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How do you make house-moving less stressful?

Is moving house more or less stressful than getting divorced? Veterans of both experiences sometimes bracket the two together.

Is moving house more or less stressful than getting divorced? Veterans of both experiences sometimes bracket the two together. But just as a clean divorce beats a messy divorce, a well-planned house move will give you far fewer grey hairs, than a poorly-planned house move.

Here are our top tips to take the stress out of the house-moving process:

  1. Draw up a wish-list of things you are looking for in your new home and decide which of them are essential and which non-essential. You will need to make decisions along the way, so be clear in your head what your non-negotiables are.
  2. If you are selling as well as buying, do as much preliminary paper-work as possible – for example, preparing energy performance certificates for your old home, and getting your mortgage sorted for your new one. The most stressful property moves of all involve long chains with multiple weak links.
  3. Don’t house-hunt in too wide an area. It can quickly become debilitating. You will do better if you narrow down your area of search, after researching transport links, local schools etc. It might be simpler to draw-up a check-list before you search for your new home, then find the home that ticks most of the boxes.
  4. Make sure you have an efficient solicitor, not one who dawdles over every sentence in every document. Unnecessary delays in paperwork can be frustrating.
  5. If you are buying a property which is going to need extensive building works before it is habitable, make a realistic assessment of how long those works are likely to take. Screaming at dilatory builders is bad for the health.
  6. If you are buying with a mortgage, it can be a good idea – particularly with interest rates so low – to take out a slightly bigger mortgage than you technically need. It will give you a cushion against unforeseen extra expenditure. Trinity Financial is Winkworth’s recommended mortgage broker and they will let you know exactly how much you can borrow.
  7. Leave enough time to complete the moving process, and make a conservative estimate of how long the whole process will take. You don’t want to go through the stress of being homeless at the start of a new term or on your first day in a new job.
  8. Having to live in temporary rented accommodation while, for example, builders do work on your new home, need not be the end of the world. But if you have not budgeted for it properly, it can turn into an expensive nightmare.
  9. Don’t skimp on removal costs. Double-check your removers will carry your antique chest-of-drawers up three flights of stairs. Be clear with your removers when you hire and brief them. You don’t want any surprises later. Personal recommendations are always the safest option when searching for a removal company. Don’t just choose the cheapest firm.
  10. Make sure insurance is arranged with your removal company– just in case anything gets broken during the move.
  11. Take a full week off work, if possible, when moving from house A to house B. It will give you the slack to do last-minute chores that are bound to arise. Label each box carefully before packing, then ask the removal company to place specific boxes in specific rooms. This will save time and stress later.

Moving house in 21st-century Britain is like the modern Olympic pentathlon: a stern test challenging your eye for detail, your negotiating skills, your patience, your imagination and your resolve. But keep your brain in gear at all times and you should be able to pass the test.

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