For the Spouse: The questions you need to ask

Finding out that your spouse is being transferred to a new location can be overwhelming to say the least. It is likely that your spouse is excited about the move and the new job challenges that lay ahead. While you, the trailing spouse, may be feeling the complete opposite experiencing fear, stress, and even resentment.

This move will certainly mean leaving behind friends and the things that are familiar and comfortable. It may mean quitting your job to start all over looking for a new one. But everyone including you will fare much better if you are able to make the relocating experience a positive one. The best way to do this is to lots and lots of information. The following questions will help you start off on the right foot.

Why is your spouse being asked/required to transfer?

Communication between both spouses is important in this time of transition. Make sure to take the time to really discuss the good and bad points of moving. You should make the decision together whether the move is the right thing for you and your family. Keep in mind the career and financial ramifications of the move.

Does your spouse’s firm offer any relocation assistance?

Companies differ vastly in how generous they are in helping with the transfer, but it is rare for a company to help in no way. Most often, firms pay to move your household goods. It is also common for the company to offer assistance with home sale and pay for you home-finding trip or trips. Find exactly what your spouses company does to relieve the relocation burden. It is also important to try and make the house-hunting trip together so your home purchase decision can be made collectively.

How does the cost of living differ from where you live now?

It is really important to factor in the new cost of living when making relocation decisions. This will help you to accurately decide how much you can afford on housing and other living expanses. If the cost of living is higher where you are relocating, find out if your spouse will receive a cost of living allowance or other financial help, such as a mortgage buy down, down payment assistance or salary increase.

What does the town offer?

Lean about the amenities, such as shopping restaurants, recreation facilities, hospitals, places of worship and restaurants. Find out how strong the local job market is if you will be needing to find a new job. Also, inquire if your spouse’s firm will be able to give you any assistance. Some firms have formal employment assistance programs while others are on a case by case basis find out if you have any options. The other really important thing to look into is how the schools stack up in the area. Obviously if you have school age children this will be a priority, but even if you don’t looking into school performance is a good idea. Homes located near a high performing school have a better resale then those that don’t.

Have you considered the family members needs?

A relocation to a new area will go a lot more smoothly if your family knows that they can still continue doing the activities that they have enjoyed where you currently live. Take the time to find out if your family member’s special interests can be met, such as a piano teacher, or little league, or dance. Also, keep in mind any special needs such as day care, elder care, or physical therapy. Finding out what your options are early will relieve a lot of stress.


Remember in this process you’re not alone! All moves can be stressful at times especially if you are moving to an unknown location. Taking the time to gather information and then finding a real estate agent who is an expert on buying can help make your relocation experience a pleasant one. N.B.A.A will put you in touch with a real estate agent who can help answer your questions and fill you with confidence.