Lessons From Selling the Family Home

For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New Home

I am convinced there is a circle of hell that is devoted to forcing people to re-live the agony of selling a home. It is the worst. THE WORST. While this isn’t the first time I have done it, this was the first time I’ve had to do it with a couple of kids (my kids) actually living in the house I’m trying to sell.

Also, despite the fact that I am moving, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to keep my job. While this is wonderful in every way, the only downside is that I had to sell my house while working full-time with two kids in the house. And with a husband who had effectively moved out of said home to begin working at his new job across the State.

For those of you out there who know how hard it is simply to get yourself and your kids out the door in the morning, dressed, actually walking upright (as opposed to being carried over your shoulder, kicking and screaming) hair brushed (well, like 67% of the time their hair has been brushed), and you ready to take on a full workday, imagine doing all of that in addition to making your house “show-ready” (realtor speak for immaculate and more like a museum than a home) before leaving at 8:00 AM. “Show ready” means no dog hair on the floor, no food on the table, no dust on the shelves, no towels in the hamper, no laundry anywhere, and most importantly, no signs that any one actually lives in the house.

We were extremely lucky in that we lived in a very sought after neighborhood, and our house sold immediately. One would think that selling the house would make life easier. Hah! Not so fast. Now imagine leaving your house in the morning, in its usual state of utter chaos, kids in tow, but sure as anything that it doesn’t matter because the ink on the contract for sale has dried. Then imagine you are in your office an hour later, hard at work, when your realtor calls you to tell you the buyer wants to go through the house again TODAY, in 4 hours, and is that ok with you?

Um, sure it’s ok, but only if the buyer wants to see my makeup all over the bathroom, pop-tart crumbs on the dining room table, dirty laundry strewn about, fruit snacks in the play room, and milk rotting in the glasses on the kitchen counter. But unfortunately, I wasn’t really in the position to tell my wonderful buyer no. So on my lunch break, on that fine Monday, I went home and spent a grueling hour (in my pant suit) making the house “show ready”.

But all is not lost. This whole experience has reminded me that these messes are actually the signs of life that make a house a home. As nice as it was to see my house “show ready” (and believe me, it was nothing like you’d see in a magazine or on HGTV), a house isn’t a home unless it’s lived in, which means messes, chaos, and all. Crumbs on the counter may be unsightly, but they mean I am blessed with two healthy children who enjoy eating Pop-Tarts in the morning (and yes, I am working on feeding them healthier breakfasts). As unattractive as the stacks of artwork and notes from the kids’ teachers are, they mean my children had a great day at school. And while there may be dirty pots in the sink, their presence means that I actually cooked a meal for my family after a hard day, and just didn’t have the energy to wash them.

It’s all the little (unsightly) things that make a house a home. And that’s what is important: that my kids feel comfortable in our home, which is what really amounts to their own little piece of the world.

As we get ready to move into our new house, as nice as it will be to see it “show ready”, what I am really looking forward to is seeing all the little messes and chaos everywhere, because that will mean that we are really, truly, once again, home.


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AngelaC

AngelaC

Angela Curtis lives in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan with her husband, and two daughters, MC and G, who were born in 2008 and 2010, respectively. She spends her nights and weekends trying to keep her house clean, the laundry done, and cram in as many meaningful experiences as possible with her family.
AngelaC

Comments

  1. so good Ang! utterly impressed. I love you.

  2. Angela, That is such a good article.

  3. One of the biggest lessons my daughter has taught me is that it is okay to have a messy house on occasion. We were gone for an entire week, husband cleaned the house, and after one day there were smashed crackers and combos everywhere, toys strewn about, and a sink full of dirty dishes. Kids!

  4. I admire you that you are willing to be brave enough to sell your house with kids!! We are empty nesters but have 3 cats and two large dogs and I work from home and it’s STILL the worst experience and it’s not over yet!! We are still in the middle of it!!! I am looking forward to being a real family again and being as you say….home…trying to keep my smile going!!!

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