We all know that selling your house is one of the most stressful things in life. But how to deal with the stress of selling your house and how to avoid it. Stress is actually quite a normal reaction the body has when changes occur. The response to these changes can be physical, mental, or emotional.
How to deal with the stress of selling your house or how to avoid and minimise the stress is to approach the sale of your house in a different way.
The best way to reduce the stress of selling your house is to sell and move into rented accommodation before you buy your next house. Then use your rented home to begin your search for a new house. This approach not only cuts your stress levels in half, but it also puts you in a strong cash-buyer position.
What is stress?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, ‘stress at the most basic level is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event‘.
They go on to explain:
“What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person and differs according to our social and economic circumstances, the environment we live in and our genetic makeup. Some common features of things that can make us feel stress include experiencing something new or unexpected, something that threatens your feeling of self, or feeling you have little control over a situation.”Mental Health Foundation
When you encounter stress, your body is stimulated to produce stress hormones. These stress hormones trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate your immune system. Your stress response system is actually designed to help you respond quickly to a dangerous situation.
But selling and moving house isn’t a dangerous situation, so why is it so stressful? It’s stressful because of the emotional feelings moving evokes. Selling and moving creates anxiety and uncertainly, which your body and mind interpret as stress.
The worries you’ll have when you sell your house:
- You’ll worry firstly about whether your house will sell or not.
- Will your house sell for enough money?
- Are you going to be able to find another house to move to?
- Will you lose your new dream home you’ve chosen to move to?
- Are you going to be accepted for your new mortgage?
- Will your house ‘pass’ the surveyor test?
- Once you’ve accepted an offer, will your chain fall through?
- Then there’s the stress of keeping your house tidy and clean for the viewings.
- There’s also the stress off packing everything up for the move.
- Plus don’t forget the stress of finding new schools if you’re moving to another school catchment area.
All of these questions create the uncertainty and this is what creates the emotional response. This is what leads to what we all know as stress. But the question is, what causes the most stress and what can be done to minimise it or how can you avoid the stress when selling a house.
How can I avoid stress when selling a house?
There are a number of ways to avoid the stress of selling your house, so let’s take a look at what might help.
- Sell your house first, then rent and buy your next house as a cash buyer.
- Choose your estate agent carefully.
- Sell your house to an investor who will guarantee to buy your house quickly without a chain.
- Use a mortgage broker to carefully select the right mortgage lender to suit your personal circumstances and the house you’re buying.
- Hire a surveyor before you put your house on the market to check what your buyer’s surveyor will check.
- Turn your house into a project and use the expertise of an investor.
- For everything else relating to the move itself, try to stay calm, focus on the positives and work together with your partner.
Now that we’ve looked at the solutions to reduce stress when selling your house in summary, let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
How can I avoid stress when selling a house in more detail?
Let’s take a look at each of the above stress-reducing solutions to selling your house.
1. Sell your house first, then rent and buy your next house as a cash buyer
Personally I think this is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of selling your house. But it doesn’t only reduce the stress levels, it will also help you to secure a good deal when you come to buy your new home. It can also help when you’re selling your existing house too.
By selling your house first but without joining into a chain by buying your new house at the same time, you remove three of the above seven biggest stress causes of selling your house (see below).
Once you’ve sold, simply move into rented accommodation whilst you look for a new place to buy. This puts you in a very strong buying position, as you’ll effectively become a ‘cash buyer‘. You will still be treated as a cash buyer even if you have to raise a mortgage, because you’ll not be in a chain.
Sellers love ‘cash buyers‘ and this puts you in a strong position. You’ll be on the favoured list of buyers from an estate agents view point and you may even get your new home with a bigger discount because of it. You are less likely to lose your house purchase too.
As mentioned above, by renting to buy after selling your house, you alleviate three of the above seven stresses in one go. The first of these is the stress around finding your new home in time.
Are you going to be able to find another house to move to?
The dilemma you face if you buy a house at the same time as selling is whether you start looking for a new house before or after you’ve accepted an offer on your house. In England and Wales an offer isn’t binding until after exchange of contracts.
This means that your sale could fall through and if you’ve then gone out and found the house you want to move into, you could lose your purchase.
But then if you wait until you accept an offer on your house, this puts you under pressure to find the right house to move to. It’s never nice to be looking for a house when you are under pressure and you may end up choosing the wrong house in order to make your sale happen.
By selling your house first without having to spend the time looking for another house to move to, you reduce your stress. You can simply focus your energy and emotions on selling and cut out the stress of buying. So in a way you’ve halved the stress levels.
Will you lose your dream home you’ve chosen to move to?
By leaving the search for a new house until after you’ve sold and move to rented accommodation, you reduce the risk of losing your dream home. It’s all too often that buyers lose their dream home purchase, simply because their chain falls through.
This not only causes stress, but it also is extremely upsetting and disappointing. Buying a home is so emotional and if you’re buying a place as a couple, it takes a while to find a place you both like. To then lose that house due to the break down of the chain is soul destroying.
By leaving the hunt for a new property until after you’ve sold, and when I say sold, I mean you have the cash in the bank and you’re sitting in rented accommodation, you are less likely to be disappointed.
What’s the disadvantage of selling to rent before buying
This approach takes a bit of discipline and isn’t for everyone. Not least because you’ll have a large lump of money sitting in your bank which you mustn’t spend, as this represents your deposit for your new house.
One of the disadvantages of renting before buying is you have to move twice. This will incur two lots of moving fees, unless you can do this yourself. But then you’ll probably need to rent a van twice.
If the idea of moving twice instead of once doesn’t appeal to you, there are other options that may work better for you. This is especially if you just happen to have already found your new dream home.
Take a look at solution six below if you feel your house may make a good project. Do you think your house could be converted into flats for example? Have others done the same on your street and set the president? Is there room for an extension or is there room for improving your house in some way, like a loft conversion?
If you don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself and have no inclination of becoming a developer, but you would like to share in the profits of the uplift in value, read the solution six, as this will not only reduce your stress of selling, but it will also give you more cash in your pocket!
Once you’ve sold, will your chain fall through?
The other stress causing factor that is reduced by selling first and renting, is you won’t have the worry of the chain falling through.
Of course if there’s a chain above you, linked to the buyer of your house, there’s not too much you can do about this. But at least you minimise the risk to a degree.
But also, by stopping the chain at your house sale, buyers like this too, as it shortens the chain for them and their stress levels, and can encourage a buyer to proceed.
2. Choose your estate agent carefully
If your choice is to sell your house using an estate agent, then choose your agent carefully. You should take a recommendation if you can, but at the very least interview three estate agents in your area.
But don’t necessarily go for the agent that has valued your house the highest out of all the agents you see. This can sometimes be a ploy, only to find later that your house isn’t selling and you find you need to drop the price for it to sell. This can end up being extremely counter productive and extend the time it takes to sell your house.
3. Sell your house to an investor who will guarantee to buy your house quickly without a chain
If it’s being in a chain that stresses you the most when you’re selling your house, you can cut this out quite easily. All you need do is to sell your house to an investor.
Investors are chain-free, they are cash buyers (even if finance is going to be arranged) and they can generally move much quicker than a home-buyer.
You may be thinking that if you sell to an investor, you’ll not get asking price and you’ll need to take a significantly reduced price for your house. This may be true depending on the solution offered, but it depends, as there are many ways to skin a cat…or should I say, many ways to sell a house to an investor.
We love to be creative when we buy a house. It’s all about finding a solution that works for you as well as it works for us. What we always look for is a win-win scenario, otherwise it doesn’t work. There’s no point if it works for us, but doesn’t work for you and visa versa.
How an investor purchase of your house might work to achieve a guaranteed quick sale
As an investor I look at a house differently to a home buyer. For example, let’s imagine your home is worth let’s say £260,000. But then let’s also assume your outstanding mortgage is £225,000. That means your equity in your house is £35,000.
On the assumption you sell your house and bank the money, but never bought again, after estate agents fees of say £3,900 and legal fees of £750, you’d be left with £30,350 to bank.
If your house value is higher or lower and/or your mortgage is higher or lower than the above example, you should be able to do a similar calculation to the above and calculate the amount of net equity you’be left with if you sold your house.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at one approach that may work well for you.
One type of investor approach
Let’s assume then that I approached you and said that if I could buy your house within let’s say 4-6 weeks chain free, but all I gave you was £30,350, how would you react? Initially you’d say, “but my house is worth £260,000”, or whatever your home is worth in comparison.
But when you look at it in reality, whilst I may agree that your house is worth £260,000, you don’t end up with £260,000 in the bank, as you have a mortgage to repay when you sell. You try to sell your house and not repay your mortgage. That is never going to happen.
So when you think about it, your net sale proceeds would be the £30,350 instead.
This is just one method where we can help you to sell your house fast in order to buy your next home with less stress and less hassle.
The contract we’d draw up with you is what’s called a ‘lease option‘. I’m not going to go into detail about property lease options in this article, but if you are interested to read more, below are a few further articles to read on lease options.
But before you red these articles on lease options, think about this, we don’t charge estate agents fees, so in the above example you’d end up with £34,250 in your bank instead. Which in real terms means extra money to go towards your new purchase. We may even be willing to pay your legal fees too, if the figures stack up and work for us.
4. Use a mortgage broker to carefully select the right mortgage lender to suit your personal circumstances and the house you’re buying
One of the stresses of buying a new home is arranging the mortgage. The biggest stress of arranging the mortgage is whether or not you’ll get it. Your new house hangs on whether or not you get your new mortgage. So it’s an important cog in the house buying process.
One way to mitigate this risk and to reduce the associated stress is to engage the services of a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers look at the whole of the mortgage lending market and match a number of criteria for you. This will usually make it easier for you to get the best mortgage to suit your personal circumstances.
List of criteria considered by a mortgage broker
The following are a considerations for borrowing from a mortgage lender when you’re buying a house.
- Your and your partners personal financial circumstances and your household income.
- Your number of dependents.
- Existing credit on cards and personal loans.
- Your personal credit rating.
- The type of house you’re buying.
- The location of the property.
- What level of deposit you have and in turn the loan to value (LTV) you are expecting to borrow (i.e. LTV is the percentage of loan vs the value of the property; e.g. if the loan is £75,000 and the house is worth £100,000, the LTV would be 75%).
- Your affordability and the corresponding interest rate.
- Whether you are looking to fix your interest rate or not.
- What are the lending fees, cost of the survey and so on.
There are many factors that affect a mortgage application and if you only consider one or two banks, you may not get the right mortgage for you. Or alternatively, you may not get a mortgage at all. That’s why I’d always recommend you use a broker.
Although they will charge you an arrangement fee, this fee will pay dividends. It may save you money in the long run, but more importantly your stress levels should be reduced, as a large part of the work load is taken off your shoulders.
5. Hire a surveyor before you put your house on the market to check what your buyer’s surveyor will check
This may seem like a strange thing to do. You may also be wondering how this might reduce the stress of selling your house.
If you look at it this way, when you’re in control of a situation you are less likely to be stressed. But on the contrary, if you are not in control of the situation, this is when the stress levels rise significantly.
By appointing your own surveyor to check your house over before you sell, will cut down on the stress when you do sell. At least if the surveyor picks up on anything at this stage, it’s not going to affect your sale. Whatever they pick up on you can fix before you list your property with an estate agent.
By doing this exercise, you’ll be able to relax when the buyers surveyor comes around in the knowledge that your house has already been checked over. But more importantly, anything that was picked up would have ben rectified.
This will obviously cost to have a survey done, but its the cost for peace of mind. Think about it this way, if the buyers surveyor picks up on a problem you weren’t aware of, your house sale may fall through. Which in turn may lead to your house purchase falling through, assuming you don’t follow my guidance to sell and rent before buying advice above.
6. Turn your house into a project and use the expertise of an investor
The last but not necessarily the least stress-reducing solution is to turn your home into a project with the help from an investor.
The best way that this can be achieved is by doing what’s referred to as an assisted sale. An assisted house sale can help you to sell your house fast for market value or more, depending on which type of assisted sale solution you opted for.
Rather than going into too much detail about assisted sales in this article, you may want to read the following article, if this is something of interest to you. A lease option, which was mentioned above, is essentially an assisted sale, but the assisted sale I’m referring to here is slightly different.
The main aspects of an assisted sale are as follows:
- You agree a sale price with us for your house as it stands.
- We work out how we can add value to your home by investing money in it. This could include something as simple as a renovation or it may be to extend or to convert it to flats.
- We agree the profit-share of the uplift in value between the current agreed value in point 1. above and the value of the new property(s) depending on what we agree should be done, less what we spend on improvements. Note that the cost of the works in whatever form they take are our cost.
- We sell your house at the uplifted value and pay you your share of the agreed profits.
You may be wondering how you move to your new house in an assisted sale situation. This is simple, we agree an up-front deposit amount that you need as a minimum, to enable you to move out in order that we carry out the works on your property.
More Reading: We buy any house assisted sale (Assisted sale offer)
This system of an assisted sale works extremely well. You don’t have to worry about finding builders, applying for planning permission where necessary and carrying out the works. All you have to do is to sit back, relax and earn that extra amount from the ultimate sale of your house.
Plus of course you get a guaranteed offer without a chain, so you can go off and find the new property of your dreams. Less stress, less hassle and you make more money! That can’t be a bad idea.
An assisted sale is what we call a true ‘win-win‘ for you and us.
More Reading: Lease option vs assisted sale (What’s the difference?)
7. For everything else relating to the move itself, try to stay calm, focus on the positives and work together with your partner
With all the other aspects of moving, you need to remain as calm as you can. Keeping the house tidy in preparation for viewings is best done by keeping on top of it, rather than panicking when the estate agents calls to arrange a viewing.
But also have the estate agent do the viewings. And where possible, always leave the house if you can. This will reduce the stress levels. When you receive any negative feedback, don’t take it personally.
People are simply expressing their views on your house. Remember this is the property you’ve decided to sell and move out of. Once you move out, it will be history and none of it will matter. But when you receive feedback about an aspect of your house that can be changed or rectified, make sure you act on this information. By doing so, this could make the difference between a sale or not.
Packing to leave stress
If you cannot face the idea of packing, and if this is stressing you out, you can get companies to do this for you. Of course it will cost you more than if you pack everything away yourself. But it will make things easier and less stressful.
Schools catchment areas
Whilst it’s important to find a good new school for your children, you mustn’t let this get to you. One way to make sure you get them to the right school is to use our service. Either the lease option or the assisted sale would work. The other option that may help is to have a delayed completion with us.
With a delayed completion, you’ll have exchanged contracts and then have the confidence to begin looking for your new home. The completion date can be agreed at however long you would need to find your ideal house. The pressure will have been taken off you and they’ll be less stress.
This home buying solution of a delayed completion won’t work in every scenario. But when it does, it’s great for you as the seller. You can take your time looking for the ideal home. You’ll be able to find a home in the right catchment area, with the peace of mind of a confirmed sale.
I hope you’ve got something from reading this article on how to deal with the stress of selling your house
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