Emotion rules when you sell.
But why all this emotion?
What do sellers want? One thing that remains constant over all the years is that sellers want three things:
All three! Unfortunately, we are into inconsistency almost straight away. The best price may come from someone not immediately identifiable and only “publicity” will find that person.
Often the desire for the best price will preclude the possibility of a quick sale. You may have to wait.
And third, the desire for privacy (no publicity and no inconvenience) is challenged by the advantages advertising brings.
Who are these potential purchasers and how do agents find the right ones? Some will already be known to the real estate agents, whose job it is to know what specific purchasers are looking for. Yet, there are others who are just swinging into purchaser profile, just thinking about it tentatively, and carefully driving through neighbourhoods –just watch how many cars slow down as soon as they see a “For Sale” sign. In the early stages of considering buying, they will casually skim through real estate advertisements and, as they become more determined, the skimming turns to looking carefully. The graduation from “John Citizen” to a real live committed purchaser is also an emotional transition.
So here we have sellers who have decided that it is time to sell their property which is full of memories and their feeling of security and well being. This very property that was called their own. Protected and guarded. A bastion to be transferred to a stranger with all rights to be surrendered! Not everyone, of course. Some can’t wait for something better. In fact, the next property may have already been secured. Now their current home becomes a discard. The mental transfer has already happened. However, in this case, there may be the extra emotional baggage of financial trauma if an acceptable price cannot be achieved in their sale.
In case you thought you, the seller, were the only person having to go through this emotional roller coaster ride, in comes the potential purchaser. Often not sure, scared of the probable debt. Will this be the right decision for the family? Could there be something more suitable? If we like it, will we “get it” or will we suffer the disappointment (and pain) of having it go to someone else?
Little wonder that a successful real estate practitioner should be a good listener. They need to be, to be of any use!
Little wonder that amid all this indecision, many sellers warm to the suggestion that they should settle for selling with a high asking price and then allow real estate agents to bring possible purchasers already known to the agent to inspect the property. No fuss!
But that doesn’t always achieve all ambitions. Some properties are easier to value than others – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – and I’ve addressed this in more detail in the next chapter. “What price?” is a huge question.
How do you know when you’ve achieved an excellent price – particularly in a changing market? You may have comparable sales but do you want to try for a premium price or be content with the pattern of values that have been established?
If the market is currently good, do you want to ensure you sell before any change? If the market is not good, do you wait and, if so, for how long? Some properties require more potential purchasers than just those known to the agent before a sale can be effected. Very often the local agent does not know of the eventual buyer until that buyer responds to an advertisement or attends the open home of that property.
There are many different scenarios – and that’s just about the property difference! Now let’s look at some of the different circumstances in which sellers may find themselves.
A transfer to a different place may mean time is not on your side. A family resettlement that means leaving a family home that is now too large or too small puts significantly less pressure on the time equation. As I’ve said earlier, if you’ve bought another home, then you don’t have the luxury of time to sell your current property.
I’ve talked of all this not to confuse you but rather so you can realise that you are not alone in feeling almost overwhelmed with the emotion and necessary decisions that will have to be made in this process. Now you’ve identified with these issues, read on and let’s answer your questions and concerns. I’ve written these posts in the sequence of selling events as they may occur and given the relevant information chronologically.
What will our journey entail?
The hardest – but most important – starting point for an owner is to decide what they want. Once the key priorities are decided, it becomes apparent which selling programme will apply to them.
As sellers’ key desires are rarely mutually supportive, we will be asking you to rank your key priorities between yourselves – discuss them before calling in an agent. Ranking your priorities and being able to express that ranking to your prospective agents will make a huge difference in the selling strategy you adopt. It will keep you, the seller, in charge of the process. You won’t find yourself victim to a persuasive agent who assumes automatically that he or she knows what you want and what is best for you.
After these “wants” have been prioritised, you will now need as many facts and as much information as possible to make an informed decision regarding strategy and, most importantly, the choice of agent.
Then there are other issues that may arise.
Issues such as:
Contracts? Negotiation? What do I do?
I have then detailed some special circumstances, probably only applying to a minority of sellers, but very important circumstances that require individual treatment.
Finally, there are six real-life stories of different situations that may help you with your deliberation. The purpose of this series is to give you the confidence and information that will allow you to select the strategy that is right for you.
Excerpts from Myf Porter’s Guide to Selling Real Estate: