Unstuck in the New Year

Welcome 2015During the holidays I had many conversations over cookies, cocktails and candy canes with people who would love to buy or sell a house this year. Some said they wanted to do both because their current home is either too small, too big (said no one ever), in a lousy neighborhood or too far from work.

When I finished shoving fudge in my face, I asked them what was getting in the way of going for it. Listening closely, I noticed that a lot of them are simply stuck. They either don’t know exactly what they want or they have an idea but don’t know how to take the first step.  And frequently I see that great plans aren’t executed because people don’t take the time to get a clear idea of what they really want and do not have an action plan.

I reached out to Sheila Storrer, a Personal Life Coach, to articulate a process here for getting clients unstuck. I have used many of these techniques during my years in real estate and they really work.

First, Sheila recommends that clients get clear on what they really want by asking some clarifying questions. Think of that new house you imagine yourself in: What’s it look like? What’s your neighborhood like? How do you feel when you walk into your house at the end of the day? Big yard, little yard?  Play room or wet bar? Media room for a huge TV to watch the Seahawks win the Super Bowl? A view? …..Blah, blah, blah.

Buyers, now that you’ve got a picture of that perfect house, it’s time for an action plan. Add these five action items to your New Year’s Resolution list.

Action Items for Buyers:


  1. Get really clear on what you want and get your family onboard.
  2. Get your finances in order.
  3. Assemble a team of experts – or, really, just call me and I can do that for you. Mortgage professional, inspectors, contractors, you name it.
  4. Make the process concrete. Stop lurking on real estate websites. Come out with me to view homes so you can see what you really like/don’t like in person. And every week I will send you homes fresh on the market with your specifications.
  5. Take a deep breath. Or two.

If you’re selling, your obstacle might be in leaving a house that you’re attached to even though it no longer works for you. Sheila has some great suggestions for you, too.

Steps for Sellers:

  1. Get closure: For those hesitant to leave the memories associated with their current home, it helps to take action and get closure. Take pictures of your favorite spots in your house and yard. Write a letter to phantom buyers sharing the memories you most enjoyed over the years in your home. Reluctant to leave the kids’ growth chart notched in the doorway? One parent traced each line and date on butcher paper and transferred it to their new home – where they will build many new memories.
  2. Prep the house: Others dread the “fixing up” tasks they are convinced must happen before listing their home. So often I meet sellers that have done a lot of unnecessary work prepping their house for listing. Let me walk through and help you figure out how to declutter, how much of the garage and closets should be scrapped… and reassure you that you do not need to put away all of your personal photos or repaint in neutral colors.
  3. Work from the plan: We’ll make a list of concrete action items based on the needs of your house and family, and I’ll help you execute them. Then when your house is ready, I spring into action with photographers, the listing price and marketing materials, and your work is done!

Head Shots July 2014-9Cara in the HouseCara Erdman is owner of Cara in the House Real Estate and a Windermere agent. Contact her at 206-919-2505 or cara at carainthehouse dot com with any questions.

Sheila Storrer of Reach|Achieve Personal Coaching helps clients get unstuck from what holds them back. Contact her at 425-941-9194 or sheilastorrer at outlook dot com.

Image via WeHeartIt

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