keep your child’s sensory needs in mind. Cover The Coast shares a few house hunting and moving tips to help your family enjoy a smooth transition into your new home.
Find Local Support for Your Child
One of the hardest parts about moving is leaving behind the support systems that your family relies upon. Once you know where you’d like to move, spend some time researching the local services that can support your family and your child’s unique needs. Support services can ease a lot of the stress that comes with moving to a new and unfamiliar place.
Understand Property Taxes
Before purchasing a home, it is important to understand how property taxes work. Property taxes are levied by local governments and are used to fund public services such as schools, roads, and police protection. The amount of property tax you will pay is based on the value of your home. In most cases, the tax assessor will estimate the value of your home and send you a bill for the taxes due.
It is important to remember that the value of your home can change over time, so your property tax bill may also change. If you have any questions about your property tax bill, you should contact your local tax assessor’s office. Understanding how property taxes work can help you budget for this important expense and avoid any surprises down the road.
Know How Much Home You Can Afford
Next, find out how much home you can afford. Remember that the cost of buying a home is much higher than the listed sale price. The Huffington Post notes that you’ll also have to factor in closing costs, property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, mortgage interest, moving costs, and home repairs. Be sure to account for all of these expenses when determining your home buying budget.
Take advantage of free online home affordability calculators that consider your annual income, down payment amount, monthly debts, and the home prices in your desired buying location. Once you’ve worked out how much you can afford, work with a real estate professional like Teri Goodin to start looking for the perfect home for your budget.
Book Reputable Movers
As soon as you decide on a move date, book your movers. Booking movers in advance gives you plenty of time to evaluate companies and find a moving team that will have your best interests in mind. Look for reputable movers that you can trust with your possessions. As a result, you’ll be able to spend your moving day focusing on the needs of your children rather than micromanaging your movers. Use online search tools to find moving services in your area and read online reviews from previous customers.
Look for Autism-Friendly Home Features
When it comes to house-hunting, keep an eye out for features that will enable your child to thrive in your new home. Autism Vision of Colorado recommends that parents of autistic kids consider a few key factors when hunting for a new home:
- Look for homes in quiet neighborhoods with minimal traffic.
- Research local school districts and ask about special education services.
- Prioritize homes with closed floor plans and predictable layouts where you can assign a dedicated purpose to each room.
- Built-in storage is great for preventing the overstimulation that comes with too much clutter.
- Avoid unfenced yards, properties with water features, tiny bathrooms, and noisy appliances like old HVAC systems.
Remember that you can always make home modifications after moving, so don’t feel like you have to find a home that fits all of these criteria right off the bat.
Prepare Your Child in Advance
Talking to your child about your upcoming move can help them feel comfortable about this big transition. Try to explain your reason for moving and highlight the positive aspects. Autistic children benefit from visual aids, so show your child pictures of the new home and city so they have images to associate with the move. You can also help your child feel some sense of control over the move by getting them involved in the packing and cleaning process.
If you have an autistic child and you’re hunting for a new home, start planning your move well in advance. Talk to your child about your plans, calculate your home-buying budget, book movers, and find local resources in your new area. These preparations will go a long way towards relieving your stress and ensuring your child feels comfortable throughout the process.