Have you ever sold a home that felt like a bad break up from a romantic relationship? Or, are you selling a home now but unsure why your emotions are in flux? Then you are not alone!
Selling a home can be an emotionally charged major life event. However, like breaking up with someone that you genuinely cared for but simply have outgrown, the “blow” can be softened with the right technique, even on the most heinous of days to dump someone (like Valentine’s Day — ugh). Let’s discuss the dos and don’ts of selling a home in light of what you hope is an amicable break up.
DO GET DRESSED UP
Breaking up can be hard to do, especially if you are planning it anywhere near Valentine’s day. The respectable thing to do is to meet your former significant other face-to-face. But please don’t come in your favorite pair of sweats with holes in unsightly places and stains that reflect a desperate need for washing. Instead, dress up and end things with class so that the other person feels that they mattered.
If you are selling a home, this is equivalent to having finely manicured lawns, stylish listing photos and advertisements. Just because you are ready to move on, do not short-change your efforts (or the money you can command) by having drab photos that communicate you are “so done” with this home. Three-dimensional tech tools like FloorPlan Revolutioncan help send your home off in style. And be sure to add some daily glam (click here to read more tips on this).
DON’T THINK REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES IS OFF LIMITS
When you are separating from someone that was a significant part of your life, it is sweet to share what was good. It is okay to remember the good times before “dropping the hammer.” Breaking up does not mean you have to burn photos and wish you could erase the day you ever met that person. Don’t forget, there was something that attracted you to the person in the first place.
For those selling a home, you are a great help to your listing agent when you share what you loved about your home, particularly when you first purchased it, instead of rehearsing your “laundry list” of drawbacks. Your fond memories may be the inspiration needed for your listing agent to craft the perfectly worded ad or display the features and rooms that other families too will gravitate to and enjoy. Your appreciation for the home may very well translate into a point of attraction for prospective home buyers and help your home get sold faster.
BUT DON’T FORGET THE REASON WHY IT IS OVER!
Don’t get sucked back in because you remember the good times. If need be, write a list of reasons why it is over — your deal breakers. Have this list nearby so that you can stay focused or even set an alert on your phone to remind you to get to the point.
As a home seller, it can be bittersweet to complete cosmetic and other repairs on a home to never actually enjoy them. For some, this can even lead you to second-guessing yourself and deciding not to move, although the reasons for moving truly outway any superficial changes you have made to sell the home. To protect your best interests, share with your listing agent the top 5 reasons that you are moving and ask your agent to repeat those to you whenever you get sidetracked. Having gentle reminders to keep you on task will go a long way in helping you progress to the next home and season of life.
DON’T PLAY THE WAITING GAME
Many of us have found that relationships are easier to get over when we just “rip the bandage” off without delay. Choosing to ignore (“ghosting”) or delay the issues does not make the relationship, or its ending, easier. Don’t assume it will be easier the longer you wait because the wounded soul does not typically just fade off into the sunset, making room for “the one.” Instead, it can prolong hurt, anger, and disappointment.
Similarly, did you know we can “ghost” the sale of our homes, hoping our pricing issues will just fade away with a new suitor? Often, as a seller we think, “If I can just leave it at the price I want for as long as it takes, I will eventually get my way.” That, like prolonging a break-up, can be the wrong move. But don’t just take my word for it. In order to give you perspective outside of little ole’ Georgia (note the southern twang), I reached out to Bill Gassett, a respected Holliston Mass Real Estate Agent, who is among the who’s who of quality, spot-on real estate advice on social media.
“The thought process among many is that we have all the time in the world — waiting longer for the ‘right’ buyer will allow us to get our number. This could not be further from the truth. In fact there is a direct correlation between days on market and the original list price to eventual sale price. Most real estate agents can attest to the fact the that the number one question from all buyers is how long has the home been on the market. From a buyer’s perspective if a home has been on the market for an extended period of time, it is probably not priced correctly. With inflated days on the market, the buyer feels like they have more negotiating power. This is especially true in markets where homes are selling quickly. Many sellers don’t understand that time in real estate is your enemy not your friend.”
Our delays may actually cause us to lose ground, working against us despite our passive hopes for “greener pastures.”
LEAVE THINGS RIGHT
Even when you respect a person and the place he/she has had in your life, hurt feelings can seemingly escalate the end of a season into WWIII. Instead of turning over tables or holding hostage personal items, it is usually best when we make a decision before the break-up meeting that we will keep our temper in check, not place blame, give back anything that was not a gift, and keep the conversation on track NO MATTER how the other person responds. We have to make a decision to be the mature one and to follow the Golden Rule.
Likewise, just because you are moving, that does not mean the home should be treated as a discard. Move out the right way by removing all of your items (including trash), cleaning up (no one wants to use your spaghetti sauce-splattered microwave), and turning over all keys, fixtures, and other items that were identified as staying with the home. And try to be out of the new buyer’s way BEFORE closing not during or immediately after.
By Lee Davenport