When selling your home, you’ll likely experience waves of different emotions. You’ll feel the excitement of getting a fresh start in a new area. You’ll feel nostalgic as you walk through your empty house for the last time. You’ll feel a mix of hope and possibly sadness when you get the first offer on your home, depending on how attached to the home you are and what type of offer you were expecting.
Unfortunately, these emotions can actively work against you, compromising your ability to sell the home quickly and/or causing you to take an offer for less money. In this guide, we’ll talk about the role our emotions play when selling a home, and the steps you can take to keep those emotions in line.
How Emotions Work Against You
Let’s start by talking about the distinct ways emotions can get in your way as a home seller:
- The endowment effect. The endowment effect, sometimes called the mere ownership effect, is a bias that makes people value objects more when they own them than when they don’t own them. For example, in a neutral setting, you might say you’ll pay $150,000 for a home on the market. But if you had ownership of the home, you might claim you’d pay $165,000 for it. It’s a subtle effect that can irrationally dictate your perception of offers—and get in the way of your profitability. Obviously, it’s natural to seek higher offers and greater profits, but it’s also important to be realistic.
- Anxiety and desperation. If you’re a natural worrier, a few weeks of inactivity on the market could leave you feeling anxious and desperate. If you’re about to move into a new house and you haven’t gotten any meaningful offers on the old home, you might start imagining worst-case scenarios. When someone makes a lowball offer on the home, you might be inclined to take it, simply out of fear that you’ll never see another offer. In many cases, this is a bad move, netting you far less money.
- Nostalgia and sentimentality. This could be the home where you grew up, or where your children grew up. You might have a strong attachment to certain features of the home, like the old-fashioned glass doorknobs or the tiling in the bathroom. If you talk to a buyer and discover they have plans to gut the house, getting rid of the features that stick out in your memory, you may feel protective, and hold out on selling the home, despite an amazing offer. While this may preserve your sentimentality, it could delay sale closure and net you less money.
Tips for Keeping Your Emotions in Check
Fortunately, there are a few basic measures that can help you keep your emotions in check.
- Give the home a proper goodbye. If you want to limit the effects of nostalgia and sentimentality, make sure you give your home a “proper” goodbye. Spend some time revisiting your favorite rooms and locations in and around the house, and take some photos before leaving. That way, you’ll always have a snapshot of how the home looked before you sold it.
- Talk to family and friends about how you’re feeling. Be open about your feelings. Talk about them to friends and family members. If you’re feeling anxious about the home not selling, tell them and ask for their support. If you’re feeling oddly protective of the home, talk about it. Opening up can help you process and manage your emotions—and there’s a good chance the people you talk to will offer their perspective. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep a journal during this period. Simply writing down what you’re feeling can bring your attention to your changing emotional states, and can help you keep a level head.
- Treat your home as a product on the market. Don’t think of this as your home, which you’re leaving in someone else’s hand. Think of this as a product that’s on the market, like any other object in your possession.
- Work with a real estate agent. One of the best moves you can make to keep your emotions in check is to work with a dedicated real estate agents. Agents have a much better understanding of the ebb and flow of the market, and will be able to analyze offers with a much more objective eye than you will. They’ll also be able to alert you when your emotions might be getting the better of you, and provide you with guidance when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Do your research. It’s much harder to be emotional when you’re armed with the facts. For example, if you’re flying blind, you might expect your home to sell for $200,000, but after researching the area, you may find that homes like yours are selling for an average of $190,000. When you get an offer for $188,000, it will look much more reasonable.
- Set objective goals and priorities. Spend some time writing down your main goals and priorities. Is it more important to make the biggest profit possible, or to sell the home quickly? Do you care what’s done with the home after someone else buys it? Return to these written statements and priorities whenever you feel conflicted.
- Maintain a routine. Transitioning from one home to another can be a stressful and time-consuming process, and one that throws off your usual routine. This is only going to make things more stressful for you, and disrupt your emotions further. Try to find a new routine, however you can, to get a sense of stability. Even simple things, like meditation or exercise, done daily, can provide you with a better emotional foundation.
If you’re interested in stabilizing your emotions with the help of a real estate agent, consider reaching out to Green Residential. We have seasoned property experts who can help you sell your Texas home quicker, for more money, and with fewer emotional hurdles to overcome by yourself. Contact us today to learn more!