"Before we list your house on our site," the man said, "we need to establish if the property is distressed or not,"
LOL, that's a good one. While I understand what he meant, coming off of a particularly challenging week, the concept of "stress" certainly wasn't lost on me.
To be clear, what the representative meant was - is the house showing its age? How well has it been maintained? Has it been remodeled or renovated? What is the current condition of the property? And how does it currently present . . . .
At the risk of poking fun at my esteemed colleague, while taking advantage of a little word play, it's worth noting that ALL home sales are distressing in one way or another - including those that involve houses that are absolutely impeccable. The concept of "de-stressing" or off-loading stress, is very nearly impossible for many homeowners, especially in a changing marketplace.
Because, under the BEST of circumstances, moving is a stressful, exhausting, and challenging transition, that involves a tremendous amount of executive functioning, packing, organizing, and most importantly, emotional detachment that doesn't come naturally to people who've worked diligently on their homes and take great pride in them (guilty as charged).
Apart from the sheer physicality, selling is a process that requires loss of privacy, public showings, repeated inconvenience, potential criticism, fear of the unknown, weeks of waiting, and arms-length negotiations - much of which is out of our control.
It's also a HIGHLY emotional transaction rife with hidden landmines on both sides of the aisle. Moreover, it doesn't help that the market has suddenly cooled, OR that the stock market is in decline, Or that interest rates have risen substantially. (It's a triple whammy.)
Moreover, because such transactions statistically take place decades apart, most homeowners simply have little practice navigating the nuances, nor familiarity with the skills required to make the process easier. (Therapists make a good living helping people "de-stress" while Realtors are practicing psychology without a medical license.)
Having traveled this journey with Sellers hundreds of times, it's the disassociation or "letting go" that seems to be the toughest part of the equation for many homeowners, and it's no wonder. Our homes represent far more than just a place to hang one's hat, they are quite literally, repositories for our memories, our dreams, and our desires. Of course, it's going to be difficult to surrender fully. Why would it be anything else?
Would it help to know that your memories travel with you? (They do.)
This is where it's important to understand that you are selling the house, which means it's time to wave the white flag and say good bye. (You've done enough.) When you insist on interjecting your vision into the process, it usually compromises ours, and to put it bluntly, too many cooks is how God created the camel. (I don't think that was in Genesis, but it probably should have been.) Put another way, how you live in a home and how we sell a home, are two different animals entirely.
Whatever the mixed metaphor, you get my drift . . . having made the decision to sell the property and move on, it's time to trust the professionals you've hired to do the job you are paying them to do. If you can't do that, the process is going to be far more stressful than it would have been otherwise.
But if it's packing that's holding you up (and not emotions), hire someone to do it for you. Happily, there's a vendor for everything in today's highly specialized economy, so there's really really no good reason to do it all yourself, or to be overwhelmed, or to feel DISTRESSED.
Overwhelmed coupled with procrastination is the intersection where stress thrives.
But if your house is truly "distressed," we have people . . . from painting, to lighting, to gardening, to staging, we're here to address the hurdles that prevent a home owner from achieving top-dollar, which, is ultimately the intended goal for nearly every Seller we've ever met.
More importantly, because the market may now be shifting in the Buyers' favor, distressed components of a home are no longer going to be ignored as they were in the frenzy of the last few years, wherein Buyers absorbed EVERYTHING and paid huge amounts over the ask as well. In other words, tackle that "to do" list or be prepared to pay a commiserate price.
But once you've made the decision to sell, let us handle the mechanics of bringing your property to market so that you can focus on your next home - hopefully, with far less stress . . . .
Because Camels belong in Morocco; they're not particularly useful here in the East Bay.
How can we help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 750 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.