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How the Serenity Prayer Applies To Selling a Home

You may believe that selling your home is impossible in today’s market. You may feel powerless to the process. What could YOU possibly do to turn this housing market around? There is no doubt that today’s real estate market is extremely difficult to navigate. However, we want you to know that thousands of homes sold yesterday, thousands will sell today and thousands will sell each and every day from now until the end of the year.

It is totally within your power to guarantee that your house will sell even in the current market.

“How?”, you ask. Let’s look at the simplicity of the famous Serenity Prayer and apply it to selling a home in today’s real estate market.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Accept the things you cannot change

The two main reasons that the housing prices have softened:

  1. the current economy
  2. the inventory of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales)

As an individual homeowner, there is no way for you to impact either of those two situations. The best think-tanks in the country are struggling to discover solutions.

Have the courage to change the things you can

There is not a vacuum of buyers in the market. There is a vacuum of homes a buyer in today’s market will purchase. Let us explain: could you sell your home today for $1? … $1,000 … $10,000? Of course you could. There are plenty of buyers in the market for a home they consider priced correctly. You have to decide what the correct price is for your home if you truly want to sell. If you want your house sold, you must list it at a price a buyer will pay for it. Not a buyer from 2006 but today’s buyer who has plenty of homes from which to choose.

It will take courage to sit with a real estate professional and honestly decipher the true value of your home. If you want to sell, you must have that courage.

The wisdom to know the difference

We all realize that the economic situation will take some time to correct. If we want to wait for prices to return to 2006 levels, we will probably have to wait for 5-7 years.

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and decide whether the extra money you would get from the sale is worth that wait. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

This is where your wisdom must kick in. You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of the situation by pricing your home to guarantee it sells. The time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

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22 replies
  1. Hopeful Seller
    Hopeful Seller says:

    I would like to add some other perspectives as a home owner who is trying to sell a home that was valued at $3 million a few years ago. We’re facing a loss of a third on our investment if we’re fortunate enough to get a buyer. Our Realtors only suggestion is to lower the price, which is a tactic that simply lowers the entire market and isn’t sustainable. It isn’t working either.

    Why is it that the real estate community has forgotten the value of marketing? Over the past few years the love affair with the internet as a key selling channel has moved real estate companies away from traditional advertising and marketing approaches. In my view the real estate community could learn a great deal from the auto dealers of this country who understand you have to  prime the pump by advertising to stimulate demand.

    Realtors seem to be simply waiting until the consumer wants to buy. My view is this is slowing the recovery in the housing market. If a Realtor is supposed to be a marketing/sales professional they should be marketing aggressively. Sellers would prefer to lose value to a larger investment in marketing than lowering their price. Everyone would benefit from price stability or recovery. It would also speed up recovery across the entire economy.

    Selling a house requires selling tactics beyond price.

    Prayer is helpful but you can only bury so many statues of St. Joseph.

    • Guest
      Guest says:

      Keep in mind that the value of a house is what buyers are willing pay for a house regardless of marketing.  All the best marketing will not sell an overpriced house.  Many markets saw extremely artificially inflated prices.  Now sellers have to be a bit more realistic.  Realtors are working harder for their commission than they were in 2006 when all you had to do was put a sign in the yard and get multiple offers. 

    • Paul Thompson
      Paul Thompson says:

      The topic of advertising and/or marketing is an interesting one, and it is expensive. You mentioned the auto makers – they spend millions! It is generally expected of the real estate agent to bear this cost – and of course this is a cost that is up-front. This is very difficult for struggling agents. How would you feel if you were approached thusly:
      The agent will commit up to 1% of the selling price of the home to advertising and promotion. You and he will sit down and craft a marketing plan. You will write him a check for the 1%. He will proceed with the marketing and/or advertising as per the plan. If you take the home off the market before it sells he will return all unspent monies with invoices and receipts for money spent. If the home doesn’t sell, same thing. If the home sells, the 1% will be deducted from his commission.
      How would you feel about this? Would it make you consider the asking price more carefully with a realistic eye on the current market?
      If your idea of a current market price is correct, if your choice as an “investment” was a sound one, and if your thinking that the “pump needs to be primed” in order to get your house sold is valid, your house will sell.
      Are you ready to write that check, or do you just think someone else should write it?

    • Ameczywor
      Ameczywor says:

      One other factor neither the agent nor the seller can change is the appraisal.  Unless you are strictly looking for cash buyers (which severely limits your buyer pool) the buyer will have to obtain financing.  After necessary but overzealous changes were made to the way appraisers do their jobs, through the Housing Code of Conduct, appraisers numbers cannot be manipulated.  They are what they are, dictated by what buyers in that market are willing and able to pay for similar homes.  You may find the one in a million buyer willing to pay your price, but if the house does not appraise at that figure, the lender will not approve the loan, and your one in a million buyer is irrelevant.  Perhaps what your agent is saying is more detailed than the message you are receiving.  Ask.  What ARE they doing for marketing?  What is their Internet presence?  How have they connected with buyer agents who work with your target market?  What are you doing to make the home more appealing?  Have you taken advice to correct problems abd enhance key features that buyers want?  You and your agent are a team. Your agent likely does not get paid at all if your property doesn’t sell,and your agent likely gets paid MORE if your property sells for more.  The incentive is built in for your agent to get you as much as possible.  Here’s what not to do:  Leave this agent and list with someone else at the price your present agent recommended.  Of course the new agent will sell the home.  However, your current agent has already told you what you need to do.  As painful as it is, if you want to sell your property in a reasonable period of time, it is what you have to do.  On the flip side, you can then take that money and invest in another property that has had a similar price drop….or you can wait until all the prices go up and you are priced out of the home you would like to obtain.  The choice ultimately is yours.

    • Paceride
      Paceride says:

      Dear Hopeful Seller, I understand your frustration, but direct you back to the serenity prayer. No amount of marketing will sell a home that buyers do not see the value in. The economy is something we cannot change. The fact that buyers KNOW what a house should sell for nowadays by running their own comps we cannot change. As it is, with the internet, your home is being marketed to every human being on the planet already.

  2. Butchpatton
    Butchpatton says:

    Your home is only worth what a ready, able and willing buyer
    will pay and if you get lucky and sell it over market value- it
    still has to appraise. The recent sold comps don’t lie and
    most sellers today are unrealistic about the value of their
    Marketing, TV, Ads, will not help a home appraise for more?

  3. Jo Baggerly
    Jo Baggerly says:

    The Serenity Prayer is a very good comparison for the market, today for sellers, because we don’t have control over the market, only, our own home prices and conditions and I still believe that 90% of marketing a property is pricing it right.  


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