OTHER PEOPLES STORIES – Real stories, real clients, not their real names

Mary – Divorced, Retired and Downsizing to a New Area

Mary is divorced, retired and wanting a change from her big garden. The last time she sold a house she had a partner to talk things through with. This time she is selling and buying by herself. Mary has an amazing family but wanted someone independent to guide her through. 

Our first step was to chat about what she wanted her next step to look like. 

What did she want – location, size of home, garden, condition of home etc. and budget.

Not unusually, the home Mary thought she wanted evolved the more she looked. 

Selling her home was secondary to discovering her actual wants in her new home. 

We have to understand where we want to be before we sell, particularly when retired.

The process of Selling, preparing the home – decluttering, fixing and freshening it up, choosing an agent – their fees, strategy and marketing costs, understanding the potential price and the legal steps involved can be overwhelming particularly when there are various voices pulling you in different directions. All done with love but possibly not with recent real estate experience. 

We met, we chatted, we enjoyed biscuits and cups of tea and together we worked on our strategy. How were we going to achieve her best outcome, step by step. 

The process undertaken ensured that Mary was kept in the loop and made the final decision on everything. She kept control throughout. The benefit of my support and guidance was that every decision was made with real estate knowledge and experience and a clear strategy to follow. 

John and Betty – Executors and Beneficiaries of the Family Home

Not all of my clients are women over 40. Predominately though, they are referred to me.

John and Betty lost their dad suddenly. Their parents were divorced and their dads home was full of a lifetime of work and hobbies. 

Neither John nor Betty had sold a home before. Not sure where to start they started sorting through their dads belongings. This is an emotional, thankless task. It is time and energy consuming, it feels neverending. 

When we are grieving we need time to blunt the edges. Clearing out a home can be cathartic. You explore memories and learn more about the individual, not just dad or mum but a person. 

Developing a strategy and giving time without pressure, keeping in touch and updating about the local real estate market. Reassurance and a plan.

How much freshening up to do? A little or a lot? New kitchens, new bathrooms, painting, polishing floorboards, getting the garden under control. Should they Stage the home (put furniture in the home), displaying the various rooms to their best advantage?

My recommendation is usually to look at the cost vs benefit. Will the changes improve the sale price enough to make the effort and dollars invested worthwhile?

A quick paint and focus on the garden is a good start. Kitchens and bathrooms are expensive and when changing to sell we usually take the cheapest options which unfortunately can be quite obvious. Buyers often end up ripping them out and replacing to their own taste. Polishing floorboards depends on their condition. Taking up carpet because there are floorboards underneath can uncover a few problems however floorboards are often more attractive than old carpet. 

Working through the process took around a year, their grief had almost dulled to good memories and the practicalities were kicking in. A year is a long time to be working on a house and by the end you have had enough and want your life back. No more weekends and holidays sifting through decades of correspondence and things that might be useful one day.  

The selling strategy then begins. A relief to finally be there. Sorting through legalities, letting the agent take control and being reported back to for you to make any decisions. The sale becomes the ‘letting go,’ the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Time to move on. Guided, independent advice getting you through an heartbreaking process. 

Pam – Retired, Widowed, Selling the Family Home and Buying Her First Home by Herself

Losing a life partner is tough. Making the decision to sell the family home and buy something that suits your new life adds a whole new layer of complication. 

Decisions to be made, others feelings to consider. 

Grief. Emotion. Guilt. Hope. 

Letting go of the life you had and the realisation that the decisions you thought you would be making together are now just yours. 

You always knew there would come a time when the house and land were too big to manage but it was a time in the distant future. 

Reality is harsh. 

Conversations with your family, these are also tough. They have to let go too. 

The decision made, selling the home is going to happen but where do you go next? Do you stay locally, move closer to friends, change your lifestyle completely?

Working through these elements should not be sudden. Maybe you want to go ahead with the decision you had made together, it will be different to what you expected but a dream envisioned is a hard course to change. 

Talking through your options with independent advice means you can talk it out without well meaning interference from family and friends. 

Buying a home by yourself, as confident as you are, is still intimidating. Sometimes a conversation and some guidance is all you need. Pam is newly retired and enjoying her new found freedom from work, lunch with the girls, walks, tennis, doing what she wanted, when she wanted. 

All she needed when buying was advice on pricing, what to look out for and negotiating assistance. She used Meet Ups to work through her concerns. Minimal outlay for maximum comfort and assurance.