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A Cheat Sheet for Buying & Selling Your Home with Less Stress


It’s no secret that the process of buying or selling a home is often rife with stress. It really doesn’t have to be that way! With a little collaboration and some preparation, you can get through the buying or selling process with relative ease. After many years on both sides of a real estate sale, we’ve gained some valuable knowledge. Here is our cheat sheet for navigating this process with as little stress as possible.

Start early

Like many things in life, it pays to plan ahead. One of the best ways to minimize stress during the process of buying or selling a home is to start planning early and contact a real estate agent several months ahead of when you intend to move. These days, there are many factors at play that have slowed some real estate processes, so giving your agent ample time to get started is key.

Assemble a great team

Starting this process with a good team is a game changer. A good realtor is going to make a noticeable difference in how smoothly your real estate transaction goes. Find a realtor who has intimate knowledge of the area you are looking to buy and/or sell in. The home buying and selling process is often complicated and a bigger undertaking than you might initially expect. It can often feel like a full-time job, so partnering with someone who does this full-time is not only smart but necessary. A good real estate agent will help you set the right price, research your options, suggest any improvements that can help increase the value of your home, perform all marketing and show your home, complete paperwork, and more. A skilled and experienced real estate professional will not only be able to get you the best price but will make the entire process much easier on you. Other professionals that will help you in this process might include real estate lawyers, property inspectors, escrow officers, or other financial advisors. With the right people on your side, you’ll maximize your chances of a successful sale.

Gather relevant documentation

There is quite a bit of paperwork involved when selling your home. It’s best to gather any relevant paperwork to have it ready and available for your real estate agent. Here’s a rundown of what to get together:

  • Copies of your latest water, gas, and/or electricity bills
  • Information and manuals for air conditioning units, furnaces, hot water heaters, and any other relevant appliances which are staying behind
  • Draft up a document outlining every renovation – such as kitchen or bathroom, repairs or installations, as well as the accompanying bills. Include any issues uncovered during your pre-list inspection, and be honest and open to avoid any potential legal issues later
  • Permits or certifications for anything on your property, such as decks, sheds, fencing, etc.
  • Documentation – including images – from your pre-listing inspection
Being prepared will certainly mitigate any extra stress. Work with your real estate agent to make sure you have everything you need ahead of time.

Prepare your home

As soon as you decide you are ready to sell your home, start making notes of any minor fixes or upgrades that can be made around the house and property. First impressions are crucial in the home selling process. Most homes are going to need a little extra attention, if not a few fixes and upgrades, and getting a jump start on this will save you the headache later on in the process. But don’t feel the need to make any major renovations! Simple, low-cost fixes such as new paint, updated fixtures or lighting, and aesthetically pleasing landscaping can really impact how a potential buyer sees your home. Returns on investment in major bathroom and kitchen remodels are some of the lowest costs recouped when it comes to home improvement projects, so stick to small upgrades. Think of it as a refresh, not a full renovation. Some easy home improvements with a high return on investment include:

  • Deep clean and declutter (hire a professional if you’d like)
  • Improve curb appeal (landscaping, lighting, etc.)
  • Stage an outdoor seating area (highly desirable among current home buyers)

Reduce clutter before your move

A huge source of stress in the moving process is just that - the actual move. Packing up twenty years of things can be daunting for anyone! By starting the decluttering process early, you can save yourself some major headaches after you’ve closed. There are several options to consider if you want to lessen your load.

  • Estate sales. If you are parting with the contents of an entire home and you have the time, you might consider an estate sale. Estate sales professionals can stage every room with items and conduct the sale for a number of days.

  • Auction houses. Easily upload images of items you’d like to sell and an expert will estimate the value of the item and decide whether to accept your items for consignment. Once the item sells, the profit will be split between the owner and the auction house.

  • Charitable organizations. Consider a donation to local charities or homeless shelters. There are many choices when it comes to donating things like clothing, toys, furniture, and other home items, and you can do this quickly and easily.

Create a system for low-stress showings

If you are showing your house while still living there, there is certainly potential for added stress. Maintaining a perfectly clean home that is consistently ready for a potential buyer to stop in can be daunting. To make things easier (and realistic), develop a pre-showing routine that you and your family can quickly execute. Keep things on hand like cleaning wipes for a quick wipe down of countertops and surfaces and aesthetically pleasing storage containers (boxes, baskets, etc.) to conveniently tuck away personal items. When it comes time to show the home, work your way through a quick checklist such as this:

  • Clear dishes from the sink, even just by placing them inside the dishwasher
  • Wipe down surfaces and mirrors
  • Empty garbage cans
  • Make the beds
  • Store away extra clutter and personal items
  • Shut closet doors
  • Close toilet lids
  • Do a quick outdoor sweep and pick up any clutter outside
Make sure your agent knows what kind of timing works best for you and your family. Have a few ideas on hand for activities to do during the showing. Whether that means going for a walk or playing in a park, stopping by a library, or going out to eat all depends on your preferences. Having these things in mind prior to scheduling showings will ease a lot of stress, however.

Take a break

During this process, it is vital to check in with yourself. Take a step back and let your real estate agent do what they do best. Take a walk, go to dinner with your family, meet a friend for coffee, or go for a hike. A little self-care can go a long way while you’re working through the home buying and selling process.

Find Whidbey Island real estate

Buying and selling a home is stressful. It’s natural to struggle with a big life change, and the emotional ties we have with our homes often bring up other feelings of anxiety and sadness. There are a lot of logistics to work around and a lot of waiting. But you are here for a reason, and your team of professionals is here to help. Lean on your team, stay organized and be prepared, and take care of yourself when stress creeps in. If you’re about to find a new home in Puget Sound, you are already on your way to a less stressful lifestyle. Let us help you get there.

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From home selection through the offer, negotiation, inspection, and closing, he offers constant and professional communication to achieve the best result for you!

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