How to cope with the emotions of selling your home

Selling a home can be an emotional and stressful experience.

Many people are forced to sell a property they love and have made memories in, due to unforeseen changes in their circumstances, such as ill-health, divorce or loss of employment. Even if you’re moving on and up for more cheerful reasons — such as wanting to be closer to children who have flown the nest — selling a house can be an emotional wrench. 

So how can you make the process of selling a much-loved home easier to cope with?

The emotional impact of selling a home — what to expect

Whatever your reasons for selling, there’s likely to be an initial feeling of excitement, or at least relief, when the “For Sale” sign goes up. You’re taking the first step towards making a fresh start and realising new dreams. Even homeowners forced to sell due to circumstances that may be sad or upsetting will probably feel a glimmer of optimism — light at the end of the tunnel — as one painful chapter closes and a more hopeful one begins.

Then come the practical realities of having your house on the market. Selling via traditional routes often involves seemingly endless intrusions — visits from estate agents and surveyors, not to mention countless strangers traipsing through your home during viewings. The latter can be especially emotive for homeowners as potential buyers pass through space you shared with loved ones, commenting on home improvements you made with love and care and voicing plans for creating their own memories where currently only yours exist. 

Next comes the continuous stress and worry about finding the right buyer and securing the sale price you need to fund your next venture. Not to mention concerns about a broken property chain and failed sale when things progress.

Selling a home you love is an emotional rollercoaster for many. Hopefully, for most, the journey ends in jubilation and optimism — your home is sold and you’re off to pastures new.

Practical tips for coping with your emotions

If you love your home and have made special memories there, selling up and moving on is always going to be a bit of a wrench. But there are a few things you can do to survive the sales process without having an emotional meltdown. 

Get organised

Minimising the stress caused by the practicalities and hassle of selling a house will make it easier to cope with your emotions. You’ll be less fraught and will have the energy and strength to cope with those little wobbles. 

Start by assessing your finances and make sure you have a clear understanding of the costs involved in selling. Scout out the best deals from estate agents and speak to a solicitor about the fees you’re liable to pay as the seller. Consider what a realistic sale price is and plan a budget for your next move — be that into rented accommodation or buying a new home. 

Create a checklist of information you need to gather for the buyer and make sure this is all to hand as early as possible. This will prevent delays later in the process when the buyer’s solicitor demands proof of the chimney being swept or an energy rating certificate you don’t have.

Plan your next move — start browsing for accommodation and getting a feel for what you want and can afford. If the right buyer comes along, you need to be ready to act fast.

Remove any emotional triggers you can

 If you know selling is going to tug at your heartstrings, consider ways to avoid the most stressful parts of the process. Can’t bear the thought of a lengthy wait for a buyer or strangers traipsing through your home? Consider selling off-market. A reputable quick house sale company can buy your home in a matter of weeks without a single viewing taking place. A bonus of this type of sale is that there are no estate agents, solicitors or surveyors fees to pay. 

Homeowners give many different reasons for needing a quick house sale, but they all want to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible. A reputable company will take the time to understand your needs and ensure their service is the right one for you.

Focus on your end goal

When you have moments of doubt and sadness, think about why you’re selling. Whether it’s to move on from a negative experience or embrace an exciting new opportunity, focussing on your end goal can help you reset and cope with your emotions.

Write down your goals, hopes and dreams and stick them to the fridge. If you’re a visual person, draw a picture or cut out magazine images of how your new life will look after the house is sold. Keep focussing on the positives of selling and your emotions will be more manageable.

Keep busy

Don’t put your life on hold and focus all your energy on selling the house. Selling can take time and if it’s a painful process, your emotions could become overwhelming without more enjoyable distractions.

Book in regular social events, take up a new hobby and stay physically active. If you find yourself moping around the house waiting for the estate agent to ring, get busy doing something totally unrelated to selling property!

Embrace your emotions

Even if you’re not jumping for joy at the thought of saying goodbye to a home you love, the emotions you experience when selling can give you a whole new perspective on life. Whether you’re leaving behind painful memories of a broken relationship or anxious about moving away from a place you’ve felt comfortable in for years, embrace your emotions. Avoiding or ignoring how we feel rarely works — your feelings will pop right back up again when you least expect it.

Consider keeping a journal and writing down how you feel throughout the sales process. You might be surprised to look back and see how far you’ve come. Putting pen to paper can help us cope with our feelings, accept them and find a way forward. You may even find positives in a situation you felt was hopeless. Walk through your home and enjoy the happy memories you have, even if your current feelings are overwhelmingly ones of sadness. On the day of completion, say goodbye to your home, close the door on any negative emotions and look forward to building a new home you will love even more than the one you’re leaving behind.

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