Selling a property is said to be one of the most stressful experiences in your life, along with divorce and death. Scary, isn’t it? It’s commonly held that the upheaval of moving from your “nest” – the space you and your family call home, with all the memories and the history – has a significant emotional impact on all concerned.
In many cases selling your home may also mean a change in lifestyle – scaling down, retiring, moving on without the kids, separating from a partner, or selling due to financial pressures. Making the decision to sell can be a hard one and yes, there is significant emotion involved.
In the majority of cases a sellers’ emotional price expectation exceeds the market value of their property. In other words, what a seller believes their property to be worth is usually more than the value a buyer will place on the property.
Bridging the gap between the emotional “wish price” of a seller and the reality of market value is the job of a professional estate agent. An agent will do thorough market research to present to a seller the facts on recent comparable sales – and this will give a factual, unemotional basis for determining market value.
It’s not that buyers don’t have empathy for a seller moving on – it’s that they aren’t prepared to attach a financial value to it. A buyer will only pay what they believe a property is worth – no more. They may start lower, but if they are competing against other buyers they will be prepared to pay maximum market value.
So, as a seller, when you receive an offer for your property that is less than you want, try not to take offence at the offer. Buyers are not being personal – this is business. Challenging as it may be, remove the emotion from the equation. They buyer just won’t pay for the emotional value the property has to you. You’re on the market in competition, not in isolation – and you will need to compete on value.
When you receive an offer it is wise to consider how closely the offer comes to the factual market value range your agent would have provided for you. And I mean factual. No thumb suck. Not a value that an agent just pulls out of the sky. I’m talking about a comparison based on recent sales information. Your property is far too valuable an asset for anyone to be guessing at values.
Keep a clear head. Weigh up the facts, and proceed with whichever option makes sense to you based on real market information. Be happy to settle for a sale at market value, because that’s the most a buyer will pay.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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