One responsibility that many adults face is selling their childhood home after their parents have moved to a better designed floor plan, or have passed away.
Often this means reconnecting with a house full of personal memories, emotions, and a ton of your parent’s stuff accumulated over a wonderful lifetime. And spending time in your childhood bedroom which is now a home office, the old TV room which seems too small for the old TV couch, or sitting in a familiar kitchen at the table where you used to hang out with your friends on Saturday afternoons ~ get the picture?
I get it too.
Selling your childhood home stirs up memories
If no one in the family is willing to step up to buy the place, then it is time to get the ball rolling by putting together a plan to sell the home.
Family member transactions can be very complicated especially if there are more than two children that have an interest (and feelings) in closing this chapter in your family history. In anticipation of such an event, some parents will place the home in a Family Trust and designate one trusted child as the Trustee… but that is technical legal stuff and you should consult with a local attorney about that topic.
Here are a few tips on putting together a plan to sell your childhood home:
- Move everything out: The first thing that I tell clients is to get the furniture and stuff moved out. Get it divided up now and putting together a plan of action will give the project some essential structure — most importantly a timeline.
- Walls: One of the most inexpensive ways to transform a home is a fresh coat of paint. Consult with a professional painter and plan to paint the walls with a contemporary color and the ceilings bright white.
- Floors: Floors are another inexpensive update that is important. Hardwood floors can be refinished to look almost new, and old wall to wall carpeting needs replacing.
- Exterior and the front door: First impressions are made from the moment a potential buyer pulls up in their car. Consider having the exterior power-washed, and then consider some fresh paint. The front door is essential and it may need fresh paint and hardware so it opens smoothly. Landscaping may require pruning, raking, planting, or removing things in the back yard like picnic tables, clothes lines or rusted-out garbage cans.
- Selective Updating: I like to advise clients where to spend their limited resources updating where they will get about 100% of the money back. These are typically the “hot button” items that will help the home sell quickly for market value, and have included updates such as kitchens, bathrooms, appliances, furnaces and air conditioning systems.
The hardest part about selling your childhood home is the range emotions involved. It is okay to mourn this life-transition especially if it is the place you have always referred to as “home”. Yes, you will probably grieve about the house and it is normal because you have had a special relationship with the people you have loved here… around the kitchen table, on holidays, back yard parties or just sleepy Sunday mornings reading the New York Times or watching the Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys. You are lucky to have an emotional connection with your childhood home.
Let me know if you want to start putting together a plan and I can stop by to help get the ball rolling. And if you recently sold your childhood home and have a tip or two, then leave a comment below and share a little advice that can help someone just starting the process.