Home & Garden

Avoid emotion when selling a home

Selling a house can be tough. It can be even tougher if you’re forced to sell your house for financial reasons, and don’t have much money to make pre-sale fixes or upgrades.

1. Rely on objective opinions on your home’s value.

“Anecdotal information can be very, very dangerous. Especially when you’re feeling emotional about selling, you need accurate information to make sound decisions,” says Ronald Phipps, a real estate broker and past president of the National Association of Realtors

He also recommends that home sellers avoid “automated evaluations” of a property’s worth to reach conclusions on how to price. Such valuations typically come from Internet sources, including Zillow. Though such information can be helpful as a general guide, it’s hardly the perfect tool for deciding how much to ask.

Before choosing a listing agent, Phipps urges sellers to contact at least two, preferably three, experienced agents who have an established track record selling homes in their immediate neighborhood. Ask each to provide a recommendation on your list price, known as a “comparative market analysis,” and to present factual data on recent market sales to back this up.

2. Avoid taking your listing agent’s suggestions for changes personally.

A strong real estate agent will be candid with you about all the changes needed to maximize your sale. Unfortunately, many involuntary sellers may take their agent’s comments as insulting, Phipps says.

He urges sellers to take a serious look at the checklist given them by their listing agent and to follow as many of the suggestions as they can afford, including any repair needed to make the home fully functional.

3. Keep an open mind on low offers.

Davis says that unless you’ve got multiple stronger offers in hand, it’s usually a mistake to reject a bid that comes in somewhat low.

“Frankly, many sellers expect you to counter their bid and nowadays will often pay more if you do. So unless a bid is ridiculous, I’d try to work with it,” says Sid Davis, a real estate broker and author of “A Survival Guide to Selling a Home.”

He says it was an emotional reaction that led him to rebuff three low bids on a ranch-style house that he attempted to sell some years back.

“Before I found an agent who could talk sense into me, I rejected some fairly decent offers by writing “NO” in big bold letters across the contracts. That was a mistake. Probably, I could have brought up at least one or two of them if I’d kept on negotiating,” Davis says.

People who must sell against their will sometimes view buyers very unfavorably. But Davis tells sellers to remember that buyers have their own angst about how much to offer in an always-changing real estate market.