I was showing a house one evening this week in Mclean, Virginia to a client who is torn between staying in her current house and moving to another that provides her family with a better option based on a specific need that her current house does not meet. This was the second time she had seen the house and we stayed about an hour and a half contemplating all of the various scenarios of how to overcome a few drawbacks of the house. About half way into the showing she said, “I’m starting to get emotional.”
This reaction for buyers is normal, especially in this market where many buyers have to sell a house in order to buy their next home. Whether it’s a good or bad time in one’s life, buying a home is emotional. And it is especially emotional if the sale or purchase involves a loss such as divorce, death of a loved one, or chronic health condition. Even when you think people should be over the moon happy, such as in the case of welcoming a new baby to the family, buying and selling a house is still stressful.
So how do you as a buyer or seller mitigate stress and calm your emotions? First and foremost, surround yourself with experienced professionals who know the ins and outs of the home selling and buying process. This includes a local lender who has a direct line of contact with the lending institution’s underwriters and access to local appraisers who know the market in which you are buying a house. This is important because underwriting is a convoluted process in today’s lending environment and having an open line of communication with the right lender is the difference between making the deal work and the deal falling apart at the last minute.
Next, work with a real estate agent who not only knows the market in which you’re looking but who also has substantial transaction experience. The process of making offers, ratifying a contract (when buyer and seller have agreed on all terms), conducting and negotiating home inspections, tracking the appraisal and financing contingencies and, finally, ensuring that both parties perform on the settlement date has little to no room for error. The smallest mistake or oversight can blow the deal. You want an agent who utilizes time-tested systems to ensure your home buying and selling experience runs as smoothly as possible.
If you’re a buyer, you also need to select a reputable settlement company who has residential real estate attorneys on staff. Should an issue arise with the Sales Contract or you have legal questions about the property, then you want to have access to the professionals who can help you in a timely and relevant manner. It is the agent’s job to ensure that you select a settlement company that works closely with you, your lender and the agent. Communication among all three is vitally important.
Last but not least, hire a reputable moving company not based on the lowest estimate but based on how much time and effort the moving company is going to save you. Hiring the company to pack for you is extra, but is packing all the clutter in the house your highest and best use, especially if you have a demanding career and other family responsibilities.
Oftentimes people ask why I left commercial real estate and joined the world of residential real estate. I recognized that I am a people person and that I care about people’s emotional well being. Real estate transactions are business, but buyers and sellers are emotional. Please call or email me any time to minimize the uncertainty associated with buying and selling a house. I work with clients in Arlington and Fairfax counties. firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 441-3630.