High expectations, downsizing to a bungalow


Dear David,

I’m trying to sell my home. I’ve had five or six lowball offers over the last two months, which is disappointing to say the least. I know what my house is worth, but don’t seem to be reaching the right buyers. Any ideas?  – OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS

DEAR OPEN: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems the market response to your listing has been loud and clear. You’ve had lots of offers, which shows that buyers are finding your home desirable, just not at the price you’re expecting.

People often tell me they know what their home is worth (and they’re often correct). However, value is subjective. Buyers may have different ideas about what they are willing to pay and tend not to approach the home shopping experience with emotional attachment.

If a listing isn’t performing as expected, a small investment in relatively inexpensive but highly visible improvements (such as painting, landscaping and staging) may help to show a home at its best.

Pro Tip: Before diving into a home improvement project, talk to your Realtor about whether it’s likely to increase buyer interest and what the return on investment might be. If your home shows well already, it may just be that your current expectations are a bit above market value.

Dear David,

My husband and I purchased a bungalow in a retirement community.  We’re moving there from our four bedroom house. Any advice on how to scale down the volume of “stuff” we’ve collected over the years? – PACK RAT

DEAR PACK RAT: You can’t take it with you, as they say…at least not all of it. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I get this question a lot and advise my clients to sort their belongings in terms of what to keep, what you’ll be able to store (in a crawlspace or locker), what to donate, and what to toss.

A job like this tends to feel more manageable if tackled one piece at a time, so start with a single drawer or closet and work your way through the house. Keep things you love, things that work, and clothes that fit (and get used regularly). Store important papers and documents, sentimental heirlooms and seasonal pieces that you fully expect to bring to your new home.

Donate things that are unused/out of date, items you don’t particularly like, or things you are keeping “just in case” (this is my parents’ favourite saying and admittedly, mine as well). If something hasn’t been touched in the last year, it’s probably safe to remove it from rotation. By unloading as much excess as possible before the move, you’ll be able to fit more comfortably in your new space.

Pro Tip: Sometimes it helps to call in the pros. When my in-laws made a similar move, they took the brilliant step of hiring an interior decorator to measure their furniture, choose what to bring, and lay it out in their new floorplan. They knew what would fit where, which made it much easier to scale down from a larger home. If you think this might help, I’d be happy to recommend someone. #AskDavid