The homeowners look at me and say, “We would like to get (insert dollar amount here) for our house.”

This comment may come after the homeowners have looked at a report containing recent comparable sales in the community. The prices suggested have left the homeowners a bit disappointed.

This can be a hard moment. Like most of you reading this, everyone follows real estate. It is so easy to look up recent sale amounts, browse listings and look at photos. Having a notion of what you would like to sell your home for and what the local market conditions are — well, those two have to synchronize, don’t they?

Or do they?

Realtors are supposed to be experts. They are working in the field every day and are more detached emotionally from your home than you area. The renovations you have done were because they meant a lot to you. From the paint colours of your home’s interior, to the style of windows, extensions, additions, backyard landscaping and your street appeal — these were all your choices.

When you are selling, it might help to think this way: I invested in certain things in my home to make our lives here more enjoyable. We achieved that. Now that it is time to sell, what has value to buyers?

Many homeowners renovate or update carefully, taking care not to make changes that will “date” their home. Some homeowners seem able to create a less personal space and so, when it comes time to list their home, it has a more generic appeal. It presents a blank slate for prospective buyers.

But that is a lot to expect when you have made your house a home for your family and you might have lived there for 20 years or more.

But back to pricing. In the current market, yes — there are price reductions. The days of the pandemic rush when a home might sell for what seemed like an unreasonably high price? Those days are over.

While your realtor/real estate agent can present you with a price range in order for you to select a listing price for your home, consider that a high price may mean your house will sit for several weeks with no requests for visits from other agents and their clients. Consider what else is on the market when you are about to list. Consider the time of  year. Is it back-to-school time? Have interest rates just increase . . . again?

The seller is just one player in the real estate transaction. The other major players are: prospective buyers. Think about who might be interested in  your home and what might appeal to them. In other words, step outside your homeowner’s role and look at things from the other side.

Spend all the time you want reading about and looking at real estate listings. Knowledge is always a plus. But the reality is: looking at home renovation shows or videos won’t necessarily make you a renovation expert. Reading food blogs and recipes might not make you a top-notch chef. Devouring real estate listings might not make you an expert when it comes time to pricing, preparing your house to sell, or marketing your property.

 Gather all the advice you can. And get real. The process of selling a home can be emotional one and getting everything in your home in tip-top shape and keeping everything spiffy as you wait for showings takes energy. Consider that while you are in the midst of selling, you might be going through the process of looking for another home, changing your personal life situation after a divorce or a loss, or relocating. Sometimes, the sale of a home means acknowledging the move to a different stage in life due to an empty nest or realizing that keeping up an acre or two of gardens is simply too much. Priorities change.

So be good to yourself. Look at all the realities you are trying to sort out: from personal (aging, relocating, family changes), to financial changes and don’t forget about the energy it takes to evaluate one’s possessions, find another place to live and beyond that: to set down roots in a new town or new neighbourhood. Do your best to keep things simple and do one thing at a time.

The takeaway I have from my time in real estate is the certainty that situations can change quickly and that further: things have a way of working out. Problems just mean that we need to focus on options to choose a solution. Really.