A Homes Worth Is Not Measured In Memories

Real Estate Agent with LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc DRE 01235311

Life happens. While we wish that it wouldn’t things that we cannot control happen. What happens to us does not define us, how we react to these things does. Having to sell our home, the very house that you made memories beyond measure in, is one of the hardest things I have seen sellers go through. Whether a death, lay-offs, significant income changes, illness and/or disease, no matter the circumstance the very walls that surround the owner has a story to tell. From memorial plaques hanging on the wall, toothless adolescent children, graduation photos or even a piece of artwork when they once traveled the world all have a unique story that only the homeowner understands.


Houses For Sale in Lake Arrowhead

Hidden, in the corner of a room, you may find a growth chart from one or all of their children. In the back, down the walk way, you may find a hand-print meticulously placed in the concrete. That rose bush isn’t just an ordinary rose bush, it was an anniversary gift from her husband. On all four corners of this house a home was made, and leaving it for whatever reason leaves a huge pit the stomach of the ones who inch by inch cared for it. If you peel back every single layer of that house you will find that from the ground up there is meaning. 


No matter where the story began when a homeowner sells their house, they are in fact, selling their story. They are selling their memories and closing a chapter of their life. As a Realtor it is our duty to not allow them to lead with emotion, but we do need to understand that emotion. We have to have enough empathy to understand how they feel, but to also lead and guide them in the most professional way. From explaining the process, to the listing price and to the closing table and beyond, it is our duty as their professional to talk with them and not at them. To ensure they understand that we understand their attachment, but that their homes worth is not measured in their memories.

Connecting with a Real Estate Agent who understands you, your memories, your attachment and your emotion is important. Connecting with an Agent who can sympathize but seperate ones self from these emotions are critical to getting your home sold. We all have a point in our lives where we want to " hear what we want to hear ", but an Agent who is willing to be honest and not just tell you what you want to hear is a Realtor who is looking out for you and wanting to do what benefits you. 

Lake Arrowhead Real Estate Kat Delong


Comments (25)

Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on being featured by Kathy this week!  Great post!

Jul 14, 2019 06:56 AM
Kat DeLong

Thanks so much.

Jul 14, 2019 10:21 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Beautiful photo and beautiful post. It is imperative to recognize how difficult it can be for some sellers to move on. We have a couple right now who "have" to sell for health reasons. It's heartbreaking to see their sadness...

Jul 14, 2019 07:11 AM
Kat DeLong

Debb, thanks so much.

Jul 14, 2019 10:21 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

As a person whose roots go deep, I sometimes envy those who pick up stakes and move every few years. But... it will never be me.

Jul 14, 2019 12:02 PM
Kat DeLong

Yes, some choose to do it others do not have a choice in some cases. Those are the heartbreaking cases, but nonetheless can be an amazing change and brand new beginning!

Jul 15, 2019 07:04 AM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I've often said this myself but you did a great job with the topic. I love your post.

Jul 14, 2019 12:52 PM
Kat DeLong

Thank you so much Jill!

Jul 15, 2019 07:03 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good evening Kat DeLong - having empathy rather than sympathy is the best approach.  Make them feel  that the past mattered by they have a great future awaiting.

Jul 14, 2019 04:11 PM
Kat DeLong

Absolutely! There is a big difference between empathy and sympathy.

Jul 15, 2019 07:03 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is so true; people are leaving a chapter of memories behind and we need to be empathetic. 


Jul 15, 2019 03:49 AM
Kat DeLong

I agree. And, I believe we can be empathetic and still be professional even though it may not be what a sellers wants to hear.

Jul 15, 2019 07:02 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Beauitfully said Kat. It would be hard to sell when a family's life's memories are at every turn. Having an agent that understands that is invaluable. This post should have a gold star!

Jul 15, 2019 07:01 PM
Kat DeLong

Thank you, Wanda.  

Jul 15, 2019 09:05 PM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Wonderful post, Kat DeLong! It is a fine line we walk by being compassionate enough to care but also being practical enough to perform our duties as professionals. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to how to do this. You just have to adapt to each individual seller you represent. 

Jul 15, 2019 08:00 PM
Kat DeLong

How true it is, Greg, that we walk a fine line.  And each client is so different, as well.

Jul 15, 2019 09:08 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat:

This is a wonderful post that says a lot about the challenges sellers face, some more than others, when it's time to sell and move on. It is a process, and evolution, and not a simply act that's easy to migrate, and those memories, and emotions, can make it so much harder. I think it can be even more difficult when the choice is forced due to health and other reasons. This should be featured!!


Jul 15, 2019 08:51 PM
Kat DeLong

Thank you, Jeff.  I agree, when the choice is being made because of death, is so much harder on folks.  And it is those times when we must be even more gentle with our clients. 

Jul 15, 2019 09:10 PM
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Oh my, this so hits "home" in a very real way.  I just had to help my youngest daughter sell her home after a rough divorce.  She had put her heart, money and work into making this a forever home, but it just didn't work.  The sadness of selling was heartbreaking.

Jul 15, 2019 10:34 PM
Kat DeLong

I am so sorry to hear about what your daughter went through. I wish her the best of luck in her new adventures.

Jul 17, 2019 09:47 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Kat, this is a timely post (and so true) for me. I am handling two estate sales now and just handled a down sizing that was rough on the seller. We need to be supportive yet pragmatic.

Jul 16, 2019 05:12 AM
Kat DeLong

I agree. Thank you for your comment !

Jul 17, 2019 09:47 AM
Richard V. Foster, Esq.
Nevada Perfect Homes - Henderson, NV
Broker (58356) - ABR/M, CREN, CRS, GRI, RRG, SFR

The one piece of advice I received 20 years ago was helpful; just a small change of words... Wen you refer to a seller's property if is a HOUSE, when referring to a buyer's potential property is is a HOME. And when the seller starts to tell me about their kids growing up there, I respond, that sounds like this was a "NICE HOUSE, LET'S REVIEW YOUR GOALS."

Jul 16, 2019 08:17 AM
Kat DeLong

Perfectly put!

Jul 17, 2019 09:48 AM
Christine Rae

I agree having empathy and listening to the story is an important part of building trust with a client, however all those memories cannot be the reason to not pack everyone of them away. This is being firm to be kind. It serves no purpose at all to leave any of them out....in fact it will be a deterrent. As Richard Foster said never use the word HOME "oh you have a lovely home" only reinforces the heartache; its a product they can't move on with their life without selling and likely they want the most money in the shortest time possible. Language is so important all through the process, for instance: don't say "here is a list of things to do" (feels like work). Working with a Certified Stager who is trained to handle these difficult situations works best. They will make sure you have awesome photos every time..gets you to SOLD faster..

Jul 16, 2019 09:01 AM
Dwight Puntigan
DRP Realty, LLC - Saint Peters, MO
Dwight Puntigan

I learned this before I received my license.  When Mom and Dad sold their home and could not realize that they were selling a house.  It has been invaluable to understand and work with some of my clients.  Your words are well put.

Jul 16, 2019 10:39 AM
Kat DeLong

Thank you, Dwight. 

Jul 17, 2019 09:48 AM
Sandra Paulow
Aspen Properties, Inc. - Pinetop Lakeside, AZ
REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR

Love your post Kat. We all deal with the emotions of selling a home and sometimes it is very difficult for sellers to understand that buyers won't pay for their memories. To them their home is their castle and all their memories are wrapped up in the home. I wrote an article similar to this several years ago when I encountered a seller who cried and cried because she didn't want to leave her home but had to for health reasons. It is tough for some and being empathetic but firm is necessary. Thanks for the great post. 

Jul 16, 2019 10:57 AM
Kat DeLong

Thank you, Sandra!

Jul 17, 2019 09:49 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

What a beautiful post Kat.    It's important to hire someone who can empathize with the emotions and memories but help sellers come around to make important business decisions.

Jul 16, 2019 01:32 PM
Kat DeLong

Absolutely! Thank you !

Jul 17, 2019 09:49 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Our life's journey is filled with memories and experiences, yet, life is also  a journey of adventure and excitement. So, being empathetic IMO has it's limitations to a certain degree, while looking forward to the adventure and excitement moving forward by continuing your journey of life to achieve your goals and objectives should overcome any loss of your house. 

Jul 16, 2019 07:42 PM
Kat DeLong

Eventually you do overcome the loss, but in " that moment " it is hard for one to see a beautiful new beginning.

Jul 17, 2019 09:50 AM
Zippy Larson

A neighbor of mine is 90 and will not leave her house, ever. Her son does all her shopping for her. He and his wife go out to eat at a restaurant in the neighborhood, but his Mom will not go with them. She lives in the house where she was born and grew up, and where she lived with her husband and raised their kids.
For centuries a blue collar waterfront industrial area, it has changed. Pricey condos rape the old industrial piers. The tug boats don't dock here anymore. Once upon a time the old Recreation Center on the waterfront was where kids went after school to play and be safe from ship loading and unloading and the work in nearby canneries where their parents earned a living. The Rec Center was bought by a developer who turned it into a luxurious hotel. The sound of a tug boat whistle before dawn would bother hotel guests paying huge fees, so the tugs moved away. Her old blue collar neighbors moved when they could not afford to live here anymore. And the old lady who was born in a centuries-old row house on a narrow street does not recognize much outside her door anymore. She stays inside where everything is the same.

Jul 17, 2019 12:45 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

What a catchy title!  Have to tell the sellers...you take the memories with you.  

Jul 17, 2019 01:05 PM
Christine O'Shea
Christine E O'Shea Broker - Naples, FL

Great post and so very true, I have expereinced this with my sellers.  I know that in the near future, I will have to deal with this with my mom, selling my childhood home.  She is going to be 89 and we know the time is close, we are dreading it.

Aug 13, 2019 06:28 PM

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