On our first day of helping Mom and Dad we did good work. We got some closets cleaned out and loads of stuff taken over to the church rummage sale. But clearing out a house in preparation for moving isn’t enough. You have separate jobs to do in preparation for selling the house.
I have to admit, working on the house has been bittersweet for me. I haven’t lived there since 1978, when I headed off to college. But Tom and I have been frequent visitors. There is something comforting about knowing you can go back to the house where you grew up. I have a lot of good memories of living in the house and family gatherings since I moved out. Mom and I relived a lot of these memories as we pulled stuff out of closets. With me frequently thinking “I can’t believe you saved that!”
Selling the house is already difficult enough for Mom and Dad, however, and I want to help them, not hold them back. So after we spent a long day packing up and hauling stuff away, we worked on staging the house for selling. Mom and Dad have done an excellent job of keeping things repaired and updated, so we didn’t have to do anything beyond the cosmetic.
Buyers want storage spaces, not spaces full of stored things. So just taking the stuff to the rummage sale helped. I also encouraged Mom to put away most of her figurines and other objects sitting on shelves. If we had more time, we would have packed them up. Instead, we shoved them in storage spaces we had just cleaned out. Not optimal, but certainly easier. We were working under a deadline because the real estate agent was coming to take pictures that afternoon.
We cleaned up boxes that were sitting under tables and generally got as much as possible off floors. Then we dusted and vacuumed so that everything was spotless. All of this won’t help Mom and Dad in their move, but we hoped it would help the house sell quickly.
The house was listed on Friday and had over 500 views on Zillow by Monday morning. The real estate agent set up nine appointments for Monday. Monday was an exhausting day for Mom and Dad because they had to be out of the house all day. But their hard work paid off. They had six offers on Monday, two at full price. The real estate agents went back to their clients with the news and by Tuesday Mom and Dad accepted an offer that was well over their listing price! Great job Mom and Dad! Great job by their real estate agent!
There is still a lot of work ahead for Mom and Dad. But now that the house is SOLD, they can get back to packing and sorting without having to worry about showing the house. When we head back to Ohio in July, we will be working on packing and moving.
Selling the family home is an emotionally wrenching experience for everyone. I admire my parents for doing it now, instead of leaving it for us to do after they die. They are facing the future with courage and fearlessness.
Have you helped a parent move out of the family home? I’d like to hear about your experience.