“Selling a house is one of the most stressful processes to go through because so much of it is out of your control and you spend a lot of time just waiting,” advises Dalton Carroll, a top-selling agent in Arlington, Texas.
“You’re waiting for showings, waiting for offers, waiting for your buyer to submit repair requests, and waiting on the lender for the clear to close. The number one way to reduce that stress is to go into the home sale with realistic expectations.”
When you’re not playing the waiting game, you’ll be under pressure to pack, clean, make financial decisions, and, oh yeah! Leave your house with little notice to accommodate showings. Thankfully this whole situation is temporary and things will get back to normal when the deal closes. In the meantime, turn to these top stress-relieving tips to help you ease all that tension and anxiety.
1. Hire the right agent
Many of the major stressors you’ll face throughout your home sale are decisions that your agent will be trained to guide you through. He or she will help you:
- Identify necessary repairs and easy updates to boost your home value
- Prepare the house for the market and stage it like a showplace
- Settle on a competitive list price
- Market the property online and to their network of brokers
- Field offers as they come in
- Negotiate the purchase agreement terms and price
- Navigate the home appraisal and home inspection
- Handle final walkthrough and closing paperwork
… and all the little steps in between like connecting you with contractors in the area and coordinating your move-out time with the buyers. These are tasks you can put in their hands while you continue on with your daily life juggling family and work.
They joke that real estate agents are also therapists. Anyone who’s gone through the process of buying or selling a home will understand how true this is!
“Hiring the right agent can go a long way toward reducing your stress levels,” says Carroll. “You’ll be less anxious if you hire a great agent and maintain a high level of communication throughout the home sale process.”
If you hire someone with great communication skills, you’ll have a real estate expert to talk you through any anxiety just a phone call away.
2. Do your homework
One of the deep-rooted reasons you’re stressed out by your home sale is that you’re simply not knowledgeable about the process. After all, most people only sell a house two or three times in their lifetimes.
You’ll be less stressed if you have a clear idea of how long the process will take, how much it’ll cost you, and what could potentially go wrong throughout every stage.
You’re welcome to browse HomeLight’s extensive library of guides for every step of the home sale. If there’s a question we didn’t answer, we’ll connect you with a top agent in your area who’s up to speed on local market conditions and buyer trends.
Another idea? Talk to recent home sellers who’ve sold in your neighborhood. Their shared experiences will go a long way toward easing your mind. Only fellow sellers can truly understand the tension and anxiety you’re going through—plus their unique insights will educate you on topics you never thought to ask your agent about.
However, there is such a thing as too much homework. (Just ask any elementary student!) Doing endless research can be a sneaky way of procrastinating, which will simply increase your anxiety in the long run.
Which brings us to the next point…
3. Practice self-care
While it’s natural to skip a workout session or pick up fast food now and again throughout the madness of your home sale, don’t fall into the trap of making a habit out of it.
When you’re overwhelmed with all the work there is to do to get your home sold, it’s easy to let some of your good habits slide. But hurting your physical health will eventually add to your stress and make the home sale even more stressful.
It’s a smart idea to make an extra effort to maintain your emotional health, too.
Maintaining a positive attitude will help you focus on what’s going right when things inevitably go wrong.
Even when home sale sails along smoothly, you deal with a lot of emotional upheaval. When you purge unnecessary but sentimental belongings, or dread the thought of making your new house into a home, it’s easy for doubt to creep in.
So listen to music while you pack, do a few stretches in between moving boxes, or find whatever de-stressing techniques work best for you to help you relax during your home sale.
And if you’re find yourself feeling bittersweet about selling your old home, remind yourself that letting go doesn’t mean leaving memories behind—snap a few photos of your house to help preserve those memories.
4. Set up a system to make home showings easy
Maintaining a neat and clean home throughout the listing period is perhaps one of the most painful parts of the process. After all, it’s hard to keep up on that photoshoot-ready, showplace staging while you’re actually living in the house.
So set up a system that makes showings as painless as possible.
“Being proactive helps reduce stress, like keeping your house show-ready for buyers,” says Carroll. “This gives you back a certain degree of control, which reduces stress.”
- First, invest in a few decorative storage boxes that blend seamlessly into the décor of your bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room. These let you quickly tuck any personal items out of sight—provided you pick ones with lids.
- Then, pick up an assortment of cleaning wipes so you can wipe down countertops and easily polish up mirrors and faucets.
A showing system in place helps you get your house buyer-ready within a half hour or less. And houses with shorter lead times get more showings, which means more buyers will see your house.
5. Establish worst-case-scenario contingency plans
Worrying about all that can go wrong with your home sale will only add to your stress.
The good news is that even your worst-case scenarios won’t be as horrible as you imagine. Plus, you won’t completely stress out when you do hit bumps in the road, if you already have a plan in place to handle those situations.
Let’s say you’re afraid that your current home won’t sell in time to close on the new home you’re buying. You can work with your agent to put contingencies into your contracts—and keep an eye on the market for alternative houses you’ll love just as much if you can’t close your home sale in time.
Or let’s say you’re stressed that your house will sell before you’ve even found another home to buy. Ease those worries by researching the cost to store your belongings and rent a furnished apartment of extended-stay hotel to tide you over until you find the perfect place to buy.
Come up with plans to cover whatever worries are on your top five list of worst-case scenarios, and you’ll have a whole lot less to stress about.
6. Give yourself a break
The process of selling a house takes over your whole life. Every minute of your day and dollar in your bank account gets measured against what you should be doing or should be spending to get your home sold.
When you find yourself completely buried by home sale details, you’ll want to walk away from the whole process—and that’s exactly what you should do.
Spend a few quiet hours in a cool movie theater, slowly savor a glass of wine over a tasty meal at your favorite sit-down restaurant, or book a massage at a local spa.
If you’re moving out of state, you might even plan a day trip to enjoy nearby attractions that’ll no longer be in your backyard anymore.
7. Skip the most stressful parts of the home sale process
Selling your house is a lot of work. But Simple Sale by HomeLight lets you skip the hassle of prepping, listing, and fielding offers. Instead you can sell directly to a network of pre-approved cash buyers.
Within 48 hours of contacting HomeLight, you’ll have your offers. And the best part is, you can pick your own moving date, within 60 days after closing—so no more worrying that your escrow won’t sell in time to buy your new house.
Not sure if Simple Sale is right for you? No worries. You won’t pay anything to request offers, and you’re under no obligation to accept any offers you do receive.
Sell that house, and try to stay zen!
Selling a house will always be a stressful undertaking. That stress only ends when escrow closes, you’ve got money in the bank, and you’re totally moved out. Until then, take a deep breath and follow these tips to relieve the stress of the home sale process.
Header Image Source: (Toa Heftiba/ Unsplash)