Buying and selling residential real estate is complicated. It mixes the powerful, and sometimes contradictory, forces of emotion and money. This can get messy.
In January, I wrote about de-emphasizing the investment considerations of home ownership. Make your house your home. Live into it, and don’t worry quite so much about the dollars.
Well, this time, we need to look at a slightly different angle. When it’s time to sell, you need to de-emphasize your life and all the emotions involved, and look at the facts – monetary and every other kind.
This isn’t personal. It’s business.
When negotiating the sale of a house, sellers and buyers are going to have different perspectives. That’s to be expected. Problems crop up when things get personal. Get all hot and bothered, you could make a lousy business decision.
Sellers want to get as much, and buyers want to pay as little, as possible. That’s okay, unless one side or the other – often the seller – takes the other side’s perspective as a personal affront. The buyer is just trying to get a good deal. If it’s a bad offer, negotiate. Or walk away. Get upset, and you could blow a good thing.
Furthermore, buyers don’t value the same things sellers do. Your paint colors, your mid-century bathroom tile, your built-in curio shelf, your gardening concepts, the spot you buried your favorite dog – don’t mean anything to the buyer. Letting these things pull you into the past can color your judgment and you could lose a good deal.
And it can make you unhappy long after the sale.
I once owned a beautiful house on a beautiful street here in Nashville. When it came time to sell and move on, I got a great offer from a really nice couple who happened to have really bad taste. The house is on a route I frequently travel, and over the years, I’ve watched the new owners transform what was once a dignified older house with a pleasant yard, into a hot mess.
I’ve have had to remind myself more than once, it’s not my house any more. And I got a great deal.
So, when it’s time to sell, let your realtor guide you. Quiet your emotions, store away your memories, look carefully at the money and the terms, and grab the best deal.