Wooden Cabin with Regret File Label

You’ve probably heard the term “buyer’s remorse,” a feeling of regret after a substantial purchase, but sellers can also get cold feet. When this happens, the seller panics and decides not to sell when a prospective buyer makes an offer. In real estate, seller’s remorse happens because sellers aren’t truly ready to part with their home, perhaps because they feel it may be a bad decision or they’re under the impression that they have to sell.

Seller’s remorse is a common reaction in a transaction, but how can you avoid it? Here are a few tips.

Weigh the Benefits and Costs of Selling

Although it may seem like common sense, it’s important to ask yourself: “Am I truly ready to sell?” This simple question will help you determine whether it’s right for you so you can protect yourself from seller’s remorse.

According to Elizabeth Weintraub, a homebuyer expert and Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California, a quick and easy way to avoid seller’s remorse is to make a list of benefits and costs. If you find more advantages than disadvantages you should sell, says Weintraub. But selling when the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, she warns, can put you at risk of seller’s remorse.

While this is certainly a no-brainer concept, it’s a necessary place to start before you even discuss the possibility of selling your home.

Be Prepared to Move

So a buyer makes an offer above the asking price just hours after putting your house on the market, but do you have a plan to move somewhere else? If not you could be in trouble. Buyers can be anxious to move-in and may request to close on your house in as little as 30 days—that doesn’t give you a lot of time to find a new place, and it can lead to seller’s remorse.

Brendon DeSimone, author and founder of DeSimone & Co, a New York City real estate brokerage, says you can avoid this problem by having a “clear post-sale plan.” Be ready to move before you put your house on the market so you don’t have to turn down an attractive offer.

If you’re worried about finding a suitable place before you hand over the keys to your home, Weintraub recommends selling on a contingent contract. This will give you time to find another home without being liable to sell in the event that you don’t find a new place to live.

Know When to Stay Out of the Market

Even though it may seem tempting to take advantage of prices in a seller’s market, it’s important to recognize when you shouldn’t sell. For example, if you’re having second thoughts about the listing price, your realtor, or you’re feeling guilty about having to part with your home, then you should probably stay out of the market. These are definite warning signs that you’re not ready to sell, and doing so may lead to seller’s remorse.

If you find yourself in doubt at closing and you decide not to sell your home, then don’t panic—in fact, you may be able to back out of the deal without repercussions, says Weintraub. Of course, you could face legal action as the buyer has the right to seek damages, but in most cases the court won’t force you to sell. This doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to wait until the last minute to back out, especially since brokers are still entitled to a commission.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to say no and don’t give in to the pressure of selling your home until you’re ready.

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