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How to Overcome the Fear of Selling Your Home
Even in the best of markets, selling your home takes guts. It’s hard to leave a place you’ve loved for years—and even harder to risk losing money in the process.
But as the market has pushed to recovery over the past few years, one thing has remained constant: Buyers outnumber available homes.
So what’s holding home sellers back? We asked Dave’s fans to share their biggest fears and obstacles. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Frightened by Fixes
“My house needs repairs that I don’t really want to spend the money on now,” Wendy H. from Keller, Texas, says. And she’s not alone. Her comment struck a nerve with lots of folks who face repairs they don’t have the cash to cover.
It’s true that buyers love a move-in-ready home and will pay top dollar for a house in pristine condition. But you don’t have to fix every single thing to get your home sold. The key is to focus on improvements that add value to your home. After all, there’s no point in spending money you won’t make back in the end.
Keep in mind that big-tickets repairs, like your roof and HVAC system, can scare buyers into asking for way more money in concessions than it would cost to fix it. Those issues may be worth addressing before you go to market.
Whatever you do, don’t rely on debt to fund repairs. It’s a-okay to set a budget and stick to it. An experienced real estate agent can help you prioritize your project list so you don’t spend any more than you have to.
2. Overworked and Overwhelmed
Marti A. from Columbus, Ohio, is ready to downsize but admits the amount of work involved—from sorting and packing to keeping the house in show condition 24/7—holds her back.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it. Getting your home ready for market is a big job.
So how do you fit a mile-long to-do list into your already hectic life? Break it down into bite-sized goals. You don’t have to tackle all of your closets in one day—or even one weekend. Organize the top two shelves of your linen closet this weekend and work on the bottom two next weekend.
For example, if winter’s on the way, why not make the most of your time indoors? You could have your home ready to list by spring!
3. Mired in an Underwater Mortgage
Michelle K. from Canal Winchester, Ohio, says her home’s value keeps her on the sidelines. “We would love to sell and downsize but are upside-down,” she explains.
Clearly, you shouldn’t sell your home if you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth. But if you’re relying on online estimates to determine your home’s value, you might not have an accurate picture of what your home is really worth. That’s because a computer isn’t plugged into the tangible details, like your home’s condition or updated features.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of all existing homes is $230,200. That’s just $700 shy of the home price peak in July 2006! Before you resign yourself to staying put in a home you don’t love, get a free comparative market analysis from an agent you trust. You might be surprised at how much homes like yours are going for in your area.