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How Your Emotions Can Prevent You From Selling

Hanna KielarOctober 29, 2019

Emotions can be your best friend and your worst enemy. At their best, they leave you feeling motivated and refreshed. At their worst, they leave you crying at a dog food commercial. We’ve all been there – don’t even pretend.

But when it comes to real estate, emotions can definitely prevent you from reaching the ultimate goal of selling your home.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Let’s dig into what situations can create negative experiences and how to get through them.

Overpricing Your Home

It’s common for sellers to overprice their homes initially. Well, why not? You’ve added up all of the upgrades and time you’ve spent on the house and landed on what you think is an appropriate list price.

Unfortunately, pricing your house solely based on home improvements you’ve done is an emotional trap when selling. Save yourself a bit of frustration and work with a top agent who will use comparable home sales in your market to find an average price for your home.

“Sellers who have lived in their home, raised a family there, and/or put in sweat equity may overvalue their house and think that it’s worth more than it is,” says Nathaniel Hovsepian, owner of The Expert Home Buyers.

Think of it like Beanie Babies, the must-have toys of the ’90s. Sure, you might think your collection is worth hundreds of dollars, but in reality, it’s only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. (If anyone knows of a buyer, let me know.)

Forgetting To Depersonalize

When a potential buyer looks at a home, they want to see themselves living there. They want to visualize what a Sunday evening around the dinner table would look like. They want to know what it would be like to raise their young family in the home. Unfortunately, it’s hard for a buyer to picture anything when there are still so many personal effects in the house.

“Sometimes it is hard for sellers to remove personal belongings from the house when listing it on the market, but these items really need to be removed or put away when showing the house,” says April Struhs, REALTOR® with Caldwell Banker. “You want the buyer to picture themselves in the house. Sometimes having personal pictures or memorabilia up can distract a buyer and make them feel like it is still someone else’s house.”

Before listing your home, clear out anything that has a lot of personal sentiment. What you might love and what provides you with happy memories is not going to be the same for potential buyers. Leave your home decorated, just not overly personalized.

Open House Etiquette

If you are hosting an open house during your sale, use this time to run errands, grab dinner or catch a movie. You might think that sticking around to point out unique features in your home might help, but it probably will do more harm than good. In fact, buyers might feel a bit cramped by your presence. Let your agents handle it and trust they’ll provide you any feedback you should be aware of.

With all of these emotional events, it’s best to let an experienced real estate agent guide you through the process. They’ll be able to help you navigate the home sale and get it on the market at a price you both can agree on. It might not be easy, but trusting in their guidance will help create a smooth experience.

Choose An Offer With Urgency

The first few days on the market are easily the most important because this is the time when the most eyes will be viewing your home online. Your pride might tempt you to ride it out and wait for bigger, better offers, but be careful. You need to stay objective and work at a brisk pace. Every day you wait can lead to less interest in your home. Your agent will determine if your offers are comparable with your market and help you choose the right one in a reasonable amount of time.

“When it comes time to negotiate with a potential buyer, owners have trouble letting go of their emotions in the heat of the moment, says Hovsepian. “They would be best served to create a plan with a sales price ahead of time and sticking to the script when it comes time to negotiate. Let the numbers do the negotiating, not your emotions.”

Keep An Open Mind

When you get an offer, it might include some feedback on your property. Something like, “Buyer doesn’t like the roof” or “The hardware could use an upgrade” or “Didn’t like the floor-to-ceiling fish tank in the bathroom.”

Whatever the case, try not to sweat the small stuff unless you keep getting the same feedback over and over again. It might sting a bit hearing constructive criticism about your home, but keep in mind that this feedback can help you get the right buyer.

Parting With Your Home When There’s An Emotional Attachment

It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in your home for a few years or a few decades, there’s going to be a personal attachment. And with all these great memories, it’s understandable that moving away will be difficult. But remember why you choose to sell your home in the first place – you’re ready to make new memories.

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Companies focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.