Sellers Prepare to Divorce Your Home - Tips for Letting Go

Dated: 06/09/2020

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In most cases, selling your home is an emotional, yet surreal experience.  Saying goodbye to happy memories can be sad and depressing, often creating a sense of grief, despite feeling excitement and joy about beginning a new chapter in your life.

Other home owners may be thrilled and excited about "divorcing" their homes, particularly if the property has a lot of issues, becomes unaffordable, plagued with bad memories, or is no longer meeting their needs.

No matter what emotion you may feel about your home, as you prepare to sell it, keep in mind you want to depart on the best possible note, not only for your benefit, but also for the benefit of the new buyer.

Start by shifting focus from a Seller to a Buyer. 

Leave memories and emotions out of the equation for a moment, and look at your home through the eyes of a new home buyer.  What would stand out as a focal selling point or feature of your home?  What would stand out as an eye-sore or focal point that would dissuade you from buying the property?  

Sometimes these focal points are simply cosmetic and easy-fixes.  Other times, they require complete renovation.  Buyers want fresh, clean, and a sense of "new" even when looking at older properties.  Fresh paint, fresh flooring, fresh and updated appliances, and fresh landscaping (curb appeal) are always on the forefront of buyers' minds.  After all, when you go to look at a new home, what do you want to see?

Buyers are discriminating.  They don't want outdated, dysfunctional, ugly, or tacky.

Your home is being interviewed by the Buyer.

Keep in mind, a new buyer is interviewing your home for the first time.  And just like a job interview, you want to put your best foot forward by using best practices, dressing for success, and making your house look the very best, because it is competing with other homes on the market.

You may love sports memorabilia and even painted your bedroom the colors of your favorite sports team and lined the walls with their logo.  But, if someone hates sports or supports a rival team, your decor has immediately left a bitter taste in their mouth.  

Not only through "freshening up" the paint and flooring, etc. with more modern, neutral styles, removing as many personal items as possible will help tremendously!  For instance, what appeals to you typically won't appeal to most buyers, because everyone has his/her own style.  While photos of your family, trinkets and nick-nacks, collectables, family heirlooms, hobbies, etc. are important to you, they can sabotage your chance for finding a buyer. 

Keeping your favorite furniture, with holes covered in duct tape, may be comfortable, but it will turn off buyers.

Buyers want a clean slate so they can start to imagine what their family photos, collectables, and own personal style will work in the home.  First impressions matter.  While your home doesn't have to be immaculate, the closer you can get it to that place, the better you will make a great first impression, increase the chances of getting a buyer, get full asking price (or above) for your home, and avoid your home being on the market for long periods of time.

Hire a professional Photographer!

For the life of me, I cannot understand why home sellers and agents cut costs by not hiring a professional real estate photographer, and insist on taking home photos with their cell phone.  First off, cell phones are not great with lighting variances, and real estate agents and home sellers are rarely qualified to know how to angle the camera to capture the best image.  Remember, professional photographers are experienced and know how to capture that postcard moment that could be the million-dollar shot that sells your home.

Time and again, we see listings where you see photographs advertising a home where the beds are unmade, toys are scattered all over the floor, the office looks like a hurricane hit it, and the lighting is so bad you can't tell if a room is a bedroom or kitchen!  And home owners and agents wonder why the house sits on the market for months and months.  Photographs are the first impression of your home!  And photographers know how to showcase your property best!  And they typically are not as expensive as some think.  For a minimal $250-500 investment in a good photographer, you could literally walk away with a lot more money in your pocket!

After all, if I took a selfie in my bathroom mirror right after waking up and posting it to my website, saying "Hire ME as your trusted Realtor," I can assure you my first impression would be far from enticing!  I wouldn't even hire me!

So, don't settle for home "selfies," and hire someone with experience.  You won't regret it!

Final thoughts.

Once you make the decision to sell your home, shift your mindset from an emotional transaction to a business transaction.  Your home should become a "product" you are offering to the marketplace of home shoppers looking for their next dream home.  Get out of your own way.  Don't sabotage your success by trying to let go while staying emotionally connected at the same time.  It simply won't work in your favor.

For instance, some home owners are not willing to allow staging or constructive criticism from agents because they love their decor, paint colors, furniture, appliances, and fixtures.  That's because they have invested a lot of time and money into making their home their own throughout the years.  But, buyers want to make it their own, and that will likely mean they don't particularly love your style or share the same interests.  Don't take offense or don't take it personally.  It's just business.

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Leo Pacheco

With over 25+ years as an entrepreneur, founder of three non-profit organizations, award-winning philanthropist, and best-selling author, I have added real estate to my portfolio of expertise simply b....

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