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Is Seller's Remorse a "Thing"?

Most have heard about "Buyer's Remorse", but is there such-a-thing as "Seller's Remorse"? Has there ever been a time where a home seller would have second thoughts about selling a house? For sure the home seller that has experienced it will tell you "definitely, yes". If you're in the market to sell your house now, or sometime in the near future, here are some things to consider before putting your house on the market.

Often when a home seller has second thoughts about selling it's because they weren't truly motivated to sell in the first place. One of the first questions a real estate agent will ask is "Ok, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, why do you want to sell?" In talking it through, a seller will sometimes think that they want to sell, though they don't have a good reason to sell. To prevent seller's remorse, that is, after listing deciding to list was a mistake and there is no longer a desire to sell, it's important to think through the entire process and have a plan, a relocation goal, including strong reasons for selling.

A real estate agent can walk a seller through the process and their selling options, including a seller's wants and needs in a future home. A common strategy as a seller is to make a good, old fashioned "Ben Franklin" list, and list the pros, and the cons, of selling at this time. If the pros outweight the cons? List. If the cons outweigh the pros? Wait.

Sometimes a seller will want to "test" the market to see how much a buyer will pay for the house to see if it is priced right. In discussing pricing strategy a real estate agent will frequently recommend a price that is "market" in the best interest of the seller, for many reasons including capturing the typical wave of buyer activity when a house is first listed. Depending on the market, the longer a house sits-not-selling, the perception may be that there's "something wrong with it, otherwise it would have sold already". While you could always list above market, and then reduce the price later, for the reasons above that may not be the best strategy, and often times will be a wasted effort.  It's not about what the seller wants to "get" when discussing price, it's about what the market will pay. Priced-right homes get offers, which is great news for most home sellers. If finding a replacement home is a concern because offers come in quickly after putting the house on the market, a seller can sell contingent with a period of time to find a replacement home.

Another consideration is that the listing agreement is a binding commitment between the seller and the listing broker. Exclusive-right-to-sell listings are the most common and entitle the broker a commision if a ready-willing-and-able buyer makes a full price purchase offer. Sellers who get cold feet and cancel the listing may end up owing a broker commission if the broker performed.

Planning for a home sale comes months in advance of putting the house on the market. If you're having second thoughts about a listing price, or are feeling guilty about selling a house you love, then you should probably stay out of the market for now. These are warning signs that you're not ready to sell and could lead to seller's remorse down the road. 

Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.