Let’s face it, downsizing is one of the more arduous decisions you will make in your life. As you contemplate moving from a larger home to a smaller one, it will serve you well to look out for a variety of distractions that will be most compellingly presented to you. This will almost always happen and not just once: the more you’ll try to focus on the bigger picture, the harder the detractors will try to divert your attention.
The most common distractions to avoid while downsizing your home revolve around the ongoing upward trend of housing prices across Ontario. Appreciation of property prices tends to mean quite a lot to homeowners since it points towards economically easier retirement and more comfortable downsizing plans. But on the flip side, this also means that you could easily be tempted to give in to making a hasty decision about selling rather than taking the time to build a solid plan to finalize the most suitable retirement accommodation and go through with the least stressful downsizing journey.
Another thing about the distractions is that keeping up the constant chatter around them works very well for the purveyors of real estate. The diversions created thus, can lead you to get into wrong relationships with the wrong partner at a time when it may be more pertinent to focus on factors related to your health. Frustrations and anxiety caused by rushing into something today can cost a lot more than the few extra bucks you might have been led to believe you can make on your house sale.
Here are the 6 easy-to-fall-for distractions that we advise you to look out for and not succumb to.
1. “The best time to sell your house is NOW!”
With a strong market all over Ontario, it is actually not that hard to make a sale right away. What’s more? It is quite natural and easy to chime into someone else’s sense of urgency, false as it may be. Drawing you in this way is logical and easy for agents so they can lock down a commission by getting your house on the market as soon as possible. That is how quotas are met and bonuses made.
What it could mean for you though is facing an imminent closing date on the house you are living in with nowhere to go. This can be frightening, confusing and oftentimes, even life threatening. Stress affects us more and in many complex ways as we age. Moving is medically recognized as one of the most stressful times of our lives, and having to deal with decades of possessions and a possible loss of a partner compounds the anxiety multifold.
We strongly recommend that you think deep and make wise choices with regards to your downsizing to sidestep the accompanying health risks. The fact is that the best time to sell your house is when your complete plan is in place, and you have a professional transition partner helping you execute on it in a pragmatic manner.
2. “I have a buyer for your house right now.”
This one is not as uncommon as you’d think. In the present market where many properties get multiple offers with prices beyond expectation, the claim that one or more parties have been identified as interested is close to irrelevant. If you are moving after 30 years and had a slow sale the last time, the notion of a prompt sale that avoids open market may sound lucrative. This is not impossible but, as we have seen, it is rarely in the best interests of the seller (you) and almost always advantageous to the agent who stands to enjoy a double commission at the seller’s expense.
3. “ I can sell your house in a day.”
How often have you heard this? This is quite possible but as far as maximizing your return goes, it is not a great idea to speed up the sale of your house to a day. In a market where demand is high and supply short, you can easily enjoy a marketing opportunity that meets your goal in terms of timing the sale and allows a reasonable shot for multiple buyers to make an offer. Selling in a day often means that several potential strong parties missed the chance to buy your house.
4. “I can get you this much $ for your house.”
Whether this is true or not is really not the problem. Generally speaking, your house is worth much more today than when you bought it. It is important to every seller (you, in this case) and every agent that a good result is achieved. The problem is that focusing on the price alone can skew your judgement and lead you to make decisions that might be too dependent on realizing a certain price for your house sale. In our experience, having sufficient equity within a certain price range is enough to decide and plan a move to the right retirement community for you.
5. “I will give you a free market evaluation.”
A free market evaluation may help give you a general idea about the equity of your house and how it’s changing with time. But it helps the agent offering a free evaluation much more than it does you! It provides them with an opportunity to do what they do best - build a rapport and create a sense of obligation to use them when you decide to sell. For someone who’s ready to downsize, obligating themselves to a real estate agent instead of a downsizing expert can and does become a burden that mounts stress and ultimately, depreciates health. Engaging an agency relationship for someone downsizing is a definite distraction as it shifts the focus to the least important aspects of a transition.
6. “I will charge you less to sell your house.”
This one is usually used by an agent alongside or after a couple other efforts that have not borne acceptable fruits. As a client purchasing any service, you should be interested in paying a fair price. Most downsizers have a certain comfort in their equity and prefer to settle on a service provider they perceive as being the most valuable partner. You owe it to yourself. On the other hand, commissions savings made, if any, can quickly evaporate as a result of poor performance and increased stress. Falling for a trick like this, will certainly throw your focus off from what’s most important and that is, your health and mental peace.
These scenarios are very real and the planned distractions are ammunition for purveyors of real estate. If you are considering downsizing and talking to someone who leads with any of these conversations, chances are your best interests are not high on their priority list. Downsizing and transitioning is new for most of us and you will probably do it just this one time. So it is natural to feel lost or unsure about which way to turn. In looking for what you need, beware of what you don’t need!
Have questions? Drop us a note and we will get back to you to help you answer it.