Selling a House
What is Virtual Staging?
Virtual Staging is the use of software to stage the photos of a home. The key to doing this well is to have good quality photos to begin with and then have a skilled Stager do the decorating.
When would you use Virtual Staging?
Virtual staging would only be done in a VACANT HOUSE.
What is the benefit of Virtual Staging?
- NO added costs to hire a stager
- NO added cost to get content insurance for furniture
- NO damaged walls from moving furniture in and out
- No risk of furniture being stolen or vandalized
- Increased perception of value
- Buyer is able to picture what the space is to be used for
See the difference in the following examples:
This first photo is an odd room. The window does not appear to belong to a specific room. We cannot see what is behind the wall. Can you see how these two options help clarify the use of this space?
We need to talk about control.
This series about selling due to separation would not be complete without talking about the games people play and how they try to manipulate each other.
Incredibly, the blazing hot emotions involved with divorce can turn a previously loving relationship into a battle zone. Sometimes, the sale of a house becomes the last pawn in that battle to the death.
As a real estate agent, I get a front row seat to such gladiator games.
It’s not a fun sport to watch.
I also don’t plan to out anyone’s real, personal story, so will instead paint a picture with broad strokes that have applied to many situations.
One common situation is when a couple has separated, but continues live in the same house until it sells. She never wanted the divorce, and is resentful about it. He just wants to get out of there as soon as possible.
Guess how that pans out during negotiations.
Any buyer who comes along to make offers will be roped into the manipulation and mind games these two end up playing together. Offers – even ones perfectly matching the seller’s requirements – will be rejected. Or stalled. Or have a last-minute change added. Anything to hang on – to keep the unwanted future from unfolding. Anything to keep him around, even if it’s just to fight.
In another common situation, one spouse has moved out, and the other remains in the house, which is for sale. The animosity between them is thick enough to slice.
He decides the house is the battlefield where he will win back control over her. He’ll sign no papers. Or he’ll leverage the house to renegotiate divorce terms. Or he’ll simply stall, perhaps suddenly “needing to talk to a lawyer”, so the buyers who have finally come with an offer walk away, tired of waiting for these two to get their heads on straight.
Sometimes the attempts to manipulate are successful enough to wreak emotional havoc.
Most often though, the result of all this arm-bending is financial loss, even to the point of bankruptcy.
When people sell due to separation, the dynamics are tricky.
Tips For Buyers:
If you’re trying to offer on a house where separation is an issue, bring an extra helping of patience and compassion. These are hurting people in an emotional volatile state, neither responsible for the other’s actions.
Try to remember none of their antics, behaviors, or inconvenient requests is about you. Most of the time, it’s about their last desperate attempt to control or at least hurt their spouse. Try to cut them some slack.
Tips For Sellers:
The best advice I can give to couples selling due to separation is to decide as much as possible before you sell.
Any decision you can make before separating and before selling, is better.
If one of you is leaving the house, try to decide division of assets before actually leaving. Get it in writing and sign if you can. Once a spouse actually leaves, it seems sad emotions ignite into flames of rage and bitterness, and the control games begin.
Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Or that you and your spouse are too sensible to become like “those people” who break down and lash out. You’re not. This happens. And not just to ‘other people’.
The best thing you can do is not underestimate the power of emotions involved.
Head trouble off at the pass – discuss and agree on as much as you can before walking out that door.
Separation is emotionally volatile.
What’s surprising is that it surprises people.
I’m not sure why. It’s perfectly logical.
When a previously deep and intimate connection disintegrates, it does not go quietly into the night.
The connection doesn’t simply become dead. It becomes… undead.
It continues living, but in a new, twisted form.
Divorce seems to poison its victims, transforming one or both into claw-bearing, fanged creatures who rip and tear relentlessly to satisfy their new thirst for blood. What was once passionate love becomes an insatiable desire to inflict pain, ironically in an effort to relieve pain.
Logic becomes calculation.
Reason becomes justification.
Love becomes hate.
Suddenly the dining set bought together years ago, while holding hands in the furniture store, becomes the mountain on which each is willing to die.
Discussions about the house, the furniture, and the car, each become an opportunity to slash and bite and howl.
Unfortunately, the children also fall victim to the poisonous effects of divorce. They, however do not grow fangs. They become the table or the car – a thing to fight over. There, smack-dab in the middle, they can’t help but get in the way. As they watch their parents slash at each other, and as they are tugged and coaxed and pressured back and forth, they are soon scarred by slash marks too.
It’s an ugly unfolding.
As a real estate agent, I’ve had a front row seat to many such stories. My clients have suffered the grief and shock and pain of divorce. Luckily for both of us, the deep pain of divorce is something I’m personally acquainted with, so I can empathize.
I understand. I’ve been there.
My experience – both personally and as an agent helping my clients through this gut-wrenching process – also means I can hopefully start a conversation that helps others understand how to help their clients.
Whether you’re a real estate agent, banker, or lawyer, it’s tough to watch clients suffer, and difficult to navigate the volatile transaction.
The biggest way we can help our clients is by empathizing. Let’s not be surprised or critical of their emotional state or outbursts. This is the nature of the beast. Instead, let’s look past the claws and fangs and realize all the howling is not about dining sets or houses. These are the final twitches of death – the pangs of regret and hurt that themselves cause hurt.
Hurt people hurt people, as they say.
Let’s not add salt to the wound.
As the professionals helping them through it, we can offer an ear, a kind word, and maybe even suggest alternative, more effective ways to salve their wounds. But our advice can’t come out of a desire to fix them. It has to come from a place of compassion and empathy.
It’s all any of us wants – to be loved the way we are. To be understood. To be known.
Luckily, every human interaction – even acting as a real estate agent – offers the opportunity to provide exactly those things for another.
No one wants to talk about it.
But it’s happening more and more.
People are selling their houses due to marital separation.
I’m not sure what’s worse though – the crisis many couples are in while they try to sell their house, or that no one is talking about the swirling mess of issues that come up as a result.
I may not be able to rescue anyone from crisis, but I can sure initiate a conversation. Hopefully it helps dispel a few myths, open a few eyes, or foster a bit of compassion and understanding for those who are hurting and either ruined by the pain or lashing out as a result.
Over the next bunch of posts I’d like to talk about selling during a separation.
Can I be honest with you about the games people play during the sale to control, manipulate, or exact revenge on their spouse? This isn’t about being gossipy or telling juicy stories. People in crisis have a hard time seeing what’s going on. Also, after years of marriage, one doesn’t anticipate how separation can stir up a vengeful beast. So, when the games start, they come as a shock. Let’s talk about it so you can be prepared.
So you’re not shocked out of your socks.
So you can recognize a gamer’s ways and protect yourself.
I’d like to tell you why I removed one woman’s wedding photo from the wall – and why she didn’t do it herself. The stages of grief are not reserved for death.
Sometimes people will get into a heated argument, even shouting at the top of their voice, over a dining set. But in a separation, it’s never, ever, ever about the dining set.
Then there’s the experience of a real estate agent caught in the middle. I’m not allergic to helping people through crises, and I’ve certainly been through my own.
Maybe I’ll even talk about the time a couple decided not to sell their house, and how it saved their marriage. That was the best money I never made, and I’m thrilled every time I see them together.
Separation is like a fire – it blazes with red hot emotions, damages everything it touches, and people get burned. I know. It hurts. It’s gut-wrenching. And it changes your life forever. It’s also isolating.
That’s why we need to talk about it.
And, maybe by talking about the many issues that flare up, we can minimize the damage and put a bit of salve on the burns.