Letting Go of Emotional Attachments When it’s Time to Sell

Letting go of emotional attachments when it's time to sell your home

Letting Go of Emotional Attachments When it’s Time to Sell

As home sellers, we tend to spend a lot of time preparing for the practical aspects of the sale, like choosing a brokerage, understanding the market, and learning how to stage. However, a less-obvious challenge that we sometimes feel unprepared for is how difficult it can be to leave a house behind. It’s not uncommon to see emotionally-attached sellers sabotage their own sales – albeit unintentionally – by overpricing, refusing to make changes that would improve their marketability, or refusing offers because they don’t trust the buyers to care for the house. Though an agent’s advice can help you avoid some of these pitfalls, here are three strategies for ‘letting go’ when it comes time to sell.

  1. Shift your thinking from home to house

It’s easy to get sentimental about your home, especially if it’s where you or your family have formed meaningful memories. To steel yourself, start by remembering the distinction between house and home: the house is just a physical construct – you gave that construct meaning, which transformed it into your idea of home. Wherever you go, all of those meaningful memories go with you! Nevertheless, you might find it useful to build a scrapbook of “The Old House” with snapshots of things you cherish, like the doorframe where you measured the kids’ height, or the view from the kitchen window. Knowing you’ll be able to ‘see’ the house again may bring you peace of mind.

  1. Start depersonalizing and packing

Sometimes sellers try to preserve their version of ‘home’ for as long as possible by refusing to pack anything up until absolutely necessary. However, the visible evidence of your life story makes it harder for buyers to envision themselves living there, which can hurt your chances for a sale. What’s more, it hinders your ability to let go. You’re likely to find that in depersonalizing the house (e.g., packing away family photos and knickknacks), it will feel less like an extension of your personality, and you may feel more open to the idea moving.

  1. Get repairs and renovations out of the way

If you’re planning to do some work to make your home more appealing to buyers, you’re already a step ahead of the game. Luckily for you, this creates another opportunity for emotional ties to be loosened: whether you’re simply repainting in a new, neutral colour, or putting in a new bathroom, you’re starting to erase evidence of yourself, and you’re allowing the house to lose the shape and features that are part of your treasured memories. Just be wary of making the house too similar to what you’d always dreamt it could be – you might end up regretting having to let someone else enjoy it! Instead, focus keeping it neutral so that buyers can project their own dreams into the space.

Though you may have been a paragon of rationality when you decided it was time to sell, it can be surprisingly difficult to come face to face with the prospect of leaving the home behind. While it may never be easy to walk through the door for the last time, it can be helpful to remember that the house was just a house until it became yours, and your idea of home goes with you.

Originally published in the Canstar Community Newspapers on July 24th, 2017. Republished with permission. Content written by ComFree Commonsense Network.
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