Move While You're Still Young Enough to Enjoy It
Normally, when you're selling one home, you're enthusiastically planning for the purchase of another.
But not always.
Forty years was a very long time to live in one place. All their life cycle milestones were tied to this residence. Every displayed memento needing to be wrapped, sold or trashed unleashed a torrent of near- paralyzing memories. Packing up was excruciating.
Picture elderly clients with serious health concerns. Leaving the house normally meant a visit to the doctor. A flight of steps and practically any distance at all needed to be avoided at all costs. Their minds were on other issues - pressing issues like estate planning - serious issues - matters of life and death.
My home visits needed to be brief. Sitting for any length of time was difficult for them and a limited attention span resulted from their obvious pain. The information I brought yielded little more than a cursory glance. Interest in the recommendations I made was practically nonexistent.
However devastating it was for them to leave a home they owned for so many decades, this property was like a noose around their necks and the time had come to let it go.
It was complicated.
Those closest to the homeowners needed to offer assistance with some of the many arduous tasks associated with moving but no family member wanted to voice out loud that perhaps obligations were not getting attended to the way they once were.
There was a delicate balance to maintain.
The homeowners, highly intelligent and formally educated, held prestigious positions in their respective careers of earlier years. The occasional forgotten meeting, the somewhat-misunderstood instructions and the sporadic inability to have meaningful dialogue due to short-term memory loss were all dismissed as non-essential.
If you've ever taken away a loved one's car keys and, inadvertently but simultaneously, taken away his independence and pride, you'll understand the struggle. You know that out of respect for the individual, you delay the inevitable for as long as possible but, out of love for this person and concern for his safety, you eventually are forced to make the tough decision.
Nine months after we listed, we finally had a buyer but, even after contract, the homeowners were reluctant to leave. Stalling techniques popped up repeatedly. It would be another 9 months, 18 in all, before closing took place. Communication was always held in person because phone conversations were circular. Time and time again, I drove to wherever I was needed, in the name of progress.
Even with all the modern devices we have at our disposal, not a single one proved useful in this transaction. I went back to basics because it was my only option. I started at a price that made the homeowners happy and every once in a while, we reviewed the amount of traffic the listing generated and its accompanying feedback and dropped the price accordingly.
Whether the sale dragged on longer than necessary is probably less important than the fact that this tried and true process eventually culminated in success. The couple joyfully settled in with family once they were emotionally ready to commit to the next leg of their life journey.