Selling you house can be more stressful than a divorce

Article by Heather Chilvers from Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty

If you believed everything you saw on TV, you would think that selling and buying homes is a happy joyful experience, with pretty couples who have seemingly perfect lives. In real life however, in some instances, nothing could be further from the truth.  

According to market research, people find the task of selling their home just as, if not more than, stressful than other major life events like having a baby, starting a new job or getting a divorce. In many cases property doesn’t come onto the market just because the owner/s want to cash out and do something else ‘wonderful’ or ‘exotic’ with their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes houses are put on the market because someone has died, the couple has divorced, for financial reasons (loss of job and being unable to afford the upkeep or the mortgage) or because the money is needed to look after elderly parents or another member of the family who needs additional medical care.

Generally people are very attached to their homes, and for good reason. After all it may not be perfect but you know every little nuance, nook and cranny, and idiosyncrasies, and usually have many happy memories and emotions that are attached to all the good times you have had there. It is hard to leave a home like that because you ‘have to’. Stress can be added due to the length of time it can take to secure a sale. Research shows that even if a house is priced correctly, in this market it can take six months or more to sell a property, even if you are properly prepared (your Agent will advise). The process is long and can be frustrating, disappointing and daunting; it is the unknowns which catch you by surprise. 

So if you are considering selling your home yourself be aware that you are likely to encounter the following things, that no-one ever told you about:

It’s hard to set a price: We all think our Home is our Castle, unfortunately this has very little to do with actual monetary value.

Your feelings will be hurt:  Buyers aren’t always polite about the condition/size/location. This can be hard to hear. They may also put in low ball offers, assuming you aren’t experienced in negotiating and they may ‘expect’ to save commission because you aren’t using an Agent.

You will have Showings at inconvenient times: Buyers can be very inconsiderate, they can call at inconvenient hours, want to see the property at the drop of a hat or even worse, just show up in the driveway! They may turn up for a showing late, or they may not show up at all!

It can be difficult to find out if they are pre-approved or not: It can be hard to know who would be qualified to actually buy your house or who is just ‘looking’. Agents can make sure that prospective buyers are properly qualified before arranging an appointment to view.

You will receive offers from buyers you ‘don’t like’:  Unlike when an Agent is doing the showings on your behalf, you may instantly take a dislike to a buyer for whatever reason. What if they make an offer, should you counter? What then?

You will be trying to sort out your ‘stuff' and sell the house at the same time: You will be thinking of moving to your next destination, wherever that might be. You may be packing and sorting, in truth, that alone is enough for most people to handle.

You will make your buyers uncomfortable: Most buyers feel uneasy when a homeowner is present, they feel like they can’t ask the difficult questions in case they insult you. Sellers too, tend to ‘overshow’ their homes, pointing out things that are of little or no interest to the buyer.

You can set yourself up for legal liability: Are you aware of what should be disclosed about the property? If not it can mean a costly mistake.

You will get less money for the sale of your home than if you put it with a Realtor: It has been proven time and again that this is the case, the difference could more than cover the cost of commission. 

You will have to pay for your own advertising: The wonderful thing about your Real Estate Agent is that they will advertise your house for free on many different social media platforms that can be seen not just in Bermuda, but all over the world. (Not all Bermudians live in Bermuda). The best thing is, you don’t pay him/her anything for all their professional services until they sell the house for you. So if money is tight photography, videoing and marketing is neatly handled for you without any additional financial stress for you or your family. 

Most Real Estate Agents prefer a Sole Listing as they cannot commit their time, energy and expensive technological resources to someone who won’t commit to them.  Especially, when they have other sellers who will. A good Real Estate Agent’s aim is to ease your worry regarding selling your house as much as possible. That being said it would be poor business practice to offer their expert and professional services for free! Choose an Agent you know wants to do a good job for you, make it as stress free as possible and get you the best price that the market will support.

Heather Chilvers is amongst Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s Leading Sales Representatives. She has been working in Real Estate for 30 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at or 332 1793. All questions will be treated confidentially.

You can also follow Heather on Instagram #heatherrealtorbermuda or Facebook: “Heather Realtor Bermuda

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