Do more people than not get attached to their homes to the point where they suffer a sense of loss when it’s time to move on? It’s a question I’ve been pondering lately and one that once again I’m facing myself.
My home is on the market for the second time in two and a half years. Last time, I had a problem detaching from it, surprising enough. But do I this time? Not at all. This time I’m ready.
One of my oldest but most vivid memories about attachments people might develop to a home happened on the day my best buddy from college was getting married.
I had travelled to his hometown and we were in the home where he had grown up from the time of his birth. He had invited me there to spend the night after his bachelors’ party and to dress in our tuxedos prior to the ceremony. As we were headed out the front door, he hesitated and said, “Wait, I want to look at my room one last time. I guess I’ll never be going in there again.”
When we went back and peeked into the room, surprisingly, hunk of an ex-Marine that he was, he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and burst into tears. Having never seen the man display even a glint of sentimentality, I was stunned.
I remember that all through the wedding ceremony I kept thinking, is there something wrong with me? The last time I saw the room I grew up in, I was taking off for college and, very honestly, I didn’t give a hoot for the house I was leaving.
From that time, after graduation, I moved from apartment to apartment with nary a thought about attachment to any living situation, never lingering longer than a year or two in any one place. Even after marriage, in short order, my wife and I moved five times in our first five years together.
By the time we moved to the suburbs to our current property, however, I guess we were worn down enough to declare, “only in a wooden box will we leave this place!” And pretty much that was the situation until two and a half years ago when, in the very doldrums of the recession, we decided that our large home no longer suited our purposes at this stage of our lives and placed our home on the market.
For more than 40 years, we had enjoyed our large multi-use historic home as a work horse – a place to raise our family, to build our business in-house with a special use permit and to have income from an accessory apartment as well – but after our family became just my wife and me, we wanted a different living kind of living environment. Despite the bad times of market, we did receive a good offer, having followed my own advice in preparing for the sale by updating and upgrading wherever needed, providing much fodder for this column.
When that offer came in, oddly, instead of rejoicing, I felt an inexplicable sadness, a sense of loss. When the inspection report came back with an issue, to that point unknown, and although quickly remedied, it ultimately killed the deal. Instead of being upset, frankly, I was relieved. We were just not ready. I guess that with all the life experience I enjoyed under that roof, I hadn’t properly prepared to detach.
But just last week, the house was placed on the market again. And this time, I know I will be pleased when the right buyer comes forward, either someone with a large family or a couple who are entrepreneurs who want to operate a business on the premise with a special use permit as we did successfully for many years, while perhaps deriving income from an accessory apartment at the same time.
What’s different this time? What makes it easier is that I’ve done a lot of “self-talk” about the benefits of a scaled-down responsibility of less space, and spent a lot of effort “de-personalizing” the premises of the many things we’ve collected through the years.
This is why the realtor “gurus” recommend removing personal items from view prior to placing a home on the market. Aside from helping to show a home in its best light, removing personal items begins to make a home feel more like a “product” for sale. It’s a subtle but important step toward detaching.
Also, when you think about it, gathering up all the personal items is the first step in packing up for the move!
If you find that you are the perfect buyer candidate for The Home Guru’s home, described here, give me a call at (914) 522-2076. Also, let’s talk if you are planning a move and worrying about detachment. After all, I’ve been through it, twice now!
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call (914) 522-2076.