I’m learning that few non-life-threatening experiences are more stressful than selling your house and buying a new one.
Once we decided to put our house of nearly 10 years on the market, feeling we were ready for an upgrade, the stresses began to accumulate. What needed to be done to get the house ready to show? What would we list it for? What about the school year starting for the kids? Just the thought of packing up everything is occasionally overwhelming. Leave the washer and dryer? Get rid of some dated furniture?
Once the house finally did go on the market — perhaps a month later than we originally intended — it was under contract within 48 hours, following a whirlwind weekend that included 16 showings. Great, right? It sold quickly, and no more having to keep the house within a few minutes of show-ready condition — a real challenge with two kids under 8. But then the realization also creeps in that you are under contract to sell your house and you have not yet found a new house. More stress.
Then you have the buyers’ inspection and their objection list, which you counter with what you are or are not willing to fix, add or replace. Will they go for it? Are we doing too much (i.e., spending too much) to accommodate their objections? More stress.
All the while, we’ve been working with potential mortgage brokers to figure out financing a new home and the ins and outs of making an offer. Of course we’ve been out house-hunting many times with our trusty real estate agent, a lifelong friend who we’re putting through the ringer by viewing more than 20 houses so far. There have been a couple of near misses, and there are a couple of great possibilities, even though they might stretch the boundaries of our mortgage limit comfort. The pressure to find the perfect place intensifies with each passing day, as a looming fear is having to put our possessions in storage until we can close and move into this frustratingly elusive new perfect place. That could mean a stay at an extended-stay hotel or staying with family. More stress.
Poring through listings seems to swallow up hours at a time most evenings, keeping you from doing the things around the house you usually do — which makes you feel like you’re falling behind or not spending enough time playing with the kids. More stress.
OK, you get the picture. I’m a little stressed out at the moment. But I’m still excited at the prospect of a beautiful new home that will take us into the empty-nester years. I fully expect to get hit up by a life insurance agent or two upon completing the purchase of our new home. Quite frankly, I’ll be a little disappointed in the “on the ball-ness” of our local agent community if that doesn’t happen. This is, after all, a big life-change event. (FYI to any Denver-area agents reading this: my family is indeed well-covered by life insurance. I wouldn’t dare be editor of Life Insurance Selling without proper coverage myself.) The moving industry showed it was on the ball, as two different companies placed flyers on our door promoting their services the very day the sign went up in our yard. That’s just plain smart, opportunistic marketing, and it may well pay off for one of them.
I heard an NPR report on the radio this morning talking about how many people have become “serial refinancers” because interest rates have continued to creep ever lower in the past few years. “Here’s a group with newfound cash on their hands,” the introduction states, and the reporter goes on to say that “many clients shave a couple hundred dollars off their monthly mortgage payment.” The money goes somewhere — either to spending or savings.