The Secret To Reducing Real Estate Stress

Dated: 10/04/2017

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They say your home is your biggest asset. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that buying or selling a home can be one of the biggest financial decisions you make in your life. The amount of money associated with real estate transactions can give anyone anxiety. For many people, buying or selling a home ranks among the most stressful life events one can experience. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help manage that home-buying stress and sleep peacefully at night.

First, you need to understand what kind of emotions are at stake. For some people selling the family home can be a very emotional time, especially if it’s being done for an unexpected reason, like a divorce or a death in the family. People can have similar reasons for buying, downsizing because they find themselves suddenly single.

On top of the anxiety associated with the amount of money involved in a real estate transaction, disappointment and anger can result from a failed purchase or from low offers coming in. If you manage these issues rather than let them overcome you, you can make the entire process easier on yourself.

Keep your expectations reasonable. Base your expectations for what to spend or what you’ll get for your home based in the reality of the current market conditions. Also remember the old adage: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” A real estate transaction isn’t done until it’s done – all finances and closing papers must be completely sorted out before you can call it finished.

Sign paperwork and pay any fees as far ahead of deadlines as you can. If you leave things until the last minute, you risk getting in hot water if something comes up. Emergencies happen, so it’s best to do what you know you have to before the unexpected hits you.

Make sure that you go through all paperwork and that you understand everything fully. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent what something means.  The better you understand the process, the less stressful it will be, and if you understand everything you won’t risk being blindsided.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember the reasons why you are buying or selling your home. Knowing your destination makes the journey easier, so remind yourself that there is an end.

Practice soothing tasks. Listening to calming sounds or music. Practice breathing exercises. Find something that makes you laugh – it may be stupid animals on YouTube or a comedy special on Netflix, but laughter is soothing and will help you cope. Exercise will also help you cope – it releases hormones in your body that put you in a better mood.  Eat healthy. If you feel good physically, it will help you feel better mentally.

Take time each day to write down your concerns on paper. When you write things down, it helps your brain stop dwelling on them. It will also give you the opportunity to think of ways to prevent your fears from happening if they are under your control.

Remind yourself that you can't control other people. If you are waiting on another person’s decision, remember that you can’t influence the other person’s actions. You can’t respond to something that hasn’t happened yet, so it isn’t worth worrying about. Take the time to do something to take your mind off of the situation.

Talk through your worries. Call your agent or a friend or family member who’s been through the process. It can be cathartic to voice your concerns, even if they don’t have solutions. Your realtor can help reassure you. We’ve been through this process with our clients many times, and we’re happy to remind you that better days are ahead.

Buyers, know what you want before shopping for your home. It will help you rule out homes that don’t meet your needs ahead of time so you don’t waste your time looking at places that aren’t right for you. If you are looking with a partner, knowing and agreeing on your wants and needs beforehand can prevent stressful disagreements during the process.

Get your finances in order. Check your credit and work on improving it. Make sure you continue to pay your bills on time. Get pre-approved before looking at homes to make sure things run smoothly. If you’re pre-approved, you already have a good idea of what you can spend on a new home and you won’t be looking out of your price range. It can also help assuage worries about whether or not you can get a loan.

Prepare to be flexible. No home is perfect, so make sure you know what is a priority and what is something you can live without. Don’t pay more than you planned to because you developed an emotional attachment to a particular house. It will only cause inflated buyer’s remorse later. You also want to avoid getting in a bidding war and paying more for a property than it’s actually worth.

Listen to your realtors’ advice. We help people buy and sell homes all of the time, so in general we know what to expect and what to do, and we’re here to advise you. We’ll help with the prices and paperwork.

Don’t watch HGTV. It shows a shiny media version of everything and you will become incredibly frustrated by the organic goat herders who just found their dream mansion for just under their five million dollar budget. That’s just going to lead to lamentation about how you ended up with such a low budget and why the houses you didn’t find the perfect house in two days.

Sellers, keep your timeline as flexible as possible for as long as possible. Have a flexible daily calendar, too. You don’t want to have your in-laws staying over when a realtor calls for a last-minute showing, do you?

Incorporate tidying up into your routine.  It will make those last-minute showings much easier on you. Since a lot of showings happen on weekends, it’s also a good idea to plan to be out of the house if you can. If you can schedule time to take a day trip or visit family, you don’t have to worry about everyone being forced to go for a drive every time someone comes to take a look at your house.

When packing to move, try to do as much as you can as early as you can. If you are using movers, make sure you research multiple companies a few months before your move. You’ll need notice to book them and you also want to ensure the company you use is reputable and reliable. The last thing you need is the extra stress of a mover who changes their price at the last minute, goes out of business, or breaks a family heirloom out of carelessness.

Take time to de-clutter. More boxes mean more stress, and there’s not point in moving things you aren’t going to use. Consider your reasons for keeping items. Think, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of this?” Let your answer be your guide for what you should and shouldn’t keep. If there’s a lot of junk you don’t want, you can have a yard sale or donate the items to your favorite thrift charity.

Make sure you pack over time, not all at once. Put thing you use the least into boxes first until you’re left with just the essentials. These are the only things you should be packing “last minute,” right before your move. Not only will this help you stage your home – allowing buyers to imagine their own things in the space – but it prevents the stress of packing everything right before you have to go. Rushing leads to stress, so any way you can plan ahead will help.

Remember that humans are creatures of habit. Buying and selling your home and moving away are breaks in our routines. That kind of change is a natural stressor. If you remind yourself that it’s just a transition, prepare ahead, and use good stress management techniques, you can make the process easier on yourself and your family.

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Seth Gold

Seth Gold brings his life-long passion for real estate and extensive marketing experience to Domicile Realty. As he works with his clients, he is very aware that they are making one of the biggest and....

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