Let’s be honest: few things one does in a lifetime can create more anxiety than selling your home. And it starts with the appraisal—receiving from a perfect stranger a dollar value on your home, which symbolizes everything you’ve built, all your accomplishments. It’s like someone giving you a report card on your self-worth. It’s called Seller’s Anxiety.
Even if you hire the most trusted agent to relieve your burdens, as long as the sale cycle lasts, your home will feel like it’s not quite yours. You’ll need to vacate for viewings, vigilantly keep it clean and show-worthy. It’s stressful.
Fortunately, you can learn quite a bit about yourself and use this experience as a tool for growth. We asked Dr. Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a New York-based psychologist, how sellers can approach this anxiety-ridden process with a degree of equanimity.
One212: What’s the first thing you say to someone who’s stressed out because of an impending appraisal?
Dr. Carmichael: Sometimes people get nervous about being nervous. The first thing I would do is normalize the experience of being nervous, and let them know that it’s a completely normal time to feel that way. They feel they’re in a very stressful situation, and they’re also feeling very vulnerable because of this appraisal. But then you move forward from that.
One212: After acknowledging that nervousness, what practical things can a seller do to relieve anxiety?
Dr. Carmichael: I would try to help them see that selling their home is a process of letting go. So maybe they think about the fact that they do indeed have a lot tied up in that home—a sense of self-worth, their sense of accomplishment. But they also have a lot of memories that are tied up in that home. So one way to re-center their interest in what really matters when they’re thinking about that home, is first of all to go through that home—and they can do this on a lot of different levels, depending on how much they want to invest in this in terms of time and energy.