How to deal with the decision to sell the family home

I pulled into my driveway and my neighbour, Judy, came over to say hi and to share some news. The news was that after living in the house across from us for 40 years, they were selling and downsizing their life. I could tell that it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but the maintenance was too much for her and her husband, Brian, who had just had hip surgery. “Leaving all the memories will be the hardest part,” she said, while fighting back the tears.

It is not an easy choice to sell the family home. For most it feels just like yesterday that they took the “For Sale” sign off it. It is the location for so many of the life’s milestones that it can become too much of a sentimental attachment that makes parting with it unbearable. It can be the stuff that makes a home a home; the wall where you marked the kid’s height as they grew, the part of the house where you always put up the Christmas tree, and the kitchen that saw laughs, tears, heart to heart conversations, and the occasional argument. It can be a lot to let go.

Once you decide to sell here are some tips that make the transition easier.

Compare real estate agents

Like lawyers, there are a lot of different real estate agents that offer different services and rates. It’s best to meet with as many as you can to make sure that you get one that is going to work with your best interests in mind. A great place to start is by Googling real estates in your area and reading the reviews. Reading about other people’s experiences might make it easier to choose which agent is right for you.

Turn it back into a new home

When you first moved in, each room had its potential. Spare rooms became kid’s rooms, which became storage rooms or craft rooms. It will help to take the personal out of the room by turning it back into a clean bedroom with simple furnishings. There are home dressing agency’s that you can use to help this, and the real estate agent you go with might be able to help as well. By doing it a room at a time, it will make the transition ease into reality.

Use family to help downsize

Bring the kids or other family members that enjoyed the house too to help with the downsizing. Having family there will make it so that you don’t have to handle it all alone, and the strength in numbers can even make it fun. Perhaps have a garage sale to sell some unwanted items and make a day out of new memories out of it.

Talk to friends that have done it already

Talking to people that have already done it can be incredibly handy. They can tell you how they coped, how they started the next chapter and can help you plan yours. By looking forward to the next stage, it might be slightly easier to let go of the past.

Which brings it all back to what my neighbour Judy said to me, “Leaving all the memories will be the hardest part”. It’s not true at all. You get to take the memories with you.

Have you sold your family home? What did you do to make it easier? Are you considering it? What hesitations do you have?

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