Selling A Childhood Home Is Like Saying Goodbye To Family
Brian and Veronica were not interested in selling the childhood home. No one was clamouring for the money, and the home was in uber popular Silver Lake. Home values in that area were appreciating rapidly.
At least, that’s what they told themselves. Brian’s half-sister is ten years older, and he was raised as a virtual-only child. Both he and Veronica worked in his Mother’s lighting supply business and cared for his parents until the end of their days. The home on Claremont Ave. seemed like the last remaining local member of Brian’s family.
Doing Nothing Can Work – For A While
After his father passed away Brian and Veronica continued with their regular visits to look after the childhood home. They were overwhelmed with their own lives and there was no pressure to sell. Between their neighbor’s watchful eyes and their regular visits to the home, everything seemed just fine. They left it vacant as they worked through their grief.
This is not unusual. I encounter families who still have a childhood home after the parents died months, years and occasionally more than a decade ago. Some keep the home vacant. Some have a family member living in the home. If there are several family members that can benefit from the sale of a family home in a trust, keeping the home long term is generally not an option.
Eventually they processed enough of their grief to consider selling the childhood home, but they just weren’t ready. They decided to fix the home up enough to rent, but one project led to another.
A Childhood Home Is Not The Same As A Business Investment
Brian and Veronica could not, would not, treat Claremont like a cold business transaction. As they proceeded to upgrade the home to a rentable condition they invested in the best they could afford. At every turn, they knew they were upgrading the home in ways that would have made his parents very happy.
For example, they spent a large amount of money on improving the backyard. They told themselves an improved backyard would help them when selling a childhood home, but they pictured the reaction his mother might have had if she were here. They bought beautiful metal cabinets and a rubberized matting system for the garage, transforming it into a project space his Dad would have enjoyed. Every light and light switch was top of the line because the lighting was the family business.
At some point, Brian and Veronica realized they were finally ready to let go because they had processed their grief by remodeling the childhood home.
Selling A Childhood Home, Not Just a Building
Brian and I have known each other since high school. He was my best friend back then and we even lived in the same apartment during college. It was a true Three’s Company sitcom in our rented townhouse.
Brian trusted me to sell his childhood home, not just sell a collection of bricks and mortar. He and Veronica had invested a ton of money and the better part of several years making sure every detail was perfect. They trusted me to tell the story of Claremont Ave to attract the perfect buyer, the buyer that would appreciate and value the sum total of their creation.
Selecting A Price To Sell The Childhood Home
Every homeowner feels their home is an irreplaceable castle worth far more than the ordinary homes around it. It is even harder to be objective about selling your childhood home, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into its renovation.
The objective price for Claremont Ave. looked like $1.4 million, but Brian and Veronica wanted closer to $1.8 million. Two million was their dream. We took a long time to consider Claremont Ave.’s objective value for features like size, room count and improvements. Then we considered the intrinsic and less quantifiable features like the walkability of the location, the large flat, and private backyard as well as the availability of nearby street parking.
Brian and Veronica believed that a relatively quick sale would net the highest price and the strongest buyer and we all agreed that $1,600,000 was a strong list price.
It Was Easier To Sell The Childhood Home To The Right Buyer
We attracted a lot of attention and quite a few offers. It was hard for Brian and Veronica when an offer did not reflect the value for the improvements they had made. They made sure to remind themselves that the offers were not intended to insult them or the home, they just hadn’t found the right buyer.
In the end, however, the right buyer found us. Matthew understood the quality and care Brian and Veronica had invested in the home.He appreciated the special lights and switches and swooned over the backyard and the garage. He didn’t want to change a thing.
He was willing to pay the price and honor the home. At the close of escrow, there were smiles and joy, not tears.
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