10 Tips for Dealing With the Stress of Selling Your Home
From setting clear expectations to focusing on things within your control, check out our list of ways to handle the stress of home selling.
By Emily Southey | 8 minute read
Is the thought of selling your home stressing you out? We feel you. Even if you know that selling your home is the right decision, it doesn’t make the process any less overwhelming. If the home-selling process is giving you major anxiety, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover our top tips for making selling a home less stressful.
How to Handle the Stress of Selling Your Home
There’s nothing quite like the stress of selling a home. Luckily, there are ways to cope with this stress.
Set clear and realistic expectations
Our first suggestion to better handle the stress of selling your home is to set clear and realistic expectations from the get-go. Understanding what you’re getting yourself into and knowing what to expect can alleviate anxiety along the way. If you’re working with a realtor, have a long and frank conversation about the realities of home selling, especially when it comes to key factors like price, the number of days on the market, and communication.
“Focusing on the things within your control and letting go of the things that are out of your control is a great life lesson and one that certainly applies to selling your home.”
Think rationally not emotionally
We know thinking rationally can be difficult, especially for homeowners with a sentimental attachment to their homes, but leading with logic rather than emotion can significantly reduce stress. To think rationally, we suggest considering your home from a buyer’s perspective. For example, not everyone will have the same taste in design as you. It’s not personal, it’s just a fact. For example, a buyer may not like the renovations you chose to make or the decor in the home, which could impact the price they offer. While you may initially feel insulted, try not to take it personally and remember your main goal: to sell your home. Facing certain realities before putting your home on the market, such as that your home may not be worth as much as you think or might require some serious sprucing up, can save you a lot of stress down the line.
Focus on the things within your control
Focusing on the things within your control and letting go of the things that are out of your control is a great life lesson and one that certainly applies to selling your home. So what aspects of the home-selling process are within your control? Finding a trusted and experienced realtor, setting a fair asking price after researching comparable homes in the area, creating a schedule for open houses and showings, and cleaning and sprucing up your home to make it as attractive as possible are all controllable. Of course, as a seller, you also have control over when and if you sell your home. Before putting your house on the market, create an ideal timeline of when you’d first like to list, when you’d like it to be sold, and when you’d like the closing date/date of possession to be. Of course, it’s also a good idea to consider the price — more specifically, the lowest price you’re willing to accept for the property. Ultimately, there will be many factors outside of your control, but focusing on what you can control can lower stress.
10 Tips to Make the Selling Process Less Stressful
Our top 10 tips to make the selling process less stressful are below:
1. Accept a cash offer
One way to reduce the stress of home selling is to accept a cash offer. Cash offers typically allow sellers to avoid the hassles that come with selling the traditional way. They are simpler and faster, sometimes taking as little as 10 days to close.
2. Start the selling process early
To alleviate stress in the future, start the selling process as early as possible — at least two to three months before you want to list. Planning ahead is key, as finding a realtor, doing a comparative market analysis, and preparing your home for showings take time. The earlier you start, the smoother the entire process will be.
3. Choose a trusted real estate professional
Want to instantly reduce the stress of selling your home? Choose a real estate professional you can rely on. There are likely tons of realtors in your neighbourhood, but don’t just hire the first one you find on Google. Instead, take your time to research your options and interview prospective candidates. Ideally, you’ll want to find a realtor with extensive knowledge of the local market and a proven track record of selling homes similar to yours.
4. Spruce up your home instead of renovating
Major renovations and upgrades might seem like a good idea before selling, but the reality is they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth. Selling a home is already stressful. There’s no need to add to that stress with a complicated or large-scale renovation. Not only are renovations expensive but they often take longer than you think, which could significantly delay your home sale. Instead, focus on minor updates, such as slapping on a fresh coat of paint, adding some outdoor seating, or repairing light fixtures or appliances.
5. Declutter, declutter, declutter
One of the greatest sources of stress when selling a home is decluttering. If you’ve lived in the house for years, chances are you’ve amassed a lot of personal belongings, from clothing to decor to kitchenware. Start decluttering early and come up with a plan. Some items can likely be thrown away, while you may want to sell or donate others. Look up charitable organizations and online marketplaces in your area. Alternatively, find a storage unit in your neighbourhood if you want to keep the items but remove them before you start showing the house.
6. Discuss your showings schedule
Discuss your availability for showings and open houses with your realtor as early as possible. Try to be flexible to ensure as many buyers see your home as possible. But at the same time, you shouldn’t bend over backward to the point that you can barely step foot in your own home. Consider your personal schedule and that of your family to come up with some ideal times for showings and open houses each week or weekend.
7. Develop a pre-showing checklist
With any showing, you want to put your best foot forward. To do this, develop a pre-showing checklist that clearly lays out everything you need to do before a prospective buyer arrives at your home. Your checklist may include items like making the beds, emptying the garbage cans, or putting all dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
8. Prepare for a fast and slow home sale
Preparation is crucial to avoid getting overwhelmed. One of the main sources of stress for sellers is time. The idea of your home sitting on the market for months can cause serious anxiety. Similarly, the idea of your home selling too quickly in a seller’s market can also be stressful. To minimize stress, mentally prepare for all possible outcomes before listing your home.
9. Take care of yourself
There’s no denying that selling a home is stressful, so come up with a plan to practise self-care during this time. Whether that means carving out extra time to exercise or scheduling a therapy session, taking care of yourself physically and mentally should always be the top priority.
10. Consult with an expert
If selling your home is stressing you out, consult with a real estate expert. Even if you’re selling your home without a realtor, you can still contact one for advice. The better you understand how the home-sale process works, the less stressful it will be. Reaching out to friends or neighbours who recently sold their homes can also help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is selling a home stressful?
The lack of control over the home sale is often what makes selling so stressful. Many sellers fear that their home will sit on the market and won’t sell or will sell below value. Specifically, worries over how fast a home will sell and the price it will sell for is what can cause anxiety for sellers.
What is the most stressful part of selling a house?
The most stressful part of selling a house varies from person to person. For some, it’s the lack of control around time and money, while for others it might be the burden of having prospective buyers walking through your home on any given day. Having to keep your home clean and ready for showings can be stressful, especially if you are still living in the home full time or have pets or young children.
Is it normal to be sad when you sell your house?
Yes, it is completely normal to feel emotions such as sadness when selling your home. Whether you lived in the home for a few years or decades, you likely developed an emotional attachment to it. Years of memories in the same location can make selling a sad process, even if you know it’s the right thing to do.
What factors can add stress when selling your house?
Choosing to buy and sell a home at the same time can certainly add stress to the home-selling process. When you buy and sell at the same time, you’re preparing your current home for sale and negotiating with buyers while simultaneously house hunting and negotiating with sellers. In addition, choosing to upgrade or renovate your home in advance of selling it can also be stressful, as such updates can be expensive and time-consuming.
Is buying or selling a house more stressful?
Meanwhile, the main con of accepting a bully offer is the “what-if” factor. Accepting a bully offer can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and regret. When you accept a bully offer, you will never know the details of the other offers on your home, which might lead you to worry that you could have gotten more money for your home. In addition, the short irrevocable periods characteristic of bully offers can also be extremely stressful, which some sellers may not want to deal with.