As realtors we often get wrapped up in the sell and often forget the emotional bond people have with their homes. I recently did a walk through for a listing presentation where I was explaining to a woman who had lived in her home for 30 years the bits and pieces she needed to fix to help spruce the home up to help it sell. Such a touchy subject to have to broach with someone because you don’t want to come off as insulting, but you also want them to make as much money as they can off their property. It’s an investment for their future retirement, right? So it shouldn’t hurt their feelings if I tell them that the bright yellow wall in the kitchen has got to go.
Except, my mom recently started preparing my childhood home to sell.
The home she and my father have lived in for over 46 years, the same home I was born in, had my 16th birthday party in, did cartwheels in my backyard every summer and built frosty the snowman every winter. And now that my own Father is not doing so well, the time has come for us to have to consider what the next step would be for them or at least for her.
As we started discussing items that she could rip up or take down, clear out or paint she started getting insulted by my suggestions. My mom of all people, who I thought I could shoot straight with, was not taking my advice very well. I mean, ultimately I have her best interest at heart and this is hard for me too. I got home this past weekend and she had already ripped up the green shag carpet that my parents have had in their home for forever, all 35 years that I’ve been alive, and suddenly in its place are albeit lovely hardwood floors, but still where had my comfort zone gone? That shaggy green carpet had seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. It had also seen 3 puppies mark their territory.
The house felt colder, prettier, but colder. I knew that she was going to start doing repairs here and there, but one weekend new French doors are in – the next our green shag carpet is gone. Before you know it, the home will be sold and someone else will be making their new memories there, putting their stamp on the hardwood floors.
I started questioning why I was becoming so emotional about the repairs that I had suggested for her to do.
When you sell residential real estate, it becomes easy to turn off the emotion and to turn on the $$. You connect with your clients, but ultimately every deal ends up being about money – who got the best negotiation, the most repairs done, the largest amount of seller’s assist.
You stop thinking about the soul of the house and all of the memories that were made there, the people who laughed and cried and leaned against the walls and maybe even put some holes in them. I sometimes think about what life will be like 10 years from now and if I’ll ever drive back in to town to take a drive by my old home and see how the new owners are treating it.
It might sound silly, but these four walls saw me through so many ups and downs and it seems only right that I should check in on it from time to time.
Despite what a realtor’s job might be, every once in awhile it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, to embrace the souvenirs that come with the four walls. After all, it has spent its days sheltering our clients and giving them a place to call home.