Three Tips for Emotionally Detaching from Your Home
Posted: 02 Feb 2012 07:27 AM PST
Like many people, you probably have a deep emotional connection to your home. Your kids grew up in your house; you can still see the pencil marks you made on the door frame marking their growth. You’ve spent many happy hours on the backyard patio. The dining room has been the setting for many great dinner parties. Maybe you even grew up in the house yourself, and it’s been in your family for over fifty years.
You’re fortunate to have had so many good memories. But beware: When it comes time to sell, a “love affair” with your home can work against you. Too often, people make decisions about selling their home based on emotion instead of reason.
What they’re really doing is subconsciously sabotaging their chances for success — and that can cost them money in the end. Here are 3 tips for detaching and moving on so you can get the best deal for your home.
1. Acknowledge that selling your home can be stressful.
Some people get emotionally attached to their cars and have a hard time selling them. To get an idea of what it will be like to sell your home, magnify that reaction by about 100 times.
Those who’ve been in their home just a few years are likely to have an easier time letting go than those who’ve lived there for decades or grew up in the house. Either way, it’s often stressful and emotional. Acknowledging that up front will help you make better decisions down the road.
2. Make sure you’re truly ready to sell.
Take the time to ensure you’re emotionally prepared for the sale. Talk to your real estate agent and listen carefully to their suggestions. If you’ve hired a competent agent and yet you’re resisting their suggestions, that’s a clue you may not be ready to let go. If so, don’t sell just yet. Wait until you’re ready.
Maybe you have no choice but to sell — which can be even more difficult emotionally. Get as much support as you can from friends and family. Be honest with your real estate agent about how difficult this is for you. The more information you give the agent, the more they can work around any potential problems.
After all, your agent is looking out for your best interests and acting on the assumption you want to sell. But when you resist their suggestions because you’re actually not ready to sell, you’re setting up the relationship to fail. This is a common source of strain in the agent-client relationship, and savvy agents are on the lookout for this — or should be.
3. Start thinking of your home as a product to be marketed.
When you haven’t detached from your home, it’s difficult to see it as a product. But that’s what it is — something you have to sell and that, with luck, others will want to buy. You can also get in your own way of succeeding.
Often, a seller who isn’t emotionally ready to sell will insist on listing at a price that’s higher than what the market will bear. This is why it’s imperative that sellers should be emotionally ready to sell; when they aren’t, they can subconsciously sabotage the process. There have been instances where a home was on and off the market for over a year with multiple real estate agents and approaches to selling it. What started off as an overpriced home that didn’t show well ended up selling for a bargain to a buyer who capitalized on the seller’s mistakes.
Sellers often need to remove personal items out of the house as part of its staging. This can be as basic as taking down diplomas, removing pictures, or personal items such as Buddha statues, NFL memorabilia or the knick-knacks from your African Safari ten year ago.
Aside from helping to show your home in its best light, removing personal items begins to make your house feel less like your home and more like a “product” for sale. It’s a subtle but important step toward detaching. Also, by removing personal items, you’re getting a head start on moving.
Most likely, your agent will recommend some changes to make your home more attractive to buyers. The flashy red paint in the dining room or the jungle wallpaper in the kid’s bedroom should make way for something more neutral. You should seriously consider your agent’s recommendations; they’ve been through this before and know what they’re talking about. On the other hand, if you balk at such suggestions, it’s another sign you may not be 100 percent ready to sell.
Still not ready? Wait.
By all means, cherish the memories you’ve had in your home. But focus on the future, and imagine the wonderful memories you’ll have in a new home. Think about the excitement that change can bring. Listen to your real estate agent’s advice; that’s why you hired them.
If you find that you can’t do any of these, then wait until you’re ready. In the long run, the most important thing is that you put your absolute best foot forward when you list your home, even if it means waiting months or even a year until you’re ready. It will be in your best interests financially.
Brendon DeSimone is a Realtor® and real estate expert based in San Francisco and New York. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog, has collaborated on multiple real estate books and is often quoted by major media outlets. Follow Brendon on Twitter.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
7 Tips for Staging Your Home
By: G. M. Filisko
Published: March 19, 2010
Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.
1. Start with a clean slate
Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.
2. Stow away your clutter
It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of www.StagedHomes.com in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.
3. Scale back on your furniture
When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.
4. Rethink your furniture placement
Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.
5. Add color to brighten your rooms
Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.
6. Set the scene
Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home—such as a chess game in progress—to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.
7. Make the entrance grand
Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.
A REALTOR has tools available that allow real estate to be presented to varying size markets.
There are cash buyers, credit worthy but cash poor buyers, and those whose major asset is sweat equity, along with everything in-between.
Sometimes the market has more inventory than buyers. Take into account when interest rates change. Curb appeal, painting, carpeting, updating kitchen and bath are investment expenses toward the sale. There are times that they can be either good or bad investments. Always ask and engage me prior to spending on your home in anticipation of an improvement being an investment. If the note on your home is equal to what the most expensive sale has been in your neighborhood, we should discus strategy.
Do you know the timing and best application for open houses, agent luncheons, newspaper ads, reverse prospecting, pictures in the MLS, talking houses, web site presence, virtual media, selling bonus, and the various methods of financial assist that can keep your home from entering that downward spiral of price reductions.
You can learn about gas inspections, building inspections, occupancy permits, termite treatment, mold, dander, complying with fair housing standards, property disclosure, buyer’s rights, other legal issues, and even figure out what you will net at closing. Use me to save on time, money, nerves, and possible litigation.
5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale
- Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
- Get your house market-ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
- Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.
- Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
- Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.
- Get estimates from a reliable repairperson on items that need to be replaced soon, such as a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.
5 Things to Do Before You Sell
- Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.
- Get a pre-sale home inspection so you’ll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned and cancel a contract.
- Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.
- Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don’t forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.
10 Ways to Make Your House More Salable
- Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.
- Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.
- Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.
- Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
- Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
- Clean your gutters.
10. Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.