Don’t lose your mind when you buy or sell

I’ve been in real estate long enough to know that when a person transitions from simply being ‘John the butcher’ to ‘John the butcher who’s in the market for a new house’ or ‘John who has just put his home on the market’, John loses his mind.

Google “does selling your home make you crazy?” I’m not the first person to think this is an actual phenomenon…

Buyers, let’s start with you.

PRICING: Want a new kitchen?  Buy a house with a new kitchen. Subtracting $30,000 from the asking price because that’s what you will need to spend to create your dream kitchen doesn’t fly. In theory the seller could owe you money after you deduct the cost of everything you want to do to the place… If the selling agent is a local agent and he/she sells a lot of property in the area they’ve probably got the price pretty right and they’ve taken the dodgy kitchen into account.

MAKING OFFERS: So the asking price is “From $699,000”… You turn up to the first Open Home and see 30 other groups. You fall in love and decide you have to have it!  Then you make an offer of $650,000 and wonder why it sold to someone else. Yes, buyers determine what a property is worth at any given time but when 30 of you turn up at the same time it should give you a clue that a low offer probably isn’t going to do it.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE BUYING: Buying a unit in a big group – don’t complain that you can ‘hear other people’. Buying a 100 year old house – don’t complain that ‘it feels old’ ( people seriously say this stuff ).

Sellers, help yourselves…

PRICE: The value of your home is not determined by the ‘amount of time’ you’ve put into it. The value of your home is not determined by how much you want to spend on your next home. The value of your home is not determined by the agent who tells you what you want to hear or the next door neighbour who prays that your home sells for a huge price so that his is worth just as much. It’s certainly not determined by the fact that “all our friends love our place” ( when was the last time anyone told someone else that they hate their house? ) Of course you love your home, that’s why you bought it and why you’ve probably enjoyed many years of ownership but if it is time to sell it’s time to break up with your house! This is a business transaction. Put on your fact finding hat and keep your emotions in check. We only want the buyers to get emotional over it!

A house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Sellers are notorious for overestimating their homes’ value  then finding out the hard way that they’ve misjudged. Skip the long learning curve. Look at the prices of homes similar to yours that are languishing on the market and then at the prices of those that have sold. Ask yourself which group you want to be in then price it that way.

COMPETITION: Sometimes, just sometimes, your home may not be the best property on the market. Just because you love the convenience of living next door to a 24 hour McDonalds doesn’t mean that anyone else will. Your prospective buyers and your agent will give you feedback about how your home compares to others and sometimes you won’t like it. It’s not personal, its business. Make the necessary changes to your property, marketing or price before your home becomes “that one next to Maccas that never sold”.

LISTEN TO YOUR AGENT: You’ve engaged me because you trust that I know what I’m talking about. That doesn’t just apply when I’m telling you what you want to hear. When I suggest we take a particular course of action I’ll show you the facts behind it. If you’re going to suggest we do something different then you’ll need to hit me with some facts as well.

SELLER’S REMORSE: I don’t carry a gun and I’m not all that intimidating… If you accept and sign an offer, it’s because you chose to accept it!  I don’t want to hear any of these ones… “The buyer got it for a great price”… “We accepted less than it’s worth”….  “Why should we fix the air con… we didn’t get enough for the place to fix the air con”. Sometimes you might have to accept the commercial and market realities that dictate the value of your home.. If you’re ok with that, accept the offer. If you’re not, then don’t.

In summary, buyers and sellers both need to remember that the process of selling a home is business. Leave your emotions at the door. Every decision you make should be based on fact and the only prices that matter are sale prices not asking prices.

Wayne Heldt.