Selling a home is an emotional experience. The run-up to the sale—preparing, listing and showing the home—is downright taxing. Even the most even-keeled homeowners struggle under the weight of the presale workload.
As any real estate or mortgage professional will tell you, listing and showing your own home is a stressful process. It’s an important time to be mindful of your mental and physical status.
What can you do to ensure that you don’t become a casualty of your move? Follow these seven simple tips to reduce presale stress and get ready for the next phase of your family’s life.
1. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
How important is a regular sleep schedule? Very.
“With regular daily activities, our various body systems are able to prepare for and anticipate events. We naturally become more alert closer to our wake-up time. Our digestive systems become activated in advance of regular meal times in order to more efficiently process food. We start to relax and become sleepy prior to bedtimes,” writes Natalie Dautovich, environmental scholar at the National Sleep Foundation. “It turns out that these regular daily events serve to anchor our underlying daily rhythms.”
Selling your home shouldn’t be the impetus for establishing and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. In fact, the time to get started is probably before the presale crunch, when starting any new routine is going to be tough.
2. Listen to Your Agent
Your agent has been around the block before—maybe literally. Don’t be shy about seeking out his or her advice as you prepare for listing. Remember, agents have an incentive to give honest, seller-friendly feedback: The higher your final selling price, the juicier their commission. Letting your agent dictate the ebbs and flows of the selling process takes a big weight off your shoulders.
3. Let the Pros Handle What They Can
Your agent is a pro. So are the contractors, stagers, underwriters and other professionals whose efforts are essential to a smooth sale. Trust them to do their jobs, don’t take on DIY projects that you don’t have to, and avoid micromanaging their activities—or you’ll simply add unnecessary stress to the equation.
4. Take the Occasional Break
Remember to rest. Even if you’re letting the pros handle what they’re paid to do, the preparation process is still apt to be a whirlwind of meetings, phone calls and tough executive decisions that you’re sure to second-guess later. You don’t get participation points for sending your body into the red. Pay close attention to your physical and mental energy levels, and don’t hesitate to call timeout when things get too heated.
5. Don’t Sweat the Little Things
Easy to say, hard to do—but absolutely crucial to your mental health during the lead-up to your sale. Don’t sweat the slightly off-center vase on your mantle or the stray dog hair clinging to your living room carpet. Focus on the big picture: your listing schedule, open houses, private showings, negotiations and the like. The more you get caught up in the details, the more likely you are to miss something you really should be worried about.
6. Focus on What You Do Best
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Rather, focus your energies on doing what you do best. That might mean deep-cleaning your house in preparation for staging, helping the stagers set everything up just so, or taking a keen interest in your garden after years of neglect. If you avoid trying to do too much and instead concentrate on doing one or two things well, your efforts will make a difference.
7. Celebrate the Process
The ordeal isn’t done until you hand over the keys on closing day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate key milestones on the road to the sale.
“Success … marks the endpoint to a very long journey filled with monumental ups and downs along the way,” says Nicola Corzine, executive director at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. “Milestones are the drivers of meaningful success, and the hurdles and strides they require should be celebrated along the way as they’re achieved.”
Mark key moments during the selling process with small but meaningful signifiers: a “treat yourself” massage on the day your house hits the market, a celebratory glass of wine on the patio when you receive your first offer, a modest meal out when you accept the (fingers crossed) final offer. Save the big bash for your new home’s housewarming if you wish, but don’t forget to look up from your work every once in a while before then.