Saturday, April 20

How to deal with the grief of losing a childhood home

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Homeowners need to allow themselves time to deal with their emotions.

Selling a childhood home is often an emotional experience, but at some point, it has to be done.

This usually happens when a property no longer serves to be kept in the family, often for financial reasons, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Re/Max Southern Africa.

Apart from reminding themselves of the practical reasons why they are selling, homeowners need to allow themselves time to deal with their emotions.

“In the words of Dr Arthur Kovacs, founding dean of the California School of Professional Psychology, ‘you’re dismantling something that was once precious, and you have to go through grief and mourning when this happens’.

“Even if your parents are still alive, your childhood home acts as a repository for your memories, and you need to allow yourself time to grieve the loss of something that kept those memories safe.”

The key, Goslett says, is to remember that the memories will remain.

Homeowners who are emotionally attached to their homes should allow themselves a day to go through the property and immerse themselves in the flashbacks linked to each room.

“Spend a day fully enjoying the home one last time. Bring old photo albums and invite the family over for a meal. Share stories and reconnect over old times. When you leave, disassociate yourself from the property and allow a professional to take over.”

In Goslett’s opinion, this kind of transaction is best dealt with through an estate agent you know you can trust.

“Homeowners are often too subjectively attached to properties to do a good job of selling them. There might be things that need to be updated or remodelled to make the house more sellable. Homeowners need to trust their agent to make these calls.”

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