No matter what the reason for selling your current home, it can be very emotional. You might be leaving a home where a lot of important life events have taken place. You brought your babies home from the hospital to that house, you raised your family there, a wedding in the backyard, you saved and saved and bought your first place all on your own. There are memories there, you put your time and energy into making it “just so”. Regardless of the reason you are selling, good or bad, it can be tough to let go. I want to share some tips for mentally preparing yourself for the process of selling your beloved home.
Start at the end.
What is your ultimate goal? Chances are, you have the same goal as most other sellers. To get the most amount of money for your home in a desirable time frame. Let this become your mantra. Let this goal be foremost in your mind as you read through the rest of this article.
Your home as a commodity.
Once you decide to put your home on the market, it’s time to stop thinking of it as your home. It is now a house that you want to sell. Just like a car dealership wants to sell that shiny, new car on the lot for the most amount of money that it can, you want that house to sell. Repeat that mantra: most money, best time.
Staging – it’s not just for the photos.
Your realtor may suggest that you stage your home. At the very least they will probably recommend that you declutter. This can actually be a great way to mentally detach yourself from the house and make the place less “yours”. Ideally, you want a prospective buyer to walk into your house and see themselves living there, not you. For a buyer to be able to envision their lives unfolding there you need to create space for them to imagine where they would put all of their personal items and touches. By packing away all of your sentimental items and cherished belongings, you can take the time to really wrap your head around the fact that (in a perfect world) this is not your house anymore. Repeat the mantra. Because someone who LOVES the house is definitely the party you want on the other side of the negotiating table.
Be prepared to negotiate.
First of all, make sure that you hire a Realtor that you feel comfortable with. Participating in a negotiation is going to be a lot less stressful for you if you and your Realtor are able to have an honest dialogue about the pricing strategy for your home. You should feel educated about the climate of the market and how your property is positioned to sell. Hopefully, you’ve talked about your threshold and tolerance for both price and negotiations. If the thought of a prospective buyer doing a home inspection keeps you up at night, maybe you need to discuss a pre-listing inspection. That way you have a good idea of what is and isn’t wrong with the house and you can decide before you go to market what you might fix and potentially adjust the list price for the things you can’t or simply don’t want to tackle. You need to anticipate that a buyer is going to try and negotiate the price, after all, their goal is the opposite of yours. They want to get the best house for the least amount of money that meets their timeline. It’s a simple as that – it’s not personal. Just the way that your desire to make the most money from the sale of your home is not a personal attack on prospective buyers’ budgets.
Change the story.
A woman with a baby cuts us off at the bank and we immediately think “How rude and inconsiderate this person is”, when the reality might be that she has been up all night with a baby and is so tired that she doesn’t even realize that the line starts somewhere else. Or a co-worker walks right by you without saying hello and you tell yourself that they don’t like you and you are being intentionally snubbed when the truth could be that they just received some upsetting news and are deeply distracted. It’s important for your emotional state to try and keep a cool head during negotiations and not let your mind run away with a fabricated story. I mean, sure, there are always going to be jerks – I’m not completely naïve, but they usually make themselves known and then we can brake and avoid. The Google Dictionary defines a negotiation as a “discussion aimed at reaching an agreement”. Not a Battle Royale of low blows and cruel manipulation. It’s a discussion. If you and your Realtor have done all the work to attract a buyer who LOVES your house, respect that they are just out to negotiate for the best value for their dollar – the same as you probably were when you bought your house. If they have a home inspection and uncover something that you may not have considered or that impacts the value of the home in their eyes, OF COURSE, they are going to try and ask for a reduction in the price or some other remedy. Wouldn’t you? You still get to decide if you want to accept the reduction and a buyer who is in love with your home is much more likely to be reasonable. Try not to let your mind paint a negative picture of the people on the other side of the negotiating table. It is not personal. It’s just two parties with opposing goals having a back and forth discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. It’s a lot easier on your mental health to think of the process as a business negotiation. Even if you have an agreement signed, you still have to make it to closing day and that is a much easier journey when the relationship between the buyer and seller isn’t a contentious one.
Closing Ceremony – and I’m not talking about the Olympics.
In a world that covets strength and perfection, we tend to shy away from the sentimental. The sentimental is the sometimes home of the ugly cry. When a home has held some of our most precious memories it is completely normal to be emotional about leaving it behind. That’s why my final tip for being mentally prepared to sell your home is about closing day. Why not have a “Good Bye Ceremony” for such a special place? The idea of creating a ceremony to say goodbye to your house may not seem like “your kind of thing.” But just like any other important ceremonies in life, exchanging wedding vows or a dedication ceremony, it feels powerful, beautiful and important. Don’t be afraid to interrupt your everyday life and do something special. Light a candle, say some words of gratitude, host one last hurrah barbeque – just do something. You won’t regret it.
Well, there you have it. My tips for getting your head prepared for the home selling process. Hopefully, if you can put them into practice, you will find yourself loading your last box while shedding a nostalgic tear and in the rear-view mirror, watching a happy buyer who is bounding into their new house with an excited smile.
Of course, if you want to talk about selling your home or maybe just shed a nostalgic tear into your pint glass – you know where to find me.