Saying Goodbye to Your Childhood Home: How to Cope
Selling your home is never easy. There are so many things to consider and it can be a timely and expensive task. Sometimes we get so focused on all the details that we forget about an important one – emotional attachment.
Saying goodbye to a home that you’ve spent years in and had memories in is difficult. And if it happens to be your childhood home being sold, that can be especially painful. Before you sell your home, try some of these activities to help you cope with the transition.
Come to Terms, with Yourself
It is easy to get caught up in the financial aspect of selling a home. After all, it is an expensive undertaking and investing in another property is usually contingent upon selling your own. It can be a stressful and frustrating time.
First, you have to accept that your childhood home is being sold. It may or may not be you in charge of selling the home, it may be up to your parents or other relatives. Having no control over the situation can add to the frustration, but there are ways you can help yourself come to terms with the reality that it will soon belong to another owner.
Accept the fact that selling the home is what’s best for the future. There are strong attachments to the house to be sure, but there are practical ways to help preserve the memories. Once you accept the situation, getting ready to sell your childhood home can actually be a fun trip down memory lane.
Have a Walk-Through
All real estate experts, (and HGTV), will tell you to conduct a walk-through or fair and honest assessment of your home while looking at every detail. Yes, you should do that, but later.
After you have accepted that your childhood home will soon be on the market, give yourself time to grieve that loss and take a trip down memory lane.
Walk through your childhood home, either alone or with your family. The memories will naturally start to come to your mind. Have conversations about experiences and traditions that you all had in the house and what that meant to you as a family. It can be a fantastic way to reconnect and honor your home at the same time.
Take Photos and Keepsakes
Documenting the house selling experience can be a great way to get new pictures of your childhood home. You will have to take pictures for the MLS listing or websites regardless, so remember to have some fun. If family and friends are helping you out with clean-up or renovations, be sure to take lots of pictures.
Was there a window upstairs that never stayed shut or a creaky door? Take a picture, if nothing else you can look back on them years down the road if you are feeling nostalgic.
If clearing items out of the house is required before the sale, take the time to truly pick out the things that you can’t part with. Keep in mind, you can always rent a small storage unit for items that may take a little more time to re-home or situate. Don’t be forced into getting rid of precious keepsakes too quickly, despite the need to move or sell quickly.
Remember, and Look Ahead
When emotions become overwhelming, remember that selling your childhood home only means there is an opportunity ahead to make more memories. Chances are, you already moved out of the home and it’s been your parents keeping the home fires burning. They get to move forward too.
There is a big misconception that parents should remain in the family home to preserve the memories for the next generations. While there is some truth to that, moving into a new home doesn’t discount the old one.
Looking ahead is healthy, especially when situations like these are often inevitable. Large family homes are often too much for the remaining occupants to maintain. Most of the time, it won’t make sense to fix the outdated appliances or remodel the kitchen because that kind of space isn’t usually needed anymore.
The urge to travel and see adult children and grandchildren who have often moved away takes precedence over staying in the family home. Downsizing becomes a necessity and selling the family home bankrolls the future one.
Once you take steps to preserve your memories of your childhood home, coming to terms is easier than you think. You can look at photos anytime, sometimes even re-visit the home or drive-by if you’re still in the area.
The best thing is to focus on the new experiences you will have in the new home and collect those memories. Meanwhile, you have plenty to do to get your childhood home ready for sale.