Selling a home is one of those life experiences that comes after a period of anticipation. And - especially the first time you sell - it's where you have breath-holding moments to wait and see how your decisions will turn out.
Minimize the anxiety and maximize the outcomes of your selling experience:
1. It only takes one.
The goal of your pricing, marketing and property preparation efforts should give your home as much appeal to as broad a segment of qualified buyers as possible. You will hear me beg and plead to get rid of sequined kitty cat tiles and turn your dedicated jai-alai court back into 3 bedrooms before you list your home for sale: highly personalized customizations often limit your home’s appeal. Make a commitment to show your home in its best light. Don’t slack off on cleaning and clutter-clearing: you don’t know which buyer will be “the one,” so make sure your home’s smell, preparation and presentation shines ALWAYS.
Get a good understanding of the average length of time a home in your area stays on the market, and use that benchmark as the time to revisit pricing or otherwise course-correct your home selling plan of action. In the meantime, understand that while your task is to market broadly, your ultimate success at this endeavor of home selling only requires that one qualified buyer fall in love with your home - so don’t get discouraged or panic.
2. Facing reality takes courage, but it is less painful than the alternative.
- Facing the reality that your home needs a serious sprucing, cleaning and staging before it goes on the market might take courage.
- Realizing that your home might be worth less than you hoped, and that listing it at your fantasy price is a setup for failure.
- Facing the reality of the feedback from buyers and buyers brokers who have seen your home and passed on it? That definitely takes courage.
But here’s the thing... these realties empower you to do something to change and increase your home’s salability. Pay attention to the blind spots about your home’s readiness and pricing and marketing up front, when your agent begs you to, or you can pay attention to them later, when your home fails to sell and you’ve gone through all the stress and drama of showing it and listing it and you’re getting low ball offers from buyers who assume you must be desperate.
3. You have the power to prevent much of what you fear.
Fear is often the result of feeling powerless over your fate. Here’s the good news: feeling powerless about selling your home is only perception. You have a great deal of power to influence the outcome of your home’s sale. Only you can:
- understand whether you can afford a move up - or whether you need a move down
- make the ultimate decision about when to sell and when to stay put
- find and select the right agent for you and your home
- make a pricing decision based on reality after paying attention to and understanding the comparables
- do the work of getting your home prepared for sale - and make the final call about what work to do and what to leave for your home’s next owner
- provide abundant access to your home for buyers who want to come see it - and make sure it’s buyer-ready before every single showing
- course-correct your pricing, marketing or property preparation decisions as needed based on feedback from the market
- make the final negotiation decisions when you do get an offer, in order to get into contract
- cooperate with the buyer, appraiser, inspectors, contractors, escrow providers and even your local authorities to get your home sale transaction closed smoothly
Every time you get the feeling that things are spiraling out of your control, think on these things and all the other ways you actually do have control over your home’s sale and how it turns out. And loop your agent in: experienced agents can often propose alternative solutions to almost any problem that might not otherwise even occur to you, especially during your first experience selling a home.