You need to take a very businesslike approach when selling a family home, and let your head not your heart make the decisions. "A home you own is always so much more than bricks and mortar," says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, "and this emotional attachment tends to grow stronger over time. However it can become a serious obstacle when the time comes to sell the property."
For instance, he says, few people can dispassionately and objectively value their own homes, and the great majority will overvalue them, not realising that what they are effectively doing is expecting buyers to compensate them for the happy memories a home may hold – and very likely jeopardising their chance of selling.
"You really need a cool head to conclude a successful sale, and this is where it pays to have professional help, in the form of an experienced estate agent able to give you expert advice and some impartial perspective on how much your home is really worth in the current market."
Gray says it is also advisable to have an agent to act as a buffer between your sensitivities and the sometimes critical comments your beloved home might elicit from potential buyers. "This will help you not to make rash decisions, like point-blank refusing to sell to the person who voiced a dislike of your kitchen colour scheme, or the one who said that if they did buy your home, they would immediately replace all the carpets with tiles."
A good agent will also ensure that you do not have prospective buyers tramping through your home at all hours of the day. "He or she will make viewing appointments and plan show days well in advance, so you have plenty of time to present your home well and then make yourself scarce, comfortable in the knowledge that you have an expert looking after your interests.
"And once you receive an offer to purchase, your agent will guide you through all the necessary legal requirements and keep you informed of the transaction's progress, leaving you free to concentrate on your plans for your new home."
ISSUED BY HARCOURTS AFRICA