8 tips to take the stress out of selling your home
According to a Zillow survey of over 10,000 market participants, 95 per cent of sellers find some part of the home selling process stressful to them or their families.
That result is hardly surprising when you're talking about one of the biggest and most complex transactions a person will make in their lifetime.
There are plenty of tried and tested ways to minimise the stress of selling, though. Preparation, strategy, professional help and managing expectations are all key to coming out on the other side in one piece and with the best possible result.
Let's dive into some of the most effective ways to de-stress the home selling process.
1. Come armed with knowledge
Approaching the sale of a property without being well-informed is a recipe for stress overload. On the other hand, doing your research first will help you start the process with confidence.
For starters, find out what's going on in your local market. That means looking through similar recent sales in your area to get an understanding of what properties are selling for, how long they've been on the market and which homes are overperforming and underperforming.
Going to open inspections and attending auctions can also be a great way of getting a feel for how your local market is behaving and what kind of buyer competition is out there.
When researching online, look beyond the provocative headlines and dig deeper to get a grasp on what the numbers are saying. Check out our free guide to tracking market trends to get ahead of the pack.
2. Contact an agent early
Real estate agents aren't just there to open the door to buyers and slam down the hammer at auction. For many sellers, they're a vital part of the process from the very early stages.
A top local agent will be able to consider your goals and timeline, provide insight into how your property sits in the local market, advise on how best to prepare, present and market your property, and ultimately guide you through every step of the selling process.
Getting in touch with an agent early will enable you to devise a plan together so that when it comes time to list you have everything in place. It will also help you develop a stronger relationship, and trust between an agent and a vendor is essential.
OpenAgent analyses every home sale in Australia to find the very best agents servicing your suburb. Start by comparing local agents and get a shortlist of the top candidates in your area.
3. Refresh rather than renovate
Getting your home ready to list doesn't have to mean tearing half the place down and spending a mint on a full-blown renovation.
Cleaning is one of the simplest and most effective things a seller can do to get their home market-ready, but it's often overlooked. Making sure the property is spotless, including deep cleaning carpets and washing windows, can make a world of difference.
A fresh coat of paint can also have a huge impact on a small budget, as can more minor jobs like re-siliconing bathrooms and updating light fittings.
For more bang-for-buck home improvement ideas, take a look at our piece on easy ways to add instant value to your home in one weekend.
4. Declutter so your home is fully prepared
Making sure your home is looking clutter-free and spacious is another essential, and the earlier you can get stuck in the less stressed you'll be coming up to listing day.
Removing personal items like photos, books and ornaments is important to help potential buyers see the property as a blank canvas rather than somebody else's home.
Decluttering also applies to furniture. Giving a sense of spaciousness is key, and it gives you the option to employ home stagers to present the property in a way that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers.
Consider hiring some temporary storage space so you don't need to fret about how to offload a whole heap of your possessions. Once the property is sold you might find you can live without some of it anyway!
5. Get professional assistance
Preparing a home for sale requires a lot of work, and trying to juggle it all yourself can be a bit of a nightmare.
Depending on your budget, hiring cleaners, painters or tradespeople for smaller jobs can be a big weight off, and it ensures things will be done to a high standard.
Home staging and styling are frequently cited as one of the best investments you can make when it comes to marketing your property.
Max Klimenko of Ray White Touma Group explained, “We always say you get 10 times return on your investment [with home staging].”
"If it's costing you $4,000 on styling, you should be getting $40,000 in return, because that creates competition."
Again, an agent can help advise on what jobs you should and shouldn't do prior to listing. They will typically also have a network of trusted professionals who you can call on which takes out some of the guesswork.
6. Consider your options for the method of sale
Is it better to sell your home at auction or by private treaty? It's a difficult question that can cause sellers sleepless nights.
Your agent will be best placed to recommend the right option based on your property and the local market, but it pays to understand the pros and cons of each method as they do involve some different elements when it comes to stress.
Another option is the off-market approach. Selling off-market typically means going through your agent's network to find a buyer without the need for a public listing, saving you plenty of hassle and worry. It can also act as a testing phase to get solid buyer feedback before you come to the market publicly.
Understanding all of your options when it comes to the method of sale will help you make informed decisions and give you some peace of mind.
7. Be realistic in your expectations
While everybody wants to achieve a swift sale for a top price, it's important to keep a level head when it comes to expectations.
Using a free estimation tool like OpenEstimates or getting a free appraisal from an agent is a great starting point when trying to grasp what your home could sell for. Paying to have a valuation done may also be helpful.
You'll also need to be aware of the hidden costs of selling a house so they don't creep up on you and cause unnecessary financial worry.
You may not receive your dream offer on day one and the property may not sell as quickly as you first imaged, but as long as you've prepared thoroughly and you're well informed about the market, you're giving yourself the very best chance for success.
8. Don't forget to practice self-care
Don't be too hard on yourself! Selling your home is always going to be a stressful experience with a lot of moving parts. Know what you can and can't control, keep an open mind and just do your best.
Lean on your agent wherever you can and maintain quality and frequent communication so you make the most of that support throughout the process.
It might feel like an all-consuming task, but be sure to make time for things that are important outside of the sale. Walk the dog, grab a coffee, catch a movie — do whatever you need to do to keep a bit of balance in your life. You've got this!