A home is the single most important investment you’ll ever make in life – whether you’re buying or selling, you have to be ready to negotiate and make snap decisions.
That said, the whole process doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Here’s how to cope with the stress that naturally comes with real estate transactions.
As a buyer
The following situations can induce stress during the home buying process:
- The asking price is too high
- The down payment is too high
- The seller is argumentative or unreasonable
- The lender rejects your loan application
- The home inspection reveals major defects in the home
- The agent has poor communication and negotiation skills
Here’s how to minimize stress:
Know what you’re looking for
Knowing what you want will help save time and narrow down the search. Prepare a list of must-haves, and don’t be afraid to get specific. List down how many bedrooms and bathrooms it should have, as well as home features that you’ll require. Should your new home have green technology? Should there be a professional-grade kitchen or large master bathroom? And so on.
If you’re not sure what it is you’re looking for, you can expect the search process to drag on. You might spend a lot time and energy looking at houses that don’t meet your requirements. Knowing what you want will give the search direction and purpose.
Get pre-approved for a loan
It’s advisable to secure financing before you embark on a home search. The last thing you want is look at homes, only to find out that you can’t afford them. Likewise, you might find out later on in the search that can afford more house than you initially thought. Getting pre-approved helps you avert these issues.
Moreover, getting pre-approved makes the seller more confident that you can follow through with the purchase. This will make them more likely to negotiate and accept your offer. This could also help you win bidding wars where there are multiple buyers putting in offers.
There are also cases where sellers only entertain buyers who have been pre-approved by a mortgage lender. This makes pre-approval more advantageous to you as a buyer, especially if you’re buying in an in-demand market.
Take care of your finances
In order to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you must be in a financial position to buy a home. This means either paying off debt or consolidating debts – such as student loans, car payments, and credit card debt – to make them more manageable. This also means taking good care of your credit score and putting off major purchases right before your loan application.
You’ll also need sufficient cash reserves for the down payment, as well as enough money to cover your expenses and emergencies within the first few months of living in your new home.
The last thing you want is to be house poor – that is, spending an excessive amount of your income on mortgage payments, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, and having barely enough for your day-to-day expenses.
While it’s good to have a list of must-haves, you should also keep in mind that there’s no such thing as the perfect house, not unless you have the means to design and build a custom home from the ground up.
And while you shouldn’t compromise on important requirements, you need to be able to let go of the small things. Be flexible. That means prioritizing your main requirements and deciding which ones you can do without. That also means choosing a home that ticks most of the items on your checklist without obsessing over the minute details of your wants and needs.
Work with a reliable agent
A local expert can guide you through the housing market, helping you find a home that matches your main criteria. They can make use of their personal and professional connections to open up listings that you otherwise might not have access to.
They can also recommend adding certain contingencies, or conditions that should be met, on your purchase offer in order to protect your interests.
As a seller
The following situations can be stressful for any seller:
- You’re not getting any good offers
- There’s a cloud on the title
- The home inspection reveals major defects with the home
- The appraisal is lower than the asking price
Here’s how to cope with stressful situations:
Some sellers will take several months, or even years, to prepare their home for a sale. So if you plan to put your home in the market, start early. Shop around for a listing agent, make obvious repairs, and have renovations made if necessary.
Understand that it takes time to sell a home
The first four weeks after you put your home on sale is crucial, since you should be able to receive a reasonable offer within that time period. However, there are cases when sellers have to wait months for a good offer to come along.
Some even wait years for the right offer, as is often the case with luxury homeowners who are not in a rush to sell.
If your listing has gone stale, you might have to re-think your pricing or your approach. You might need a new marketing campaign that will give your home more exposure.
Keep your lines open
Proper communication is the key to conflict prevention and resolution. Many individuals find real estate transactions stressful when they’re not sure what’s going on. Refrain from making assumptions and accusations, since you might end up getting stressed if they turn out to not be true.
Keeping your lines open will help minimize confusion, speed up the transaction, and prevent mistakes from being committed.
Don’t take things personally
This is easier said than done, but approaching the negotiation table with a sense of detachment can help relieve stress. Selling a home is ultimately a business transaction, so don’t be easily discouraged or offended if things don’t go that way you want them to.
Work with a dependable listing agent
A listing agent will help market your home and give it maximum exposure. They will also protect your interests during negotiations. Working with one will give you the guidance and support you need.
Work with a listing agent whose negotiation skills, marketing expertise, and tech savvy will help you achieve your real estate goals. A good agent knows how to design and execute bespoke marketing campaigns that will appeal to qualified buyers. They also know how to use online tools and platforms to effectively promote your home or help you find listings that match your criteria.
These tips can help make the stress of buying or selling a home more manageable. Walk away from the negotiating table with the keys to your new home or a hefty profit from a successful sale. Only a great agent can make it happen.