Home is the stage for many of life’s most treasured memories. The front porch is where your husband carried you over the threshold. The living room floor is where your son took his first steps. The weeping willow tree in the back yard is where your daughter posed on her graduation day. Put it all together and it’s easy to see how our homes are literally a member of the family. And when it comes to downsizing, it’s also easy to see how emotionally attached we’ve grown to our homes. Selling our homes is like putting our hearts on a plate and crushing it, especially when potential buyers criticize. But it’s all part of the game. The game of buying and selling houses that is. Buyers want to get the lowest price and sellers want to get the highest price, leaving real estate agents the challenge of getting both parties to meet somewhere in the middle. Emotions can get in the way and prevent home sellers from making good financial decisions. Here are some tips to help home sellers from making costly emotional mistakes.
One mistake sellers often make is overpricing their home. Too often a seller’s emotional attachment sets a price that is too high and unrealistic. The thing is everyone thinks their home is special. But it’s delusional to thing that some special buyer will fall in love with the property and pay more. The sooner a seller understands that their emotional affinity for the property has nothing to do with how it’s priced the better. If you bought your home at the peak of the market a few years ago it’s unlikely you’ll get the same price or higher in today’s market. Though tough to swallow, it’s the reality.
The last thing a seller should do is be present for the home’s showing because sellers are often sensitive when it comes to hearing potential buyers point out the house’s flaws. Sellers often take this personally, interpreting it as criticism for how they’ve maintained the home. The observations buyers make can be harsh but have nothing to do with the owner. When the seller hears negative feedback, emotions interfere and cloud the seller’s judgment sometimes causing them to reject acceptable offers. Real estate agents have also found potential buyers are not as comfortable expressing their observations with the sellers present. This is why the real estate agent should be the only person present at a home showing, insulating the seller from the process and filtering relevant information. This also saves time and effort for everyone involved, with the agent only meeting the buyers when there’s a serious offer on the table.
A marketed property receives the most attention during the first two weeks. If the home is priced right, educated buyers who have been in the market for such a house will make a serious offer. What sellers need to understand is that the longer their house sits on the market, the worse the offers are likely to get. Don’t let an early bid scare you into thinking you underpriced your home. When an early offer is near the asking price, you’ll know you priced your home correctly. It’s counterproductive to wait for better offers. Doing so can result in your home languishing.
Selling your home is an emotional undertaking and ironically it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a homeowner. Taking buyer observations personally can interfere with your ability to make a sound judgment when it comes to accepting a serious offer for your home. As a seller you need to be prepared to hear criticism and use it as a negotiating tool instead.