Add to this the fact that you may need to have a bunch of your belongings in storage during this time and that your house may feel less like a home than you’re used to. It’s natural to find the whole process a bit stressful and exhausting, especially when it goes on for weeks or months.
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the home selling experience. The good news is that it won’t go on forever; the bad news is that you won’t know when it’s going to be over until it’s over. Not having a clear timeline in sight isn’t the greatest, especially if you’re someone who likes to know where the light is at the end of the tunnel when embarking on something so majorly life changing. But many people have made it through the home selling process before, and you will too. In the meantime, follow these 7 tips for keeping your head on your shoulders while you wait for that perfect buyer to come along.
Your agent can make the home selling process easier on you, or they can make it harder. Do your due diligence in selecting an agent to take on the job, and make sure that you’re hiring someone who you work well with, who clearly communicates with you, and who has a proven track record of success. The best way to find that ideal agent is to go through referrals, asking people you know and trust who they’ve had a good experience with. If you notice any red flags with an agent you’re considering, such as difficulty getting ahold of them or an off-putting tone when you do talk, go back to the drawing board and find someone else. Fortunately, there are a lot of real estate agents out there, and even if it takes a few meetings to choose the right one, you’ll feel better working with someone who you know you can count on.
You should really only have to do an exhaustive deep clean right before your house goes on the market. After that, it’s just about maintaining things as they are. If you don’t already, make a habit of making all of the beds in your house every morning, cleaning and putting away dishes after you use them, and quickly wiping down surfaces once a day. In addition, keep clutter from building up by putting things away after you’re done with them, or at least clearing up clutter every night before you go to bed. The more small steps you can take throughout the day to keep your home looking clean for any potential showings that might arise, the less time you’ll have to spend doing major cleaning sessions and hurriedly tidying up when buyers want to come through.
Set up a system so that prepping for showings becomes a matter of just following a pre-determined list of steps, and not a chaotic run around. Chances are you’ll figure out a system as you go, but the earlier you can get it into place, the better. Clear spaces in your closets and drawers that you can quickly fill with items that are usually not stored but should be put away for showings, such as pet beds and toys, towels and robes, and mail. If you have items that you intend to take with you when you leave, like laptops and/or other valuables, keep a bag in your front hall closet that you can quickly pull and fill with the things you want to take along. Put the pre-showing prep on auto pilot, and you’ll be less stressed when the time comes to put it all into action.
One of the most overwhelming parts of selling a home is the lack of control you have over the process. You don’t get a say in who decides to come by for a showing or when an offer gets made. But what you do have control over is how much effort you put into optimizing your home for a quick sale. Follow the home selling tips that are specifically designed to move your house off the market as fast as possible, so that even if nobody is biting, you at least know you are doing everything right on your end. The process becomes more mentally difficult the longer it goes on, but if you’re taking the necessary steps to present your home in a way that’s most appealing to buyers, you’ll know that it’s just a matter of the right person coming along, and not any sort of failure on your part.
Before your home gets listed, your real estate agent will likely clear with you how much notice you would like to receive before a showing takes place. While it’s very likely that last minute showing requests will still come in (and you should take those if you can – any showing is a good thing), a request of four hours’ notice gives you enough time to finish up what you’re doing, organize your schedule, and prep the house. Request too much notice and you may be turning off buyers who want to come in sooner rather than later. Request too little notice and you may create extra stress for yourself trying to get everything done. Four hours tends to be a sweet spot, with just enough time to arrange without having to completely throw off your day.
Easier said than done, I know. But if you’ve been a buyer before, you know that comments you make about what you like and don’t like about a house are coming from an outside point of view, and not directly targeted at the current homeowners. “I don’t like those window treatments” or “This kitchen is too cramped” are simply opinions, and while they may mean a particular buyer loses interest in the property, they don’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Negative feedback is important for both you and your agent, because it illuminates general trends of what people are saying, in turn helping dictate changes you should consider to make the home more appealing. If you hear a piece of feedback that hurts a little, try to take it in stride and don’t let it discourage you from the big picture, which is that the right buyer is out there, they just haven’t walked through the door yet.
Stay positive throughout the home selling process by keeping your eye on the prize. You put your home on the market for a reason, and every showing, offer, and back and forth with a buyer’s agent is getting you one step closer to that goal. Do your best to keep your head up – even when things get tough – and remember that while the ordeal may be stressful, it’s just part of getting where you want to go next.