Resilience Through Real Estate

As some of you may know, we’re currently in the process selling our house and getting ready to move. Holy buckets! It’s rough out there! Prices are high, mortgage rates are high, options are slim, and it’s a complete pain in the rear.

I honestly never, ever want to do this again! I’m sure I probably said that last time we moved 14 years ago as well, but here we are, in the messy middle of doing it again, for hopefully what really will be the last time.

The process isn’t easy!

After 16 years of raising trauma kids, as you might well imagine getting the house ready to sell has been no small feat. There have been walls to paint, doors to repair, carpets to clean, junk to remove, and a whole lot of memories and triggers to sift through along the way.

We are learning some rather interesting life lessons along the way, though. We’re currently at the point where the house is on the market and waiting for the next people to fall in love with it, buy it, and make it their home. We’ve done all we can, we’ve stacked the deck in our favor, we’ve hired good people to help us, and now it’s just a waiting game.

Though we’re learning a lot about a lot of things, there is a prominent life lesson I want to share that we’ve learned from our process thus far. Hold on to your hats, though. I have a literal real estate rant to get through, but more importantly, it’s a lesson about how to move on.

First, the real estate piece…

Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock or something. I thought everyone knew the rules about selling a house. Like so many other things in life that used to be common sense, this one appears to have slipped away. Here it is, though. Once a house goes on the market, it’s not just your home anymore. It becomes “inventory” in a massive system of available housing and is a commodity to be sold. The real estate market is also a very competitive.  Regardless of what the market conditions are, if you want your place to sell, and you want to sell it for top dollar, you have to do what it takes to make that commodity you have appealing to others who might want to buy it…or you need to discount the price so that whoever buys it can do the work.

I have to say that am astounded at how many people don’t do this!  I cannot even begin to tell you how many messy, dirty houses we’ve seen and how many people just threw their place on the market without making simple repairs or even bothering to clean anything up. Yet, they’re still asking top dollar for the place!

I mean “Come on people! If you want to sell something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least make your bed! If that’s too much to ask, at least change the sheets more than once a year so your bedroom doesn’t stink! Because I promise you, it’s offensive, people notice, and they do turn around and walk away from what otherwise had the potential to be a good thing.

And while we’re at it, you might also want to remove the chain lock from the door so potential buyers who are only in town for the afternoon can get into see the place you have advertised for sale. You’d also better make sure homeowner’s insurance policies are up to date, because if you fail to keep your place in good repair and a potential buyer trips and falls down on the unmarked, uneven driveway and gets hurt, you may end up with a liability claim.”

I told you it was rough out there!

Now for the life lesson…

Many of us have been through very hard things in life. Somewhere along the way, things got messy and we’ve probably seen the worst of humanity. Perhaps our emotional stamina, mental and physical health, and self-esteem may have taken a beating. Maybe they even broke. Or, if you’re anything like us, the hard stuff we’ve been through was all of that and more, and it completely blew up our lives!

Everything turned upside down. Nothing is even close to the same as it used to be. We aren’t who we used to be. In fact, it has taken nearly 18 months of being away from the heat of the trauma to even be able to start to function and breathe again.

That said, the most important life lesson I can share from this phase of our relocation journey is this:

If you truly want to move on to bigger or better things, and you want the rewards that come with doing that, you’ve got to pause long enough to fix things up and clean up the junk from the present and past first.

We have walked out of so many houses these past few weeks and literally asked ourselves and our real estate agent the question “Do they want to live here or do they want to sell it?” Because you can’t really do both.

Healing is the same way.

Do you want to hold on or move on?

Just like selling a house, getting through the process is going to require that you get uncomfortable at some point. In fact, in order to get through the process, you’re going to be uncomfortable a lot.

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

In our current situation of trying to sell our house, it’s not comfortable to get a notice that someone wants to see our house. We have to stop what we’re doing, tidy things up, pack up all the things that aren’t other people’s business, and get out of the way so they can come in and do their thing. During that time, they’re free to walk through our home, open all the cupboards and closets, and snoop in anything they want to see. Yes, they should have an agent with them, but that doesn’t always mean anything. By and large, as soon as we walk out the door, we have no control over any of it.

The trauma recovery process isn’t much different. In order for all those old wounds to heal and for us to be able to release all that stuff we’ve been dragging through life and embrace the possibilities of the future, we have to do what it takes to make it happen. Much as we’d all like to pretend otherwise, we don’t just “get over it.” We can’t go over the trauma, we can’t go around it or under it, and trying to ignore it will only make things worse.

We have to go through it. Otherwise, that stuff will always find a voice, it will always keep showing up in our life,  and it will always keep haunting us until we do the work needed to clean out the skeleton closet and heal the wounds.

It’s not always an easy or comfortable process. But, it is absolutely worth it. The freedom and peace on the other side of choosing to heal and choosing to let go are indescribable…and they’re available for you just as much as they have been for me.

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