It is well-known that dealing with a divorce, a death in the family and selling a house are major stressful events in anyone’s life. When we put a house up as “For Sale” on the market, the questions start rolling in, keeping us awake at night! Questions we ask ourselves are for example “Did I overprice the property?”, “Am I asking enough?”, “How long will it take to sell?” and “Am I going to have problems with the sale?” and “Will buyers turn up?”.
All of these questions are entirely valid and even more so if you are selling the property yourself. We advise appointing a trusted, reliable and qualified estate agent to handle things for you, as this will bring you a lot of peace of mind. Below we discuss some of the most common concerns and fears when selling a house and how you can manage the associated stress effectively.
What to do first
Consider what time of the year you are going to sell, as home buying is more active in the summer. Although there may be fewer buyers in winter, they are generally considered to be more determined and serious about buying. Winter is also a good time to market your home as many people are on holiday and have the time to go house-hunting and there will also be less competition from other homes being on the market in your area.
Your state of mind
It is the wrong time to still be in love with your home when you are trying to sell it: selling a home is simply business and there is no room for sentiment. Also try and be realistic about the whole process.
Pricing it right
Price your home right and you can expect a sale sooner than later. Connected to the previous paragraph, understandably so, owners have egos about their homes and always think their home is better and more expensive than their neighbour’s. Owners also feel better if they get more for their homes than others that sold recently in the neighbourhood. This is unrealistic and if this is your motivation then rather don’t sell for now. Your home is purely worth what the market is prepared to pay for it and properties that recently sold in the area will be a correct guide when it comes to pricing your home.
Make sure your selling deadline is achievable and realistic
If possible, do not commit to for instance buying another property before you have sold your current one. If the sale does not materialise in time, you will be responsible for payments on the new property and find yourself financially spread a bit thin! Include a clause in the Promise of Sale of the new property that it is subject to the sale of your current property. This way you can minimise your risk and have a sound night’s sleep.
Stop torturing yourself about any offers below what you wanted
Obsessive thoughts about “underselling” your property is usually unfounded given that you have a good estate agent that will price the property right. Experienced, qualified agents will base their recommended selling price on extensive research and beware of any agents that are simply after the selling mandate! They usually do this by stroking your ego and will offer you price expectations way above what your property is actually worth! Do not fall for this.
If this is what you have done, your home will remain unsold and on the market. It will get overexposed or even worse, remain unsold. The reason we say this is because the buying public are well-educated and informed; they are out to buy houses at market-related prices, not someone else’s pipedream. The ugly truth is that a house is only worth what the market is prepared to pay for it – so make sure it’s a market-related price!
Coping with the stress of home improvements and preparing for sale
Homes that are in tip-top shape when going to market are considered as having the right “curb-appeal” and stand a better chance of selling and achieving better prices. This does not mean you have to go all out and revamp your entire home at great expense, as upgrading and refreshing your home can be a hit-and-miss affair at best when you do it yourself. Where does one start? Speak to your agent about it when they come for the initial valuation, as they will know the area, the market and what the buyers’ profile for your home expect and want. An agent will also be best to advise you what needs attention and upgrading and what will catch any buyer’s attention when it comes to your property specifically.
Stressing about an offer being rescinded
The selling process takes time and even when an offer is on the table, there are many unforeseen events that can be the cause of the offer being withdrawn. An experienced agent will put all the stops in place to prevent this from happening as far as legally possible. As they are experienced negotiators, they will be able to additionally iron out any issues potential buyers may have or come up with as a surprise condition for cancelling a sale. Also keep in mind that a good agent can keep new potential buyers interested in seeing your home should a sale that was considered as basically concluded, go belly-up.
Stressing about selling and buying a new home at the same time
The secret to doing this the right way is to have one agent for both transactions. That way they will not be fumbling around in the dark about where you are finding yourself in both selling your old home and buying a new one. They will also have your best interests at heart and they will do their utmost to make things work because losing the sale is bad for their reputation and for their income stream! Make sure you have discussed a realistic timeframe with your agent for concluding both transactions and build in safety measures such as bail-out clauses in the event of anything unforeseen happening.
Stressing about a lack of buyers
No-one can predict 100% what the market will do over time, including your estate agent. Statistics are facts that are based on historic data and the analysis of those facts… and this will also apply to the sale of your home.
Political uncertainty, wars, natural disasters, pandemics and the like can abruptly change the economic outlook of any country, society and industry and this applies to the real estate industry as well. If you agent prices the property correctly and does the correct targeted marketing, the right buyers will come. Just remember that over time price adjustments will be required to renew interest but never advertise a home’s price as “reduced”, as this has a negative impact on public perception. Rather take the home off the market for a few weeks or months and then re-market it at a later stage if you can.
Stressing about dealing with buyers one-on-one
This will be very taxing if you are doing it yourself, unless you have considerable experience. Regular buyers and speculators of property are a tough and savvy bunch and its best that you leave negotiations up to an experienced estate agent. After all, as the seller you always have the ultimate control and final say when it comes to selling your home, so let your agent alleviate a lot of this particular stress for you.
Stressing about showing your home off at its best
Showings can be well-planned in advance and other times it can be jumped on you as a complete surprise! We advise that you never turn away potential buyers by saying “This is not a good time”. You never know who your buyer may turn out to be…it can just be that person that wants to see it after hours or on a Sunday! If you make it part of your routine to see that your home is in good shape each morning before you leave for work, you will always be prepared and keeping things neat and tidy after a while will become a fact of life.
Stressing about buyers turning up when you’re at home
Always try and excuse yourself from the home while your agent shows potential buyers around. Go for a walk around the block or a drive. Buyers do not like being intimidated by sellers hanging around in the background.
Stressing about your possessions being stolen
When you are marketing your home, remove valuable and personal small items and put them in a safe. This will also aid in depersonalising and decluttering your home. Your agent will have a record of any potential buyers’ personal details in case anything happens to any of your personal belongings. Always take stock after a viewing.
The final word
Selling a home will always involve a measure of stressful situations and our best advice is to appoint an estate agent to alleviate the lion’s share of this stress. It is worth every cent having a consummate professional on your side rather than going it alone.