When it comes to emotional stress, selling your home ranks right up there with divorce and changing jobs.
It can be an emotional rollercoaster. And if you let your feelings get the better of you, they can have a very real and negative affect on the financial outcome of your sale.
It’s only natural to feel some emotion when selling your home. After all, it's filled with memories; evenings by the fire, card games in the kitchen, parties around the dinner table… Perhaps your home’s been in the family for decades. When you sell, you’re letting go of the association and security you’ve built up through your home, causing vulnerability and angst.
So, what are the six main causes of emotional stress and how can you work through them to ensure a successful sale?
1. Not being ready to sell
It may be you have no choice but to sell, which can make the experience especially traumatic. Perhaps there’s been a death in the family or you’ve hit financial hardship. If this is the case, draw from the support of family and friends. It may be easier removing yourself from the sale process and getting a friend to take over for you.
If you do have a choice, take some time to work through your feelings to figure out whether you're ready to sell. If you’re overly sensitive about it, you may be better off waiting.
2. Taking criticism personally
Some buyers viewing your home will point out all the things they hate about it. That quirky little feature you added to the master bedroom, the layout of your kitchen, the colour of your blinds… These criticisms might be part of the buyer’s strategy to get a good price, or perhaps they’re just raising genuine concerns. Either way, try not to take offence. We all have different tastes and needs and your home is never going to tick all the boxes for every buyer. Criticism is part of the sales process. If you wear your emotions on your sleeve, you may put off interested buyers.
3. Reacting negatively to low offers
While your goal is to get the highest sale price for your home, your buyer wants the lowest price. With this in mind, their first offer is usually not their best offer. So, if an offer is a little ungenerous, don’t take it to heart. Use it as a starting point to negotiate your way up.
Renovations, viewings, phone calls, refinancing… Selling a home requires work and disruption to your life and daily routine is inevitable. If possible, try and keep your normal work and social calendar light during the sales period. If you take on too much, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed. You can always organise a holiday once it’s all over and collapse in a heap!
5. Buying before selling
While buying before selling has many advantages (including the convenience of moving direct from one home to the next), it can cause stress. If you overcommit financially, you then have pressure to achieve a sales price that may be unrealistic. Market conditions change. What you expect to get one month may drop considerably six weeks later. If you do buy before you sell, take this into account and be careful of buying too ambitiously.
6. Letting emotional attachment get in the way
It’s only natural to feel connected to your home. It’s been your safe haven for years. The centre of many happy memories. But when it comes to selling, you need to shift from homeowner to home seller. Your home is now a product that someone will want to buy. If you’re prepared, you’ll handle the conflict between sentiment and practicality better. To kick start the process, try to see your home through your buyers’ eyes. Begin removing some of your personal belongings to de-clutter and play around with rooms to find the most visually appealing layout. This is a subtle yet important step towards detaching.
Accept your emotions, but don’t let them jeopardise the outcome of your sale
It’s only natural to be emotionally affected when you love your home. You are human, after all. You don’t have to forget all the precious memories associated with it, but you can transfer your emotional connection to your next home and all the new memories you’ll create. One thing to remember, it’s people that are the key to memories, not places. You’ve decided to sell for a reason and change is often a refreshing and positive experience. So get excited about the future, the next stage of your life – embrace it!