Selling Our Own Home

(April 02, 2014, posted in Selling Your Home)

I now truly remember how hard it is to be selling your home.

Not that I didn't know before, but in some ways as Realtors we sometimes forget just how grueling it to have a house listed on the market for any length of time and to live in a constant state of readiness. Having active young kids makes it even more challenging to keep everything spic-n-span. That's why I always try to pitch in and help my clients get their home ready for photos, showings, and inspection. But because selling homes becomes so routine for Realtors, it is relating to those feelings of excitement, panic, fear, stress, and worry that often become overlooked.

Recently our family purchased a new home and therefore had to put our existing house on the market. Those that know me have no-doubt heard me say ALWAYS SELL the current home PRIOR to BUYING a new one UNLESS you are prepared to carry two mortgages. This is a bit of a "do as I say not as I do" situation as our White Rock Dream Home popped up unexpectedly (yay!) and we just HAD TO HAVE IT. It checked all of our boxes, was just a couple doors down and we were immediately and powerfully emotionally attached. And yes, we were prepared to find a way to suck up the double mortgage payment until it sold - that's how badly we wanted our new place!

Listing our house just before Christmas was a bit of a wake up call. I have, of course, sold my own home before but it's amazing how quickly you forget. I have always thought of myself as clean and organized, but it's HARD TO ALWAYS LIVE SO PERFECTLY!  I remember thinking this time around, "oh, I'll just pop it on mls and it will sell right away". My dad, while working as a graphic artist, used to say "swish swish" when people expected him to whip up a sign or mural in minutes. Well, the house did not "swish swish" and there was no immediate sale. We lived through showings over the holidays, into the new year and the up and down ride that comes with selling a home. The excitement and stress of having a showing "someone is coming, maybe they will buy our home" and the disappointment of a missed showing, a quick in-and-out, or when no offers came after a super long and seemingly great showing. 

For day-to-day living, our kids; and we have 3 all under age 12, had to part with most of their belongings to fit in with the image of a perfectly staged home. Everything had to be cleaned up right away as there was no leaving things out to play with later because nothing ruins a buyer's experience quite as much as stepping on a crippling piece of Lego and hobbling around the house in agony. Husband and I sparred over what paintings to hang and where, and he kept showing up with random furniture to try to fill up the vastness of upstairs landing. All of which were promptly returned the next day. Eventually, after  couple glasses of wine, a midnight bookshelf move solved the impasse and we were both happy. But perhaps most interestingly, after advising all my clients to "de-personalize" and even though I know better; I couldn't bring myself to remove the family photos from the entrance hall. I knew we were moving...
 but we were still living there too!

In the end, we sold in a reasonable amount of time, our family moved to the charming rancher of our dreams, and the kids regained their toys and even gained a trampoline. We have now settled into our new home and couldn't be happier.

The experience reminded me of how it feels to be the one selling a house. How the ups and downs of being the home owner are so much vivid and powerful than the ups and downs of being the Realtor. And perhaps most of all, it reminded me of how lucky I am to have a career where I can make a difference with empathy, kindness and caring while helping people navigate their way through a sometimes difficult and emotional journey to reach their destination and then counting them as friends at the end.

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