People sell houses for many different reasons; they need a bigger place, they want to downsize, they're tired of renting, or maybe they just want a change. The majority of homeowners who list their house for sale (approx. 85% according to the National Association of REALTORS?) do so with the help of a professional real estate agent.
Using an agent is undoubtedly one of the best ways to sell your house if you want to keep your workload (and stress) to a minimum, but there are still a few things you need to expect when your house is up for sale.
Even with an agent by your side, you will still be responsible for several things when you're selling your property. For example, keeping your house in good working order, keeping it clean, making potential repairs, and having a flexible schedule are all things that are likely to be required on your part. If you go into the selling process expecting to do these things, then they are less likely to completely stress you out.
It's when you expect everything to go smoothly that you will end up with anxiety because the reality is, there are several things that you need to expect when selling a house:
Topsy-Turvy Schedule -- Unless you're not living in the house you're trying to sell, be prepared to sacrifice some of your time at home. Normally when an agent shows a house it's best for the sellers, in this case, you, to not be at the property. Therefore, whenever your agent has an open house, a showing, or the random impromptu potential buyers that want to squeeze in a peek; you need to be prepared to vacate the premises.
This can definitely be an inconvenience, especially if you have small children or pets, but it's necessary if you want a speedy and successful sale. Instead of letting it stress you out, have several plans of action to choose from: a game night at grandma's house, dinner, and a movie, a trip to the zoo, or anything else that floats your boat. If you have pets, it's ideal if you can take them with you, although not always practical. If you can't take them with you, make sure they are secured and that your agent is aware of where your pets will be.
Unplanned Repairs -- It's rare that a house is 100% turnkey when it's first put on the market. Even new construction can have a few odds and ends that need some attention. Depending on several factors like the age of your house, how well it's been maintained, and potential hidden issues that can turn up in the home inspection; it's wise to expect that some repairs will need to be made.
You may want to create a budget to handle small things as they arise, whether it is something you can handle yourself or something that you need to hire a professional to do. Although you won't be expected to fix everything, the more things that you are willing to take care of; the more likely you are to sell your house faster and for a higher price.
Extra Cleaning Time -- Like most people, you probably don't adore the thought of cleaning your house, but when your house is up for sale you may feel like cleaning it is all that you do. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in your house, and if it's a mess, buyers are more likely to picture moving on to someplace else.
When you first put your house up for sale, give it a good, deep clean from top to bottom. Then, make sure to keep it clean throughout its entire time on the market. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to clean, so this is a perfect opportunity to do some decluttering. Plus this will help out a lot when it comes time to move...think of it as an added bonus. Don't forget about keeping up with lawn and garden maintenance, too.
The thought of having to keep things clean might stress you out, but it's less stressful in the long run to keep things tidy as you go. Finding out there's a last-minute showing and rushing home from a busy day at work to hurry up and speed clean the house isn't good for anyone's nerves. If your budget allows, you could always outsource some tasks, like weekly lawn mowing, for example, especially if you're not living in the property.
The Moving Process -- If you're selling your current residence, don't get so caught up in prepping your house that you push your future living arrangements to the back burner. Keep the stress to a minimum by setting mini-goals for packing up belongings, searching for moving companies (or lining up friends and family if you plan to do it yourself), and of course, finding your new place -- if that applies to your situation.
Expect the Unexpected -- So now you know the things to expect, but it's also wise to be ready for the unexpected. Unfortunately, sometimes home inspections don't go as planned, buyers lose financing, closing dates get pushed back and other, well, unexpected things occur. This is why it's a good idea to work with an experienced, trusted real estate agent because he or she can help you handle these situations that come up during the process. The best thing to do is breathe and be as prepared as possible.
If you’re selling your house, often simply knowing what to expect as part of the selling process can help. When you expect things, you can better prepare for them instead of being caught off guard. This alone can greatly reduce the amount of stress. For more helpful posts about selling your house, buying a home or other great tips, make sure to check out the rest of our blog! You'll find plenty of useful information and valuable insights into all things real estate!