The Why of Selling Your Home


When selling your home, there will be one question that buyers will ask almost as soon as they step foot into your house. Why are the owners selling their home? And this is something that you’ll need to put some thought into. I can tell you that when the “why” isn’t given to the buyers, and instead the agent responds with, “The seller has asked me not to say,” it causes the buyers to scratch their heads, seek out their own answers, and wonder what’s wrong with the house, which is the most dangerous consequence of all. So as you ponder the why of selling your home, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Be open and honest – As always in life, it behooves you to be open and honest. And in this case, it’s the same. There’s also no need to be defensive. People sell their homes, they change their minds, they upsize and they downsize, they prefer other towns – the list is endless. I know some don’t like to share private information, but in this case as a home seller, you’ll need to. And the message is far better coming from your listing agent than from the general public at large, who may have  heard a different story than the truth – and then they tell two people and so on and so on. We all know how that goes….

  • Keep the message consistent – Consistency is key with buyer questions. It’s not prudent to have one story line for the first few weeks of the listing and then decide that you want your agent to put another spin on the story. When – and I purposefully use “when” and not “if” – the word gets out that different stories have been told about the reason for the sale of your home, it only pushes the buyers to find the answers on their own and starts them thinking that there could be issues with the house.

  • Make sure the answer is succinct and makes sense – As well as being open and honest and staying consistent, you’ll also want to make sure your agent answers the “why” question in a succinct and to the point manner. Less is more as they say. And you’ll also want to ensure that the answer makes sense. When showing a house this summer to a buyer client, the listing agent said that the reason for the seller’s move was relocation for a job change. And then in the next breath, when asked about the location of the new job, the agent said he wasn’t certain if the seller had accepted the job and wasn’t sure whether the potential new job was local, out-of-state or international. And then from there, the responses became more confused, and we weren’t sure what the real story was. If my buyers had been seriously interested in the house, we would have likely put out feelers to try to ascertain the reason behind the move. Was it a job change or were they really fed up with the busy street? The bottom line – a bad case scenario for the home seller….

Finally, keep in mind that if the answer to “why” involves upsizing or downsizing, the buyer’s next immediate question will likely be, “Have they bought something?” I would again encourage you to approach this question – and any other questions for that matter – as outlined above. Be open and honest and make sure the answers are consistent, succinct and make sense. This keeps the buyers focused on the most important thing in the home-selling process – your house and its suitability for them. Have you ever found yourself wrestling with how to answer this question when selling your home? How did you approach the “why” and was it effective? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (, 781-267-2844 or, to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.