Is Moving House really so Stressful?

sheffield city country location

Thank you to @cartridge88 for this image.

Ask anyone who has moved house and they will undoubtedly tell you it is some what stressful. The amount of things that can go wrong is endless, buyers pulling out, not finding the right property, dealing with estate agents and solicitors, having people come and inspect your house, organising finances…the list really does go on and on.

It is, of course, probably the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life and not one you want to take lightly. However, people often feel rushed into accepting offers on their houses and paying over the odds for a house when there is no real need, they just feel panicked by the whole process. This adds to the stress.

In fact it has often been said that moving house is thought to be the next most stressful thing after the death of a spouse of getting a divorce. But is it really? Is moving home really worse than some of the other major life events, like if you find out you have a terminal illness, or your one of both of parents dying, having a baby, getting made redundant or looking after a baby who doesn’t want to sleep at night?
 
 

What does the stress test say?

The best known research literature uses the Social Readjustment Rating Scale. It was developed in 1967 and asked people just how stressful they found forty three different events. From these events the psychiatrists devised a checklist which weighted them individually, from 100 points for the death of a spouse, to 11 for some small legal violation. This allowed the person to tick off the things that had happened to them and subsequently calculate a life- events score. These scores were then used these scores to make a link between negative events, rates of depression and disease.

Where do the studies of daily stresses put moving house you may wonder? In a sample of middle-aged adults in the UK “property, investment and taxes” comes in at number eight.

Studies looking specifically at the stress of relocating house are few and far between. However there is a British study where 75% of people questioned said relocating for their job was somewhat, quite or very stressful. This is not particularly surprising as relocating for one’s job takes moving house to a whole new level. You are not only going to buy a new house, you are moving to a totally new area, one which you don’t know and may feel quite isolated. Employers may employ a relocation service to help with the move and most people grab this help with both hands.

Pack up your troubles

To summarise, moving house is undoubtedly stressful, rating 8th in the list of stressful events. 75% of people relocating for work have found it to be stressful and would welcome any support in easing the relocation process. Of course you may not have a choice about moving and if that is the case it is recommended getting as much help and support as possible to make the transition.