Can you stand the stress of buying or selling your house?


My sweet wife Paula was recently listening to her favorite radio station. They surveyed the public and asked them “What is the most stressful thing you’ve ever had to do?” Most people said “Buying or selling their house”. Based on my experience over the last 33 years and helping over 2,000 people through this experience I would have to agree with that statement.

First, as a buyer obviously you have to find the house of your dreams. This can be very difficult, especially if you are in a seller’s market. Then you have to negotiate the price and terms. Your expectations almost never coincide with the seller in this regard. Then you have to procure your financing. This involves showing your “financial underwear” to a stranger and the information the lenders require is very extensive. You have inspections and repair negotiations to deal with also. Setting up movers, taking off work, and packing all come together in a time period of 4 to 6 weeks. Obviously all of this is very stressful.

As a seller, you have to pick a Realtor or if you are choosing to sell it yourself you have to be the Realtor. That involves pricing it correctly, getting it ready to sell, setting appointments, showing the house, negotiating the price, working with the lender’s appraiser, buyer’s inspector, negotiating repairs, doing repairs, choosing a mover, planning a move, packing, and on top of all that finding a new place to live which then makes you a buyer with the first set of stresses already mentioned above. The only consolation is that it does not last forever and hopefully your move is for a happy reason and life will go back to normal again.

Here are some tips to help you through that process:


  1. Get an honest, competent, and hard working Realtor in your corner.
  2. Start to work on getting your mortgage lined up ahead of time. It is normally better to use a lender that your Realtor has recommended. This will be someone they have used in the past and who gives good service to the Realtor’s clients. Most buyers find a lender on the internet. They typically will be a faceless stranger who does a volume business and gives no or very little customer service. You may not think this is important until you have worked very hard to get to the closing table, taken off work, and scheduled your mover only to find out the lender is not ready to close. Many times the seller is depending upon your closing to purchase their house and when your sale is delayed it causes multiple problems down the line. That is when the stress level really increases!
  3. Set your inspection up early in the process. If you have to negotiate repairs, you don’t want to have to do it at the last minute. Don’t freak out over repair issues. You will have them as there are no perfect houses. Most sellers will work with you on important issues.
  4. Expect your lender to ask for last minute information before closing and get it to them quickly.
  5. Set your homeowner’s insurance up early in the process so you don’t have to worry about it at the last minute.
  6. Be sure you know how much money you need to close your transaction early in the process. Your lender and Realtor will tell you that and you don’t want to be surprised at closing.


  1. Get an honest, competent, hard working Realtor in your corner that knows your market and has experience with your type of property. Also, it is critical for them to understand and use internet marketing and technology as that is the buyer’s number one tool for finding a home.
  2. Follow your Realtor’s recommendation on pricing and getting your house ready for sale.
  3. It could be very advantageous to you to consider hiring a professional stager to help you make your house more marketable.
  4. Stay away when the house is being shown. Most buyers don’t want you there.
  5. Don’t be insulted when your offer comes in less than your asking price. They normally do. I almost always recommend that if your offer comes in low, that you make a counter proposal to the buyer in writing. However, if you get several offers that come in low, that is a message to you that your house is priced too high and you should reduce it.
  6. Know in advance that the buyer’s inspector will probably find a lot of issues wrong with your house and that the buyer is either going to ask for repairs or price concessions in lieu of repairs. We normally work out 96% of repair issues relating to the sale of your house. I have heard many times from sellers that “There is nothing wrong with my house” and they are always surprised when the inspection is complete.
  7. Set up your mover well in advance. You don’t want to be at the end of your closing and not be able to move.
  8. Know in advance that sometimes closings are delayed. One of the reasons Realtors recommend that you use their mortgage companies, inspectors, and other professionals is so they can keep the closing delays down to a minimum and usually with no delay at all.

Buyers and sellers should understand that even though this is sometimes a frustrating and stressful event, try not to get upset with each other. You are both trying to accomplish the same thing. If you were not involved in this stressful process with each other and knew each other by being introduced by a friend you would probably like each other very much. The same goes for your real estate professionals who are trying to help you through the process.

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