Moving has been called the “forgotten stress” of selling a home: it’s a big project with a lot of parts and logistics. And as you get older, it can be harder to manage a big move on your own. Luckily, there are things you can do to to minimize the moving blues.
At 23, I was proud to help haul a mattress up to a second-floor porch with muscle and a roll of twine, but now that I’m over 50, I would rather make moving as easy as possible.
In an attempt to help make your next move stress-free, we put together a list of some of the key moving tips we wise 50+ folks should embrace.
1. Selling the House
The best way to remove stress isn’t even a moving tip, but a selling tip: get a great real estate agent. Selling your home is an ongoing project that eats up huge chunks of your time, and a good real estate agent minimizes time and anxiety.
Your agent should have the market knowledge and the professional experience to:
- Price the house correctly
- Access listing venues you can’t
- Mount a successful marketing campaign
- Show the property
- Connect you with good contractors
- Stay on top of any legal issues
- Negotiate with the buyer’s agent
Do you want to have to handle those responsibilities while you’re preparing to move? Who would, when top rated real estate agents are there for you?
2. Preparing Your Home
- Start preparing to move before you list your home. You need to declutter to show the house anyway, so make that effort with your move in mind.
- Sort your possessions into Keep/Sell/Donate/Trash categories, and start early enough to keep it feeling manageable. A head start now means there’s less to pack later, and “pre-packing” creates the openness in your living and storage spaces that attracts buyers.
- Remember to label everything you pack, whether it’s marked for donation or for you to identify and unpack in your new place. Boxes, you know, do look alike.
- Sell some of the contents of the house along with the house. Furniture you don’t want, or want to move, can be part of the deal. So can pretty much anything else, including appliances, kitchenware, dishes, those huge down comforters, or the lawnmower. Consult with your agent and let her gauge prospective buyers’ interest in various items.
3. The Actual Move
- Get written estimates from multiple moving companies, and have their reps do a walk-through to calculate cost. Do your homework: read online reviews, consult them on any “tough” or unusual aspects of your move (like transporting a piano), and ask if they include packing in their services.
- Select your top three choices, and don’t lose their contact info! Once your house sells, book the movers right away.
- Consider temporary housing. If the whole move-out/move-in process is too hard or too fast for comfort, consider a furnished rental, house sitting, Airbnb, or accepting hospitality from loved ones. Give yourself the time you need to get into or find your next home.
Even if you don’t need temporary housing, consider it for your pets. What’s safer and less stressful for them is also less stressful for you.
4. Moving-related Life Logistics
- Let everyone know your new address who needs to know. Most organizations will let you change it online. Your list includes the Post Office, utilities and cable (which also need to be shut off), credit card companies, insurance companies, newspaper/magazine subscriptions, employers, family and friends.
- Have prescriptions refilled before you move and transferred to a new pharmacy if necessary. Get referrals for and connect with new doctors, dentists, vets, and other important health service providers in your new area before you arrive.
Planning ahead lets you cross things off your Moving To-Do List sooner rather than later, and that will mean a smoother move and a lot less stress.
Lin Nulman is a guest contributor from Homelight.