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How to Cope with Moving to A New Home After the Loss of a Loved One

After the death of a loved one, many people consider moving into a new house for a fresh start. Although some receive comfort by remaining in the family home, others cannot bear to be constantly reminded of their loved one's absence. It’s no secret that moving after a loss is challenging. You have to navigate the financial and logistical decisions of home buying while dealing with grief. But, if you’re itching to make yourself busy and get moving, a change of scenery can actually be beneficial.


Take Your Time


Although you may feel the need to get out of your house as soon as possible after the death of a loved one, you should avoid making major decisions too soon. VeryWellMind recommends waiting at least six months before deciding to move. It's possible that you will view your living situation differently after settling many of the other stressful tasks to be taken care of after, a death.


Think About What Lifestyle You Want Now


The death of a loved one causes a huge change to the survivor's existing lifestyle. Perhaps you can no longer afford your big house without the contribution of your spouse's salary. Or, maybe you want a more minimalist life that allows you to spend more time enjoying hobbies than maintaining your home. In this case, consider downsizing to a home that supports your new needs. Downsizing can make it easier for you to manage both maintenance tasks and a mortgage on your own.


If this will be your first time selling and buying a house solo, it can be financially daunting, especially if you’re taking out a new home loan. Generally speaking, if you’re moving to a smaller home and have equity in your current home, conventional mortgages with a cash-out refinance may be your best option, especially since these loans come with flexible term options. As you survey your options, ask your realtor to guide you along the way so you don’t get tripped up by all the details.


Selling a House After Your Spouse Dies


Selling your house can be extra tricky after a spouse dies. Start by looking into the legal steps you may have to take to transfer real estate, though this typically happens automatically if you and your spouse held a joint deed. According to The Washington Post, you can receive tax deductions of up to $500,000 on the profits from your house, but only if you sell within two years of your spouse's death. To make your life easier during this difficult time, it's recommended that you talk to a trusted financial advisor before selling your home. This will ensure it’s actually financially beneficial to you.


Managing the Tough Stuff


Before you move, you’ll have to go through your loved one’s belongings and make some difficult decisions. What will you keep and what will you throw away? Many mundane items can take on new, sentimental meanings after, a death, making them difficult to part with. Think about the meaning attached to each item and what your loved one might have wanted for it. For example, someone's expensive yard tools may be better cared for in the hands of a neighbor than left sitting in the garage to collect rust. Just make sure you avoid getting rid of things too early. You may throw out precious keepsakes and reminders that cause you pain initially, which may later bring you great solace to keep. If it’s a lack of space that makes you uncertain, and you’re not moving too far, take advantage of renting a storage unit for the time being. Storage can be expensive, so research deals and special offers in your area. For instance, StorageMax on North Pima Road in Scottsdale is currently offering 50 percent off the first two months of storage (with a minimum six-month contract). 


Making Moving Day Easier


Moving can be difficult when you’re grieving, so ask friends and family to help. This enables you to connect with your support network if you've spent some time in social withdrawal. Moving houses is busy work, making it a great way to get your mind off of grief for a little while. Planning ahead here is a great way to stay busy too. If you line up your moving truck, set up a pizza and beverage delivery, and get the right supplies like sturdy gloves and moving dollies, you and your crew can easily get through this job, and maybe even have some smiles along the way.


If you’re moving to another state or country, book a moving company as early as possible to get the best rates (for a local move, you can expect to pay each mover an average of $25 an hour). Just make sure you ask them for references to avoid the headache of, a bad moving experience.


The additional stress of moving houses after a death can be too much for many people. But on the other hand, it can provide a much-needed distraction from grief. Whatever you do, don't use moving as an escape from pain since your emotions will follow you wherever you go. Instead, treat moving as a new way to deal with your grief and eventually move on with your life.

Lucille Rosetti


HI Lucille, hope all is well. I tried contacting you through your phone number. Wasn't sure if this was a better way. Jonathan Makovsky 203.548.7339

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Dawn Peterson

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