Most people find home moving process stressful - report

Extended wait times and uncertainty are some of the main sources of worry

Most people find home moving process stressful - report

The vast majority of homebuyers find the process of moving home stressful, new research from marketing automation platform Smoove has revealed.

Nine in 10 people (90%) said the home moving process has caused them stress, with the length of time required to complete the process (40%), the lack of certainty (34%), and the wait for exchange and completion dates to be finalised (33%) identified as some of the main sources of anxiety.

These findings mirror additional data from Smoove’s Home Movers Report, which finds extended wait times and uncertainty as the ever-present features of the moving process.

Smoove said the average amount of time between instruction and completion remains lengthy at over five months (153 days), while over a third (34%) of property transactions fell through in the year to July 2022.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of movers said that moving home had been more expensive than they had expected. Aside from the deposit, stamp duty, and estate agency fees, some of the biggest costs were solicitor fees (46%), buying new furniture (44%), and mortgage product fees (32%).

When funding a move, almost two-thirds (64%) of people used savings, over a third (36%) relied on equity raised from selling their current property, while one-fifth turned to the Bank of Mum and Dad (20%). The number of people dependent on financial support from their parents to purchase their home increased among first time buyers to over a third (37%), according to research from YouGov.

As a result of the stress associated with purchasing a house, over one in two homeowners (55%) reported they were unlikely to move again within the next five years. Smoove noted that this indicates that the process in its current form deters people from moving frequently, potentially leading them to stay in homes that are unsuitable for them in later life as they begin to consider downsizing.

Smoove added that the stress experienced by home movers is particularly relevant during the Christmas period and early new year, when many people decide to begin searching for a new home.

In 2021, Rightmove experienced its busiest “boxing day boom” yet, with the number of new sellers coming to market up by 21% compared to 2020 and reaching the highest levels recorded by the property website.

Rightmove’s latest House Price Index also reported a 4% increase in the number of home enquiries in December 2022 compared to the same period in 2019 and an 11% jump in the number of views of homes for sale relative to 2021. Market activity during January has also been increasing in recent years, with real estate company Zoopla reporting a 49% increase in demand in January 2022, the biggest new year bounce for five years.

“The lack of transparency, complicated paperwork, vague timings, and unpredictable costs create a highly stressful experience for people looking to buy a home,” Simon McCulloch, chief commercial and growth officer at Smoove, commented. “The complexity and inefficiency of the current system has rightly put many off moving again, which has served to obstruct mobility and impede market dynamism.

“The shortcomings of the moving process are particularly apparent during the Christmas and new year period, when many people start to think about moving home or buying again.”