Moving is Never Easy
Making a move is never an easy endeavour, it is especially difficult when you are not only moving to a new city but a new province.
Logistically speaking, it can be somewhat of a nightmare especially if you have a family to move and kids in school and jobs to find.
I’ve relocated provinces once and moved city’s twice, both times I was a young single guy just looking for new scenery and better opportunity.
Having relocated my entire family to Kelowna recently, I am here to share with you some of the things that we learned along the way with the hopes that this information comes readily available and you don’t have to search the interwebs too deeply for the information you seek.
What Areas Should You be Looking in?
Kelowna is actually spread out, in fact the total area of the city is 211 square kilometers with a population of around 142,000 in the city proper, excluding all of the out lying areas.
When choosing which part of the city to live in, I suggest (if you have kiddos) to start with school catchment, here is a link to all of School District 23’s school catchment maps. Understanding what areas feed into what schools from Elementary to Middle to High School is important, we found that different schools in Kelowna offer different options to the kids from sports to trades to the arts.
Once you have the catchment figured out it’s time to identify the areas that you would be interested in living in. Part of that decision making process will come down to age of the area and the age of the home that you want to be in. This will also be dictated by your price point.
Keep in mind that locals say, “It takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Kelowna” which is mostly true. You may have also heard that the ‘bridge’ (the one spanning the lake and connecting West Kelowna to Kelowna proper) can be a nightmare at rush hour. If you’re relocating from Ontario or from the lower mainland or even larger cities in Alberta (Edmonton, Calgary…sorry Red Deer!) you may not think an extra 5-10 minutes on to your commute is a big deal.
I know I don’t.
If you know you’ll be going south a lot, then perhaps the other side of the bridge is the way to go.
If you know you’ll be working in Vernon, then perhaps the north part of the city like Glenmore, Wilden, University District or even Lake Country would be a good way to go. I met a family a couple of years ago that lives in The Lakes community in Lake Country, he works downtown Kelowna and she works in Vernon, LC was literally the half way point for both of them.
What Else is There to Organize?
Below is an email that I sent recently to a client that is looking to relocate from Ontario to Kelowna, there is some good info here.
Here are a few resources you are going to need to look at once you get out to Kelowna, some things you can do beforehand as well:
If you haven’t had a look at this already, you should, it’s a cost of living calculator: https://www.costofliving.workbc.ca/
I’m not sure about Ontario, but I can tell you that both Alberta and BC do not have health care premiums. You will need to get you and the family registered, much easier once you have an address, here’s the link: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents/eligibility-and-enrolment/how-to-enrol
For Drivers License you have 90 days to flip it over to a BC license and for your insurance and registration on your vehicles you have 30 days. This can only be done in person at an ICBC office, you will need a Passport and your Ontario drivers license in order to get it switched over, here’s the link: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/moving-bc/Pages/Moving-from-within-Canada.aspx
Vehicle Insurance is done through an insurance broker in BC, there is only one insurance provider and that is ICBC, but there are many brokers that can get you set up with your insurance and registration. I don’t have anyone there yet, but once I do I will share them with you, for now here is a Google Search you can check out.
Here is the school catchment maps link, it will tell you which areas feed in to which schools: http://www.sd23.bc.ca/Schools/catchment/Pages/default.aspx#/=
I have found that joining Kelowna Facebook groups as being a valuable resource, if you want a good laugh, make sure you join Kelowna Rant and Rave! Seriously though, search for the Wilden, Dilworth, Glenmore groups along with the Kelowna Hiking Group if you like to be outdoors this is a never ending supply of things to do and places to see.
Moving: Look at Big Steel Box or Secure Rite if you are going to be looking at transporting across the country or across the province. Far cheaper than getting movers and doing a move with a semi.
I know that I could go on and on, here’s what I will leave you with:
Make sure you know the market, how it’s moving and what to expect relative to what you are selling in your home town.
Travel out to Kelowna a few times to get a feel for the community, make sure to take a trip in the summer and in the winter
If you don’t know where you want to be, then find a rental for the first 6-8 months, explore and determine where you want to live
Connect with an Agent that has gone through all of this before, they can be your best guide through this transition.
For more information on the Kelowna market feel free to drop me a line at 778-716-7527 or shoot me an email email@example.com to have a conversation about your impending move.