Table of Contents
- Is Selling A Home Stressful?
- Selling Your Home Requires Emotional Stamina
- How to Deal with the Stress of Selling My House
- 1. Detach Emotionally
- 2. Be Flexible
- 3. Be Dispassionate
- What are the Most Stressful Parts of Selling a House?
- Tips for Managing the Stress of Selling a Home
- How to Manage the Stress of Negotiations
- Choose a Real Estate Agent Who is Circumspect
Is Selling A Home Stressful?
So you’ve decided to sell your home. You’re probably involved in other life changes as well, like a new job, an addition to the family, a geographic move, or maybe you’re downsizing. All of these can be exhilarating, also stressful. Have you been asking yourself, how to deal with the stress of selling my house?/
It’s true, when selling your home, your life undergoes a major interruption. Daily disruptions, emotional situations, and a unique kind of stress enters your life. Most of the time, Real Estate professionals don’t really like to talk about these issues, because they’re negative. When we’re talking face to face, we like to keep things heading in a positive trajectory…you know, good vibes…they’ll be necessary down the road.
Selling Your Home Requires Emotional Stamina
That’s one of the great things about a blog. I can talk about things in a general sense that I don’t want to say in person… things that need to be said. And I can candidly say: Bring up your best emotional stamina. And you can read these things and reflect on them before you find yourself in the thick of it.
According to the Employee Relocation Council moving is the third most stressful life event, following death of a loved one and divorce. Here are some other interesting facts:
- 43 million people move each year. That’s about 1/6 of Americans.
- The average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime.
- Half of the moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
That’s a lot of stress. Let’s face it, the process of selling your home brings challenges with it. Having your home on the market is a disruption to daily life. Showings and open houses, negotiating a contract, sometimes negotiating several offers, re-negotiating, dealing with inspections, more negotiations over possible repairs, and dealing with appraisals (the appraisal is like the second sale) …these are all issues that people don’t encounter in their every day life.
But I also bear good news… the stresses don’t have to be debilitating!
How to Deal with the Stress of Selling My House
All of these things have to be approached with what is called emotional intelligence, or EQ. I have three tips for reducing the stress of selling your home, that will ensure that you operate at the highest level of emotional intelligence when selling your home. Keep these things in mind as you traverse the rapids of the home sale process:
1. Detach Emotionally
It may be your home, the place where you got married, or raised your babies, or lived your dream…but when you’re selling it, it’s a house, bricks and sticks. Everyone that comes to look at it is evaluating it and measuring it according to their dreams, not yours. Detach emotionally from your house. Don’t be offended…
- If someone doesn’t put the same value on your upgrades and renovations. That’s ok. Those are personal choices that you made for your living pleasure, not theirs. Detach from the TLC you put into your house.
- Be OK when a buyer doesn’t place the same premium on something you consider high value. What’s important to you isn’t necessarily important to a potential buyer.
- If someone doesn’t like your decorating choices, don’t take it personally. In fact, that’s a good reason to stage your home with neutral shades before you list the house. Buyer’s need to be able to envision themselves and their stuff in your house.
- Buyers are going to inspect your home rationally and analytically at first…then the right buyer is going to fall in love. That’s right, buyers can’t avoid emotion, it’s part of the process. By detaching from your home, you can make the necessary changes to let someone else fall in love. The truth is, you have to move anyway, so start packing up all the personal stuff and make way for someone else to imagine themselves at home.
- Understanding that buyers are also emotional during the process should motivate a seller to keep their own emotions in check.
True Story: Suzie was a first time buyer we helped in the summer of 2014. She’s a space physicist. Her personality, her job, her entire world has always been driven by thinking analytically. When we told her that emotions would take a role and to be prepared, she was horrified at the thought. But when she found herself in the middle of inspection negotiations with an intractable seller, her emotions flooded to the surface. Fortunately, she kept them in check. The point is, even the most analytical buyer will get emotional. But it is always much easier if the seller can participate in the goodwill.
2. Be Flexible
During the showing process, you might as well understand upfront: Your life is on display. Your schedule is at the mercy of buyers…that is if you want to sell your home. You need to stay flexible. You want to get as many likely buyers through your doors as possible, don’t you? And you want to get the right buyers. When it comes to showings, don’t be intractable:
True Story: We had a tour of five houses set up with our buyers, from one end of the county to the other. They got confused about the order and ended up at the wrong house. We adjusted, but that meant that we showed up at the last house at the very end of our scheduled time. As we were showing the last house, the seller showed up. We apologized. We’re human. She was flustered and complained that she had dinner guests coming in 20 minutes. We ran through the house in 5 minutes and got out just in time. Our buyers, needless to say, left on a sour note…they were not interested in the house…even if they might have liked it.
When you’re selling your house, you want to make the atmosphere as positive and welcoming as possible. You want to be as accommodating as possible. You want to vacate. No one likes looking at a house with the homeowner shadowing their every move, much less emoting negatively. Some tips for showings:
- Give buyers a two hour window. Most buyers are seeing multiple homes. You want to give them time for the inevitable schedule mishap.
- Even if you have a schedule of 2 hours, it’s a good idea to stay out a little longer. If you show up and they’re still there, go away. Give buyers space. (Here are a list of things you can do while buyers are visiting your home.)
- If a buyer is seeing multiple houses, don’t you want your house to be the one they linger in? You want to make them feel comfortable, you want a positive emotional experience… remembering that they will buy emotionally.
- Try really hard to allow a showing, even if it’s the last minute. Sometimes we see a house on a mobile app that we didn’t see before, sometimes the buyers drive by and see it, you just never know.
- If at all possible, don’t turn down a showing. If you have dinner guests, they know your house is on the market, they will understand. And think of it this way, you can have an excuse to go out to eat!
- It’s going to be inconvenient. But you have to put up with some inconvenience if you want to sell your home. Turning buyers away won’t sell your home.
3. Be Dispassionate
If you’re not a stoic, this may take some practice. Once you get a contract on your home, the work is far from over. We like to say the real work begins. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. How you manage your emotions in negotiations can make a big difference for all involved, most of all you. Don’t underestimate how emotions can be exhausting.
True story: Jekyl and Hyde: Yes, he exists. He appears sometimes when things go wrong. Our sellers got an offer on their home and had successfully contracted on their next home. Several weeks into the accepted contracts, we found out that the buyers of their home didn’t qualify. We had vetted the offer, the lender and the buyer, but somehow, the lender dropped the ball and proved himself inept.
Every real estate agent dreads that call. In our case, our sellers were educated, professional, and level-headed, very pleasant people. Except when they got that phone call! They were very upset. It made for a difficult week, but we sold the home again in only 2 weeks because that was what the market was doing, and they were able to carry out the purchase of the next home.
What happened to our reasonable sellers? Fear of Loss happened. And how did it all end? With a thank you dinner and a referral to a friend.
What are the Most Stressful Parts of Selling a House?
The stresses that come with selling a home really depend on what the homeowner finds difficult. Everyone has a different capacity for stress.
Here are the top stresses that home sellers have when selling their home:
- Uncertainty of the sale: Not knowing if or when your home will sell can be a major source of stress. You may be worried about not being able to find a buyer, or about having to lower your asking price.
- Need to make repairs: In order to sell your home for the best price, you may need to make some home improvements or repairs. This can be a costly and time-consuming process.
- Fear of not getting the desired price: You may have a certain price in mind for your home, and you may be worried about not getting it. This can be especially stressful if you are selling your home in a buyer’s market.
- Dealing with showings: You may have to deal with showings of your home at all times of the day, which can be disruptive to your life.
- Negotiating with buyers: Once you have a buyer, you will have to negotiate the price or terms of the sale. This can be a stressful process, especially if you are not experienced in negotiating.
- Closing process: The closing process can be complex and time-consuming. You may have to deal with a lot of paperwork and deadlines.
- Moving: Moving can be a stressful process in itself, even if you are not selling your home. You may have to pack up your belongings, find a new place to live, and coordinate the move.
Tips for Managing the Stress of Selling a Home
Selling a house can be a stressful process, even in the best of circumstances. There are many factors that can contribute to the stress. If you are feeling stressed about selling your home, there are a few things you can do to cope:
- Get organized: The more organized you are, the less stressed you will feel. Create a checklist of tasks that need to be done, and set deadlines for yourself.
- Delegate tasks: If possible, delegate tasks to friends, family, or a professional. This will free up your time and energy so that you can focus on the things that are most important.
- Take breaks: It is important to take breaks throughout the selling process. This will help you to stay calm and focused.
- Talk to someone: If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a trusted friend, family member, or hopefully your Realtor has the experience and demeanor to help you stay calm. Others can offer support and advice.
Remember, you are not alone. Selling a home can be a stressful process, but it is important to remember that it is a temporary situation.
How to Manage the Stress of Negotiations
From contract to close there are several negotiations that still have to take place. As you work your way through any contingencies, things come up.
- What happens when the home inspection reveals items you didn’t expect?
- What happens when the appraisal comes back too low?
- What happens when termite damage is found?
This is where I like to talk about “emotional capital”. After you get a contract on your house, the negotiating doesn’t end. If you have negotiated so hard that you leave the buyer deflated and alienated, you have used up all of your emotional capital. What happens when something goes wrong for you, and you’ve exhausted their emotions and their good will? When something goes wrong, you have no good faith left.
Choose a Real Estate Agent Who is Circumspect
Keep in mind when you select a real estate agent, you don’t want a bulldozer. It may seem like a good idea, but someone who aggressively alienates all parties and advocates to a fault is not a good pick. Most often those are the agents who end up blowing up a deal and no one ends up getting what they want.
After you get a fully executed contract on the house, there are still negotiations to go through on the way to settlement. These negotiations are successful when you don’t loose sight of the goal.
At this point it’s largely about the personalities. You want an agent who can navigate the various personalities, the many emotional ups and downs, and yes, even tirades that can to take place. You want an agent who is your trusted adviser.
To quote a lifelong client: “The best deals in the world are when everyone is a little uncomfortable.”
It’s important to take the stress of selling your house seriously. By all means, make sure you manage your emotions. You will have a better chance of a successful outcome…and you won’t wear yourself out in the process.
Disclosure: We are not licensed psychiatrists…we just play one at work.
We are, however, licensed Real Estate Agents with 32 years experience. Contact us for our High-Tech High-Touch Sellers Plan. 301-401-5119
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