We’ve all made life-changing decisions by following our heart. We’ve been told that if we follow our heart and trust our instincts, we will find our passion, our true love, the life we were meant to live or the home of our dreams. Without conscious awareness our emotional stories and positive and negative experiences are playing out in the background of each of these decisions and largely affect the success of the ultimate outcome. Often, we are happy with the results.
What if following your heart and trusting your instincts is the wrong approach to making a life-changing decision, specifically a real estate transaction?
I am referring to the sale of your house and following your heart can actually prevent you from selling at top dollar or at a price point you're willing to accept. In order to compete and successfully sell your house in today’s market, sellers need to lead with their head, not their heart. To begin, they need to acknowledge one key fact:
Selling your house is not about You, it’s about the buyer and they are in the driver’s seat.
Your job as a seller is to present a house as visually close to what current buyers expect and are determined to find. This dictates that changes in your home may need to be made to create a more modern, up-to-date listing that appeals to a wide cross section of potential buyers. Remember, you are not buying your own house and buyers do make snap decisions about “value” based on what they see.
Fair? No. True? Yes.
As a result, what sellers expect to sell and what buyers expect to buy have never been more at odds. A new mindset and strategy is needed for sellers to be successful.
To find out if you are truly ready for the challenge of selling your home and moving on ask yourself the following five questions:
1. Are you confident that you are able to look non-emotionally at your home? Can you change your mindset from seller to buyer and consider it a house rather than your home? Remember, we buy a house, make it a home but need to turn it back into a house in order to sell at top dollar. This may be the largest asset you own, so removing the emotion from the process to maximize return is critical. Yes or No?
2. Do you understand that the buyer will NOT value your home in the same way you do? Can you view your house and property as it currently presents and agree that your opinion about its value is not what’s important, but buyer expectations are, and their definition of value is? Yes or No?
3. Are you willing to consider that fast, easy and inexpensive cosmetic updates may be necessary to sell your house in order to meet today's buyer expectations? This is where your emotional story comes into play. This emotional roller coaster can seem obvious and most people say they get it and know it's coming, however, what I see most often is sellers nod in agreement, but when discussions start on how to better position the property and make the necessary changes or upgrades in order to attract the largest number of qualified buyers, the push back begins. Sellers start to evaluate what is "fair" or use the logical argument that it doesn't make any sense to put money into a house they are selling, but I remind them no one wants to move into a "project". This is how the emotional story affects the decision making process. These changes become personal and the emotional story playing in the background is the real attachment to your home and the life you have built there. Yes or No?
4. Are you willing to take more responsibility for the visual presentation of your asset in order to sell at top dollar? In today's real estate environment, sellers need to take more responsibility for and control of the presentation of their asset. The Realtor may or may not be in a position to expertly advise you in this area, and it's not their job. At a minimum, you must remove your personal footprint and take a look at the paint, flooring, carpet and lighting. Yes or No?
5. Are you prepared to embark on one of the five most stressful life-changing events? This process, like death, divorce, illness and loss of a job, creates anxiety and uncertainty over time with no guaranteed outcome. It takes commitment to weather the emotional ups and downs of selling a house, not take it personally and understand that this is all part of the game. There is no way around it, only through it. Yes or No?
If you have answered “yes” to the above 5 questions, you are ready to embark on the sales process and create a smooth transition to your next home. Congratulations! You are more prepared than most sellers for the emotional roller coaster ride you will experience from the moment you decide to sell until the last box is unpacked in your new home.
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions you may need to rethink your seller mindset and ask yourself why you are not able to view your asset from a buyer's point of view. Remember, in this particular situation, head and house, not heart and home will lead to a more successful outcome every time.
Read more in my book:
SMART MOVES: How to Save Time and Money While Transitioning Your Home and Life.
Be A Smart Mover!