Getting to a Happy Closing Table


Getting to a happy closing table may be harder than it sounds, especially for you as sellers, who are often parting with years of history and memories with your home. The process can be sad and painful – not to mention disappointing if you haven’t sold the property for as much as you would have liked. Furthermore, the sale – and purchase – of a home is a long process and journey for you and the buyers. In other words, it’s not just an accepted offer, followed by the signing of a Purchase & Sale Agreement, which ultimately culminates in the closing. It’s the inspection, buyer visits to the property, appraisal, mortgage contingency, saying goodbye to the house, packing up, preparing the house for the buyers and more.

And so getting to a happy closing table can be complicated, and it means cooperating, treating one another with respect, making compromises, understanding the other’s emotional mindset and working together so that you achieve happiness during that final hour when the deed is transferred from you to the new owner of your home. Here are some tips – mostly for you as sellers – to keep in mind to make the process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Allowing access to the property – Believe it or not, this is often a heavily contested and heated issue. As sellers, many of you are stressed when thinking about all of the tasks and packing that must be done to get to the closing table. Therefore the thought of allowing the buyer into the house at possibly inopportune times for measuring or meeting contractors might send you over the edge. But in these instances, try to remember the golden rule and strive to be as civil, gracious and generous as you can be. In reality, three or four buyer visits prior to the closing aren’t really going to derail your efforts to be out of the house on time. (Note for buyers – endeavor to be equally respectful to sellers by grouping contractor visits, for example, so that several come during one visit to the house instead of separate appointments for each of them. This minimizes the inconveniencing of the seller and goes a long way.)

  • Doing repairs in a timely manner – Often there are action items and repairs that you have to do prior to the closing. Make sure to do these tasks in a timely manner and send the receipts to your agent and attorney as soon as the work has been done. This will save unnecessary stress in the days before the closing when you’re searching for the work receipts needed at the closing.

  • Walking the buyer through the home – This is over and above the call of duty, but by taking the time to walk the new owner through your home, conveying useful information about the house and neighborhood, showing him/her how the systems work and what makes the house special to you, you will be helping the buyer more than you know. “Pay it forward” as they say.

  • Leaving any manuals and warranties for the buyer – This is another golden rule moment and a nice courtesy for the buyer. How appreciative and happy would you be if the seller did the same thing for you when buying a house? That says it all….

  • Ensuring a smooth final walk through – There are basically two critical elements to having a smooth final walk through. First, that you’ve left your home, both inside and out, in “broom clean” condition. By making sure that your home is in neat and tidy condition, you will be making for a happy buyer. Second, that you’ve left any and all items that have been included in the sale of your home for the buyer.  Note that this doesn’t mean the remnant tiles, wallpaper and paint cans, for example, that “go with the house.” No items “go with the house” unless you and the buyer have agreed that they do – even if those things were left at the house when you bought it.

  • Saying goodbye to your home – Every seller has their own version of this, but it’s a healthy thing to do after the years you’ve spent in the house and memories you’ve built there. Some plan a weekend or evening when all family members come back to the house to reunite, while others say a prayer/blessing before leaving for the last time.

  • Purchasing a gift for the buyer – This is another over and above, but it happens more than you might think. It’s such a nice way to leave the house for your buyer. And think, good karma…. In fact, my friend, Landis, uses a series of quotes from It’s a Wonderful Life when she leaves gifts for the next owner of her home. “Bread….that this house may never know hunger. Salt…that life may always have flavor. And wine….that joy and prosperity may reign forever.” She writes the words, and then leaves bread or a bread mix, salt or salty nuts and then a fabulous bottle of wine for the buyer! How thoughtful and magical at the same time.

What are your thoughts on getting to a happy closing table? Have you had some of these issues when selling – or buying – a home? How did you deal with them? And did you ultimately get to a happy closing table? 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.

Selling a Home: The 3 Do’s of Responding to an Offer


After writing the post, Buying a Home: The 3 Do’s of Putting in an Offer, I couldn’t ignore those of you who are selling your homes and give some tips on how to respond to these offers…. Hence, this post – The 3 Do’s of Responding to an Offer.

1. Do stay objective. This is crucial and also very hard to do. If you can do anything, don’t let your emotions overtake you and guide your response to the offer. Your real estate agent can help with this because s/he will be objective no matter what as s/he deals with buyers, sellers and the offer process, day in and day out. Being level-headed and approaching this as a business transaction will ultimately help you make more prudent, rational decisions.

2. Do assess the state of the current market. This goes hand in hand with Do #1 and will help you stay objective. Instead of focusing on what you “need to get” or “should get” for your house based on what you put into it or the price for which your neighbor’s house sold, look at the comparative solds, pendings and actives on the market. This information will truly give you insight into what your home is worth from an objective market perspective.

3. Do respond to the initial offer. You never know where the buyer will go both from a price and terms (i.e., close date and contingencies) perspective. If his initial offer was low, remember that it’s just a starting point, and he may still surprise you. Furthermore you can communicate your mindset/reaction to the offer with your counter, and see how he responds. But shutting down and refusing to come back with any kind of counter certainly won’t get your home sold – which, let’s not forget, is hand’s down your primary objective.

Have you been a home seller and faced this kind of scenario? If so, what do’s and don’ts did you follow? Were they effective and did they result in achieving your ultimate goal of selling your home? 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.

The Pre-Moving Day Checklist for Sellers


Last month, I featured a blog on “The Pre-Moving Day Checklist for Buyers,”and now it’s time to look at things from the seller’s viewpoint.  Again, I’m hoping this list can help you focus on the task at hand given how crazy life can become leading up to moving out of and selling your home*.  You’ll see some similarities on this list to the buyer’s pre-moving day checklist, but it also has some distinct differences:

  • Contact the utility companies – make sure that the gas/oil, electricity, cable and any other utility services know that you are selling your home and the day you will be closing on the property.  They will likely schedule a time to do any appropriate final readings (i.e., your oil tank, propane tank and/or water meter). This helps ensure that you won’t receive utility and other bills on a home you no longer own.

  • Confirm receipt of your smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) inspection certificate and/or your Title V inspection certificate (if appropriate) – your listing agent will likely have coordinated this inspection with the town’s fire department for the smoke and carbon monoxide devices.  There is a nominal fee payable to the town, and the final certificate is part of the closing paperwork.  Similarly, if you live in a town with private sewerage, you need to have a Title V inspection done to make sure your septic system is functioning and compliant with the state’s regulations.  The Title V inspection costs a few hundred dollars (depending), and it is also part of the closing paperwork.

  • Reserve a safe place for important documents and items – this is important for sellers too during a move when things have a tendency to get rather chaotic.  Put your passports, birth certificates, medications, etc., in a designated place so they don’t get lost in the move.  In fact, I recommend putting them in your purse or briefcase so they are “on your person,” as they say, rather than on a moving truck.

  • Confirm your moving logistics with the moving company – by this time, you will have hired a mover so check in with the company to confirm the arrival time on moving day and any other logistics.

  • Pack up any last minute items – make sure not to forget the harder items to move or package, including plants and/or extremely fragile pieces that you want to transport yourself.

  • Finish up any remaining home inspection items – after the buyer’s home inspection, there may be items that the buyer has asked you to address or repair.  Before you close the door for the last time and before the buyer’s final walk through (see the next bullet point), take another spin around the house and make sure all of the inspection items have been properly fixed and completed.

  • Make sure the house is “Broom Clean” for the buyer’s walk through – most buyers schedule a walk through of their new home the day before or morning of the closing. During the walk through, the buyer will check to make sure everything has been removed from the property (including all of the knick knacks in the cabinets and drawers) and that all inspection items have been repaired or resolved.

  • Review the HUD-1 Settlement Statement with your real estate attorney – the HUD-1 Settlement Statement is usually available to review with your attorney prior to the closing. In fact, most sellers don’t usually attend the closing and will instead give power of attorney to their attorneys.  So it’s important to make sure you’ve reviewed, understand and approved the settlement statement in advance of the big day.

  • Remember the tax stamps – where we live in Massachusetts, the tax stamp rate is $4.56/$1,000.  So if you’ve sold your home for $1,000,000, you’ll owe $4,560 in tax stamps at the closing.

  • Leave any appropriate keys, garage door openers or other relevant devices for the buyer – this is crucial because otherwise you will be getting a phone call from the buyer asking how he can get access to his new home.

  • Compile a list of vendors, operating manuals, warranties, etc. to leave for the buyer – this is a very nice and helpful thing to do for the buyer, and most sellers are happy to compile this information to pass along to the new homeowner.

  • Complete a change of address form at your post office – it’s important to make sure that you are the one who gets your mail and not the buyer who just bought your home.

  • Leave a personal note and/or gift for the new homeowners – I have seen this done several times, and it’s such a warm and gracious way to end the home selling process.  It also coveys good karma all around.

  • Have some bubbly – you have successfully sold your home, and it’s time to move forward with your life whether that be in a new home you’ve just bought or a condominium you’ve just rented – Bubbly Time….

I think I’ve touched on almost everything….  When you sold your home, were there other things you did just prior to moving day that you would add to the checklist? 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.

* This list does not include the packing of items and furniture and the determination of what is being given to goodwill or other family members, thrown away, potentially sold at a yard sale or to a consignment shop and/or moved to your new destination as these efforts are part of the overall and ongoing moving out process.

The Pre-Listing-Your-Home Checklist


In addition to organizing your clutter, cleaning out your closets, beautifying your home and making it downright sparkle, there are several other things to do prior to putting your home on the market. Here are some pre-listing-your-home items to consider as you begin your journey down the home-selling path:

  • Determine a Strategy or Plan for Your Next Move – In the event that your home sells quickly, it’s prudent to have a plan in place for your next step or move. Some sellers have bought other houses, and so for them, the plan is already in place. But if you are looking to sell before you buy, you might want to explore some short-term housing options so that you have an executable plan and can close as quickly as a potential buyer wishes.

  • Schedule Your Title V Inspection – For those of you who live in towns like Weston, Wayland, Lincoln or Dover, passing the Title V certification is generally the seller’s responsibility. The septic system or cesspool must be deemed in good working order in accordance with the state mandates for the deed to convey from seller to buyer. Some sellers opt not to do the Title V inspection until they have found a buyer, but most do it in advance of listing their home or just as they are listing their home. This way, they know in advance if there are any issues with the system that they need to repair or replace. When you are scheduling your Title V inspection, keep the time of the year in mind as the ground freezes in the winter, and therefore performing the inspection can be difficult. One more thing to note is that in Weston, for example, a passing Title V report is good for two years and can be extended for a third year if you pump the system annually.

  • Check the Status of Your Building Permits – If you did any work to your home while you owned it, you likely pulled a building permit with the town. If so, it’s prudent to check with the town in advance of listing your home to make sure all of the building permits have been closed out. If you did work but didn’t pull permits, this can be an issue for buyers, and the lack of permitting may come back to bite you. As part of a transaction, most buyer’s agents will go to the town to make sure permits were pulled for any work done. Depending on the situation as well as the nature and scope of the work you did, you may want to talk to the town to see how to remedy the situation before it becomes an issue with a potential buyer.

  • Develop a List of Home Improvements – This list, especially if extensive and recent (i.e. in the last 10 years), is something to include on the “beauty sheet” that buyers receive when viewing your home. It can also help answer the plethora of questions that buyers often have and help justify the pricing of your home. Be sure to include what work was done and when.*

  • Feature Photos of Outdoor Spaces, Gardens and Patios – If you are selling your home in the winter and the land is snow covered, this is crucial. Leaving photos at your home of the lush yard and gardens in full bloom and color (as pictured here) can certainly help buyers visualize what your property looks like in the warmer weather. You can also include these photos on MLS so they are part of the MLS listing sheet and available to all potential buyers – not just those who come to see your home.

  • Identify Your Exclusions – Before listing your property, it is important to determine which items – those that are built-in or attached to your walls and ceilings – you are planning to take with you and will no longer remain with the house. Often sellers exclude dining room chandeliers (as pictured below), sconces and window treatments. Other times sellers will exclude sentimental plantings or trees. From a protocol standpoint, if you are excluding a tree, for example, you will likely need to replace it with something similar rather than leaving an ugly, messy hole in the ground. Similarly if you are taking window treatments, the buyer might ask you to fill and paint the holes left in the walls from the extracted curtain rods.

  • Make Relevant and Appropriate Disclosures – Make sure that if there are any disclosures (i.e. easements on the property, part of the land is in another town), you have information documenting and explaining the disclosures to buyers. You also need to include the disclosures on the listing sheet. This way there won’t be any last minute surprises for a potential buyer, which typically don’t go over well.
    Find a Real Estate Attorney
     – Most sellers already have a relationship with a real estate attorney prior to listing their home, but this is something to consider if you don’t. Your real estate attorney will spearhead the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) as well as the closing process, and thus it’s important to find someone you trust and someone who gives you solid legal advice.

  • Choose the Right Real Estate Agent for You – Similar to the process of finding an attorney, you need to choose a real estate agent to market, showcase and list your home as well as serve as your seller’s representative. In my humble opinion, it will likely make the home selling process much more positive, rewarding and successful, if you choose someone who gives you their undivided support, counsel and care. Furthermore as we like to say, “Don’t let an agent buy your listing.” In order to secure the listing, an agent may give you a high, unrealistic price, which ultimately doesn’t behoove any of the parties involved. My advice would be to look at the whole picture – the price the agents give you, the marketing they will provide and, most importantly, the support, responsiveness and care they show you – and choose the best fit for you with all of those considerations in mind. Ultimately it’s the working relationship you have with your agent that becomes the most important element in the home-selling process.

What are your thoughts? When you last sold your home, did you have a similar checklist prior to putting your house on the market? And which tasks – those listed above or others – were most important to you before listing your home? 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.

*It follows, however, not to highlight these improvements if necessary permits weren’t pulled to do the work.

The Top 5 Tell Tale Signs That You Are a Home Seller


Two years ago, I posted The Top 5 Tell Tale Signs that You are a Home Buyer, and though at the time, I had every intention to write about the same topic from a home seller perspective, life and all of its distractions got in the way. So now let’s do it  – The Top 5 Tell Tale Signs that You are a Home Seller…thanks in large part to the feedback and experiences that my seller clients have shared with me over the years:

  1. Obsessing over the Competition – You check your real estate app – whether it’s or others – at least five times a day to see how the market and the  competitive listings in your price range are doing. And you do this much before checking breaking news, the weather forecasts, your daily calendar and the kids activity schedule. Not only this but your weekend is now organized around which competitive public open houses you have to visit instead of your kids sports schedules and your commitments to friends and family.

  2. It’s Your Realtor® Calling – You take a call from your Realtor® before those from your spouse, children, doctor and anyone else for that matter. This is especially true after showings, open houses and of course the nerve-wracking inspection.

  3. Organizing Galore – You spend all of your free time purging and organizing, making trips to The Container Store, watching HGTV and every home staging show you can find on television and non-stop cleaning. On the latter subject, you’ve now scheduled your house cleaner to come multiple times during the week instead of just once.

  4. Plagued by Nightmares – You have nightmares about the basement flooding, the air conditioning going on the blink on the hottest day of the year, the dog getting sick all over your white bedroom carpet and the kids smearing paint all over the play room walls. And of course in the bad dreams, all of these things happen just minutes before a buyer is coming to see the house for a second time…. Ugh!

  5. Indulging in Home Selling Chit Chat – You can’t go five minutes into a conversation without mentioning that your house is on the market. After all, your friends could know friends who know more friends who know even more friends – one of whom could buy your house. Spreading the word never hurts, right?

One thing that struck me in writing this post is the similarities between the top 5 Tell Tale Signs for home sellers and for home buyers. First and foremost, as the home buying process can be intense, time-consuming and stressful so is the home selling process – actually even more so. Second, the obsessive behavior, fascination and preoccupation with everything real estate is the same for both home sellers and buyers. And finally while both processes are all-consuming, they can be over quickly thus allowing you to embark on a new, exciting chapter in your life…. At least that’s the goal!

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever been plagued by these things when selling your home? Were there other tell tale signs that you experienced as a home seller? 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.

Appealing to the Visual Sense: Selling a Shiny, Sparkling Home

Similar to my blog, Smelling Your Home, this is about one of the five senses and selling your home…though this time it’s about the visual sense and how to maximize what buyers see as they first enter your home. When buyers come to view your home, their senses are on high alert.  The olfactory sense – how does the house smell? The hearing sense – is the home in a noisy or quiet location? But the most important sense is the visual one – is the home aesthetically pleasing?

You’ve all heard that old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is certainly true when it comes to buyers walking through the door to see your house for the first time. And so as a seller, it will be your goal to make your home so visually-appealing that the buyers “fall in love.” Because we all know that when buyers fall in mad, passionate love with a house, it’s the seller who wins because the buyers will do/pay anything (relatively speaking) to make sure they end up with the house.

So here are some things to do to make your house sparkle, shine and appeal visually to as many buyers as possible the first second they walk through the door:

  • Create the illusion of open space – Specifically, I am talking about moving out large pieces of furniture. If you have massive couches and chairs in your living room, for example, it will be hard for buyers to see how large the room is because all they can see is the big furniture. The room will look small and tight even if that is not necessarily the reality of the room dimensions. Instead of a positive take-away, you risk a negative one. By moving your large items to the residences of friends and family, the space in your house will feel open and larger, and this will make a big difference to the buyers’ home-viewing experience.

  • Present a clutter-free home. Similar to the recommendation above, if you have filled each room from top to bottom with chachkas, the buyers won’t be able to see the space, and it will likely overwhelm them at the same time. Too many family photographs can have the same effect – not to mention the distraction it can add to the buyers’ experience as they view your home. The buyers might become more concerned with discerning if you have a happy family, how many children you have, etc. than attending to the flow of the house, the amount of natural light, the modern amenities and more. You want buyers to envision themselves living in your home and to focus on its appeal, but if they can’t see the space and “the big picture” because there is so much clutter and so many distractions, they won’t be able to do this.

  • Work to remove blemishes. In other words, focus on addressing things that will catch the buyers’ eyes right away. I am talking about things like cracked, peeling paint, broken window seals that fog and impair windows and cracked tiles (if there are many of them).  Anything unsightly or in disrepair that will draw the buyers’ eyes as they walk through the house should be addressed prior to putting the house on the market. If buyers readily see a plethora of things that need to be fixed, they will think there is even more disrepair that they can’t see, and it will not leave them with a favorable opinion of your home.

  • Make your house sparkle. This works hand-in-hand with removing blemishes. Your house will shine when you replace burned-out light bulbs, do touch-up painting to rid walls of dirty, smudge marks and clean the windows as well as the window sills which tend to collect pollen, dust and dirt. And don’t overlook the exterior effects – mow the lawn, rake the leaves and weed the garden. All these little touches will ensure that your house does indeed sparkle when buyers first step foot on your property.

  • Clear out the closets. By doing this, it gives the impression of space and organization. One thing that is important to buyers is having ample closet space in which to store things.  If all of your closets are chock-a-block full with things falling out of them when the door is opened, the buyers’ take-away will be that your home does not have adequate closet space. Not to mention that they might get harmed from loose, falling objects, which may open a whole other can of worms – and a negative one at that.

  • Clean your house consistently. Clean the house yourself or have the housekeeper come clean on a consistent basis. Not only will your house shine, but you will also get the added benefit of fresh smells throughout. Another bonus is that the buyers will likely feel that you take pride in your home and the way it looks, which they will then hopefully take to the next step and assume that you have maintained it well over the years. This is all good.

  • Eradicate the rodents and spiderwebs. Before buyers come to see your house, it’s a great idea to get rid of such vermin as ants, stink bugs, mice and flies alike – be they dead or alive.  We all know that mice are everywhere – in fact, inspectors joke that it’s rats in the city and mice in the suburbs – but buyers do not want to see them as they are going through your house. Not only is this yuck, but it is not a great way to make a favorable first impression. The same can be said of spiderwebs. They are visually unappealing, and they give the impression that you don’t regularly clean, take pride in and/or take care of your home….

What are your thoughts? When buying a home, what do you notice first and foremost from a visual sense? What is most important to you visually? And what things have you seen when first viewing a home that has ruined your first impression of it? 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.

The Top 5 Signs That Your House Will Sell Quickly


The Top 5 Signs that Your House Will Sell Quickly – I know just the title and thought alone will make you smile and put a kick in your step, maybe even make your heart go pitter and patter. The idea of your home selling quickly is a beautiful, glorious concept. So let’s get right to it! Here are the Top 5 Signs that Your House Will Sell Quickly:

  1. The first broker’s open house will be a buzz with a multitude of agents and their buyer clients coming to see the property as soon as they possibly can. In Weston, Wellesley and Wayland, agents often don’t show their listings until the first broker’s open house, during which buyers are welcome to attend. If your house is going to sell quickly, there will be a palpable and formidable energy. I’ve experienced it first-hand countless times. And I know it sounds a little ethereal, but your agent will know and inform you of this fabulously positive sign.

  2. As soon as the house goes on the market, other agents will start asking your agent about the specifics of the offer deadline – if any. So you and your agent will quickly need to come up with a plan for how you are going to handle offers. I must admit, however, there’s a slight caveat to this. Every once in a while, this agent behavior can also happen if the house doesn’t end up selling quickly. Agents tend to want to have all of the details about how offers are being handled ASAP so they can convey this critical information to their clients.

  3. Your agent will have so many showings the first two days that your house is on the market that s/he will be setting up camp at your house.In other words, your agent will be at your house more than you and your family will be in the first few days of the listing period. Though this is nothing but good news, I know it can be a bit complicated logistically. View it as a great opportunity to take the kids out for lunch and dinner or to visit and catch up with a few of your friends at their houses.

  4. You will have multiple second or third showings within the first several days of your home going on the market. This is another great sign. And you want potential buyers to take at least two looks at your house before they put in an offer. During the second and third showings, they see some of the downfalls of the house – which all homes have – and this will make their interest and offer more solid. Sometimes when buyers jump in quickly, they jump out quickly as well. So you want the buyers to have processed how the pros and cons of your house affect them, what they’re looking for and the way that they live.

  5. You may have requests from some buyer’s agents about pre-home inspections. These are inspections before the offers are due. This can only really happen if the offer deadline is several days after the home has been listed. If you and your agent have decided to take offers “as they come,” there’s not enough time for this. But if offers are due five days after your home goes live on MLS, for example, some buyers may ask to inspect your home prior to putting in their offer. This will make their offers stronger than the others as they won’t include an inspection contingency plus they will have an understanding of the work/issues that might need to be addressed. In other words, their eyes will be wide open about the potential defects of the property. The inspection is the biggest reason why offers fall through so taking this contingency out of the offer – even if it impacts the price slightly – will give you incredible peace of mind about the sale going through.

Food for thought and something to tuck away in the back of your mind until you’re ready to list your home…. As you’ve probably noticed above, the signs don’t come into play until your home is officially live on MLS and the market gets a chance to react. This further reinforces what we like to say at Compass, “You as the seller determine the listing price for your house, but the market (a.k.a. buyers) determines the selling price for your house.” No truer words!

What are your thoughts? Have you recently been a home seller and experienced some of these signs? Or did you experience some of these and others as well? 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.

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.