How to Reduce Stress When Selling Your Property
One of the most stressful events that we go through in our lifetime is selling a house. Whatever your reason for selling, you’ll likely have some stressful times throughout the process, so knowing what the most stressful aspects are can help you keep calm and collected.
Why is selling a house so stressful?
One of the most stressful aspects of selling a house is the length of time it takes to actually achieve your sale. Generally, your house is the most expensive asset that you have, so there’s also an element of fear of something happening to that and leaving you in a difficult position. The selling process, on average, takes 6 months. In those 6 months, you’re likely to have concerns of a sale falling through, or if your property hasn’t generated much interest, you might worry that you won’t achieve a sale at all. This can cause huge amounts of stress, especially as it’s likely that you’re relying on the sale of your house to buy elsewhere. If you’re in a chain, stress levels can also increase, as you’re at risk of not only your sale having issues, but if someone else in the chain has a problem, it can break the chain for you all. Selling without a chain is less stressful, but much rarer, and still comes with its own set of risks too.
Leave plenty of time for the sale process
Far and away, the biggest source of anxiety when selling your home is feeling that your move may not happen when you need it to.
The speed of buying and selling is far from an exact science, so allow yourself enough time and flexibility to meet your ideal dates. Having plenty of breathing space will make it easier to make decisions calmly and to carry on with your work and home life as usual.
Take it step by step
Just like a house, moves are built from the bottom up. Nothing can happen without the foundations in place, and buyers are the building blocks of your plans.
So, if there’s only one piece of advice you follow, make it this: find a buyer for your current home before committing to your next one.
It’s completely understandable to feel so confident when estate agents are telling you they can sell your home quickly, and with all those beautiful listings staring out seductively from the portals, the temptation to view can be hard to resist.
But you’ll face stiff competition from buyers in stronger positions, and the fear of losing the home you’ve set your heart on can leave you desperate to sell, even in a fast market. Feeling compelled to accept the first offer you get is not only stressful; it could also mean taking thousands less than your home is truly worth.
Pick an estate agent with a plan
Imagine your sale as a series of time bubbles. With each subsequent one becoming less effective, your agent needs a plan to maximise response early on and then maintain momentum.
Your first two weeks on the market are usually the most active. Your home appears online, portals give you a shiny ‘New Listing’ label and send out alerts, your agent calls their registered buyers, and new enquiries come in. You’ve also decluttered to perfection, and you tidy up enthusiastically to prepare for a flurry of viewings.
The following two weeks are also busy. Responses are still coming in from the people who couldn’t get around before – maybe they were away, or tied up with life, or holding off till they got a buyer of their own – and anyone who liked your home on their first viewing has arranged to come back for a second look.
At this point, after about a month on the market, you’ll have hopefully found a buyer or have offers coming in. If not, you’ll at least have enough feedback to know whether a sale is likely, or if you need to change tack.
Here’s where a plan becomes really important. Before choosing who to entrust with the sale of your home, ask each agent what they’ll do after those first four weeks if you haven’t got a buyer. How will they keep you on track to sell?
Accepting the right offer
Getting an offer is exciting, and you might even be lucky enough to have multiple buyers competing against each other, so let’s explore what makes a good one.
There’s much more to an offer than money, and your buyer’s position is every bit as important as the price they put forward.
- Everyone who makes an offer on your home should be able to confirm:
- whether they need to sell another property;
- if they have a buyer yet;
- full details of any chain involved;
- proof of funds (mortgage, cash or both);
- that their deposit is readily available;
- if any money is coming from somebody else who also needs to see your home;
- when they want to move.
Getting these questions answered will help you identify a strong and secure offer with a timescale that fits your own. Just like a jigsaw – all the pieces need to be in place for the puzzle to be complete.
Expect the unexpected
Bumps in the road can come from survey results, mortgage valuations and the conveyancing process. They can happen to any home in a chain, but they don’t automatically mean the end of your move.
You can’t plan for everything, but instructing a solicitor as soon as your home goes on the market can reveal and resolve any potential legal issues, giving you a draft contract ready to go the moment you accept an offer.
And getting timeframes confirmed for every link in the chain when your sale is agreed, along with any booked holidays that might affect your moving date, can avoid fraught conversations as you approach exchanging contracts.
It’s also worth remembering that, despite the ups and downs, things generally work out.
Do your research
Often, the most stressful part of selling a house is not knowing what the process is and if things are moving as they should. Before you sell your house, do some research, and look into how long it takes and what each step is, from finding your buyer to exchanging keys. An aspect that lots of homeowners forget about that is incredibly important and often time-consuming is the conveyancing process, so understanding what delays are normal here can give you some peace of mind. Selling a house is rarely a quick process, so knowing this from the start can save unnecessary stress further into the process.
It’s hard to altogether avoid the stress of selling, but these tips can help you reduce your stress levels and make your selling experience the best it can be. Some things you have no control over, and sometimes just accepting that can help you reduce your stress levels, but that isn’t so easy for most homeowners.