Time To Downsize?

Terry Brezsny Ballantyne
- Terry Brezsny Ballantyne

Time To Downsize?

What can you expect as challenges in selling Mom or Dad’s home?

Mom or Dad last sold at least a decade or more ago. Pre internet, pre HGTV, pre techology.


Homes did not have to look like a magazine ad. Mom and Dad put their house on the market in its everyday condition and hoped someone would like the neighborhood, their nice lawn and the way they wallpapered the kitchen.  They assume the buyer will make an offer and then they negotiate the price based on flaws in the property.  They list high so they have “wiggle room”  and everyone then moves forward.

What they just can’t quantify or internalize  is that HGTV has raised the bar dramatically on what buyers expect.  No longer are they buying a nice “home”. They are shopping for  a commodity. They compare it to the homes they see on HGTV or  Flipping Vegas.  Buyers of all ages see people totally restoring the home and making it showroom ready before going to market. And they now EXPECT a clean, modern, fresh home , newer appliances and staged for maximum appeal.  Professional photos, refreshed landscapes. Modern day buyers are NOT interested in weekend housework or tinkering with rain gutters. They are busy taking kids to soccer, ballet, sleep overs, or  still working themselves or wine tasting on the weekends. They want a beautiful home now. No work implied.

Older sellers cannot fathom spending $5,000,$10,000 or $40,000 dollars to prepare a home for sale. Even when the Realtor knows that this investment will bring $2.00-$5.00 for every dollar spent, and more importantly,  it means getting  offers competing in  the first week or not getting an offer at all.  So much is at stake,  but if the older seller doesn’t trust you, they will never make the best decisions for them and they will cost themselves precious money in the process. And since the nestegg is so important for future medical costs, or long term assisted living, it is so important to get it right, capture every dollar

The process is in reverse nowadays.  You do all the work for your client BEFORE you go on market. Find the flaws, analyze the fixes, get the bids, prepare a disclosure file, find out about flood insurance, high fire risk, view easements.  It may take 2 weeks to gather good data and then 10 more days  to inspect, repair, repaint, update garden, stage and perfect the presentation.  But if you do the work right, when a buyer appears they make a credible offer based on facts, and  the escape routes are cut short, so  the seller can exhale and the buyer feels secure about what he or she purchased.

Done correctly, the pre sale process is intense, and  the post sale should go very smoothly and efficiently with very few surprises and very little price negotiation.  

All Realtors are not alike. Some do not have the cash flow to do a great job, some just practice a more self interested business model, some don’t understand the human psyche.  Like attorneys, doctors, gardeners, teachers, or poets, there are gifted practitioners and there are the pedestrian ones.  Pick someone whose value propositions matches yours, who is invested in YOUR success, who can turn down a bad offer. Someone who will fight for you. Ethically and respectfully.

Help Mom and Dad see that just like cursive handwriting, some old treasured methods are now outdated. That the digital revolution has changed the shopping patterns. That understanding the internet is very important, and that   finding  someone brave enough to guide you to a great outcome, even when Mom and Dad argue against it,  is key.


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