When Emotional Value Outweighs Market Value

By MICHAEL EDLEN | Special to the Palisadian-Post

Many people believe they know the value of their home, based on their feeling that it is worth a certain amount.

Often they use the sale of another home nearby as an example to justify their feeling. They prefer to rely on anecdotal evidence rather than on actual research with analysis of comparable homes, as is the customary way most real estate agents and appraisers evaluate homes.

Homeowners who have raised their families in the home may have a high sentimental value from many fond memories of parties, holiday celebrations, great meals and shared laughter through the decades. If the owners have passed away or needed to move to assisted living facilities, some of their adult children may have an exaggerated feeling of value as the time comes that the family needs to make decisions about what to do with the home they were raised in.

While we as professionals are trained to evaluate a property based on objective criteria, the families may be heavily influenced by sentimentality, unsupported expectations or fear of under-selling, etc. Making a decision about what to do with the family home might take them many months, as does the gradual disposition of the parent’s accumulations over so many years.

I have met with many children who were inheriting the home they were brought up in, and had feelings of uncertainty and concerns about their parent’s wishes. Would they have wanted the house kept in the family perhaps for some of the grandkids? How would that work when there were multiple grandkids?

These and many other emotions arise during the process of deciding what to do with the home, and often the Realtor’s role also becomes somewhat of an experienced counselor in helping to facilitate which actions can best serve the interests of all concerned.

If these issues are not kept clearly in mind, it can be all too easy for the Realtor not to remember to be respectful and empathetic about the entire family’s feelings.

Of course, emotional value will often outweigh market value, and this in turn can impact the agent’s ability to find a buyer willing to be very patient with the process and motivated enough to perhaps pay top price for the home.

The ideal real estate professional will fully understand these dynamics, be supportive of the family feelings, and take actions consistent with the family priorities and decisions.

Call Michael at 310-230-7373 or write him at michael@edlenteam.com if you would like to discuss any of these ideas.