The Emotional Ups and Downs of Selling Your Home

The Cape House Show: Episode 30

Today we are talking about the emotional roller coaster of selling your house. 

Picture this: you’ve been thinking about this for a couple of years, thinking, “Okay, we’ll sell the house at this point, blah blah blah, it’ll be perfect, then we’ll go here.”

And all the math works and everything, and it’s a perfect plan, and you’ve thought about it so carefully.

When the rubber hits the road, and it’s actually time to put the house on the market, you go through a lot of emotions and you’re not necessarily…at your best (let’s just put it there).

And that’s okay. We get that. We completely get that, because, you know, no matter how many plans you’ve made, no matter what you’ve thought about, when you actually invite the real estate agent into your home, you’re like, “Oh my god, this is getting real. Someone is actually looking at my house to sell it. We actually took a step.”

And it’s kind of funny sometimes – we’ll go in for a listing appointment and the owners get a little emotional, and that’s okay.

That is okay.

It’s a big deal, and that first step is a big step, and don’t be surprised if you start to feel a little sad when it happens.

The next big scary time is staging. We talked about staging last week. So staging the house will completely change it. Change everything about the way you live, where you put this particular painting, or little, you know, tchotchke or whatever thing has meaning to you. Suddenly everything’s moved. Suddenly everything’s changed, and this house has to look sort of neutral and not like yours anymore. And that is actually true; it needs to not look like yours anymore. We need to make it look like in many ways a commodity, not just for the buyers, but for you.

It’s important that you can move on from this home and transform it for yourself, in your own mind, into just a house. It’s got to be just a house so that you can take your emotions out.

The best way that you can help that transition, when you’re selling that house and it’s so hard, is to get a really clear picture about where you’re headed.

What’s exciting? What’s compelling about where you’re going?

Because chances are, particularly if this is your primary home, you’re heading to another primary home (which, by the way, might be someone else’s primary home right now, and they’re going through the same thing). Or maybe you’re building a home, which is also incredibly emotional, but either way having your eyes on the prize – a next step in your head – is a really good way to help you through the hard parts.

But let me tell you, there’s no way around it. There’s no way around that feeling. I think one of the hardest parts for sellers is feeling out of control. It’s not in your hands anymore – you did everything we asked you to. We staged it, you did all your inspections, it’s as clean as a whistle, you kept it up nicely. There’s really not much else you can do.

Now our fate is in the hands of photographers, and writers, and the MLS and, really, at the end of day, it’s in the hands of the buyers. It’s really a crapshoot. You just don’t know which buyers are gonna be out there when your house goes on the market.

It can be maddening to not know why your house hasn’t sold yet. One of the ways to avoid that challenge when you’re thinking, “Why isn’t my house sold yet?” is to have a good conversation with your real estate agent before, so they can set your expectations appropriately because – you know what? You’re going to have an expectation, and it might not match up with what reality is.

So if you’re in a hot market thinking, “Oh, my house is gonna sell in two days,” that actually could happen, but what if it’s not the kind of property that people are looking for? What if it’s a little bit higher end? It’s gonna take a little bit longer. Or if it’s a really custom house, that’s also gonna take a little bit longer.

The other thing that happens to people whose houses do sell really fast – sometimes that is a shock, and you didn’t expect it to happen so fast, and you may think, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, did we do the right thing? Did we ask enough money? Should we have waited? Oh my gosh, what is going on?”

The best way to avoid those kinds of stresses is to have really good communication with your real estate agent in the beginning to talk about the fact that your house is probably going to sell in X amount of time. Get your head wrapped around what that is. If your agent says it could sell at the first open house, you’ve got to be ready to deal with that. And if your agent says, “Listen, I have no idea – you’ve got a really unique house and it’s gonna be a really unique buyer…” be ready for it to take a little while.

So there you go – selling your house is a crazy emotional rollercoaster, but the best way to keep a smoother ride on that roller coaster is lots of communication.

People need to talk to each other. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions two or three times, because you’re not yourself. You might not remember the answer, and if you’re with a good real estate agent, they will answer your questions ten times if they have to. I know I would!

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Meet Katie

Picture of Katie Clancy, Agent and CEO of The Cape House in Cape Cod MAMother. Singer. Runner. Dog Parent. Realtor. Speaker. Cape Cod Local Expert. When I want the freshest oysters, I don’t go to the fish counter at the grocery store; I go to John, the East Dennis oyster guy. When my husband wants a perfectly tailored suit, we don’t go to the mall; we go to Puritan Clothing in Hyannis. When I want the best chocolate this side of the Alps I don’t go to the candy store, I go to The Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans. A Cape Codder since I was a kid, I can find you the right house, bank, builder, school, auto mechanic, and yes, even the right oyster guy.

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.