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Written by: Lesley Brown, Applaud’s Executive Director

Last year I made a dramatic shift in my life of moving to a new city three hours away from where I had lived all my life and with only six weeks time between selling and moving. So suffice it to say I learned a few things on the way that I thought I would share. 

Moving ranks at the top of most stress lists. According to Stats Canada1, moving is deemed among the top five most stressful life events. In another report from Gitnux,i2 about 61% of people rank moving at the top of their stress list, higher than divorce or starting a new job. Almost 30% of movers experience more stress on a move day than on their wedding day. 

I quickly understood where those points of stress were coming from: 

  1. Finding an Agent: A wise friend said that I should interview 3 or 4 agents before deciding. This was a brilliant idea and it helped me make sure that I felt comfortable with the agent that I would be working with on one of the top life decisions that we make in this process. It also allows you to negotiate down on the fee. Balancing which agent would be able to offer more services as part of their fee, such as staging, cleaning, storage, and marketing.
  2. Finding a Lawyer: Again, I got a few referrals from friends, family, and the real estate agent, and called 3 or 4.  I know this is time consuming, but I ended up being able to get a good lawyer at a decent price. There is a wide range of quotes, and some give a package for one price, and others may sound like a better offer, but then each particular item is quoted at a price. I also confirmed price by email, to ensure there would be no hidden costs at the end.
  3. Decluttering Before Packing: My Covid project had been to declutter and start to move for more of that minimalist look. Having not been completely successful on that project, I did find myself making choices of which items deserved to come (price of cartage) and which deserved bubble wrap. If you have the time Facebook Marketplace is helpful for selling. For charity shops I chose Goodwill, Salvation Army, and my charity of Choice Pegasus, all which use their retail to fund their programming.
  4. Find a Mover: This was more challenging than finding an agent. Things have changed dramatically since I last moved, in most cases an agent from the moving company does not show up and go through the house to assess the size of the truck, and the costs associated, but you do it yourself using a software that they send you, and you have to film each room.  Managing the technology aside, I realized I was no cinematographer. I did end of calling upon one of Applaud’s Reward partners – Relocation Services Group, who ended up taking some of the load off me. They were able to source several movers and find the one that delivered the best service for the best price. Phew, now that was done, it was on to the actual packing.
  5. Packing: My least favourite thing. Here is what helped. Start packing early. Take it room by room or it becomes overwhelming. Boxes are expensive, so call upon all friends and neighbours to save their online purchase boxes, and trips often to the liquor store, as some stores only let you take up to 2 and 3 boxes at a time. You can never have enough bubble wrap.
  6. Submit a Change of Address at your Post Office: Everyone knows this right, well yes, except you cannot do it online, you now have to go into the post office and show them ID. So even if you set it up online, you have to go in person so they can verify your ID.
  7. Contact your insurance company: Again, a few things I didn’t realize, know what kind of foundation the new house has, when it was built, and a few other questions that I wasn’t expecting to have to purchase new insurance. Save time by finding out what questions they need answered and then go to the agent to get the answers before sitting down for the call to get pricing.
  8. Setting up new utility bills: The last time I moved the real estate lawyer set up all the new utility bills, this is no longer the case, so you need to find out who the current homeowner currently has utilities with and set them up. This also lets you know that they have called to cancel their bills at closing.
  9. Move-in Day: This is like the culmination of stress, and I can guarantee that you will be exhausted by the time all your furniture is moved in. I decided to book a hotel with a pool that night, and headed off for a nice dinner, relax by the pool. The mess would still be there the next day.