Sellers remorse

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

Although it would be impossible to gauge exact numbers, there are many who suffer from seller’s remorse once the deal has been done and their property has been sold. There are several good reasons why selling a home evokes so many emotions and learning what to expect can go a long way toward making the entire experience easier to deal with. It is worth remembering that sellers suffer remorse in both a buyer’s and seller’s market and although the reasons for selling may well be financial, emotion over money is not the only reason that sellers second-guess their decision.

The main reasons people regret selling their homes are:

  • They didn’t get their asking price or believe they accepted too low an offer. This is by far the most common gripe. Sellers tend to automatically believe that their home is worth far more than the average buyer is willing to pay. This issue becomes more of a reality during a downturn, particularly if the seller paid an inflated price for the property when he originally bought it.

  • Downsizing and moving into a smaller home may seem perfectly logical, until the cold harsh reality of the decision begins to set in. Selling superfluous furniture (often beloved belongings that have been in the family for years), admitting that you are older, accepting the changes that this inevitably brings and leaving behind a lifetime of memories hurts and most people will struggle to come to terms with such a major decision.

  • Being forced to sell for financial reasons. Sellers in this category often find themselves in a catch-22 situation. On the one hand they are thrilled to be free of the debt but on the other, they are devastated that the dream of owning their own home has come to an end.

  • Trying to replace what they had and finding a new home that appeals can be a challenge. This is particularly true when the seller has been transferred to another region or area. However, it also factors when moving from a freestanding home into a simplex or a townhouse.

  • Memories - we all have them and leaving a home in which we have raised our children and generally built a life, can be very difficult. No matter what the circumstances behind the sale, sellers need to keep things in perspective.

  • Stay realistic, particularly if selling for financial reasons. It is not the end of the world, you can bounce back.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself – remember that these feelings are totally natural and most homeowners feel a twinge of remorse when they sell.

  • Be positive. Focus on the new home. Remember that once your own possessions are in place and you’ve turned your new house into a home, most of these feelings will disappear.

  • Try not to second-guess your decision and move on without regret.

  • Focus on the positive. It is exciting, particularly if you are moving to a new town or province.

Most importantly, remember what motivated you to sell in the first place and focus on new beginnings.

Sellers cannot simply change their minds once a deal has been signed. A sales contract is a binding legal document and unless something goes drastically wrong and the buyer can’t get a bond, or there is a legal reason why he cannot take transfer, there is very little a seller can do to back out of the deal. Trying to do so will just sour relations between themselves and the buyer and make the inevitable an unpleasant experience for all concerned.

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