Buying or selling a home ranks right up there on the list of stress-provoking situations. If your home sells quickly, you may worry that you sold too low. If your home takes months to sell you may wonder if anyone will ever buy it. Buyers agonize over paying too much, and everyone complains that the process takes too long.

People move for a variety of reasons, sometimes by choice but often not. Frequently a move is forced on a family because of a death, a divorce, a job loss or an unanticipated transfer, so even the reason for the move can be stress-filled.  
Pick your real estate agent carefully. A good agent will go out of his or her way to make the move easier for you. Make sure that your agent communicates with you regularly, and is available to consult with you on short notice. The unpredictability of buying or selling a home can be particularly unnerving, so your agent should review the process with you in order to help you know what to expect.

If you are moving to a new area, find an agent who has experience working with buyers that are relocating. Make sure you ask for a relocation package that includes information about your new community, as well as sample listings of homes for sale.

The Internet is a great source of information. Many sites make it possible to preview listings long distance. Buyers who are buying locally can also cut down the time they spend looking at new listings by viewing homes on the Internet.

If you're buying or selling a home with a partner, divide the workload so that you don't duplicate efforts. Perhaps one of you can preview new listings and the other can arrange the financing. Make good use of modern technology to lighten your load. Use email, voice mail and facsimiles rather than lengthy telephone communications to exchange messages.

Moving always seems to come at an inconvenient time. You may feel pressured just getting through the day's activities, but make sure not to eliminate stress-reducing exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling from your schedule. Staying involved in your favorite hobbies and sports will add some semblance of order to your chaotic life, as well as providing much needed relaxation.

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