Selling your house can be scary: It’s been your home, where you’ve lived and made memories. Chances are good it’s your most important asset and your biggest investment so far. Wrestling with the emotional heft of putting your home on the market is a difficult byproduct of real estate — but once a closing date has been set, the hard work is done. Right?
Actually, it’s not uncommon for sellers to feel pangs of regret when a buyer gets serious. If you’re feeling remorse for your soon-to-be-former home, don’t panic: You’re far from alone.
“When you’re selling a house, you’re not selling an object,” says Bill Primavera, a REALTOR® in Westchester County, N.Y., and “The Home Guru” blogger. “A house provides shelter and is probably the biggest thing we ever acquire, so it has a bigger impact on our life.”
The Origins of Seller’s Remorse
Moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. According to Daryl Cioffi, a Rhode Island counselor and co-owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting, it’s one of the biggest instigators for depression.
“There’s a lot of latent stuff that happens when change occurs,” Cioffi says. Are you feeling insecure? Are you wondering if you made the right decision? Those feelings are normal reactions to change — but when they get tangled up with the sale of your biggest investment, they can be downright terrifying.
Here are some things you can do to help you manage the emotional roller coaster that comes with selling your home:
Do the Emotional Work Beforehand
Doing the emotional work before it’s time to sell is the best way to avoid regret.
“Look at the flaws of what makes it not the perfect home for you,” Cioffi says. Is it just too small for your family? Does your Great Dane need a bigger backyard? Ask yourself, “How can I close this chapter?”
That doesn’t mean you have to develop negative feelings toward your current home. You’re just trying to remind yourself of why you decided to move on.
“Begin the detachment process by saying: ‘This works for me now, but it won’t work for me forever,’” Cioffi says.
Once you’ve processed your reasons for selling the home, give yourself space to grieve the house you’ve loved and the memories you’ve made inside its walls. It’s okay to be sad you’ll never step inside your child’s first bedroom again; conversely, that’s not a reason to stay in a home forever. You can even have fun with your grief. Why not acknowledge your feelings by throwing a goodbye party for your house?
Focus On the Future
Working through your feelings early will make the selling process smoother, but even if you spent time grieving before putting your home on the market, it’s still normal to feel some pangs of sadness during closing. While it’s easy to tell yourself you’re overreacting, getting past remorse isn’t a simple process.
How can you do it? Say goodbye to your old home and prepare yourself for what’s next. If you’re still feeling remorse after the sale has gone through, don’t overthink it: Even if you did make the wrong decision — and chances are good you didn’t — it doesn’t matter. The deed is, quite literally, done.