Like Marriage, Home Selling is a Compromise

Judy and Dave want to sell their home... Or do they?

It took Judy six months to convince Dave they needed to move, as the home had become unbearably small for the family. Yet Dave delayed in doing the renovations needed to get their house market-ready. He reluctantly, finally agreed to have the home evaluated.

They sought opinions of value from three different realtors. Judy felt the two of the opinions of $330,000 reflected the home's value. Dave liked the higher estimate of $350,000 the one realtor said was the "average" home price in their neighbourhood.

To leave room to negotiate, Dave chose a list price of $360,000. "We can always come down," he reasoned.

What's wrong with this scenario? Three things, to start:

  • The spouses' motivation level, and reasons, for selling are poles apart.
  • Some agents have ulterior motives that heighten the conflict. For example, the realtor could be appealing to Dave's greedy self-interest and biases - telling him what he wants to hear. Or the realtor may have nurtured the relationship over time and fears offending the seller and losing the listing. 
  • The results can be a list price that is incompatible with the market and - the real tragedy - the home is ignored by buyers and their agents!

On the chance that a buyer does make an offer, will Dave demonstrate the flexibility needed to engage the buyer into a successful negotiation, or will he express rigidity and scare off the buyer?

In real estate, collective dissonance plays out a lot - in ways that likely vary as much as marriages and friendships do. Like in all partnerships, you are as strong as your weakest link!

As their home sits on the market, with nary an offer, Dave and Judy could find their home-listing standoff turn into an even more expensive proposition... divorce!

Eugene Pilato is broker of record at Century21 Today Realty Ltd. in Fort Erie, ON.

Can you relate to this situation? If you and your spouse don't see eye-to-eye on home selling, why not and what are you doing about it?


  1. Susan 05/25/2009 at 10:27 AM

    That's exactly what is happening in my house. My husband is itching to get out, but I want to renovate to make it livable. We will have renovations to do anyway, and the cost to move is intimidating in today's economic climate. He is still trying to convince me.

  2. Brandy 05/25/2009 at 6:57 PM

    that's a tough spot, but I recommend staying where you are and renovating to suit your needs (unless you really do need another bedroom). Like you say, you'll have to reno anyway, and moving is so disruptive, from the looking to the selling to packing to the unpacking... it's a year long process no matter how you slice it. Ask him if he's really ready for that....

    Good luck!

  3. Bert Barr 05/30/2009 at 1:16 PM

    This is reality in todays market... I find if the prices are not within a $5000.00 mark buyers are just not making any offers.The internet has made listing and buyers very educated in a new market.. Thanks for a great reminder for the summer market...

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