Most of us are familiar with buyer’s remorse. It’s that sinking feeling that, for any number of reasons, we shouldn’t have made a recent purchase. We become filled with regret, second-guessing our decision to buy.
Buyer’s remorse is so prevalent that the Federal Trade Commission created the “Cooling-Off Rule,” which gives the buyer “… three days to cancel certain sales … but not all sales are covered,” including real estate, says an unknown writer on the FTC’s website.
Seller’s remorse is the flip side of buyer’s remorse and doesn’t get nearly the attention that the latter does. This is because we typically don’t sell something that we don’t want to get rid of. When we do sell something that we don’t want to, remorse may set in.
Selling a home is often a tough decision. You may have scores of rational reasons but when push comes to shove, the memories you’ve built in the home may cause a gut-wrenching reluctance to leave.
If you’re emotionally attached to the home, it’s time to separate those emotions from the business aspect of what you are about to undertake. After all, selling a home is, at its core, a financial and business transaction.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you overcome some common emotional pitfalls in the process.
Turn a blind eye (and ear) to criticism (real and perceived)
Following your agent’s advice about preparing the home properly for the market is critical. Not only will it help the home sell for the amount you hope, but it may sell quicker.
Another bonus is that a well-prepared home should give you confidence in how it presents to potential buyers. Hold on to that confidence because you’ll need it in the face of any criticism that might come your way.
I think that most of us have read at least a couple of reviews of products and services online. Regardless of the number of consumers who give rave, 5-star reviews, there is always a handful of them that find fault with it. A 100% 5 stars rate seems an impossibility.
Keep that in mind while your home is on the market. You may receive negative feedback from a buyer’s agent. You may receive a lowball offer that borders on insulting. You may be asked to rip out your “ugly wallpaper.”
Should this occur, remember that the criticism or insult isn’t meant to be taken personally. This, as I mentioned earlier, is a financial/business transaction. Try to brush it off as such and keep your emotions in check.
You wouldn’t be the first home seller to feel that their home has become the “Grand Central Station” of the local real estate market. Especially in our current market; buyers are clamoring for homes.
On the flipside, sellers still have lives to lead, jobs to go to, kids in school and participating in athletics, etc. Then, there is the family time at home that many busy families treasure.
Despite this, you’ll need to remain flexible for showings. Naturally, we’ll help you find a balance between your life and home showings. It’s up to you, however, to understand that the home is now akin to a product and, if you want to sell it, you will try your hardest to accommodate those who want to view it.
A few coping mechanisms to help you let go
“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it,” said author David Foster Wallace. If you can relate to that, especially when you think about selling your home, read on.
From the time you sign the listing agreement until the ink is dry on the closing papers is dangerous territory for those who are prone to seller’s remorse.
It seems, however, to get worse the closer we get to closing. Panic sets in and remorse and regret are typically not far behind.
One suggestion we often provide to our clients is to focus on the future. Think about the new home, how you’ll furnish it, landscape it or whatever else may be planned for the future that keeps you optimistic.
Take photos of the current home, inside and out. Plan on taking a favorite plant to the new home (dig it up before the home goes on the market). Plan a goodbye-party and invite neighbors you’ve grown especially fond of.
Then, focus on why you planned on selling it to begin with. Think about the current home’s short-comings, such as how cramped the kids are in their bedrooms or how far the commute is.
Turn your attention to items that the new home offers that excite you. Concentrate on those. “It will be so nice to have a bigger pantry,” or “The new backyard is perfect for the dog.”
Finally, work closely with your real estate agent. Ensure the agent you hire understands how your connection to the home is deeply emotional and how that is impacting you. Ensure as well that the agent is a positive person, able to handle the ups and downs you may throw his or her way.
Yes, selling a home is stressful, even if you aren’t that fond of it. But when you focus on what the future holds instead of what you’re giving up, the entire process will be much smoother.