Selling a home is one of the most stressful experiences in modern life, second only to a relationship break-up. More than three quarters of Americans who have sold a home in the past three years say it was a stressful experience, and it could easily become more stressful as the market slows and turns in favor of buyers.
According to a new Zillow® surveyi, 36 percent of home sellers say the process left them in tears, with millennials and parents far more likely to cry at some point during the sale. Of those who cried, 20 percent shed tears five times or more.
It’s no wonder. In a world of hyper-connection and on-demand everything, selling a home traditionally is one of the few things that has not gotten easier over time.
“If you’ve ever sold a home before, you know how daunting the process can be,” said Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman. “Anticipating that stress can be a huge obstacle that keeps homeowners from moving on to the next stage of their lives. Our survey found more Americans were stressed over selling their home than planning a wedding, getting fired or becoming a parent.”
Selling a home can be challenging for many reasons. Among those surveyed, 70 percent were stressed by uncertainty over the sale price, 69 percent were stressed their home wouldn’t sell in their desired timeframe, 65 percent were stressed an offer would fall through and 65 percent were stressed about fixing up their home for sale.
According to Zillow’s latest research, 61 percent of sellers are buying a new home at the same time, which adds significant pressure and financial complexity to the process. Zillow’s survey shows that nearly 7 out of 10 people mistimed the process, with more than one-third saying the sale of their home took longer than expected.
Sellers can take steps to help speed up, streamline and de-stress the process:
- Prepare your home for sale early and be strategic about when to list. Nationwide, the best time to sell a home is May 1 to May 15. Homes sold in the first half of May sell six days faster and for $1,600 more than the average listing. The Zillow Owner Dashboard is the fastest way to learn which month is the best to list a house in your area.
- Pay attention to online curb appeal. The vast majority of buyers begin their home search online so talk to your agent about using high-resolution photography to highlight your home’s unique features on all devices.
- Be ready to make concessions. Zillow research finds 83 percent of sellers make trade-offs with buyers, the most common being the inclusion of appliances in the sale.