Note: This is my next post in my series the ABCs of Buying, Selling and Investing in Real Estate. For this post, I am using the M for inspiration. From this letter, I will create a fictional scenario with a fictional character, but give some real advice. None of these people are real, or even based on real people.
Mary was a hard working single mother of three in a two bedroom house, where she had lived with her daughters since her divorce six years earlier. Her daughters were all approaching the pretween years very fast and she wanted to upgrade her housing situation. With only one bathroom, it was a bit of a challenge for the four of them to get ready in the mornings and the girls hating sharing a bedroom. Mary was determined to get a better home. However, when she called me one slow Wednesday morning, she had some concerns. She did not look forward to opening up her house to strangers. She told me she barely had time to do housework now. She did not look forward to keeping a sparkling clean house for strangers. She asked more for some ideas on how to motivate her during the upcoming showings.
This is what I told Mary….
Mary has the same concerns many potential sellers have expressed to me over and over. They don’t like showings. Who does? You have strangers coming into your house in a very invasive way to examine how you live. And don’t get me wrong, the most favorite past time of most buyers is figuring the seller out while looking at their home. Some have even constructed full histories on the sellers by time they leave the house. It is for this reason alone that you need to make your home as impersonal as possible during showings. There is no reason for buyer to know you intimately so take down the personal photos and family heirlooms. I told Mary that the best way I have seen sellers handle the stress of showings is for the sellers to consider it nothing more than a business transaction to accomplish the goal of selling your home. Of course, it is always much easier to write about this “professional” attitude than to actually claim it as you own. There will always be some emotional entanglement for sellers because it is their home that they are selling so keeping is strictly professional is not an easy task. However, showings are a vital part of the process so I told Mary about three motivational ideas for sellers to try during showings.
1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize – When I was training as a real estate agent, I was told the best way to accomplish your goals was to visualize your end result by putting a picture on the wall representing your ultimate goal. I put a picture of my family on my wall as I wanted to provide for them in the best way possible. When selling your home, the best way to stay motivated is to keep your eye on the prize. If you need to put a picture of your house with a big SOLD sign on it, please do so. Showings are a bother. They take time away from your day and make you keep a cleaner house than you probably accustom to doing. No one really likes them, but do remember what you are trying to do. You are trying to sell your house. Each of these small steps you take in keeping your home presentable to buyers helps to achieve the ultimate goal of selling your house and moving on to the next step in your life.
2. Go Look at Other Homes on the Market – You could be selling your home for any number of reasons, but most people are selling their home to move into a new home, either upgrading or downsizing. One of the many motivational ideas for sellers that I always use is to keep them excited about what is coming up: their new home! You will be out of their house anyway so why not go see a few houses on the market to keep yourself interested and motivated during the selling process. Of course, it is impossible to do this every time you have showings(your agent probably won’t be available every time), but you can do it enough. If you can’t make it to another resale home, go visit a model home. This works nicely as it also allows you to start to get decorating ideas for your new home.
3. Treat Yourself during Each Showing – When my wife and I sold our homes, we had two small children to contend with during the showings. It can be a double challenge to keep kids happy during multiple showings on the weekend. My wife and I used to make it a special treat for the kids by taking them to do something that we did not normally do. We would take them to the park, or the mall playground. We would go get ice cream, or find out way to the toy store. Whatever we did, we knew it would mean spending more time with our kids which we saw as a positive. You have to be out of the house anyway so why not make the moments special by doing something to treat yourself during this time. Even if you do not have kids, the time away from the home can be used to catch up on reading at a local coffee shop, or do some window shopping at a local antique mall. Whatever you pleasure, since showings are required part of the process, try to keep it positive and find a way to lessen the stress of the moment.
Mary asked me for some motivational ideas for sellers to keep the stress at bay during the stressful period of showing your home to buyers. First, it is important to remember that each showing is a step towards your ultimate goal of selling your home. You can keep the motivation high by focusing on the upcoming new home. Finally, make the time away from the showings positive by doing something to treat yourself each time you have to show your home.