Moving house ranked as the most stressful life event, survey reveals

Your first day at a new job can be understandably nerve-wracking, whilst the prospect of having a baby might give you sleepless nights before the child does, but a recent poll has revealed these events pale in comparison to selling your home. A property related survey ran in August 2016 by Vivo Property Buyers uncovered that moving house was the most stressful life event, despite only 56% of respondents believing it takes between 3-6 months to move house in the UK.

 There is no doubt that the delicate nature of selling your house is one of the main factors for people finding it stressful. The selling chain is notoriously drawn out and there is always an underlying fear a deal may collapse. Furthermore, the never-ending change in interest rates and house valuations, as well as emotional attachment one has to their own abode, causes this to be an anxious period in your life.

This uncertain state of ‘limbo’ with your residence is certainly an unwelcome situation but, as house sellers, are our demands compounding an already stressful situation?

The survey asked respondents what factors were important when selling their house and 46% of survey ranked ‘getting the highest price’ as the most important, while ‘getting a guaranteed sale’ came second with 25% of the vote. Respondents appeared to favour these details more so than ‘low fees’, ‘privacy’ or, interestingly ‘speed’.

Unfortunately, while a combination of both would be any seller’s dream, the top two reasons don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Firstly, ‘the highest price’ factor is a bit of a myth. Ultimately, a property is worth what someone will pay for it.  Nobody can predict when a house will sell or for how much. Secondly, the elongated house chain often means your ‘guaranteed sale’ could require several attempts.

In addition, with regards to selling a house, the survey also found that there was a clear preference amongst respondents to sell their house via a local estate agent, rather than privately, online or to fast property buyers. One person commented “I prefer to deal with a person who knows the area and with whom I can establish a relationship” while another respondent added that they “can’t escape the thought that the ‘fast property buying company’ would be a poor deal.” Indeed, the last statement echoed the sentiments of the survey which found that 49% of respondents said they wouldn’t sell to a fast property buyer, while 40% were unsure.

There may still be some stigma attached to this route with one participant adding that they “Do not trust fast property selling agents.” It cannot be denied that the fast buying industry has had many hiccups, but this is relatively normal for new industries as business took advantage of vulnerable house sellers giving fast property buyers a bad name. However, since then, organisations such as the Property Ombudsman have been established to regulate the industry and protect the customers.

Overall, fast property buyers were not deemed the most untrustworthy industry in the survey, this accolade was reserved for short term loan companies followed by no win no fees claims companies.

Interestingly, estate agents, who have been notoriously tarnished in the past, showed a growing level of trust amongst respondents, with one even commenting: “Where I live the local agent is very good and reasonable”. Perhaps with attitudes gradually changing towards estate agents, views on fast property buyers are to follow.

It will be interesting to see if they next generation find that selling a house is the most stressful life event with recent figures from the ONS revealing that “The percentage of 25 to 29 year olds owning their home decreased from 55% in 1996 to 29% in 2015.” Perhaps getting onto the ladder in the first place will topple this as the biggest stress a person faces in life. We hope it’s not.