Watching my mother go through the process of selling our family home of 20 years was nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Her moments of sadness and sentiment coupled with irritability and frustration certainly made for a family experience we’ll never forget.
Our beloved matriarch drove us crazy for months before the house went on the market. I remember a keep/toss/donate session that ended with her clutching a tablecloth she hadn’t touched in 15 years, screaming “IT’S THE ONLY ONE I HAVE IN THIS SIZE!”
That night, I created a shared notepad entitled “Mom’s Brain” where she could record all the things that were going through her head. I would then help her tackle each item one by one. At the top of this list was the well-intentioned stager’s recommendations to neutralize her home décor, to which she took personal offense.
“What, I have to change my house to appeal to millennials with no imagination?”
Yes, Mom. If you want this house sold, you do.
Stage for your Pricing Strategy
I wasn’t in Real Estate at the time, but now I know that you don’t have to stage or make updates to your house to sell it. However, how you decide to price your home works in direct correlation with the amount of staging and updating you’ll want to implement. To avoid making decisions based on emotions, it’s best to approach pricing and staging as objectively as possible. I know, easier said than done!
Don’t want to complete any updating or staging? There’s a pricing strategy for that. Commonly referred to as “As-Is Pricing”, this plan is best if your priority is to sell the house as quickly and effortlessly as possible, even if it means leaving money on the table.
Alternatively, a frequently practiced strategy, “Right Pricing”, lists your house toward the middle-to-lower end of the current market. This pricing promotes interest, increases viewings and creates a sense of urgency. Often, this can encourage an early sale and multiple bids. You’ll want to be prepared to implement moderate updates and staging with this strategy, depending on the condition of your home.
My parents chose to list at the highest price for the market. They wanted to reflect all the money and renovations they poured in over the years. Listing at the higher end of the current market is sometimes referred to as “Retail Pricing”. When this is your strategy, you better believe you’ll want to make all changes necessary to validate that price.
Despite a Retail Pricing strategy, my mother decided to pick and choose which changes to make. “Fine – I’ll paint the hallway trim but not the rest of the house”. “I’m keeping my curtains. Who wouldn’t like these curtains?” and so on. Some of the changes looked so odd and incomplete! But we wouldn’t dare tell her this.
Months later, the house sold for about 15% below the original asking price. Could she have gotten more money or sold it faster? Absolutely. But staying in control of her decisions (and ultimately her emotions) was more important to her – and that’s ok.
So my advice to you, dear Home-Seller: when dealing with the emotions that naturally come with this experience, be sure to realize what is most important to you. Commit to the process, don’t take anything personally, and remember: every decision is 100% in your hands.
As for Mom, she now lives full time at the beach and has a 5-foot tall seagull sculpture as her living room centerpiece, so we’ll be doing this all again in another 20 years.