Recently I had the honor of participating in my 100th closing as a REALTOR®. In the five years I’ve worked as a full-time REALTOR® combined with the experience of 100 closings, I’ve learned so many things. However, three simple yet important lessons stick out to me as crucial to every buyer and seller. I hope you find these lessons helpful, as well!
First off, it’s important to acknowledge the emotions, but don’t let them determine your decision. Selling or buying a home is a very emotional decision for some. It might be the sale of a home where you’ve raised your family, or searching for a home where you hope to build community with neighbors. We know the home buying & selling process is emotional, but we can’t allow our emotions to significantly impact our decisions. For example, a home buyer might create such an emotional attachment to a specific neighborhood and develop the idea that “we HAVE to buy in ________ neighborhood,” when in reality, homes in this neighborhood are priced at a point that would significantly over-extend the buyer’s budget. Yes, the lender may approve you for a home purchase in this community, but you won’t be able to take the kind of vacations you dream of or save for the future.
Another example is a seller who over-values their home because it holds so much personal value. When they look around, memories of holidays with family, birthday parties, and sleep-overs come flooding back. What they often don’t see is the outdated kitchen or flooring that needs a change. The value they place on their home is often higher than a prospective home buyer will spend because they cannot view the home from an outsider’s perspective. This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s essential that the sellers begin to emotionally detach from their home, making way for prospective buyers to see themselves in it.
Secondly, if you’re unsure, ask questions. The person you’ve hired to help buy or sell your largest investment should be someone who listens well and is not threatened by questions. You should never feel incompetent or ashamed to ask questions of your REALTOR®. First and foremost, your agent should be a good teacher and a faithful guide to lead you through the real estate maze. This is complicated stuff for those who aren’t familiar with the buying & selling process. If you’re unsure of anything, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Your REALTOR® is the source of important information for you. They might not have all the answers, but they should know where to turn to find them.
Lastly, be prepared for something unexpected. The journey to home ownership is complicated. Think about everyone involved in a typical real estate transaction…Buyers, Sellers, Realtors, Lenders, Inspectors, Title Companies, Lawyers, Appraisers, Surveyors, and the list goes on! Though we do our best as agents to point our clients to trusted partners in the business, it’s often the case that something happens to delay the process. The appraiser forgets to submit their work, the buyer is slow in getting documents to their lender, the seller doesn’t legally own the property they are selling, or the title company mistakenly schedules closing on a day their office is closed for a holiday. I’ve experienced all of these. The lesson I’ve learned is to relax and be flexible. It’s helpful to remember that a home is changing ownership. Lots of moving parts will mean the possibility of one of those parts breaking down. Yes, closing might be delayed a day or two, but chances are high the deal will close.
I hope these three simple lessons are helpful as you consider your next move! Whether it’s three months or three years from now, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions.