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Emotions Surrounding Selling a Family Home are Real

written by: Laurie Patsalides•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 8/8/2010

When it comes time to sell the family home, there are definite emotions involved. Learn what they are and tips for making the transition out of the home easier.

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    There is a Season

    According to The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a change in residence comes on the top forty of the most stressful lifeHome for Sale  events. The emotions of selling a family home are real. Couple that with some of other life's pressures, such as a death in the family, job loss, relocation, a new baby, or foreclosure and selling the family home may become a very stressful event indeed. Other contributing factors of stress may be, acquiring a larger mortgage, a change in living conditions, or moving out of financial necessity.

    There is a time and a season in life. Some things end, while others begin. The old saying, "a house is just a house....a family makes it a home," is true. Home is where you lay your head at night and a house comes to life from the family inside of it. When George Bailey, from the movie classic, It's a Wonderful Life, came back, he appreciated the house he lived in, not because he necessarily loved its imperfections, but because he was reunited with his loved ones and his home.

    Oftentimes a house carries years and years of wonderful memories. Growing up in the home, watching your children grow up there, family gatherings and family disputes, a home which was owned by ancestors and passed down through generations, carries powerful memories and attachments. All of life's events and memories are wrapped up in that one house, the family home, which causes equally powerful emotions when it's time to move on.

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    Common Emotions

    Common emotions that may happen when it's time to sell the family home are:

    • Sadness- a sense of sadness comes from saying good-bye to cherished memories and even the house itself. The way the screen door creaks when it closes, the creak on the stairs, the room set-up, the view out that one window, or the garden you toiled over, are just some of the things that evoke sadness. Just remember, these are memories too and will be with you for a lifetime.
    • Anger- this depends on the current situation surrounding the need for the sale.
    • Regret/Remorse- here is where, "if only" comes in. If only I would have done this or that, perhaps we could have kept the house.

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    *Five Tips for Moving On

    Tips for making the transition out of the home easier are:

    1) Take it with you- bring something from the house with you, such as, a rose from the garden and then dry it in wax paper, buy the newspaper and save it from the day you leave, or take some photographs. This will help you to envision the memories you had there.

    2) Leave something there- leave something there for the new owners, or even inconspicuously in the basement or garden. Leaving a treasured piece on the wall or even a stepping stone in the garden will help to transition away from the old and into the new.

    3) If at all possible, have some control over who is buying the house after you. Selling the home to a new family with hopes and aspirations as you once had may make the transition much easier.

    4) Remember the things you did not like about the house, and the updates you wanted to do but just did not have the resources. Perhaps the new family will have the resources to do so. Also, envision yourself and belongings in your new place.

    5) Don't expect to feel better overnight. Allow yourself to go through the emotions, but don't dwell on them too long. Looking forward to what lies ahead in anticipation of a new beginning may be the trick to leaving the family home behind.

    *Please note: this information is not intended for professional advice or counseling.

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    Resources and Image Credit

    The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale:

    Image: Corbis Royalty-Free