Emotional Real Estate
I am taking a bit of a different approach to the blog in this post. Typically, I try to stick to informational posts about the real estate transaction, home improvement, and financial matters. But this time, if you’ll indulge me, I want to talk about the emotional and sentimental side of home ownership because it really can have an effect on all parties involved in the transaction.
Buying or selling a home truly is a milestone in life. Buying a first home is incredibly exciting and often a little scary. (Hello, 30 year mortgage commitment!) Selling a home usually means we are moving on to a new chapter in life — upgrading, downsizing, relocating, family changes, etc. The reason I want to take time to chat a little about this aspect is because it can make the process difficult for many of us. However, if we can change our perspective a bit, I think it will be helpful for both us as real estate professionals and our clients.
For buyers, my usual advice is to prioritize what you really need and understand that you’re probably not going to get everything you want if you need to stay within a budget. This was actually a hard lesson for me to learn when my husband and I bought our home. My own “wish list” included many items that are not in our current home. Some of them have been added by us or we have created a version of what we wanted, but there are still things that I would change. However, I could not love our home more. In fact, the thought of ever needing or choosing to sell our home instantly makes me emotional. It’s our first home as a family. When I think about all the memories associated with this house, none of them include the color of our kitchen cabinets or our lack of hardwood floors. Despite a few cosmetic “flaws,” I am incredibly attached to this house. — Please tell me some of you also feel that way about your home?
I think these feelings make it very difficult for many to make the leap to sell. Emotions so color the issue that when they decide to sell, their asking price is astronomical and simply not realistic for the property. How many times in the past year or so have you heard agents and investors say “it’s a great time to sell.” In terms of my local market and the financial aspect, yes, it is most certainly an excellent time to sell. There are so many ready buyers and a shortage of homes on the market.
However, crunching numbers isn’t all that goes into making the decision to sell and move. The business side of the decision is the easy part! The difficulty begins when an offer is accepted and the reality of leaving a home sets in. Most of us have been through the moving process for one reason or another, so if you’re an agent, try to be sensitive to your clients’ feelings as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.
As realtors, this is what I think we need to be able to say to our sellers when they get emotional:
I understand that you’ve celebrated birthdays, hosted holidays, and gathered for family dinners in your home. I understand you have spent countless hours painting rooms, mowing your yard and nurturing that flower bed to get it just right. I also understand that your home may be the place where you brought your kids home from the hospital after they were born. I know that front porch is where you took their pictures on the first day of school. Your home has been so much more than those “wish list” items you checked off when you first bought it. I get it… because I have been there too. Now, let’s give another family the opportunity to make some memories here too. Meanwhile, you get to move on to your own new adventure.
While being sensitive to our clients’ emotions, we also have to put our business hats on and remember that we must help them think logically and rationally about their homes because they are an investment — a major investment. As much as I love to be sentimental, I also love to help my clients make smart financial moves so they can reach new milestones.
As hard as it may be to leave a beloved house, it might be the best decision right now, in six months, or two years down the road. I hope you all can either find or be the real estate professional that will act in both a sensitive and logical manner when the selling process begins. Here’s to taking on new adventures!