A man sits in a pile of boxes, overcome with moving house stress. SAM Conveyancing's top tips for managing the stress of moving house.
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5 Tips To Beat Moving House Stress

13/02/2023
(Last Updated: 18/12/2023)
68
11 min read

Key Takeaways

  • There are many different factors for stress around moving, as well as selling and buying
  • 47% of people polled gave packing as the most stressful part of moving house
  • Get things off on the right foot by instructing a good solicitor who you can trust to manage the process and communicate with you at each stage

Why is moving house so stressful?

Often home movers are surprised by just how stressed, anxious and upset they feel at the prospect of buying or selling a house and ask themselves 'Why am I so upset about moving house?' Be assured is it is quite normal to feel stressed and anxious about moving, especially if you are buying or selling a house. In fact, 57% of respondents polled by Legal & General consider moving house to be the most stressful thing you can do, above having a child or breaking up from a relationship.

The good news is that there are ways to keep your stress to a minimum. We'll discuss our top tips for managing moving house stress below.

The top factors for stress when moving house are:

Moving Home Checklist

  • Letting go of your old home

    We form a strong sentimental attachment to our homes, even rented ones. It becomes a place of comfort, security and a physical monument to all the memories we have made within its walls. Saying goodbye can be emotionally stressful, especially when major life events have taken place in a home.

  • Starting again in a new neighbourhood

    Not only do we make friends in our neighbourhoods, we become familiar with the friendly faces we grow to love, even in passing. The friendly OAPs on their front steps, waving gardeners, post men, the kids knocking around on bikes before they're called in for dinner, the family who run the corner shop, the dog walkers who say hello and the staff at the local pub or café. It can be daunting to consider losing that familiarity, starting again somewhere that everyone is a stranger.

  • Uncertainty around change

    Any change is stressful, the bigger the change, often the greater the stress. What makes change stressful is usually the uncertainty which goes with it. It is almost impossible to really know how a new house & neighbourhood (which often goes alongside a new job, new school for the kids, new transport links, new commute etc.), will pan out. Will the roof cave in? Are the next door neighbours from hell? Will the cat be bullied by the neighbourhood Tom?

  • Underlying mental health

    Dealing with change and stress require work at the best of times. When we are also dealing with underlying stress issues, this can create a bit of a vicious cycle, where the underlying mental health undermines our resilience in the face of stress and that inability to endure stress, further damages our mental wellbeing. Keeping on top of moving house stress is especially paramount when your mental health is already a little fragile.

These are just a few of the things that can cause a strain on your wellbeing when moving house. When you combine these with the added factors of buying or selling, you can see how the stress can mount up if it's not properly managed.

Why is selling a house so stressful?

The top factors for stress when buying a house are:

  • Uncertainty around getting the price you want

    It's easy to tell ourselves 'It's only money!' and try to pretend we're above such things, but for most of us our home is our greatest asset, the most expensive thing we own and the product of years of hard work, saving, and mortgage repayments. Making sure we get a fair price when we sell is not just a measure of whether a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears were 'worth it' but it also dictates what we are able to do next and whether we can afford to complete on our next home.

  • Uncertainty around selling in time

    Most people sell their home in order to finance their next purchase. Whether upsizing, downsizing, or relocating, you'll need your sale to complete in time to make your purchase, in order to complete the chain of transactions. If one transaction fails to meet its deadline, you could lose the house you're buying, as well as all the time and money you've spent on conveyancing, surveys and searches.

  • Packing 

    If you're like me, even packing for a holiday is stressful. Deciding what you will or won't need until moving day, deciding what you can sell or donate before the move, plus making sure it's all organised and labelled well enough to make things simple for yourself on the other end, can overwhelm our decision centres. If you are like me, you may have found yourself hiding out in a fort made of semi assembled boxes, instead.

  • Home improvements in preparation for sale

    Getting the house ready ties into the stress of getting the price you want. A general spruce up or face lift can boost your property's appeal and your sale price. It also ties into the stress around emotional attachment. When we care for our homes we want to show them off to their fullest potential, to owners who will take good care of them. Part of that is making sure they feel looked after when the new owners get the keys.

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Why is buying a house so stressful?

The top factors for stress when selling a house are:

  • Raising a deposit

    Relative to the average wage, house prices have risen enormously in the last century. First time buyers marvel, bitterly, that once upon a time an average family home cost just 3-4 times a single person's annual salary. The average house price at the end of 2022 was £258,100. This is 7.8 times the average annual salary for 2022: £33,000. To raise even a 5% deposit, at the same time as paying market rent, takes years and years.

  • Getting a mortgage

    Even with a 5% deposit, unless you are combining your borrowing capacity with another owner, most salaries simply aren't big enough to merit a LTV of 95% of any property, least of all if you have children to support. The instability of the BoE base rate following the infamous budget disaster of 2022 left many would be homeowners unable to get a mortgage, and many more defaulting on their homes. If you are able to get a mortgage, fear over rising rates & potential for negative equity in the event of another crash, are enough to stress anyone out.

  • Finding a house

    Once you've secured the finances, finding a home which ticks all your boxes and stays within budget is a stressful task. Many prized locations are caught in a bubble of their own, where demand pushes prices up even higher relative to the national market.

  • Uncertainty around the purchase falling through

    The purchase could fall through at any time, until completion. Your seller could pull out, your own sale (with which you are funding your purchase) could fall through leaving you without the funds to complete, your mortgage lender could withdraw their offer, or any number of unforeseen eventualities. Until the keys are in your hands, you may find yourself biting your nails.


How do I deal with stress when moving house?


    1

    Instruct a solicitor early

Choosing the right conveyancing solicitor is crucial. Read reviews and shop around for quotes. You need to know they will get the work done to a good standard, but you also want to make sure they can meet your deadlines and they will keep you posted on progress along the way. One of the most stressful things about a move is feeling out of control, so being able to trust that the experts have it all in hand is worth its weight in gold.

Communication is key - Choose a solicitor who will keep you informed along the way.


Speaking of gold, if money is a factor behind your stress, you should also go with a fixed fee quote - compare multiple fixed fee quotes to see if any too-good-to-be-true figures will soon balloon with expensive add-ons. If you are able to, you should also look for a No Sale No Fee guarantee, this means that if your initial transaction falls through, you won't lose all your money.

Finally, timing is crucial. Instructing a solicitor early can really help you secure the home you want and speed up the process, to limit your moving house stress.

If you choose SAM Conveyancing, your very own dedicated conveyancing executive will help you manage your move, from chasing your solicitor, through arranging your survey and searches, to reminding you when your paperwork is due. One of our experts will be with you all the way to moving day.

Fixed Fee | Rated Excellent on Trustpilot | No Sale No Fee

    2

    Be realistic about timeframes

Give yourself plenty of time to get things done and be realistic about the timeframes you ask for from your solicitor. Be prepared to accept that your solicitor will be limited as to how fast they can proceed by external factors, including the other party's solicitor and the Land Registry.

What will help is have an accurate picture of how long it takes to move house once offer accepted, as well as understanding that being involved in a property chain can cause delays.

Speak to a member of our team about your specific needs and we'll help you work out what is achievable.

You don't need the top level survey and every single search on every transaction, but making sure you arrange adequate investigation for your specific property will ease the stress of buying a house and any worries you may have about its condition. Get the necessary checks and say goodbye to worrying about nasty surprises. If you're looking at buying at auction, you'll want a solicitor to carry out a legal pack review.

    4

    Get prepared


Giving yourself plenty of time to pack will really help alleviate stress. Decluttering at the same time will give you space to think, reduce the number of boxes you're having to live around and move, and may even help you raise some funds for the move. We can assist with a nationwide removals service, who can even pack and unpack and rebuild your furniture for you, to take a weight off your shoulders.

Spending some time in your new neighbourhood prior to the move can really help to make it feel safe & familiar, reducing anxiety around the unknown. If you're feeling particularly nervous, make sure to pop into the local café and shops on the way to or from your initial viewing and get out and meet your new neighbours as early as possible once you're settled in.

    5

    Maintain some routine

When we're caught up in a move, it can become all encompassing. Try, if you possibly can, to keep some of your regular activities going through the move, such as going to the gym (even if you can only manage one visit a week, instead of 3). Keeping a sense of normality can really help through this whirlwind of a time and moving your body in particular can really help to release the physical and chemical effects of stress in our brains and bodies.

    6

    Take care of yourself

When you're packing, you'll need to leave yourself the 'bare essentials' unpacked, as life goes on. Just because you're living out of suitcases doesn't mean you can't have any luxuries. Set aside some (ideally small) creature comforts for yourself for the interim time and for moving day in particular. Personal favourites include an uplifting scented candle and a bath soak to ease my muscles after a heavy day of lifting boxes as well as cosy slippers, in case of any utilities hiccups on moving day.

If you can ask for help from friends, do. Order pizzas in, set the speakers up first and get some help moving in to your new place. The best way you can make a new pad feel like home is to make some new memories with your nearest and dearest.

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Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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