Buying or selling a home can be stressful, which is not surprising, as all change requires some level of adjustment and moving your home is a big change. You may be reluctant to sell your home, but find yourself in a position where it makes sense financially, or you may have a spring in your step as you move on to something better. Regardless of whether selling your house is as a result of something painful or positive in your life, the process can trigger all sorts of feelings.
It’s not unusual to have difficulty letting go of your emotional ties to the home. “We have memories and associations that are connected to all of those things that make houses so heavily connected to ourselves.That might make the place where you grew up, or brought your children home from the hospital, feel invaluable and hard to part with, even though it is ultimately just a physical thing with a price tag attached,” says Dr Scott Huettel, chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, in an article published in The New York Times.
Besides letting go of your home emotionally, there are a variety of other things that can cause stress. According to The Washington Post, ‘The lack of control, especially around time and money, creates the most anxiety for sellers.’
Here are some ways to help minimise your stress when selling your home.
1. Do your research
Getting mentally prepared by understanding the sales process will help you feel more confident, relaxed and in control. By getting an idea of the costs involved in selling, as well as of potentially delays, you’re less likely to be caught by surprise.
It’s helpful to get some understanding of market conditions in your area before you list. Is it a buyers market, or a sellers market? When it’s a buyer’s market, the demand for houses is less than the available houses for sale, which puts buyers in a more powerful position to negotiate better deals. However, the converse is also true. In a seller’s market the demand for houses is greater than the supply and the seller will have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating.
When you’re looking to sell, it’s a good idea to ask a local realtor to help you get a list of comparable sales in your area.
2. Work with an experienced realtor
Working with a knowledgeable expert will make the understanding and completing the documents that are part of the sales process a whole lot easier. A real estate agent will understand any jargon found in the various forms, reports and other documents and will be able to explain terms and contingencies to you and how these might affect the sale.
An experienced realtor will also have a network of previous clients, friends and family to tap into and may even have a buyer lined up for you. You also don’t have to worry about allowing strangers into your home. You realtor will accompany qualified, prescreened prospects through your house. Another advantage of working with an experienced realtor is that if you do find your emotions becoming entangled in the sales process you’ll have an objective third party who will be able to guide you, while looking out for your needs.
3. Have a home inspection done in advance
Despite the small cost of having a home inspection and the possibility that buyers will still want to have their own inspection, getting it done in advance can help you with peace of mind.
You’ll be informed as to what needs repairing or replacing and you can decide whether you want to take care of these ahead of buyers coming to view the home. Where repairs aren’t critical you may decide to state that the house is being sold as is and adjust your sales price accordingly.
Alternatively, you could do repairs before listing your house, particularly in a buyers’ market to make the home more appealing and prevent any price negotiations based on a list of repairs. Even if you decide not to do repairs, the knowledge of what needs to be done will prevent last-minute surprises.
4. Prepare for delays
Although cognitively you may understand that the process of selling a home may take longer than you had hoped, you need to keep your expectations in check to prevent unnecessary frustration. Having a realtor working for you can remove a whole lot of potential snags, however, your realtor does not have control over how many people will be willing to put in offers and how long it will take for those offers to come in. Although a good realtor will facilitate a smooth sales process, there may be unforeseen hold ups with banks and escrow agents.
5. Remain open-minded
If you’re open to negotiate with potential buyers and you’re flexible with closing costs you’ll have a better chance of selling your home quickly. If you get an extremely low offer, don’t take it personally as buyers like to get a bargain. A buyer who puts in a low offer may be testing the waters but be willing and able to pay more. Your agent can help you through negotiations and if you keep the communication open the potential buyers may raise their offer to an amount that you find acceptable.
6. Have a plan to make show days easier
While it can be difficult to keep your house clean and neat all the time, especially with children or pets around, there are a few things that you can do to make the cleaning and tidying process before showing your home a bit less stressful.
Some ideas to help declutter your home include hiring a storage facility. This can be helpful if you have large items that you’d prefer to have out of the way or if you plan to get rid of old things but don’t have the time to sort through them yet.
Alternatively, you can buy a few decorative storage boxes with lids that match the décor in different rooms of your house. This makes it easy to quickly pack any personal items away.
By having a system to make it quicker to get your home show ready, you’ll have less stress and can possibly get more potential buyers through your home. At the same time, you need to decide what the best showing schedule will be for you and discuss this with your agent. You can also let your agent know whether you are flexible enough to do last-minute showings or if these will cause you too much stress.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you and if you have any questions or would like me to assist you with the sale of your property, please contact me anytime.
I’ve been selling homes in Santa Monica for more than 12 years and I have a thorough understanding of the market and how to get your home sold for the best price possible.