So, you’re thinking of selling your home! What steps should you be taking now or when is the best time to put it on the market? That, of course, is a very personal decision but your motivating factor behind it is really the driving force in deciding when.
For example, if your motivating factor is that you can’t afford the mortgage payments anymore, you will probably feel more pressure to sell sooner compared to someone just wanting to move. It’s important to not only recognize your reason but to remember it. I’ll say it again. It’s important to not only recognize your reason but to remember it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bring my sellers back to reality both before and during the transaction.
To give you an example of what I mean by sharing a past experience with a client who clearly didn’t etch that into their brain. This particular client was in deep financial trouble with a foreclosure hanging over their head. To give you an idea of how serious it was, their attorney was actually able to gain some extra time before the Marshal threw them out in the streets. A pretty serious situation, right? Most would think so and jump through hoops if it meant that they could sell their house before the foreclosure took it, all while preserving the massive amount of equity that they had built up. Well, this client was more concerned with what they bought their house for (which was in a completely different market) instead of what their home was worth today. They refused to listen to professional counsel while continuously peppering the, “Well, when I bought my house…” statements into our conversations.
On top of this dangerous thinking, their home was in poor condition due to not even being able to afford even the most basic home maintenance. I ultimately found them a buyer who I very strongly felt was offering fair market value for the home. In fact, it was exactly in the range of where I told them from the beginning that they will likely get, so it shouldn’t have been such a shock to receive such an offer. Oh, and that buyer was even willing to buy the home “as-is” even with all the major repairs it needed.
Yes, they received a great offer but what this buyer really offered at the end of the day was an “out” from their dire situation of losing everything. You think they would be jumping for joy and the weight had been lifted from their shoulders…. quite the contrary. They made it a painstaking experience for all parties involved the entire time, including cancelling and forcing the buyer to reschedule their home inspections (which is not as easy to do).
They were so lucky to have a buyer with the amount of patience it took to stick with them. Most buyers would have walked, which meant that they would have found themselves living on the street without the large amount of equity they had left in the home, because the foreclosure would have taken everything.
The moral of that story is, you can’t reason with the unreasonable, but it also shows how you can very easily become your own worst enemy and it will always affect your bottom line financially.
I tell you this story because some people need to do some deep soul searching before even starting the process of finding a good Realtor to list their home. It’s an emotional experience for most sellers and sometimes taking some time to actually come to terms with the reality of selling is the true first step. Otherwise, you will resent seeing that “for sale” sign every time you pull into your driveway and it will cloud your decision making down the road.