Buying and Selling: A Realtor's Perspective...Part 1

Posted by Lane Walsh on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 4:53pm.

I have a renewed respect for what my buyers and sellers go through during the emotional process of buying and selling their homes.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately that brings me to that conclusion.

While driving home from a play date with my 4 month old, I did something I never do.  I drove by a house with a “For Sale” sign in the yard and actually stopped my car, got out and pulled a flyer.  Truly, I never do that.  Why would I?  I have access to every property on the market.  I can just look it up and within seconds I can know just about everything there is to know about a property.  But this one caught my eye.  It’s one of the great neighborhoods in Denver and according to the flyer has the space we need and the price is right.  So I flex my Realtor muscle and set up a showing on the spot, grab my daughter out of the car and run in for a look.

It’s perfect for us.  With the arrival of my daughter, it became abundantly clear that our adorable Highland bungalow just steps from Highlands Square was not going to cut it.  This tiny human came with more gear than we could have possibly imagined and we no longer have time for all of the projects that an old home has to offer.  We weren’t anywhere CLOSE to being ready to make a move and when we were it was going to be Stapleton.  Stapleton has everything we need…a family-friendly neighborhood with tons of kids, parks, pools, open space, shops, restaurants and, most importantly, new construction with little maintenance.  However, this home that I walked in to and within seconds knew that it was “The One” couldn’t be further from our Stapleton vision.  It is just west of Highland in Applewood, needs a total remodel and with its 13,000 square foot lot requires more maintenance than I’m sure I’m prepared for.  Yet, I know it’s the one.

So I go home and sell the idea to the family, take them over for another look and have an offer in by the end of the day.  We have 2 weeks to get our house on the market.  In a matter of hours I have committed us throwing the following balls up in the air to juggle:  inspections on the new house to see if everything is in order and this is worth pursuing, beginning the loan process without even knowing for sure that we can qualify and getting our house ready to go on the market.  What better way to test my new company, right?  Because of an emotional need to remedy our lack of space, our family now has a lot of work to do.

In the last week we have rented a storage unit and moved EVERYTHING out of the house that is not needed for every day living.  I always tell my buyers that you have to remove everything that will prevent a new buyer from picturing themselves as the new owners of your home.  Buyers want to imagine having coffee on the front porch in the morning, but you can’t have the coffee pot out.  They want to imagine hosting a fabulous dinner party, but you can’t have all of your party throwing gear cluttering up your cabinets.  They want to imagine themselves getting ready for a night on the town but you can’t have ¾ of your clothes in the closet or anything out in the bathroom.  Making a house look livable but not lived in is hard work!

We are now forced to tackle all of those little projects that we’ve just been able to live with for the last 3 years.  Painting things, touching up, fixing this and that.  No wonder we haven’t tackled these projects…they’re a pain in the butt!  However, we have to take care of them because the last thing we want is a buyer to see them as a pain in their butt.  We don’t even want a buyer to be subconsciously aware of little projects that would prevent them from wanting to pay top dollar from our home.

We had our general inspection, sewer scope and radon test done and everything checked out.  We got everything into our lender and we can do it.  Now we just have to get our house sold.

The moral of this story, so far, is even though I’ve helped nearly 100 folks buy and sell their homes and have seen a lot, there is nothing like going through the process myself to bring me back into the shoes of my buyers and sellers.  I know what it’s like to think I want one thing and end up on the opposite end of the spectrum.  I know what it’s like to absolutely HAVE to squeeze every dime out of the purchase of one house for the purchase of another.  I know how hard it is to balance an already hectic life with the stress of inspections, loan documents and doing all that needs to be done to even get a house on the market.   I know what it’s like to be sucked into the emotional vortex that is buying and selling your home, to get your heart set on something and have to take a leap of faith, work really hard and try your best to not get attached to an outcome.

We’re one week from putting the house on the market.  Stay tuned for Part 2!

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