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Four Stages of the Sale

Real estate is an emotional business. Moving is one of the most stressful experiences an individual or family can go through. it is important to recognize this and be supportive, understanding and responsive.

As team members progress through the escrow together, due to inside and outside influences each may experience different emotions or stages as a response to stress. Not only the buyer and seller experience these stages. The rest of the team can also experience them. Understanding these stages helps you to determine when to request and negotiate.

There are four emotional stages:

1. Euphoria

The first emotional stage of the escrow team is the euphoric or “honeymoon” stage. The team is excited and enthusiastic. The buyer is happy to have found the home he or she has bee looking for. The seller is relieved to have found a buyer for his or her home and can now move ahead with plans. The agents and lender are happy because it means they soon will be paid for their services! The escrow officer is happy because it increases his or her number of closings. The team is willing to extend themselves and work out problems and negotiate at this stage. The euphoric stage is an excellent time to get disclosures signed, work out details such as possession date and time, removal of contingencies and repair requests.

2. Depression, or Second-Guessing

The second stage is depression, or second guessing. In the third week of the escrow, the buyer and seller may become fatigued. They have been burning the candle at both ends-coordinating the sale or purchase plus working or participating in their daily life activities. The buyer and seller are less focused and take more time to respond. They may even second-guess their decision. The rest of the team may also experience second-guessing especially if small, symptomatic problems begin occurring during the escrow. You will find the team struggling to cooperate and individuals beginning to retreat from the team approach.

3. Anger/Denial

The third stage is anger/denial. If the escrow process is not going well, you will find team members experiencing these emotions. The buyer or seller may refuse to negotiate and/or threaten to cancel the escrow. The agents are impatient and do not want to deal with problems. The lender is slow to return your calls. Frequently, the team members are looking for a scapegoat instead of focusing on solving problems together. Compounding this is the fact that the buyer and seller may be exhausted, and at the same time are trying to pack and make moving arrangements. The third and second stages are NOT good time to negotiate and ask for paperwork to be signed. When a team member is in the third stage, it’s a good idea, if possible, to allow him/her a short “cooling off” period to allow the individual and team to back off and regroup.

4. Acceptance

The fourth and final stage is the stage of acceptance. This is where team members do what it takes to close the deal. The buyer and seller will sign whatever is needed to “get it over with”. The agent and lender may even be willing to help pay for some additional costs. The escrow officer and coordinator are also willing to perform extra duties to close escrow. Some agents use this stage and extreme time constraints to gain cooperation from their clients.

However, the best time for buyers and sellers to make decisions is during the Euphoric stage when they have the time and energy to review documents and reports and make good decisions for their future.

Not everyone experiences all of the stages or in any specific order. These stages are simply guidelines for you to increase your awareness of where the team may be emotionally at any given time during the escrow. There is no guarantee of how long each stage will last, which stage will come first, or if team members will experience all stages. Be aware that these are coping mechanisms used to deal with stressful situations!

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