No matter how much you're looking forward to turning over your house keys to a new owner, selling your home can lead to deep soul-searching.
Did I get a good price? Will the new owners love my home the way I do? Did I really want to sell in the first place? If you're asking yourself these questions, you just might have a case of seller's remorse.
When you walk away from a place you love, it can feel like abandoning an old friend. Fortunately, the emotional attachments will likely fade with time. The financial regrets that settle in after closing can be even more difficult, but you'll have to let them go as well. Those wordy closing documents you signed are contracts. They're difficult to break, no matter how much remorse you feel.
The best time to manage seller's remorse is before you put your home on the market. Begin the process by asking yourself these questions:
Am I listing for the right reason?
Empty nest? Divorce? Financial gain? Impulse? Exactly why are you selling your home? If you received a big job offer with a deadline to relocate to a new city, selling your home can feel like lifting a weight off your shoulders. If you list your home because Uncle Bob said you could make a ton of money, you might not realize it's a bad idea until the deal is done. Only you can decide if selling your home is the right decision for you.
Am I listing for the right price?
Pricing your home can be tricky. It's not an exact science, but your real estate agent can help. Review recent home sales and research comparables — homes similar to yours in similar neighborhoods. Also, when calculating the potential net return on your sale, don't ignore these and other before-sale and after-sale costs.
- Home repairs and upgrades
- Cleaning and landscaping
- Staging and photography
- Relocation costs
Your price should include enough wiggle room to negotiate with a serious buyer. If your price is too high, you'll attract few potential buyers. If you price your home too low, you may lose money on the deal. That's a sure trigger for seller's remorse.
Have I found my next home?
Whatever the cause of your seller's remorse, it will likely fade with time. The healing process may take longer to begin if you sign the closing documents on your old home but don't have a new home to go to.
Sellers do that sometimes when a buyer's purchase is contingent on a quick closing. You can do it too. But if you don't have a backup plan, the sensation of temporary "homelessness" can leave you with an acute case of remorse. It's important to think before you list:
- Find a home before you put your home on the market.
- Consider what you'll do if your home sells quickly.
- Locate movers and storage facilities that require little notice.
- Research temporary housing options.
- Offer the buyer incentives in exchange for a delayed closing.
Seller's remorse happens
The sense of having made the wrong choice can happen any time you make a decision with long-range consequences. That's why it's important to work with a real estate professional when you decide to sell your home. Your real estate agent can work with you from pre-listing through closing. You'll gain confidence in the home-selling process, and that will minimize your chances of succumbing to seller's remorse.