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Top Five Stressors of Selling a House

House with stressed figure

Selling Your Home is Stressful

Selling a house can be an incredibly stressful process. From preparing the home for sale and making necessary repairs to negotiating with buyers and dealing with paperwork, there is a lot to manage. On top of that, the entire process can be uncertain and unpredictable, which can cause a lot of anxiety. This is all besides the emotional stress that can arise from parting with a house that was your or your loved one’s home for many years. 

A 2019 online survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Zillow reveals that more than three-quarters of Americans who have sold a home in the past three years say the experience of selling was stressful for them (77%) – behind only going through a relationship breakup (78%). Selling a home is rated as being more stressful than buying a new home (72%), planning a wedding (60%), getting fired (58%), becoming a parent (58%), teaching a teenager to drive (53%) and potty training a child (47%).

What are the biggest sources of stress when selling a house?

Here are the top five sources of stress when selling a house.

Stressor #1: Preparing the House for Sale 

From decluttering and deep cleaning to making necessary repairs and staging, preparing the home for sale can be a stressful and expensive process. According to CBS News home sellers typically spend around $5,400 sprucing up their houses before putting them on the market. Fool.com says that a good rule of thumb is to set aside 2% of the sales price to cover any needed repairs. For a $400,000 house that can amount to $8,000 and that’s even before staging costs. So it’s reasonable for prepping costs to amount to $10,000 or more. And that’s just the money he needs to shell out! Decluttering, cleaning, repairs, and staging require hours of time and energy and have an exhaustive effect on a person’s physical and emotional state.

Stressor # 2: House Showings 

Aside from all the prep, the actual home showings are also a source of stress for home sellers because you are putting your home on display and are trying to make a good impression on potential buyers. The seller’s privacy is invaded and often, sellers are asked or advised to leave their homes for showings, further exacerbating the inconvenience and discomfort.

Stressor #3: Negotiations

Buyers are often looking to get the best deal possible, while sellers want to maximize their profits, so negotiations can become drawn out and nitpicky. As Orchard points out: The negotiation process doesn’t stop once the seller accepts the offer. This is because the buyer often begins the inspection and home appraisal process which may bring attention to issues with the home. Lengthy negotiations can be emotionally draining and a test of one’s patience.

Stressor #4: Uncertainty

From waiting for offers to worrying about appraisals and inspections, the uncertainty around home selling can induce a lot of anxiety. As Insider.com aptly describes, “When the future is uncertain or we’re experiencing something new, we can’t rely on past experiences to inform our decision-making. Without that tool, we can become anxious about what the future might hold, running through various scenarios and worrying about them.

Stressor #5: Paperwork

Selling a house involves a lot of paperwork, which can be time-consuming and stressful. From contracts to disclosures and title documents, there can be a lot to manage. Bankrate lists six documents that may be needed in the pre-listing phase, four documents in the listing phase, and another four at or after closing. The mere thought of managing all that paperwork is enough to induce a headache. 

These are just the five top stressors. There are many more, including the emotional baggage that comes along with parting from a home you called your own. 

Is there a way to minimize the stress?

The stressors listed above are common in traditional home sales. When selling to a cash buyer, you eliminate a large portion of these stressors. While in some cases (not all) a cash offer will be slightly below market price, many people consider the reduced stress and saved time invaluable factors that make it worthwhile. After all, time is money. And mental health is priceless! 

Cash buyers are a boon especially for people with a house in bad shape and who want to sell as is or for people who need to sell quickly. By eliminating a large part of the stress associated with home selling, cash buyers offer a smoother, faster selling experience for those who seek it. 

Brought to you by Steven Honig, Real Estate Investor & Consultant

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