Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
When selling a home in an unfavorable market, it can be hard to face some facts. Most likely, your home will not command the price you want. It might be hard to cut your losses and move on. And you may find you have more emotional ties to selling your home than logical ones.
Such feelings are not a surprise, says retirement expert Jan Cullinane, author of “The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life” and the upcoming “The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement” (John Wiley & Sons, 2012). Business decisions often are more emotional than we realize. But understanding some basic theories of behavioral economics—how psychology affects economic decision-making—can help us all make better financial decisions.
“Leaving a home can be very emotional,” Cullinane says. Yet, she adds, when we need to sell a home in a down market, we need to understand the obstacles and the behavioral economic factors so we can cut the emotional ties.
“We’re much more emotional, like Homer Simpson in our thinking, rather than logical like Spock from ‘Star Trek,’” Cullinane says. “When it comes time to sell our home, it helps if we are aware of these factors and how we think.”
Being aware of the following behavioral economic concepts help with this difficult decision-making:
Status quo bias. “It’s easier to do nothing than to do something,” Cullinane explains. People don’t want to change things unless there are compelling reasons.
Loss aversion. In this market, you may have to sell your home for less than you thought. On the flipside, when you buy your next property, you’re likely to buy it at a discount. But that doesn’t always make us happy. “We feel worse about a loss than we feel happy about a gain,” Cullinane says. Recognizing our loss aversion can help us come to terms with the loss and appreciate the gain.
Endowment effect. “We put a higher value on something we own than on something we don’t own,” Cullinane says. The endowment effect can create a roadblock when putting a home on the market. It also means that others won’t value our home the same way we do.
Anchor. We all have an “anchor”—a fixed price for which we think our home should sell—and we don’t want to sell it for less than that amount. Often, our anchor is based on what we paid for the house and what we feel it should be worth now, even if market conditions have changed dramatically. We need to get past that emotional anchor. “Let’s face it, your home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it,” Cullinane says.
Sunk costs. When we have put money into something that we can’t get back, we have a tough time cutting our costs and moving on. For instance, if you remodeled your deck, you may not be able to recoup that money when you sell. You need to realize that money is a sunk cost—it already has been spent and you won’t get it back—and move on.
If you’re retiring, or moving for other reasons, it helps to realize that your home is not worth now what it once was. Those high sales prices aren’t coming back any time soon, but you can get a good deal on a new purchase.
“Knowing that you feel worse about a loss than you feel happy about a gain—and recognizing that intellectually—goes a long way to getting over that emotional hurdle,” Cullinane says. “Knowledge is power.”
A Chicago-based writer and editor, Eve Becker writes about personal finance, health, and other topics. She is a former managing editor of Tribune Media Services.
Signs of Life from a Struggling Real Estate Market
Buying a Home: Are You Ready?
Buying or Selling Your Home? Local Real Estate Markets
Buying or Selling Your Home? Real Estate Price Predictions
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.