Selling mom's home can be an emotional roller coaster

Real Estate Agent with Signature Realty Inc.

Last month we finally moved my mom to South Florida to live with us. Which meant we needed to clean out 50 years of memories from my childhood home. Some of those memories were sad, some were funny, and some I just shook my head on (like 25 years of National Geographic's that she kept for an additional 31 years). At one point I thought she might be a mini hoarder! Her motto must have been "put it in the basement, Kim will deal with it when the time comes".

Well, the time came and I spent 10 days working on getting her ready to travel, picking out some things she needed, shipping some things that she wanted to keep, making arrangements with charities and family members that wanted things from the house. While juggling that, I interviewed agents to list the house, set up a grass cutter (2.3 acres of grass), and did my best to keep her calm and up beat even though inside I was becoming an emotional wreck.

We work with people that are downsizing all the time--heck, I specialize in 55+ communities and absolutely love what I do! What I didn't see coming were the memories that I had to come to terms with which included losing my dad 31 years ago. Those memories hit me like a freight train coming out of no where. I never connected the dots before --  I felt close to my dad while visiting his work bench in the basement. It was the one area in the house that hadn't changed in 31 years, for some reason I never thought about it that way until I stood there looking at it and having an overwhelming urge to move the whole work bench to Florida. I settled for a couple pieces from his work bench, one of them is an old candy tin that holds some rusty bolts. It now has a place of honor on my desk.

When my husband and one of our sons went up to PA after we got my mom settled down here, they spent another week cleaning out everything, including the National Geographic's, thank goodness you can still burn trash on Saturday's back there! They got the house as ready as possible in the short time they had so that it could be listed. (I'm forever in their debt)

No doubt this has been a learning experience for all of us. For me in particular, it has taught me to find more patience and to look for the joy in the smallest things. The guys brought me a couple of those small things back when they returned, one was two bricks from the house so that I will always have a piece of my childhood home with me and the other, was my dads tool box, which brought me to tears of joy and a happy dance when I opened the trunk of the car.  

Now, we will start the next hill on this roller coaster -- the house was listed this weekend: (yipeee) 628 Penn High Park Road, Jeannette, PA.   



Posted by


Kimberly Johnson, REALTOR®                               


Realty Associates of Florida
7401 Wiles Road, Suite 242
Coral Springs, FL 33067


Comments (3)

William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I sold my mother-in-law's house and some of he kids had a real hard time

May 21, 2017 06:10 PM
Kim Johnson

William Feela   I know this experience will help me going forward with my own business. I will definitely have more empathy for all involved.

May 23, 2017 01:28 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I remember doing this with my Grandmother's home, there was a lot of memories that were shared between my aunt's and uncles.

May 22, 2017 06:53 AM
Kim Johnson

Brian England many shared memories with my family during this time and I'm so fortunate to have a very supportive caring family.

May 23, 2017 01:30 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

When it was time to sell our mother's home after her death I opted out and took a cash settlement from my siblings. I didn't want to be involved nor get into arguments.

May 22, 2017 01:52 PM
Kim Johnson

Joe Pryor I wish that were an option, but I'm an only child and there wasn't anyone else to hand this over to.

May 23, 2017 01:31 PM