Selling and Saying Goodbye to a Home

Selling your home and saying goodbye can be a difficult experience, especially when it’s combined with upheaval, which is often the case these days. The formalities and procedures can be frustrating and intimidating.

Packing and Moving On

Like many sellers, you might also be wrestling with bittersweet memories and assorted “goodbyes.” In fact, your feelings can range from eagerness to become unburdened and move on, to anger and regret because you must leave your home. Yet, despite the iffy market or maybe because of it you’ve made the decision to sell your home and take on that other emotional roller coaster ride.

Deciding to sell is only the first of many decisions you’ll need to make through a nerve-wracking process that can last months, so hold on to your courage. Whatever you may be feeling, or trying not to feel can make the experience worse by:

  • Second guessing your reasons for selling.
  • Having unreasonable expectations about
    the value of your home.
  • Being defensive and angry about taking the steps needed for it to “show well” to
    prospective buyers.
  • Keeping ideas, feelings, thoughts, and anxieties inside instead of talking about
    them with understanding people.
  • Trying to sell your home on your own without understanding the amount of work,
    money, time, patience, and knowledge you need to handle it well.

Breaking Down Priorities

Whatever your reasons for selling, there will be times during the process you will want to remind yourself of exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Here are reasons people frequently give for selling:

  • The upkeep of this home is too much work.
  • The cost of carrying the mortgage is too high.
  • The home is too far away from the people and/or places where I want to live.
  • The neighborhood is going downhill from all the foreclosures.
  • A move to another city to take/find a new job.
  • Find a smaller/bigger home with different/better amenities.
  • Moving to a retirement community.
  • Divorce
  • And last but not least to make a profit.

Before proceeding with your selling strategy, take plenty of time to think through your reasons and next steps. Write them all down. Is speed and urgency at the top of your list? Or do you have the time and patience to wait for that one perfect buyer? Consider your alternatives: Can you postpone your decision to sell by making other lifestyle changes? By changing the structure itself? Or by renting your home temporarily?

You will benefit by being specific and honest about your reasons and the feelings that might accompany them. Once your thoughts and feelings begin to flow — they will if you give them time and quiet — rank them in order of importance. Clear statements that capture your reasons for selling will become the foundation of your selling strategy and the basis for your relationship with your real estate agent, buyer, lender, and/or lawyer; and your emotional steadiness and self–confidence.

Sharing your thoughts and reasons beforehand will spare you potential emotional turmoil later.

About the Author

Lois A. Vitt, PhD

Lois A. Vitt is a housing expert and financial sociologist, and is the author of “10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling”, the first book to demystify the psychological forces behind our housing decisions. To learn more about Lois and this book, visit

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