Buying a home is stressful. In fact, it’s such an emotional rollercoaster that a survey for ‘Which?’ revealed that the only life event more stressful than buying a house is going through a divorce.
At Fine & Country, we try to take the stress out of moving, but sometimes problems crop up that are beyond our control. We decided to take a humorous look at the seven emotional stages that everyone will go through when selling their home.
Stage 1 – The excitement
You’ve decided to sell, carefully chosen your estate agent (don’t forget to read our guide to choosing the right estate agent first), and you’re getting ready to market your property.
A sale always starts because someone has a need that needs to be filled, according to Simon Bradbury from Fine & Country St Neots. “This could be a divorce, a newcomer to the family, a grandparent moving in, or kids moving out.”
Making the decision and taking the first steps towards moving can be really exciting. It’s the promise of a new start, possibly in a new town or even a new country.
Stage 2 – Optimism
As everything starts to progress, with property brochures made, professional photographs taken, and the property hitting the market, it can feel like a buyer will be found in no time.
“The marketing preparation is normally an exciting time, with plenty of professionals visiting such as a professional photographer and journalists, and the production of a brochure displaying your home in the best possible light. The marketing launch and the initial burst of viewings is also full of optimism,” says Richard Carpenter at Fine & Country St Neots.
Dominique Scott from Fine & Country Brighton and Hove says: “As well as frantically tidying and arranging fresh flowers, you’ll find yourself hosting photographers, EPC assessors and copywriters to prepare the marketing details. However, it’s not unusual for this to be followed by a strange mix of excitement and sadness as you wonder why on earth you’re selling this beautiful home.”
Stage 3 – The intrusiveness
With viewings happening regularly, the pressure of keeping the house looking perfect at all times can be tough. Minimising clutter and putting away excess personal mementos can help attract a buyer, but this can mean your home doesn’t feel quite right anymore.
Diane Sanders from Fine & Country Hoddesdon says: “Viewers can be critical, invasive and can upset sellers if they are late, rush through a property, or don’t ask questions. All of these actions leave the vendor perplexed, sometimes annoyed and often disappointed.”
Be prepared to hear things that you disagree with. Dominique Scott from Fine & Country Brighton and Hove advises her clients to grow a thick skin and try not to be offended when a viewer declares that the kitchen is tiny and definitely needs to be extended, even if it was only replaced a year ago.
Step 4 – Jubilation
The offer has finally happened! If it’s a good one, it’s time to get excited again. But it could be short lived as things may not progress at the rapid rate you were expecting…
Step 5 – Endless worry
Sales don’t go through overnight. Instead, there is a lot of back and forth as a deal is negotiated.
“Add in a complex chain, separation or divorce and a split in assets, a double up or down purchases and time has no limit,” explains Diane Sanders from Fine & Country Hoddesdon.
And then, of course, there is the threat that an offer can be withdrawn at any time.
“A lot of people ask why the system allows for the purchasers or sellers to withdraw from the sale at any time,” says Gill Franklin from Fine & Country Monmouth. “There seems to be a lot of worry about parties pulling out and the sale collapsing. This does make a sense of anxiety and in some cases people can even pull out of selling their home. In Brussels, a sale has to complete in four months or penalties are given. This would definitely make selling and buying easier!”
Richard Carpenter from Fine & Country St Neots says: “It’s easy to think it’s all over once the offer is accepted, but the legal process to buy a house in the UK can also cause problems. These issues can involve a bad survey followed by your buyer reducing their offer to cover the costs of repairs, or a delayed mortgage offer due to busy surveyors and solicitors not progressing matters quickly.”
Some of these worries can be lifted if you have your own survey done on the property you are selling. This will make you aware of the potential issues that a buyer could raise before they even see the home. If some of the problems are severe, like the roof needing to be replaced, then you can reduce the price accordingly before it goes on the market. Crisis averted.
6 – Elation
It’s done! All the negotiation is settled, the contracts are exchanged, and the moving date is set.
“The exchange of contracts offers relief and chance to catch your breath before the stress of packing your whole life up and moving it,” says Richard Carpenter from Fine & Country St Neots.
Dominique Scott from Fine & Country Brighton and Hove says: “There is always great excitement and anticipation of new home adventures at this stage. With smiles all round, it’s time to start the frantic removal preparations. There will undoubtedly be statements of never doing this again… until next time!”
7 – Last push before the finish line
It’s time to pack away all your worldly possessions and unpack them into a new and exciting home. Between negotiating removal vans, excited pets, and irritable children, it can be a tough day. But once it’s all done, you can relax in your brand new home knowing that all the hard work is behind you.
“At the end, there is relief that everything is sorted and the need to move that you had in the first place is met,” says Simon Bradbury from Fine & Country St Neots.
“Every seller has a different journey; one will have a relatively low stress, while another will have to wade through what feel like endless challenges. To reduce stress and negative feelings it is vital to instruct the right estate agency. My team have decades of experience and can navigate a client through any issues taking the stress away where possible. We gain useful feedback which can be used to improve the likely hood of securing the best possible offer,” advises Richard Carpenter from Fine & Country St Neots.
For more moving advice, we have a comprehensive guide to moving home coming room to the Fine & Country blog.