Few of us will live in the same house forever. Most of us will have occasion to sell our home at some point in our lives. Perhaps, we may even do it multiple times. When those times arrive, it is often an emotional decision as well as a logistical roller coaster. It is a challenging mix of anticipation and trepidation. The reason for the anticipation is usually obvious but what about the trepidation and fear? Often times it’s caused from expecting that some element of the deal will fall through or that something you don’t know will surprise you. Every Seller or Buyer has at one time or another had nightmares that some element of the deal will not go as planned.
Most articles on this subject tend to focus on things like financial planning, credit planning and steps to Stage and prepare the physical house for sale. They encourage you to know what you can afford, the area you would like to live in, blah, blah, blah. There are many elements at play here and all of this advice is sound. However, all these sub-decisions usually come after the decision has already been made.
Something as important as whether to Buy or Sell your home is often made in the same way we make a decision whether to buy the Red Boots or the Black One. I know that may surprise some but it’s true. We confuse the time it takes to consummate the deal with deliberation time. The truth is the actual decision to buy or sell is made in nanoseconds and is almost purely EMOTIONAL – just like buying those gorgeous Red Boots. Once the decision is made, we then spend lots of time rationalizing, defending, calculating, searching, reviewing and debating…but make no mistake, everything we do is to support the decision that has already been made.
The problem is that unlike the Red Boots, this decision has persistent consequences and often affects more than just us. Yet, the decision is made with the same unintended callousness. How can we do a better job managing this process?
1. Start Early
Unless sudden misfortune strikes and forces you to make life-changing decisions, moving is usually something that is well thought through and planned, right? Well, if you agreed to that you would be wrong. As I mentioned before, the decision to sell your home or to buy a home is usually made quickly and with little forethought. Sometimes, the catalyst for the decision is an advertisement of a new development or from a financial institution letting you know how cheap it is to borrow. At other times, it’s made based purely upon financial need or benefit. There are many reasons but almost all of them can be traced back to the emotions of greed (wanting more, bigger, better, selling at market peak) and/or fear (fear of negative market moves, job loss, income changes, etc.): It is an emotional decision.
Recognizing this is critical because it helps to remove the facade of control. It helps us to recognize that we need HELP. Do not wait to get help. As soon as you have made the decision, call a Realtor. Well, just call us.
Many people wait too long to get a Realtor involved. Some Realtors get impatient but really good Realtors will cherish the opportunity to work with you early and help you in the critical planning stages.
A good Realtor will even help you to make the decision based upon your goals and aspirations. I have known Realtors who have suggested a temporary rental over a purchase so that a Client could become familiar with an area before deciding to buy. That is why here at FryerMcMillan we say “It’s more than just the sale.” A Realtor’s goal should never be to close a deal, it should always be to help you make and execute the best decision for you and your family.
2. Have a Plan (a written one)
You probably don’t have to worry about a Plan when buying those Red Boots but you’ll need one once you decide to do a Real Estate transaction.
A really good Realtor should be willing to help you develop one. Think about it, you make a plan for your vacation why not for your home sale/purchase. A good plan does NOT mean everything will go smoothly…remember, there are always ‘Murphys’. A good plan means that you will lessen the chances of surprises. A solid plan anticipates changes and develops contingencies for those changes.
If the Realtor you are working with or thinking of working with doesn’t help you develop a plan ask for one or better yet, just call us. A great Realtor is a Project Manager – the Project is getting you transitioned into or out of a house. If you are managing a Project you must have a Plan.
3. Good Relationships make better deals
People often mistakenly believe that the reason a Real Estate transaction is one of the ‘biggest decisions you will ever make in your life’ is primarily because of the financial obligation you are assuming. It is not.
The magnitude of the decision does not increase or decrease based on the market value of the property. Buying a $100,000 pre-fab Trailer Home for your family is just as consequential to your family as buying a $300,000 detached Bungalow. The wrong deal can still cost you, the wrong neighbourhood can still cause angst for years, the wrong inspection can still leave you in financial peril.
The decision is BIG because of the nature of the transaction not the size of the transaction. The way to manage the risk is to make sure you have someone representing you who really understands you, your family, your needs, your goals and your aspirations.
You pay a Realtor to be your Counsellor, your Confidant, your Adviser and your Representative.