The 7 Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make When Downsizing – and How to Avoid Them

Downsizing- even the word can strike fear to the uninitiated because it means a major change in your life!  Here you are going from a familiar, comfortable environment into the unknown.

And yet, the idea keeps tugging at you!  The house you now reside in has become too large and because of this, so are the demands that come such as cleaning, repairs/fix-ups, in addition to taking care of the yard work.  Plus, there are the amount of “things” you’ve accumulated over the years, which needs to be dealt with.

It all adds up to downsizing!  Like anything else, the more you discover about downsizing, the better your end result will be! 

That’s the nature of this special report.  Through our many years of working with people going through the downsizing process, we’ve learned what to know and what you need to do.  Conversely, we also are in a position to pass along the potential pitfalls along the way.

Mistakes can be made because the person or couple don’t take the time to become familiar with the many facets involved in relocating to a smaller living accommodation.   Fortunately you won’t be one of them; the result of picking up this special report.

What you are about to read is a step-by-step primer on the ins and outs, the do’s and don’ts; what to avoid and what to embrace so that when all is said and done, you can look back on this experience as both enlightening and rewarding!

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin this journey together as you take your first step towards formulating a game plan for downsizing success.  It is our pleasure to be with you and by your side every step of the way. 

Let’s get started!

Mistake #1: Failing to See the Big Picture

Many who decide to downside don’t realize soon enough that it is a two-sided equation.  Indeed they have decided to sell their present home however they don’t have a clear picture of what the selling process involves and secondly where they will specifically go?

There’s the old saying “putting the cart before the horse” and for some people this definitely applies in the matter of downsizing.  Because of this it is imperative that you fully think out and decide where you’re heading.  Some options include:

  • A smaller house
  • A condo
  • An apartment
  • Moving in with an adult child
  • A healthcare related choice (assisted living community or nursing facility for example)

Indeed there are choices, and as you contemplate downsizing it helps to figure out your next stop.  In addition, you will want to know, once you decide where it is, that there is a space.  An example here is you’ve decided to relocate into an apartment complex in a particular neighborhood but upon investigating you discover there are no vacancies at this time.

Do you have a plan B?  You may need one.  Other than the option of moving in with an adult child, there will always be the question of availability, so before you start packing up you’ll need to know.

Another issue here is whether or not you plan to stay in your present home until it is sold, or move out?  If it’s the latter then knowing your next destination is critical.

Knowing this answer will give you the peace of mind as you take steps to downsize.  It helps to know where you’ll be heading for sure, as you look to the future!

Mistake #2: Not Assembling a Strong Team

To win in sports, it takes a cooperative effort from a group of dedicated people.  Even in individual sports, athletes must rely on a coach and a trainer, amongst others as part of their team.

The same “team” axiom holds true when downsizing from your present location.  Earlier, we posted an important question for you to consider: “where will you be going?”  The answer serves as the end result to the downsizing process.  However there are a multitude of other questions/scenarios to consider, which we will be covering in the coming pages of this special report.  For now, let’s focus in on what you must do to place yourself in the best possible position to achieve your goals.

First off, who is going to help champion your efforts?   The response should be: a real estate professional who is well-versed and has worked with numerous people that have successfully navigated through the art of downsizing.  Here you must find the individual who can guide and direct your efforts.  Some things to consider when selecting this professional:

  • Does the person have a track-record of accomplishment, specifically working with folks in your basic age group and the particular needs people like you have?
  • Is this person familiar with the various downsizing options to the extent that he or she can provide outstanding guidance and direction to help you decide where you’re heading?
  • Can he or she offer advice towards what you must do in order to get your house ready for sale so it’s attractive to potential buyers?
  • Will the real estate professional know the local market well enough, understanding what houses have sold for?
  • Might he or she be able to give you the needed pricing points you must have to best know what to realistically expect from a sale?

There are other factors involved in the process but suffice to say choosing whom you wish to work with in the selling process is a key decision.  You want and need strong council and input, and deserve to get it!

Mistake #3: Getting Overwhelmed

The age old question goes like this: how do you eat an elephant?  The answer is: “one bite at a time!”

So it is with the enormity of the downsizing process.  If you stop and think about all that’s involved, you’re apt to start hyper-ventilating!  Yes, there’s a lot to do but like the elephant above, you take it one step at a time.  No more and no less!

Again, this is where having a trusted, experienced real estate professional who is a downsizing specialist can be a major asset.  Lean on him or her to direct and guide you through the process.  It’s important to have a game-plan in place, a roadmap if you will, to follow.  This in itself will give you peace of mind and comfort in knowing a path has been laid out, and is being tracked.   Some things to take note of:

  • What fix ups or repairs need to be considered to put your house in the most attractive light?
  • What needs to be done landscaping-wise?
  • How best to market your house?
  • What is the price point you’ll list at, and what will you accept?
  • Are you going to live in the house until it’s sold, or move out?

All of the above are important decisions that need to be made.  Each will have a definite bearing on the home selling process.

Along these lines, in particular, is the last bullet point, regarding whether you plan to stay in the house or move out.  If it is the former and you will be living in the residence during the selling process, then there is another very common mistake many sellers make.

This will be covered in the next chapter, and is a key element in getting your house sold in a timely fashion.  Failing to adhere to this will potentially put you at a major disadvantage with potential home buyers, something you can nil afford to do!

Mistake #4: Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees

It’s your home; you know it like the back of your hand.  Because of this, it’s easy to be lulled into a trap.  You walk through the various rooms, and do so with the blinders that come with being the owner.  Here you aren’t always able to take a step back and see what is there.  In a word it is:

CLUTTER

Potential buyers want to imagine what the home will look like with their things in it.   Items such as furniture, pictures, and their personal keepsakes enter into a buyer’s “visualization process.”  Because of this, every spot where you have something displayed/kept, makes it more difficult for the person touring the house to put their “stuff” into the equation. 

Naturally, unless you are planning on vacating the premises, this is something you (and potential buyers) will have to deal with.  However all is not lost!

The answer is to remove as many things as possible, especially those items which can cause a negative imprint of the available space.  Case in point are your closets.  The last thing you want is for a prospective buyer to open a closet door and something (or many things) come tumbling out!  It doesn’t make for a very good impression.  Likewise for the rooms in general.  An overcrowded living room or dining room is a turn-off.

Your real estate expert can help guide you in order to make sure your house and grounds look their very best!  It may be that a professional stager, someone who is well versed in art of presenting a home to attract (not repel) buyers is the answer.

If nothing else, your real estate professional can serve as the fresh set of eyes as you walk through every room, as you set about doing what it takes to sell your house.  It’s all about making your home as attractive as possible so those walking in come to see that this is where they want to live!

Mistake #5: Unrealistic Expectations

Expectations: we all have them, no matter what the circumstance.  It’s human nature!  We think about the given situation and our mind forms an opinion; an “expectation” if you will.

And so it is with the downsizing and the home selling process.  As for the former, expectations can and will be clarified once you set a clear cut path for where you are heading.   Here, you will be able to visit and see first-hand where it is you’ll be living.

The second part of the scenario is more out of your control.   That’s because the potential buyer (whomever this may be) will have a say-so as to the final selling price. 

Sure you can ask whatever you want for the property.  It’s your right as the seller.  That said, there is often the asking price and the selling price.  Somewhere in there will be the “purchase” price, and more importantly the “Net” amount you will receive from the sale of the house.

A great many sellers think with their heart and not their head when looking to formulate the initial asking price.  That’s because they get emotional regarding the property.  It’s understandable!  It’s the seller’s home.  Quite possibly children were raised in the house.  One way or the other, many memories were made inside these doors!

For many, all these thoughts become part of the pricing structure.   Again, this is normal.  However, the bottom line is that this is a business transaction.  Indeed, you as the seller are trying to get every possible dollar from the sale.

In the end though, the buyer will tell you what he or she is willing to spend, and it is up to you to decide if the offered amount is acceptable. Certainly a counter offer, sometime a few counter offers can be made and hopefully an agreement can be consummated to everyone’s satisfaction.

More about this coming up.

Mistake #6: Not Being Open to All the Possibilities

As the homeowner, you will be the final decision maker as to the selling price.  Having a real estate professional by your side can help in determining what that amount will be in order for you to feel good about the end result.

The professional can research what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for in the recent past.  This is very good information to have!  He or she can also let you know what other nearby houses are presently on the market, and what their asking price is at the moment- also good to know.

Part of your overall decision regarding a final sale price may be made based on how quickly you wish to move.  It may be a result of a health related matter, or that the condo or apartment you like is available now and may not be in the near future.  Again, there are often certain “factors” which contribute to your selling timetable.

Did you know that there are other sources or options available to purchase your house, and at a fair price?  Quite often there are professional home buyers who are looking for good investment property.  Yours might be just what they are looking for! 

Here again, a real estate professional who has experience working with people looking to downsize can help you decide if you wish to investigate this potential option.  In some selected cases, the realtor, he or she, may be looking for such properties or know of those who are potential buyers. 

It certainly doesn’t hurt to explore all the avenues open to finding a buyer, whether you are looking to move in the next few weeks, next month or the next few months.

Your goal is a smooth and seamless transaction, where when all is said and done, you are satisfied with the outcome, no matter who the buyer is!

Mistake #7: Fear of the Unknown

One thing’s for sure: the decision to downsize means you are in for a visit into unchartered territory.  Some of this will be tempered if, for example, you are planning to move in with an adult child.  In this case, more than likely, you’ve already visited (maybe even stayed at) your new destination.  Even if not, you’ll still be staying with a familiar and loving face- maybe several of them. 

Otherwise, you’ll be heading off to a new location such as a smaller house, condo, or apartment of your own, or potentially a healthcare related venue such as an assisted living community or nursing facility.  Plus, there will be someone else eventually living in your present home. 

This latter idea could be enough to give you some second thoughts about moving.  Don’t let this happen! 

There was a reason you began to consider downsizing.  No doubt, this reason hasn’t changed.   Look to family, close friends, and indeed your downsizing partner in all of this, your real estate professional for comfort and encouragement.

Rest assured that many good people just like you have gone through the downsizing process and made a successful transition.  They are now living contented lives, knowing that they made the right decision for the situation-at-hand.

Sure the unknown can be a somewhat scary place.  It can also be exciting, based on how you look at things.  Have pride in the fact that you are taking positive action to deal with what is presently at hand. That’s a good thing!

What should also be of value is that the right real estate professional can be both a counselor and conduit for making the hard become extremely doable.  Make plans to call on him or her as often as needed; that’s what this person is there for.  Such a downsizing expert (providing you’ve selected the right one) has been through the mill often and can help!

In Conclusion …

We hope you’ve received some valuable insight and guidance from this special report.  Its purpose is to help you feel good about the downsizing process and all that’s involved.

The bottom line is: you don’t have to go it alone nor should you.  There is someone waiting to be of great assistance to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Indeed, seek out that individual who has a proven track record of real estate downsizing success.  This person is out there, waiting to be of assistance and service to make what may seem difficult and challenging, as easy as possible for you to go through.

We at Home Downsizing Solutions have seen this happen time and time again!   That’s why we know you can have a positive experience.

Please let us know if you have any follow up questions, as a result of reading this special report, and if we can help you to become our next home downsizing success story!

We help home owners sell their house and downsize in the following geographic areas, and are adding areas all the time;
Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Kansas City metro area
Pensacola, Florida

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