How to Move Houses While Dealing with a Loss in the Family
The grieving journey is long and hard. And it can be made even more difficult when you remain in the home where your spouse, parent, or child passed. Their favorite chair, the spot they ate at the dinner table, and the bed where they slept are all constant reminders of what was. Each set of walls holds memories that flood your thoughts; these memories may even be holding you back from your own future.
Moving can be very beneficial if you feel like you need a change of scenery. However, you need to ensure that you wait until you’ve settled your loved one’s estate and you feel emotionally ready before making the big decision.
Get a Great Real Estate Agent
Selling a house and buying a new one is stressful, even more so when you're grieving a death in the family. So, try to find an awesome real estate agent who can help you maneuver through all of the tasks involved. The Balance recommends going to open houses and meeting different real estate agents in person. This will help you find someone who can empathize with your situation and find the best possible home for your needs. You should also pay attention to the listed homes in your area and look for agents who sell houses quickly. Make sure you ask the real estate agent for references so you can call other home sellers and discuss their experience.
There’s a good chance that your personal responsibilities have changed drastically after your loss. If you relied on your loved one's contribution toward mortgage payments, you may not be able to afford your house anymore. Or, perhaps they were responsible for home maintenance and you don’t know how you’ll manage your house without them. Downsizing to a smaller home may help you maintain it more easily on your own. Plus, downsizing is a great way to clear out clutter and get organized to reduce your stress levels. Get started by researching homes in your area that are within your price range. For example, homes in Rockville, Maryland, have sold for an average of $547,000 in the last month.
Sort Through Your Loved One’s Items
If you’re moving, you’ll have to go through your loved one’s belongings as you pack. However, what do you keep and what should you pass on? Property Clearance suggests starting with a plan, deciding how much room in your new house you'll have for their belongings, and then going room by room to sort them. Make sure you pace yourself and take breaks to process your emotions as you clean. Call on your support network to help you go through sentimental items to ease some of the burdens and receive emotional support during this tough task. Importantly, avoid feeling as if you're disrespecting the person by throwing out any of their things.
Prepare for Moving
When it comes time to move, try to make it easier on yourself by planning ahead. Hire professional movers to take the burden off of you so you can put your energy toward setting up your new home instead. Book a moving company well in advance, and make sure you check their references. Double-check that you have all important documents with you and not in the moving van. Importantly, pack a box of essential items that you’ll need on your first day. Moving from the house you once shared with your loved one can be extremely difficult, so gather some friends or family members for emotional support.
Find Activities That Help Ease Grief
Throughout the process of selling, buying, and moving houses, you’re bound to experience periods of extreme grief. Make sure you find activities that can help ease these strong emotions. Yoga is a wonderful choice for this. One study found that a yoga therapy program for grief can improve people's vitality and ability to live positively. Additionally, the simple act of engaging in deep breathing exercises can help your body wind down, reducing the physical symptoms of grief such as pain and stress.
Importantly, you shouldn't use moving as an escape from grief. These emotions will follow you wherever you are. Instead, look at a new home as a chance at a fresh start. This can be a helpful way to handle your grief and remember your loved one without being constantly reminded of troubling memories surrounding their death.
Lucille Rosetti, of The Bereaved, provided this resource.