By Niovie Constantinou, Contributor
One of the sacrifices that professional athletes may be called to make is that of relocating to a new city or country. Many times, it is not just the athlete that has to move, but their entire family too, in which case relocation decisions need to take into consideration all family members. In order to ensure that the process runs smoothly, the family needs to be prepared well in advance, and a good starting place is to find out the basics about this new location, in order to become more familiar with it, such as:
- What the weather is like and what kind of activities the locals undertake in their free time;
- Where key facilities are (schools, hospitals, police stations);
- Where other major amenities are located (main grocery stores, shops, restaurants and so on).
Once the family starts getting acquainted with the new location, it is important to decide whether they will sell their old home, or rent it out, and whether they will buy or rent a new place. Generally, when an athlete is looking into buying property, it’s best that they do so in their hometown rather than the place in which they work. This is because many sports contracts are short term, so it is advisable that the athlete looks to seasonal housing when the relocation seems to be temporary. It is actually the norm that athletes rent out their permanent residence and in turn rent the homes in which they are living when on a contract either abroad or away from home; some of them even juggle between two or three houses at the same time, if they decide to be living at one place during the sports season and a different one off-season. These are all considerations that an athlete needs to discuss with a realtor so as to find the most suitable housing solution.
Temporary as it may be, an athlete needs to ensure that their home away from home is safe, secure and suitable to the family’s needs. Searching for available properties online is a good place to start, but it is best that someone local also checks out the property to make sure that the pictures and online specifications are representative of the actual property. A local realtor will also have better knowledge of the different districts and may be able to offer more in depth advice.
Another consideration when relocating is the employment situation of the athlete’s spouse. Do they need to find a new job? Can they keep their current job and work remotely? Will they be taking care of the children full-time? It is equally important to think about which school(s) the children will be attending; if they’re changing schools, their records need to be transferred and if daycare is necessary, this should also be arranged. When moving to a different country, language can be a consideration as well, both in terms of the day-to-day activities of the athlete’s family and in terms of the children’s schooling. These are all decisions that should be made prior to moving to ensure that the family tackles this new challenge with a pre-set plan of action.
It may be worth getting in touch with a long distance relocation specialist who can help with all aspects of the process, has local knowledge to identify the good schools and neighborhoods, can help with the buying/ renting of property, or even offer concierge services to introduce the athlete and their family to their new place.
Once you have relocated to your new home, be sure to embrace it: get to know your neighbors, join a local club, try out new experiences as a family and take up on activities that are unique to your new home; this will enable your family to be immersed in their new environment in the best possible way. Remember that it takes time to start anew and create an agreeable living environment, but thorough planning will surely speed up the process and ease the adjustment to your new place: Welcome home!
For more information on transitioning smoothly to life abroad when your sports contract takes you to a foreign land, you may get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.