What It’s Like To Move During A Pandemic, According To 10 Women

In March, I considered leaving my cozy apartment in a lively
Brooklyn neighborhood for a cheaper, larger place, but with a
longer commute to work. The apartment with the lower rent won out,
but at the time, it was a hard choice — “I’m deciding between two
equally great options,” I told friends. Fast forward to June, over
three months after New York state ordered citizens to
shelter-in-place, and it feels quaint that I considered passing up
a bigger, more affordable place to be near bars and
restaurants.

Many others had their
housing priorities completely upended because of coronavirus.

According to
The New York Times
, an estimated 5% of residents left New York
City between March 1 and May 1.
Similar trends have been seen in other populated cities
. Some
young people are moving back home to their parents or relocating to
new cities. Others found new apartments in their current area while
trying to keep a six-foot distance from movers.

Moving Back Home In Quarantine

Home sale and rental platform Zillow has seen a 33% increase in
short-term lease offerings and an almost 50% increase in furnished
listings, says Joshua Clarke, Zillow’s economist. “[One]
possible explanation is people subletting their units as they move
back home with family” he tells Bustle. Zillow’s analysis found
that
2.7 million adults moved back home to their parents
during
March and April, a 9.7% increase from last year.

Mia, 25, moved to Brooklyn in October 2019, but went to her
family home in Vermont when COVID-19 cases in New York rose,
thinking she’d only be there a few weeks. Then, she lost her job.
“Our building management wasn’t very forgiving in giving us payment
options,” she tells Bustle. “At the end of April, my roommate and I
decided to break our lease and move out. Thankfully we both had
backup housing options available,” she says, referring to her
family home.

Pre-coronavirus, Taryn L., 30, planned to travel for a few
months. She had a flight booked on March 17 from New York to
Austin, Texas, to kick off her trip, but changed it last-minute to
go to her parents in Arizona. “Luckily, I had already been in the
process of packing up my life and putting things in storage, but to
not know when I’d return was, and still is, upsetting,” she says.
“The last time I moved out, I told my mom to never let me back in
with more than a suitcase,” she says. “I have constantly reminded
myself that it’s temporary […] and I had to make responsible,
safe choices for myself.”

Gwenn, 26, decided to move back to her small hometown in the
Netherlands, 160 miles north of where she’s finishing her
master’s degree, when grocery stores nearby began to run low on
necessities. While she’s glad she made the choice, especially
because her grandmother unexpectedly passed away a few weeks later,
the transition hasn’t been easy. “It was very difficult adjusting
to living at home again after living on my own for the last four
years. I had to get used to how my mum runs the household and
expects things to be done.”

Moving To A New City During The Pandemic

Victoria, 27, traveled back to the United States from the UK in
mid-March. “I was in a building where the median age is around 70.
I felt like I was putting our community at risk by staying here
when there was a ventilator shortage” she explains, noting that a
coworker of hers had been exposed to COVID-19.

Heather*, 32, is planning to move across the country to be
closer to her family in California. “I’ve been quarantining alone
the whole time. That’s been lonely in and of itself, but the amount
of effort it takes to get home just seems so insane now. And if we
have another outbreak the thought of being isolated again is really
hard to stomach.”

Cassie is taking this opportunity to leave Chicago. “I just
booked a shared room in Denver on Airbnb for June,” she tells
Bustle. “Making the decision to move for the time being hasn’t
scared me. I am fortunate enough that I can work remote, and if it
doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out”.

How Do You Find A New Place To Live In A Pandemic?

As if moving wasn’t stressful enough, people are relocating at a
time when home-hunting is nearly all online. “Landlords are now
relying on agents to get a lot more information about applicants to
screen them,” says
Joan Kagan
, a licensed real estate associate broker for
TripleMint.
“They are being very strict about who they are letting in and
showing their spaces to.” While certain states, like
New York, are allowing in-person showings
at landlords’
discretion as lockdowns lift, Kagan says virtual viewings are
likely to stick around.

Deepika, 24, opted to move to a New York City apartment she
hadn’t seen because it was managed by the same company as her
current place. Hanna, 24, who is moving with her partner, has found
the experience pretty anxiety-inducing. “I never thought I’d
consider moving into a new place without having seen it in person
yet (wide-angle lenses can be deceptive!), but I also feel
fortunate that it’s even a choice I’m able to make right now.”

To compensate for the limitations of virtual viewings, Kagan now
schedules screen-share meetings with clients, where they watch
videos and 3D tours together, and shows clients the surrounding
streets on Google street view. “There’s now more of a push for a
more pleasant environment — pleasant views and interiors — over
location,” she says, adding that “it’s still kind of a clunky
experience,” and that sensory factors like smell and sound are
impossible to gauge virtually.

Saying Goodbye

For many, moving has come with lifestyle changes they hadn’t
planned for. Taryn A., 29, relocated from San Francisco to L.A. to
live with her girlfriend in May, but wishes she’d been able to have
a goodbye party. “I’m a big community person, so missing out on a
drink/game night with all of my best SF friends is really, really
hard. […] It was sad knowing I couldn’t hug them.”

Steph, 28, moved to New York City to pursue a new career, but is
already planning her exit. “What makes [NYC] so great are the
recreational, social, career events, and opportunities which just
won’t happen or won’t be the same for a long time,” she says. The
process has made her reflect on more than just where she and her
boyfriend want to live next. “It’s hard to have bitten the bullet
to quit and move [to NYC] with no real plan and then have that
opportunity sort of taken because of this pandemic,” she says. “It
definitely urges me to act faster when I want to do something
because you never know what the future holds, and what it will give
and take from you.”

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News 2
What It’s Like To Move During A Pandemic, According To 10
Women