Struggling with the Tough Question; Should I Move?

Just recently, I met with a lovely lady who has put her home on the market and then…an offer arrived!

She knew the inevitable would come to reality, but somehow put the thought of actually landing a buyer in the back of her mind. I listed her home about 10 days ago and buyers began to view her home. A wonderful couple put in an offer to purchase and now the sale of her home of 60 years became reality!

Our minds are so complex. None of us share an exact blend of thought patterns. Our brain is designed to protect us at all costs, no matter how we get there. Each one of us views the world differently yet in the end we confront many of the same obstacles in life. One of those challenges is moving from your long-time home to a condominium, apartment or 50 plus community. How we approach change is unique to all of us but there are many similarities to ponder.

I set up an appointment with this beautiful lady who had raised her family in the home to be sold. She had a flood of memories. Her husband had passed a few years ago so she was entering into this transaction without her partner of so many years. She had already put money down on her new apartment at a popular senior community, so selling her home was necessary. However, as stated before, her mind, designed to protect her from harm, viewed change as a possible danger to her overall health. Change can bring on so many emotions, but resistance to a new environment is an outgrowth of that fear of new and unfamiliar surroundings.

The offer on her home was a very good offer and one that was hard to turn down. The timing was perfect and the buyers solid. Price was close to asking so acceptance took place. However, after signing the offer a flood of emotion and tears followed the signing. I held her hand and looked her into her kind eyes. Her daughter was present and she too began to cry. I asked if she would share some of her thoughts with me so I could share them with you. She agreed.

My first question was, “please tell me what is going through your mind at this very moment. What brought on your tears?”

“I am doing wrong. I know it is the right thing. I know I can’t take care of my home the way I had in the past and I don’t want to depend on anyone to help me maintain my home.”

I urged her to go deeper into her feelings and she did.

She continued, “I can’t undo selling my home. It is a relief as the costs to maintain my home are growing and hard to handle. I love the people in my neighborhood and it is a wonderful neighborhood.  It is becoming closer. I’ll miss my neighbors. One of them brings a wreath to me at Christmas. However, I know it is not safe for me to be alone. What if something happens to me? I have a call button, but that is not so reassuring to my family. I don’t want to be a burden to my children. It will be a relief to everybody! It’s time to move. I knew that when my stamina left me. I try to maintain the home but my knees hurt and I become tired. It’s just too hard!

Well, you get the flavor of her wide range of emotions. On one had she loves her home and the neighborhood. On the other hand she knows the time has come to move to safer surroundings. She is somewhat isolated especially in the winter and loves people. How many of you have struggled with the thought of leaving your long-time home? How many of you are conflicted? Are you waiting for a sign from above to let you know when it is time to move?

As I say in my seminars, we have an insurance plan, a financial plan, but how many of us have a housing plan? Do we let fate determine our next move or do we assess our surroundings so that we can be proactive instead of reactive? Add to this quandary of moving our family dynamics. If you have a spouse or partner you both must get on the same page. Men are usually more reluctant to move from long-time surroundings. Our children have other ideas. Some want to keep that home in the family as they feel nostalgic and tied to the home of their youth. Others in the family want a move now. In the end, it is up to you, you the homeowner who knows yourself better than anyone else. You know how you think, how you feel both physically and mentally. But so often we put our feelings aside and begin to bargain with ourselves to avoid a decision that should be made.

Take some time to be in the moment. Write down your feelings about moving. Sometimes seeing it on paper can bring emotions to the surface for you to understand what is behind procrastination and fear. Talk to your spouse about your future. Does your current home meet your current needs? Do you have the energy to maintain your home as you did in the past? Are you relying more and more on outside help? Do you have challenges navigating stairs, cutting grass, shoveling snow and cleaning your home? Are finances strained in maintaining your home? These are all questions that can be shared with your partner and family. A discussion of your current physical and mental wellness can be a great first step to your overall health. Maybe a move is not necessary as there are many services to help keep you at home. Maybe your home just isn’t set up for your specific needs and outside help won’t change your home’s setup. But in the end, this life is not necessarily a dress rehearsal. It is the only life you have and why not make sure you are getting the most out of it! You deserve happiness and well-being. You worked hard raising a family or at your job for so many years. Now is the only moment you have. Putting off decisions of change can be miserable as you have one foot in your home and the other in an unknown place not yet determined. That uncertainty can cause many sleepless nights. You keep it to yourself as you don’t want to burden others, but in the end the involvement of others will happen if you wait until you react to a sudden health or financial change in your life.

Conversations with loved ones, moments of honesty with yourself can be freeing and healing. Live life to its fullest and make sure you are in a healthy situation. Discuss your inner most feelings with those who truly care about you. You may find that the answers have always been there. Bringing those answers to the surface can only happen if you choose to be honest and forthright with that one person who knows you the best…YOU!

Bruce has been a full-time Realtor and Senior Real Estate Specialist for over 35 years serving the Greater Milwaukee 4 County area. Bruce and his wife Jeanne specialize is serving those who have been in their homes for several years and are in need of downsizing, packing, sorting and preparing their home for market. Bruce and Jeanne have a "Bruce's List" of trusted contractors who will make all the necessary repairs so that your home will sell quickly and without problems. Bruce is an author, writing two books which discuss the rather difficult transition from one's long-time home to a senior community. His first book, "Moving in the Right Direction", A Senior's Guide to Moving and Downsizing, focuses on the senior. Bruce's second book, "Guiding Our Parents in the Right Direction", deals with the family who supports mom or dad.

Bruce was chosen by 4,000 area Realtors as 'Realtor of the Year'. Bruce just received the Better Business Bureau 2015 Torch Award,  as a finalist for honesty and ethics in business.  Bruce serves on the ethics and arbitration committee for the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.