They say moving house is a stressful as divorce – and probably takes twice as long. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Anything that takes time and planning, and has elements that one cannot control is perhaps almost bound to be stressful, but a dose of realism, some planning and a little PMA [positive mental attitude] can go a long way when moving home.
1. Be realistic
Work on the basis that things WON’T go exactly to plan and you won’t be disappointed. Don’t think anything is ‘a done deal’ until contracts are signed and dates agreed. When thinking of dates for exchange or completion, be realistic around timescales and work around a number of options – planning everything around only one date is almost certainly going to lead to disappointments so give yourself as many options as you can.
Although moving house is an emotional time, don’t let it be too emotional. Don’t fall in love with your new home until it is your new home; don’t put all your emotional energy into one location until you are living in that location. View any setbacks rationally as you then have a chance of getting the best out of a situation.
2. Plan, plan and plan again
Don’t let anything go wrong simply because you didn’t think plan for it to go right. From choosing which estate agent to use to making sure your removal van arrives on the right day, planning is essential. There is lots of online help but nothing beats a simple diary/calendar so you can see what, who, when and where. Try to remember [as if you could forget] what went wrong with the last move, and ask advice from family and friends. Use your estate agent: next to you they most want to see a successful sale and they will have great contacts and insider information.
3. Declutter and do storage
It’s unlikely you will take everything from your old home to your new even if you are upsizing. It’s even less likely you will want or need everything else from day 1. So firstly declutter – and I would advise doing this even before you market your own home as it will make the home look neater, tidier and ultimately easier to sell.
Once you have exchanged contracts, start to move stuff that you don’t use daily into self storage. It will mean you don’t have to move everything in one go, and gives you a chance to adjust to your new home without cardboard boxes filling every bit of floor space. As and when [or if] you need it, you can take it out of storage.
4. Make it easy on yourself
There are some practical steps to make the move easier, but they are often difficult to stick to as they seem almost counter-intuitive. So, for example, don’t view any houses until you have sold your own. Look on the internet to make sure you there are houses which meet your requirements at the price you can pay, but leave it at that until you have an offer on your home. Your heart, your partner and estate agent will tell you otherwise but you risk falling in love with properties you then see sold before your very eyes. This puts pressure on you emotionally –and may make you reduce your asking price without any real need to.
Likewise, your solicitor will ask you pay for searches BEFORE you have received your mortgage offer. That seems to make sense as you want everything to be done as quickly as possible but rationally it makes no sense – you could just be wasting money if the offer doesn’t come through.
5. Take time out…
Or carry on regardless. Don’t put your life on hold during the whole process, as that will also add to the pressure. Make time during the sale for some enjoyment – perhaps try to take yourself off for a at least a day so you are not always thinking about mortgages, removal vans and fixtures and fittings. It’s important to continue to maintain the house in the usual way. If you usually paint the exterior in the summer, then paint it even if the house is on the market; it’s a false economy to stop and will be one of those things that maintains a sense of normality.
Few of us would move house for fun, but the above may help lower stress levels – and perhaps avoid a real divorce. A lot of planning, a little self-storage and a cool head at all times could be the three things that make all the difference.