Ways to navigate stress when buying and selling a home in today’s market
Vanessa Lopez, March 30, 2022
Change can be stressful and chances are you have felt your fair share of change during these past two years. Nothing like a pandemic, virtual learning, or global uncertainty, to change almost every aspect of your life and leave you feeling confused, emotional, and overwhelmed.
Our world is constantly changing. And for some, change can lead to stress. And if you’re in the market to buy or sell a home – you’re probably navigating through a lot of emotions, a lot of changes, and multiple levels of stress.
Stress is defined as “the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” Source 1 “It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.” Source 2. It can be described as “a person’s physical or emotional response to the demands or pressures of daily life.” Source 3
And boy has our life been pretty demanding over the past two years.
When it comes to buying or selling a home – three words stand out from the very definition of stress: overwhelming, emotional, and pressure. It’s no wonder 2 in 5 people describe buying their first home as “the most stressful event in modern life” and “1 in 3 buyers cried during the [homebuying] process”. Source 4
Buying or selling a home is an emotional process. You’re taking your dreams, your goals, and the future you’ve envisioned, along with the money you’ve worked so hard to make, and you’re hoping that the decision of buying or selling is the best decision for you and your family’s future. There’s a lot of pressure wrapped up in that.
You’re also navigating through so many other factors out of your control – inflation, rising interest rates, low inventory – all of which can amount to more stress.
But luckily, as with most things in life – there are both pros and cons to buying and selling a home that make the emotional rollercoaster ride worth riding. The upsides normally tend to outweigh the downsides when it comes to real estate. And in this market, there are a lot more upsides than downsides.
When you’re getting ready to buy or sell a home, there are many things that you can do to help ease your stress. Eliminating it completely is difficult – practically impossible – especially when a lot of the journey is out of your control. But it is manageable. Read on for some valuable tips that will help you on those days when you can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Remember your WHY
Whatever your reason is for moving – write it down so you can refer back to it when things get tough. This goes for anything in life: a new career, a job change, a relationship change, and definitely when you’re buying or selling a home.
If you’re moving closer to home, work, or family – remember how much time and money you’ll save on your commute every morning or how many more BBQ’s you’ll be able to host now that you’re closer to your loved ones. If you’re moving to a better neighborhood or school district – remember how great this will be for your kids’ future. If you’re upsizing or downsizing, remember the reasons why you chose to move – whether you’re seeking a more minimalist lifestyle or you just need more space for a growing family – and circle back to them when you begin questioning whether you’re heading down the right path.
The important thing is to not lose sight of why you’re riding through this journey. Keeping this in your forefront will help keep you focused during those stressful moments.
Give yourself time
If you’re in the market to sell, the best gift you can give yourself is time. Starting early can help eliminate a lot of the headaches that come with selling a home. Andrew Robinson, a top selling agent in Columbus, Ohio, suggests “hir[ing] an agent 90 days ahead. This allows time for your agent to complete an initial walkthrough, determine which improvements and repairs to make, and schedule work to be done on the house as necessary.” Source 5
Contractors are also busy these days, as many families have chosen to remodel and create more functional and useful homes post-pandemic. Giving yourself time will not only ensure you can make the necessary repairs in time for your target listing date, but you’ll also be able to build in time for delays and anything else that may come up during the process.
If you’re in the market to buy, time is also your best friend. Being able to plan at least 90 days ahead of a move will allow you to begin researching your target markets – learning about the different neighborhoods, recently sold properties, and interviewing schools – so you can make the best decision when the time comes.
It also gives you time to begin sorting through all the stuff in your current home. Pick what you want to take to your new home, and sell or donate the rest.
Accept that things are out of your control
Buying or selling a home in this market requires teamwork, patience, and acceptance that a lot of the process will be out of your control. Everyone on the team must do their part to have a successful transaction. Juggling people, personalities, and deliverables is stressful. Your agent will be key in managing the process so allow them to do their job and take some of the stress off your back while you try to focus on the things that are within your control.
Of course that’s easier said than done. Which is why ensuring you choose an agent you trust is essential.
When you feel your anxiety creeping up, shift your focus on what you can control – start reaching out to moving companies, begin cleaning and sorting through your belongings, and begin packing. Understand that buying or selling a home takes time and may not move as fast as you want. It’s a marathon, definitely not a sprint.
Sometimes you just have to press pause and take a breath. Practicing self-care and making sure you have stress-relieving tools and techniques that you can call upon when needed is essential when you’re going through the buying or selling process.
It can be as simple as going out for a walk or grabbing coffee with a friend. Meditating, exercising, painting, or just curling up with a good book can give you that extra boost when you feel the stress and anxiety increasing. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep at night, and don’t discount a good nap during the day. It can be a great recharge when things feel overwhelming.
Choose an agent wisely
There’s so much “behind-the-scenes” action that happens during a real estate transaction that buyers and sellers are not aware of. You want to be sure that whoever is guiding you through this process has your best interest in mind. They should take time to explain the process to you, not just give you directions on what to do. Having an agent that educates their clients shows that they value you as a consumer and are interested in building a relationship with you that will last even after the transaction is complete.
Many homeowners (and soon-to-be homeowners) are intimidated by the buying and selling process. Luckily the internet has many free resources to help educate in the buying and selling process, but every market is different and having a real estate team that can help answer your market specific questions will be essential in helping you make the best decisions for you and your family.
The best consumer is an educated consumer.
Be ready to pivot
The pandemic has taken the housing market into overdrive. While other industries may have seen downturns and losses, the housing market has seen the opposite. A shortage of inventory combined with low interest rates (and many other reasons) have all contributed to housing prices soaring and a very competitive real estate market.
Things are changing by the minute and learning how to change along with it is essential to keeping your stress levels low and competing in this market.
Being flexible is important in this market. That one thing on your must-have list may not be as crucial when you’re shopping through a low inventory of homes. Or being fixated on a price and rejecting all other offers may not be the best approach in today’s market.
Being able to assess and analyze your situation from various angles and pivot as needed in a constantly changing market will significantly reduce your stress levels as you navigate through buying or selling your home.
Most importantly, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed when buying or selling a house! But with preparation and a great team in place you’ll navigate through the process successfully. Here at Murray & Co. we are dedicated to our clients and are committed to making the home buying and selling experience a rewarding one. Check out our Real Estate Services to see how we can help you with all aspects of your real estate transactions.