Interview with the Seller
This month we want to share some real talk with you. So, we interviewed one of our clients who recently sold her existing home and purchased a new home. She shares the truths about what was and wasn’t stressful and how expectations and emotions can complicate the process. Lastly, she shares some of her best advice for first time buyers and sellers.
Alyssa, your family recently sold and bought a home, was the process what you expected it to be?
This was the second time purchasing a home, so to some extent we knew what to expect, but things had changed a lot in 12 years! However, this was our first time selling a home. It felt extremely daunting – especially the timing: When do you put it on the market? When do you put an offer in on the house you want to buy? How do the puzzle pieces fit together so we’re not without a home? Between finding the house we wanted to buy, getting our house ready to sell, showings and paper signing, I’m positive I messaged Sissy every single day to calm my nerves. I don’t think the process could have gone more smoothly. Yes, there’s a bit of luck mixed in when it comes to timing, but Sissy was amazing. She orchestrated everything and the timing was perfect.
What were the factors that lead towards the decision to sell your home?
Mike and I bought our first home in 2006, a year before we got married. Although it holds a special place in our hearts, it wasn’t laid out well. It was difficult to find something in our price range at that time. Over the course of 12 years we went from just getting married to having a child and basically growing out of our Lake Hallie home. There was never a time when we both said, “Let’s sell,” but I think we both knew it was going to happen sooner than later. I’m always snooping around on home-selling sites, and when I happened to scroll by the house, we eventually bought in Chippewa Falls, I knew that was the one I wanted.
What were your, “must haves” for the new home?
Mike and I don’t necessarily have the same needs in a home. Our first home checked more of his boxes – home set back from the road, room for a man cave and rustic facade, to name a few. But with our next home purchase, I wanted to be thoughtful of the things we didn’t pay attention to the first time around. I wanted a three-car garage, a fireplace, a dishwasher (which we didn’t initially have in our first home), lots of natural light, city living but with a large lot, tons of trees surrounding the house and I really wanted a ranch-style home. I wanted everyone on one level, but ideally with a finished basement. The house we bought checked all of those boxes.
What surprised you the most about the selling process?
I was surprised that it went so smoothly, but I was also surprised at how much anxiety I had about it. I loved being able to accept showings through an app on my phone. I could also read why the potential buyers either liked it or didn’t like it. That way if they didn’t like something, I was able to make small fixes before other potential buyers came through.
What about the buying process, what was the biggest surprise there?
We definitely had an interesting buying process in that the sellers couldn’t decide on a sale price. They had it listed for a price, we offered a little under that price, then they raised the price. It was confusing, but through that I we had to remind ourselves that being emotional about the situation isn’t helpful. This is a business transaction. If you want the house, you find a price that works for you. And if you decide you don’t want it, you move on. But emotion should play no role.
What advice do you have for people who are selling their home?
I’m definitely no pro, but I think looking at your house through a different lens is so helpful. It doesn’t matter how tidy and clean you think you are – put all emotion aside and look at your house as if you were seeing it for the first time. What makes it look clean? What makes it look dirty or unkempt? Take everything off your kitchen counters and box it up. If you have kids, keep a few books and toys and box everything else up. We rented a storage unit and then took two days to pack items and move them to storage. If you have time, you can determine what actually needs to go to a new location and what can be donated or tossed. Once we saw our house as a potential buyer would see it, our old house felt new again. If it didn’t sell, I knew we would be OK staying.
What advice do you have for those who are looking to buy a home?
If you’re ready for a new home, make a list of must-haves before you start the journey.
Research banks and their home loans/interest rates.
Get pre-approved for the amount you have determined you are willing to spend.
Keep your emotions about each house in check so you can choose a house that works for you without a clouded mind.
If the house you’re in love with checks all the boxes, don’t be afraid to spend $5,000 more if that’s what it takes, and if you are financially able. If you’re going to kick yourself for the next 10 years because you didn’t want to spend a few thousand dollars more, the agony isn’t worth it.
There you have it! If you’re looking for help selling or buying a piece of real estate, contact us we’d love to be a part of and help you navigate the process.