July 7, 2019

Take The Stress Out Of Selling

Selling your home can be stressful even when the process is well organised and proceeding as expected. There’s a lot going on at a psychological level that can make you feel deeply uncomfortable even when things are under control. Let’s take a look at why you might be feeling unsettled:

It’s common to feel anxious

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  is a psychological theory that argues that human wellness can only be served when our needs are met. Until we feel secure at the base levels, we cannot move towards more enlightened behaviour.

Shelter is one of our basic needs. This means that when we humans feel our “shelter” is uncertain, it feels like our very survival is threatened. And this can cause a state of anxiety.

Property is a key part of the second layer of needs – part of our safety and security. When property is insecure, this makes us feel endangered and unsafe.

Selling a property is to walk headlong into these feelings of anxiety and distress that often refuse to be reasoned away.

Stress can affect decision making

New research from neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified that anxiety disrupts the decision-making regions of your brain. This means it can be physically impossible to think clearly in some highly stressful situations, which in turn is likely to affect your behaviour.

The study found anxiety affects your prefrontal cortex – the front part of your brain responsible for understanding rules, the consequences of risk, problem solving and decision making. In doing so, it also affects our ability to regulate our emotions and control behaviour.

This behaviour is most likely to occur in stressful situations like auctions, when negotiating, or trying to decide what to keep, store or throw out when you’re decluttering 35 years of memories in a family home. These are all times when our stress responses are in full flight – often our brains are actively incapable of making a good choice or monitoring our behaviour and melt downs can occur.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Here’s how to prepare:

  1. Know what to do in case of an emergency

Every time you get on an airplane, the crew runs through the safety demonstration. You’ve seen it a million times. It is based on the fact that in an emergency when your brain is flooded with cortisol and you literally can’t think, you’ll revert to something that has been drummed into you.

Ask you agent for help to understand the selling process in detail. Know where the pain points are, exactly what types of things can go wrong, and how your agent will help you to actively avoid and solve any problems. Foretold is forearmed.

If you’re going to auction, know your auction plan well in advance, including making decisions on price points that you’ll accept in advance. Then your agent can simply remind you of the decision you’ve made previously – you won’t have to think it through while you’re under stress.

  • Take a break from the stressors

What is the most stressful thing about the sale process for you? Is it having the property clean in time for each open house? Is it making sure the dog is out of the house? Is it juggling the kids and their normal weekend routines while you have the open?

Selling a home is an extraordinary time. It’s okay to ask for help. Speak to your agent to see if they have any services they can offer that can help you with cleaning and maintenance. Ask parents or friends to assist with the kids or the pets. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

Know would also be a good time to have a regular massage or some kind of ‘me-time’ planned – even if it’s just a cup of coffee with a friend, or some time at the gym. Research from the American Psychological Association identifies that taking a break from stressors can be hugely beneficial, even if it’s just short term.

  • Be mindful

The saying “This too shall pass” has been credited to both Persian and Jewish philosophers. So dealing with stressful situations has been going on for millennia. But be mindful of how you are feeling, rather than trying to ignore it. Rather than focus on the anxiety of what is in front of you, try to visualise what the end result both looks like and feels like in a positive way. This can be  hugely powerful to reducing stress.

Think about exciting it will once the hammer has fallen on auction day and you know how much money is coming in. Imagine how lovely your new home is going to be. Focus on all the things you will be able to achieve when you move into the new chapter of your life.

And don’t forget to breathe!