SELLING THE FAMILY HOME

homesteadIn all my years of selling real estate I have had the pleasure/ responsibility of selling a home for families who have years or even generations of living , loving and memories as a family. In today’s world where families are smaller, and spread out across the country- the likelihood of passing on a family home to younger generations is not as much an option as it might have been in generations past. So when the decision is made to sell a home that has served as home base- it comes with regret, resistance and sometimes unrealistic expectations.
When a family looks lovingly at all the dents and dings and flaws that come from years of growing and living in a home like families do, they smile and chalk it up to charm and a distinguished weathering of the home. When a buyer looks at the same- they see repairs and imperfections that will need to be dealt with- and which will lower the value in their mind. Always try to get an objective opinion about what needs to be replaced, repaired or removed. A pre-sale home inspection can serve you well especially if you have lived in the same home for many years.
Some people have the tendency to lose track of how time flies as life goes on. For example- I was talking to someone about how many years I have lived in my current home. When I moved into my home- it had a new roof, new furnace and new water heater, etc. Then I realized I had actually been there for 14 years. So- if it seems like just yesterday that you replaced that roof, or that major system or appliance- realize that it might have been longer than you think and that the life of the item may be approaching its life expectancy. It is wise when selling an existing home to purchase a home warranty. There’s no way you can guarantee or predict the life expectancy of your home systems. But you can purchase (for around $400-500) a warranty that will cover the failure of certain things in a home. Make sure you read your home warranty – especially the exceptions before you purchase it. Here’s a little insider tip- if you purchase certain home warranties, they will cover losses during the listing period for no extra charge- then start the warranty after closing. Be sure and ask your REALTOR about this, and have it verified by the home warranty company.
If you’re a buyer- always be sensitive when buying a family home- emotions can run high as memories of years of happy times spent there seem to come flooding back. That “hideous” wallpaper might represent a special time for the family and although the wallpaper may indeed be the worst thing you’ve ever seen, be careful to spare the family from your observations.
One of the most touching memories I have of selling real estate was after closing on a home where the family was “parting ways” and I came into the room where the mother was sitting on the steps looking
into an empty room holding a tiny little sock and sobbing openly. “Some of my life’s happiest memories
were spent here- it just hit me that I’m leaving here forever.”
You can’t separate or eliminate the emotions- but you can prepare for it and be sensitive to what may
trigger good or bad vibes when dealing with selling or buying a family home.

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