One of the toughest decisions I recently made was to sell my house; and what a process it’s been! I am acutely feeling what my clients have and are going through with. The moving sucks! But what’s even harder is saying goodbye to the memories and the personal touches I made to make it my home. Even though I have lived in this particular house 3 years, I have lived on this street for 12 years.
Countless times I have helped my clients sell their homes they have lived in for up to 30 years, raised families and rooted themselves in. I have helped coordinate donation pickups, estate sales services to sift through their collection through life. I’ve seen tears, hesitation in saying goodbye, and families come together to help and support.
Confession time: I think I’ve cried almost everyday since I made the decision to list and sell my house. Just brief tears randomly in the day but what got me the most was the first Saturday it was listed for sale. There was a long line of requests for showings that day. For the very last showing appointment, I sat at the end of the street in my car anxious to get back into my space. The REALTOR and her clients walked out of my house and talked for a bit in the driveway; she got in her car and drove away and the wife got in their truck; but the husband stood in front of my house gazing at it. He stood there for at least 5 minutes taking it in. It struck me, “This guy loves my house just as much as I do.”
He finally got in his truck also and I couldn’t wait any longer, I drove up, opened the garage, parked inside and got out. They were still there, in fact, they rolled down their window to tell me what a beautiful home I had. They loved my garden; they gardened too! They were an older couple and didn’t have kids. It seemed like they had a new love and were joining their lives together. This was going to be their nest, I thought. I told them how I can sleep at night with my windows open and hear nothing. That it’s not a perfect neighborhood, there were break-ins in the past. And I told them how I lived down the street on the corner house as well. They left and I went inside and bawled – for a good 10 minutes.
Now, you are probably thinking what an emotional person I am; my friends can attest that they probably have only seen me cry 1-2 times a year. I don’t tend to cry very much. And I am quite level-headed and shrewd but this home selling process has got me vulnerable, weak and raw. (Please note this as my formal apology to those close to me in the last couple of months who’ve experienced my random crying.)
Why the sentimentality you ask? This home was a refuge to me and others. It served as a second home to some and they freely came and went when they were in town. I was grateful for the opportunity to share my retreat from the world with others. Every morning, I communed with the hummingbirds, my flourishing veggie and herb garden – at times I would bring my laptop out and spend the whole day in the backyard working. At night, rather than turn the TV on, I would lay in my outdoor swing looking at the perfectly framed big dipper in the sky, listen the neighbors palm fronds rustle in the breeze, get lost in my thoughts or read a book. There were many gatherings with friends. I’d open my home at times to strangers as well for a meal. I am grateful for this space in my life. I worked hard for it and earned it on my own.
I was able to get the tears and unexpected emotions under control when I started packing. Packing my things reminded me that this was a house but my things, my sheltering this house from the world and the love I shared in this house was what made it a home. I would make a home somewhere else. I will find another living space that I will truly love, commune with and share with others. This change may temporarily upset me and my routine but it’s opening other chapters in my life. I really don’t know what the next chapter holds in terms of a home but I am excited for the unexpected now.
Most of my stuff is in storage which helps with this closure. The house is completely devoid of my things, cleaned and paint touched up. The only thing I left was the hummingbird feeder and the food the hummingbird likes. I hope they enjoy those daily visits as much I as did. One thing for sure, I have so much more compassion for my clients when it comes to making the decision to sell and pulling the plug. Although we’d like to see houses as investments, “sell high, buy low”; it’s a piece of our lives that will forever leave a memory and sometimes be a part of family history shared for generations.