Coping with the Loss of a Loved One: Should You Relocate for a Fresh Start?

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When you’ve lost someone very close to you, your world is forever different. The things that used to feel familiar can suddenly seem strange. Your home may not even feel like home anymore, and you may even be considering a fresh start.

If this all sounds familiar, you are not alone. Millions of people feel this way after losing someone close to them, such as a partner, spouse, child, or parent. However, the decision to move after a great loss shouldn’t be taken lightly. While the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory rated the death of a spouse as the most stressful life event with other major deaths following close behind, changes in living conditions, residence, work, or school are also on the list. Simply put, you are probably not ready to deal with the amount of work and stress that goes into moving at this time.

However, after some time has passed and you feel truly ready, moving can be a useful step in the healing process. If you previously lived with the deceased, it gives you a chance to find a smaller place that is easier for one person to manage. You can also take this opportunity to go somewhere you’ve always dreamed of living, or relocate closer to friends and family that can lend support. If you think relocating after a major loss is the right move for you, use the following advice to help reduce stress and make it a positive experience.

Home Buying and Selling

If you own your home and want to buy a new one, this is going to be the most labor-intensive part of your relocation process. Before putting your home on the market, your real estate agent will most likely suggest you complete a number of updates and renovations to make it appealing to homebuyers. You may need to paint rooms, invest in repairs, and do some major decluttering.

If you haven’t already cleaned out your loved one’s things, this is your opportunity to do it. Cleaning out a deceased loved one’s items can be emotional, but remember, you don’t have to get rid of everything. In Jacksonville, you can rent a 10×10 storage unit for as little as $49, so even if you’re downsizing and need to clear out some of your belongings, you can do so without saying goodbye to items that hold precious memories. While you should allow yourself to experience tough feelings and hold onto whatever you need to for the time, don’t let your emotions get in the way of your ultimate goal. Getting rid of material possessions does not mean you are forgetting about your loved one.

Before you can begin looking at new homes, you need to know what you will be able to work with financially. The best way you can do that is by figuring out about how much your home is worth. Homes in Jacksonville are currently moving off the market for an average of $177,000, but your real estate agent will help you nail down a competitive listing price.

It’s also important to know what you can afford when searching for a new home and what you’ll need to borrow. Research home prices where you’re planning on moving, and also look into the type of mortgage that will work for you and give you a rate you can afford. Conventional loans, for example, require a down payment of as little as 3 percent, making them a great option for people who don’t have the funds to put down 20 percent. On the other hand, your bank may offer you a competitive rate as a member benefit, so explore all of your options.

Since this is a fresh start, you may have visions of finding that “dream house” and spending whatever you need to get there. You will be much better off looking for a place to live that is well under what you are getting for your old place. You don’t want to go into debt and add another stress factor into your life. The money you save going for a smaller and less expensive home can go toward your retirement or activities you’ve always wanted to do. In your new chapter, you will find it’s best to prioritize your experiences and relationships over material goods.


When you lose someone close to you, it changes your entire world. Many people decide to lean into the change and relocate. Since moving is a very stressful event, it’s best to wait a while to make sure you are emotionally ready to handle the change. Once you are, there is a lot of work to put into the process, but that effort can be an instrumental part of helping you move on.


Written by Lucille Rossetti at The Bereaved

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