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Leaving NI Logistics-- Our experience (Belfast)

We're moving home to America after a wonderful stay in NI. I thought this might help some other folks as they prepare to leave.

1. When we left the US, we had a company run an estate sale. It was quick and easy. In NI they do not have estate sales. I've found three choices. One, sell everying yourself on Gumtree. Two, have a house clearance company take everything for a fee minus whatever they'll pay you for your goods. Three, an acution house may take your items to sell. We've gone with number three. They're picking up all of our stuff on a Friday (we fly out on a Sunday) and will wire us the money. I'm in the Tandragee area so we're using Scarva Auctions. Great to deal with.

2. Transferring money back to the states is a pain if you're sending more than $10k. Speak to your bank about the best way to transfer your funds. It's a little more difficult for us as my bank in the US was purchased by another bank and we didn't get our new cards etc. Anyway, if you're sending a larger amount, you may want to shop around for a transfer service as opposed to using your local bank.

3. We had two leased cars that we'll turn in early. Citroen waived all of the early return fees. Renualt wants 50% of the remaining fees which is fair enough. It's just a few months and in my opinion, easier than selling a car.

4. We got a good price for our move from McGimpsey Removals in Bangor. I'd avoid the online "multiple quote" sites. I had people from England calling, then saying they don't do NI. When I searched for moving companies in NI, I just contacted them directly. I also like having someone local I can speak with. Two pallets of household goods, three bikes and a king size bed for areound 3k. Don't forget you'll have to pay an import fee as well... this comes to around $800 and it may not be included in the price.

4. I gave our estate agents three months notice that we were leaving. I wish I hadn't. They are now scheduling people to come look at the house and it is disruptive. We're in the midst of packing etc. and while I'm sure we're within our rights to have a messed-up house, we can't bare it and we'll have to celan before people come over. I supposed this depends on the relationship you have with your landlord.

Anything else... flights out of Dublin were about 1k less for a family of four and you go through immigration in Dublin. That means we won't have to do it in the US and that should be much better with two really tired little kids after we arrive... to remember our time here, we've gone to some charity shops and have bought some really nice Irish water colors. Cost like £5 each. For the kid's friends, we are giving them self addressed stamped envelopes so they can mail some letters to the US.

I have a few months before I start my new job. Upon returning you're eligible to purchase heallth insurance via the marketplace. Prices for a family are pretty good.

If you're paying for an online service-- Amazon Prime, Spotify etc., you will want to check with them about transferring to the US. We've had problems with Amazon not recognizing our US purchases-- movies and such and I imagine we'll be missing some of our content when we return. I know the Apple App store is different in the UK v. the US. Subscriptions seem to be the main issue. To forward your mail, you'll have to pay over £100 to Royal Mail.

That's all I can really think of. We're excited to get back home though we will miss it here greatly.

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