It’s just business: How to let go of your house
Regardless of what went into the decision to sell your home, you most likely didn’t make it lightly. An addition to the family, relocation for a new job, divorce, downsizing, the death of a spouse and financial problems are just a few of the reasons Americans have for selling their homes. Your reason is, in real estate terms, your “motivation for selling.” Sounds a bit impersonal, doesn’t it? After all, this home is full of memories – both good and bad. Your home is more than the place you store your things, and more than protection from the elements — it’s where you have celebrated holidays, raised children and spent time with the people you love most. These experiences and memories may be difficult to leave behind, or you may feel relief, depending on your motivation for selling. So, although your motivation may be borne of tragedy or joy, it’s important to put your emotions aside for a short time and treat the sale of your house as a business deal. Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls you may encounter when selling if you’re emotionally attached to your home.
Love doesn’t equal value
Market value has nothing to do with love. So, despite how you feel about the home don’t expect that there is someone out there who will fall equally in love with it and be therefore willing to pay more for it than it’s worth. Of course you’ll want to do all you can to raise the home’s perceived value. Get rid of dated features, repair what’s broken and stage the home to appeal to buyers.
Take nothing personally
Taking criticism is never easy and, during the sales process you may have to take a lot of it. From buyers’ agent’s negative feedback to lowball offers to requests to “get rid of the ugly carpet,” once the home is under contract, you’ll have lots of opportunities to take offense. Keep in mind during these times that no home is perfect for everyone. Depending on the market, even a lowball offer may be worth countering, so put the emotions aside and, again, treat this like a business transaction.
Life can become chaotic when your home is on the market. Time doesn’t stop – you still have to go to work and, if you have kids, they still have to get to school and to all the lessons, games and other activities. It’s especially easy to tell yourself you’re “too busy” to allow potential buyers to view the home when you’re overly attached to it. But allow them you must, if you want to get it sold. Being flexible is key here. Understand that your life is going to be disrupted until the home is sold. Accept it, share it with the family and promise yourself that you’ll bend over backward to accommodate potential buyers.
How to cope
For most Americans, their homes are their largest financial investment as well as the icon of a life lived, of sanctuary achieved and dreams both dashed and realized. It’s only natural to feel an attachment, especially if you’ve lived in the home for some time. But letting go, without leaving claw marks, is challenging for some. “One suggestion to help you let go of a home or other important possession is to realize that its emotional value doesn’t end when you sell it. Through your memories, you get to keep most of the value the object has had for you,” advises Rick Kahler, of Kahler Financial Group. So, take lots of photos, even grab a handful of dirt from the garden and plant something in it at the new home. Whatever you need to do to let go emotionally will help you get your home sold, quickly and for top dollar.