Buying a home is the worst.
So is selling a home.
But not all at the same time.
As I’ve said before, all real estate professionals should be forced to move every five years so that they realize how painful it can be.
Yes, I understand that most good agents will prepare their clients for the process, but it’s not enough.
It’s like getting a tattoo — you can try to explain how painful it is, but it’s easier if you’ve gotten one yourself.
What most agents don’t fully appreciate is that buyers and sellers have different pain points, and those pain points are at completely different parts of the transaction.
That is, when buyers are happy — sellers are sad. And when sellers are content — buyers are miserable.
Here’s why. When buyers start the process, they’re delighted. After all, they’re shopping, and who doesn’t love shopping? They get to stay up all night looking at real estate porn, and they get an excellent agent to chauffeur them around to look at other people’s homes.
Upon arrival, they can walk around with impunity and make snarky comments about the décor. They get to imagine living in each house and changing their lifestyle each time they walk into a new door. Shopping is the best.
Meanwhile, when sellers start the process, they hate it. They have to sign a bunch of documents. And then they get to put up with their agent telling them they live like a bunch of pigs and have to get rid of all the things that they love about their home.
Then they have to deal with all the showings: schedulings, reschedulings, cancellations without notice, open houses and all those uppity buyers with their snarky comments that they think no one can hear.
Even worse, they have to keep the home in showing condition, which means doing the dishes every night and picking the socks up off the floor.
Agents don’t fully understand that living in a home that’s for sale is the worst. It’s not even your house anymore.
It’s like you’re living in someone else’s house that you have to keep clean and tidy, and you can’t ever get comfortable. Even worse, your “host” has a strange set of friends who keep dropping by whenever they want and judging the way you live.
So, basically, at the beginning of the process, buyers are happy, and sellers are miserable. Buyers are shopping and excited about the possibilities. Sellers are living uncomfortably, and they’re stressed out that they’ll never find a buyer.
But then you get to the offer-and-acceptance part of the process. Now, both sides are happy. We have a deal. Yay for us — lots of good feelings.
And for sellers, that’s kind of how it stays. Now, you can stop sucking it in. Just loosen that belt and relax. It never feels so good to leave the dishes in the sink as it does the day after you sign that contract of sale.
Even better, you’re almost done. There’s no more staging, no more pictures and no more showings. It’s mostly just a clear ride to the closing.
But for the buyers, it’s a different story. The worm has now turned. As happy as the sellers are, the buyers are utterly miserable.
Why? Because they have to get a mortgage. I can say without exaggeration that getting a mortgage is the worst experience in the history of the known universe.
It’s like going to the dentist to get a root canal, except that you go every day. You pull together documents. Then you pull the same documents again. And then you wait a week and ask why you haven’t heard anything.
And then you get asked for the same documents, yet again — it’s infuriating.
Meanwhile, you stress. You worry about getting cleared to close. You worry that your interest rate might change. You worry that you paid too much.
There are no more showings, no more flights of imagination and no more snarky comments — all that’s left is just worry.
So that’s your experience from contract to closing — sellers happy, buyers miserable.
Then you close — and everyone’s happy. The sellers have a wad of cash, so they’re happy. And the buyers have a new home, so they’re happy.
Then, they move … and everyone gets to be miserable again.
Joseph Rand is one of the managing partners of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Rand Realty in New York and New Jersey and blogs about his local markets at the Rand Country Blog and about the industry at ClientOrientedRealEstate.com.