Deciding to put a home on the market can be a difficult decision for many homeowners. There can be many emotions selling a family home, especially if the family has lived in the house for multiple generations or years. While it may be difficult for children and other dependents to understand, a home is a financial investment, and should be treated as seriously as any other comparable investment. The decision to hold on to, cash out, or walk away from a home is the right of the homeowner.
Sounds like tough love, doesn’t it? Well, in the past three years, it has been. With the recent economic recession and mortgage crisis, many homes have lost 25 to 75 percent of their original purchase value. In January 2011 alone, one in every 497 housing units received a foreclosure filing, and many other underwater homeowners have resorted to selling a family home for less than the purchased value. Since 2008, the idea of making a profit on your home sale has been replaced with the notion of “cutting your losses.” Still, regardless of your financial situation, whether you’re moving to greener pastures or looking to downsize, the idea of selling a family home you’ve lived in for years can be a tough decision to make. Family home selling emotions come into play, which can often create miscommunication and wreak havoc on relationships.
Here are a few tips for homeowners selling a family home:
- Be honest about the reason you are selling. If it is financially related, don’t be afraid to admit the need to downsize. If it’s for more space or a shorter work commute, be clear on why that is important to you and how it will benefit the family unit as a whole. The better you communicate the need to move, the more your family will understand and have the ability to adjust to the news.
- Invite questions and feedback from family members. Allowing children and other dependents to participate in the conversation about selling a family home is a crucial component to gaining their support. By encouraging them early on to express their emotions, selling a family home can be a much smoother process. If they seem upset by the move, find out why and address the issue sooner rather than later. Also, keep in mind that the average time to sell a home is nearly 10 months, so in many cases you will have time to ease them into the idea of moving.
- Emphasize the importance of family versus material possessions. If the reason for selling a family home is to downsize or save money, be sure to emphasize that you have their best interests at heart and that the family unit is more important than any material possession or physical location.
- Find out what is important to your family in a new home. Be sure to invite ideas from family members on what would make them happy in a new home. If family members feel like they are contributing to the decision-making process and have more control, they will be more likely to adjust to selling a family home and may even have something to look forward to.
Selling a family home can raise difficult emotions and be a tedious or even torturous process, depending on how well you communicate the change with your family members. With these few tips in mind and the right amount of support, your home sale can put the past in the past and leave you excited for what the future has in store.