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Big Changes, Teamwork, and Social Lessons

Many families with plans to move over the summer have already begun all the tasks that go along with the job. Besides just the practical issues, there is a distinct psychological aspect of selling a home.   Home owners need to do things to their homes that is a little different from daily living.  This can be a great opportunity to talk to your kids about making others feel comfortable and welcome.

Here’s the gist of what I’ve learned from HGTV and home improvement shows.  You want to make the prospective buyer feel as comfortable as possible in your home.  That includes not being there, taking down your personal items, adding more neutral colors, and doing a lot of decluttering.

Emotional Roller Coaster For The Whole Family

This entire home selling and buying experience can be an emotional roller coaster for us.  You’ve become a family under this roof, yet you are desperately in need of more space to be comfortable.  And in order to get something more comfortable and suitable, you need to make some temporary sacrifices.

You and your family could just ignore what your real estate agent says and just keep ALL of your favorite things around you, your favorite paint colors, and every piece of art on the refrigerator.  If you only did what felt comfortable to us, guess how the buyer would feel?  Like they just barged in on family day, into a house that doesn’t really feel like it could be theirs.  Probably no sale there.

And why do you have to leave your house when the agent shows it?  Again, you don’t want it to look like our lived-in house, you want the buyer to imagine their stuff in our house.  They would feel uneasy with you all sitting there in the living room, watching the prospective buyers peek into every room and look through the closets.  Looks like you aren’t all that ready to leave, and they feel like they intruded.  Again, not what you are after.

To state the lesson again, you need to focus on others first before you can focus on getting what we want.  Strange, huh?  It’s not the same as picking up an interesting magazine or buying a toy you like in the store.  This is a big deal and it requires family teamwork.  You all pitch in and make some choices, and you are all big winners in the end.

Big Girls Made Good Choices

A big concern would be the whole toy-sort.  Tears, long discussions, painstaking decisions, and tantrums about not wanting to put anything away in storage can easily be part of the scene.  I know when we declutter our house, we sometimes have this drama.  But you might be surprised at what your kids can do.  When everyone is really engaged and sees the big picture, it can be all business.   When the goal is great enough, even young kids can put their personal immediate wishes to the side.

Thinking of it this way, you could anticipate having more fun with the process.  Imagining as a family what a buyer would think of this color, how they might like the way this room looks, and so on.  Don’t get me wrong, tears are pretty normal when reality of “goodbye” comes and you move out.  I know someday when we move out of this house, it will be emotional.  My husband and I brought each of our babies home to our current house, and that connection will be difficult to ignore.  But the reward of working together to move on to a bigger home can be tremendous – new chapter in your life in a great new home.

Yes, you will give up some comfort and familiarity, but you will have room to grow and can feel more joy about your home environment.  You might find yourself thinking, “This was a lot easier than I thought it would be.”  With family teamwork, I hope that’s the theme of your entire home selling experience.

Big Changes, Teamwork, and Social Lessons

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). Big Changes, Teamwork, and Social Lessons. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 18 May 2009
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