It’s no secret — moving is often one of the most stressful parts of buying or renting a new home. While most buyers and renters have adequate time to plan and save for relocation costs, unplanned events, such as a breakup or family emergency can leave people desperate and cash strapped.

According to a survey of 937 Americans by moving company Hire A Helper, 80 percent of Americans who recently experienced sudden relocations had a month or less, while 20 percent had less than a week. The average move cost $2,300, with owners and renters exhausting their savings (57.4 percent) or relying on credit cards (30 percent) to cover expenses.

Credit: Hire A Helper

The No. 1 reason for a sudden relocation was financial hardship (20.3 percent), likely caused by an uptick in rent or other living costs. A new job (16.1 percent), a partner getting a new job (10.7 percent), a breakup (10.6 percent) or the need to care for an ailing family member (8.9 percent) were some of the other most popular reasons.

To make a quick turnaround, 53 percent of Americans sold their furniture, donated clothing (30.7 percent), rented a storage unit (20.6 percent), found a new home for their pet (19.1 percent), and paid to break their lease or rental agreement (15.8 percent). For homeowners, 13.7 percent were able to arrange a quick sale of their home or rent it (7.8 percent) until they were able to place it on the market.

On average, homeowners and renters spent 3.5 weeks searching for a new place, with 39.9 percent relying on online search tools (e.g. Zillow) to find listings. Movers also found listings through friends (34.9 percent), real estate agents (24 percent), newspapers (14.4 percent), social media (8.9 percent) or online chat groups (5.7 percent).

Credit: Hire A Helper

The majority of homeowners and renters made in-state moves (71.8 percent), with the remaining 28.2 percent either moving out-of-state (26.7 percent) or to a new country (1.5 percent). Most movers decided to take a DIY approach to relocating, with 60.6 percent using their car and relying on family members (48.7 percent) to transport items.

Despite the emotional and financial cost of moving, nearly half of respondents reported “feeling happier” in their new digs (49.2 percent) and have “little to no” regrets (86.5 percent) about their sudden shift.

However, 76.3 percent of homeowners and renters still said they prefer “longer, planned moves” versus “fast and sudden” ones (6.6 percent).

Email Marian McPherson

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