I wasn’t ready for selling a home to be such an emotional journey – but holy crow was it ever.
Because we found our farm accidentally we bought before we sold. It went something like this:
Farmer Bob: “Hey, you wanna go for a drive up to the country. There are some open for inspections on today, we can have a look and see what’s out there”
Country Mouse: “Sure, ok!” [several hours later] “Holy crow! I love this place, should we make an offer?”
The rest is history. Knowing that city property where we currently live sells quick, we decided that it was a calculated risk to buy before selling. It wasn’t a matter of if our city house would sell, it was a matter of for how much it would sell. I don’t regret this choice, but it made it much more complicated and much much more stressful than if we had sold first.
The city house we sold hold a lot of emotional capital for me. It’s where I picked myself up and dusted myself off after some ‘life stuff’ happened, it’s where I met Farmer Bob and where together, Farmer Bob put blood sweat and tears into renovating it.
A few things I learned:
- Choose your sale team carefully and let them do their thing. I’m a bit of a control freak (not that I’d ever admit it) and I like to be on top of all of the important things in my life. Unless you are in the business yourself, this does not always work with selling and buying a home. Pick your solicitor, your real estate agent and your lender carefully because they are going to be the people that drive your sale. If you can, go with recommendations of friends/family as to a solicitor that worked well for them. As to a bank, a mobile lender worked best for us as they are sole contractors franchised to the banks. Their business depends on your custom. They also seem to be more experienced than the lenders in the branches. The agent is a very personal preference and you as a seller must be comfortable with them.
- Choose your agent carefully. Of all of your team, they are the most important as they will be the face of the sale. We invited three agents to bid for the listing and then picked the one we both liked together. In the end it comes down to personality and the service package they are offering. 1-2% commission seems standard, but it’s the extras that make the difference. We negotiated a month’s storage, an advertising board and the first visit of the stylist for free.
- Use a home stylist. They do a walkthrough and tell you what of your furniture should stay and what should go into storage. Then, they style the home to make it more appealing to buyers using some of their props and some of your things. Our agent recommended one and she was great!
- Start to ‘break up’ with your home. As soon as you put it on the market, it’s not your house anymore. This mindset shift is important. For me, the letting go process will be lengthy but listing, styling, selling and packing are helping me get there.
- Try not to set your expectations too high. This is a hard one because your home is always more valuable to you than it is to anyone else. Make sure the sale comparisons you are using are like for like. Make sure you acknowledge the drawbacks to your home fro other’s perspectives even if they don’t matter to you. For example – I don’t care that there is no off-street parking, no dishwasher, no air conditioning and small bedrooms, but others do.
- Look after yourself. From the day that you sign with an agent, it will be a long and stressful journey to settlement. Be sure to take time out and try to breathe, relax and remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Make sure you are happy with the photos. But remember, they are not for you, they are for your buyer. These were our photos.