Selling a home is fraught with stress pitfalls. So much so that the experience ranks right up there with stressful life events like divorce, bankruptcy, and even the loss of a loved one. (Crazy, but true.)
In fact, the effects of stress are so far-reaching that developing skills to recognize and mitigate stressors could increase your life span.
“Stress affects pretty much every system in your body, making you irritable and moody, dampening the effectiveness of your immune system, raising your blood sugar, affecting your memory, aging you more quickly, raising your blood pressure — on and on it goes,” says Dr. Susan Biali, a physician and wellness expert.
Not only does stress affect you adversely, but it also affects those around you. The infectious nature of stress has long been documented and can pass from one person to another like a virus.
So it makes sense that if you can implement useful tools and tactics, you might actually lessen the stress of selling your home and even ensure an effortless trip to the closing table.
Here are five strategies that can help.
1. Be prepared
One of the most stressful aspects of selling a home occurs when all parties are not in agreement — especially when the disagreement arises during crunch time.
Not only do you need great communication with your agent, but if there’s more than one seller involved, you need to get on the same page now.
Before you decide to list your home, sit down and openly discuss all aspects of the upcoming sale.
Talk about your selling price expectations. Are you selling any personal property with your home? If so, decide which items and their price.
Discuss and agree upon your lowest selling price. Hey, it may never come up, but won’t you sleep better knowing that all the hard decisions have been made upfront?
Also, take the time to dig up all of your important mortgage and other home-related documents that you may need. Advanced preparation could prevent a total meltdown in the face of a tight deadline down the road. (Just writing about it stresses me out.)
2. Take a deep breath
When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, says a Harvard Business Review article, you should “identify what your physiological signs of stress are so you can work to alleviate the tension.”
Are your shoulders hunched up around your ears? Is your neck so tight you can’t turn your head? Are you grinding your teeth and giving yourself a headache?
Take three long, deep breaths and let them out slowly.
Next, relax your shoulders, roll out your neck, and unclench your jaw. Taking a moment to distance yourself from the stress triggers — and their effects — can provide some much-needed distance, something we all need when we are in the throes of a panicked response.
3. Go outside
This may sound silly, but if you find yourself getting stressed out about an aspect of your home sale, push yourself away from the computer and walk outside.
Taking time out to clear your head will give you a fresh perspective on how to deal with the issue. Let the sunshine hit your face (or the rain for that matter) and remind yourself that the world is big, your problems are small, and all will work out in the end.
Better yet, go for a long walk or a run and work up a sweat. The scenery, combined with the endorphins you’re releasing, is an instant mood lifter and it will help relieve your stress.
4. Quiet your mind
If your mind is a constant merry-go-round of worry and stress, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Commonly called monkey mind, it’s a term to describe an unsettled or chaotic state of mind.
Not only is all the unnecessary worry not helping, but it’s also wreaking havoc on your physical and emotional self. So stop.
What to do? (Stay with me on this one.) It would greatly benefit you to make meditation a part of your daily routine.
Meditation increases happiness, improves concentration, slows aging, and most importantly it allows the mind to become still and — rest.
Forget all the stereotypical images running through your head. You don’t need to dress in a muumuu, burn incense, and repeatedly chant “om.” Nor does this have to be a huge time commitment.
Start small with five minutes and aim for consistency each day. You can sit in a chair or just lie quietly in bed before you get up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Whatever works for you is just fine. There are no rules. Your only goal is to relax.
5. Control what you can and allow the rest to float away
Unfortunately, stress has become a fixture in today’s modern life, and selling your home can really amp up the anxiety. We can’t control all the unknowns during the selling process, but you can control how you react to them.
Facing the situation head-on and utilizing some of the tools above can make all the difference between becoming a total stressball and closing on an easy-breezy transaction.