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A move is stressful but also an opportunity

Dear Heather,

We are just about to move. It's stressing me out!

Do you have any advice?

Stressed

Dear Stressed,

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes — and undue stress caused by moving. Hopefully you are using the services of a realtor to help you wade through the uncertain waters of the buy-and-sell process; moving is stressful, period. Unfortunately there's not much you can do to avoid it, and we're not just talking about packing and paperwork. Moving is an emotional process. If you're not calming down your nervous and excited children, you're trying to reassure yourself that you bought the best house within your means, and that you'll enjoy your new neighbourhood and neighbours.

It's easy to forget while we're dealing with all of these jitters that moving actually can represent an exciting adventure, a growth opportunity and the prospect of new beginnings. Once the dust settles after your move, you're entering one of the most memorable times of your life. With any luck, you've recruited a real estate agent who's familiar with the obvious stresses as well as the insidious (and subsequently more detrimental) ones. You should be able to rely on him or her for more than just closing the deal. Your realtor also should be able to calm your trepidations by giving you the support throughout the transaction that you need.

It's important to remember throughout the entire selling and buying process however, to reserve time for yourself and your family. It's not a waste of time, but rather an insurance policy for your sanity and continued happiness. Stress is sneaky, as we've all discovered. It can eat away at us during what are supposed to be the happiest of times because, after all, any major change in life is stressful. If it's suppressed it can wreak havoc both emotionally and physically, and spread throughout the family. There's nothing worse than moving a grumpy family! For the sake of your continued family unity, keep in mind the following stress-relieving measures:

First, remember that it's perfectly normal to feel unsure of your decision right now. You've just made a major commitment, and all of us experience those last-second what-on-earth-did-I-just-do worries after signing contracts and making life-changing decisions. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with “what ifs”, reframe this decision as a prime opportunity to begin your lives in a new environment. The old saying when one door closes, another one opens, definitely applies here. Trust that your realtor is looking out for your best interests, ask as many questions as you need to throughout the entire process, and look forward to the adventure that lies ahead of you.

If you can, keep an emergency fund in case you run into any unexpected costs — and there will be some. One example: if your buyer comes forward after a home inspection is completed and requests some minor repairs prior to move in, you'll be prepared. Try to anticipate and prepare for the initial expenses that you'll be facing upon move in. Resign yourself to the fact that during the moving process, you're going to feel as if you're holding your wallet upside down, and everyone — movers, contractors, new furniture, painters, landscapers, etc — is sitting underneath, catching the windfall and demanding a larger share. Keep in mind that this is an investment for the good of your family and that these costs are a one-time inevitability.

Remind yourself of why you're moving in the first place. It might be a new and exciting reason but unfortunately sometimes it is not a voluntary choice. Obviously, whether or not you had some degree of control over the decision will affect your outlook; clearly the latter is more difficult. Regardless of your answer to that question, round up as much information as you can about your new location and make a list of the good things to help keep your thoughts directed ahead of you. Envision your new home. Where will you place the furniture? Remind yourself of the home's primary selling points. Will you have more space? More closets? Great! Less space, less closets? Time to get rid of things you don't really need, maybe reap the benefits of a house sale. A large backyard and/or swimming pool? Or a smaller, but more easily maintained garden you can plant with your favourite flowers or vegetables? What does your new street look like? Do a lot of young families reside there? If so, your children are likely to be reassured by that knowledge. Imagine throwing a house warming gathering. As often as possible, try to picture yourself and your family fully adapted to your new environment.

Remember to have a little fun occasionally. You're still allowed, even if you feel as if you don't have a penny left to your name. Take the family out to dinner, to a movie or a picnic on the beach — anything that gets all of you out of the house and away from boxes, paperwork, emotions and all of those pre-move concerns. Keep a regular “date” to get out together. Take your mind off your stress for a few hours and remind yourself that your family members are experiencing many of the same emotions. Like misery, stress often loves company, so enjoy your time together and remember that this stress won't last forever. Regardless of what you're feeling now, the move will happen and everything will eventually fall into place. Trust in your realtor's expertise and in your family's resilience, and look forward to the journey ahead.

Remember, there is no room for growth in your comfort zone! Journeying into the unknown sometimes brings some of life's greatest rewards and opportunities.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

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Published August 09, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 09, 2016 at 11:44 am)

A move is stressful but also an opportunity

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