Putting the record straight on moving stress

Jan 22 | 2020

Thoughts by Steve Jordan on the adage that moving is stressful, following the publishing of a new report.

Putting the record straight on moving stress

A new survey by
Online Mortgage Advisor has suggested, once again, that moving home is one of the most stressful things anyone can do.  But look a little closer into the statistics and the old mantra, peddled by moving companies for decades, appears not to be true.

The company conducted a survey of 1,307 British home movers after they had completed their relocation.  64% of them said it was the most stressful experience they’d had in the last five years (maybe people should get out more).  The respondents were then asked to explain, in their own words, the triggers for stress when moving home.  46% said finding and securing a property, 36% said selling their own home, 34% said waiting for the chain to complete, 14% said solicitors and conveyancing and 21% said completing and removals.

This last figure is, of course, the one that should concern the moving industry. What it says is some proportion of 21% of movers found the removal itself stressful.  The rest didn’t.  So even if we assume that all those 21% were stressed by the removal, and none at all by the completing process, it still means that 79% didn’t mention the removals part at all.

Although for years movers have said that moving home is the most stressful thing you can do, short of death and divorce, the vast majority of those surveyed were concerned mainly with other parts of the process, not moving.  Now this is quite obvious really: by the time the moving van turns up, your worries are largely over.  But wouldn’t it be nice if the moving industry could stop regurgitating this rubbish that what they do is potentially stressful.  It isn’t.  It’s the whole process that causes the stress, not the hard-working moving man.

That said, it is true that by the time the mover arrives the customer is climbing the walls and chewing Valium like Smarties.  This means that the crew has to be expert at handling people living on the edge; they need to defuse the stress if they can.  But they are not the cause.  I suspect that the industry’s use of this fallacy as a sales tool, might have been a shot in the foot as people, convinced that the moving bit is the worst part, stay put or, at least, treat the moving company with unnecessary suspicion.

View the stress survey here.