Ask the Expert: Family Home May 2024

I’ve decided to sell our family home. I know that my kids will be upset, but it doesn’t make financial sense for me to live there, and I don’t want to worry about things like a leaking roof or whether the hot water heater is going to go out. My husband died a few years ago, and I find all of the upkeep overwhelming. I want to spend less time taking care of things and more time volunteering, spending time with family and traveling with friends. My kids, however, want me to keep the family home. They like coming here for holidays and spending time together where they grew up. They offer to help, but they’re busy with their own lives, and I end up doing most of it on my own. How can I do what’s best for me while honoring their attachment to their childhood home?

Childhood homes can certainly hold a lot of emotional ties and memories. That nostalgic bond can make it difficult to let go and move into the next phase of life. If you have decided that it is time for you to move and find something more in line with your budget and lifestyle, good for you. This is the time in your life that you should be embracing the experiences that bring you joy and purpose. If having less to worry about and freeing up funds you can use to travel brings you peace, then you should put your plan in place to make the move.

If your adult children are interested in keeping the home, you could offer to let them buy you out, with the understanding that they will then be responsible for all of the maintenance and upkeep. If none of them are able or willing to purchase the home, then they will eventually accept that you are ready to let it go and move onto your next chapter. Having a well-orchestrated plan with a timeline, will give them time to come to terms with the change.

Making the decision is the hard part, once that is finalized you can focus on doing some things to honor all of the special memories made in your home. You can start by identifying where you will move, when you will move and what items you will be taking with you. Once that is determined, plan a time that the kids can all come and help you go through the other items and take things that hold special meaning to them. You can determine the last holiday you will host in the home and plan to make it extra special, focusing on all of their favorite childhood memories, foods, activities, stories etc.

You could consider doing a photo shoot with you all together at the home, making a scrap book of all of your favorite things about the home and documenting all of the important things that happened in the home over the years.  These stories can become their legacy as they come to terms with letting the physical building go. Take the time to say goodbye to a place that has provided your family with a legacy.

Once you have settled into your new home, things may be a little different at family gatherings, but you can incorporate all of the same traditions from childhood into your new house and before you know it, it will feel like home. You have been the caretaker of the family, the matriarch and keeper of tradition, you can continue to do these things while allowing others in the family to begin to step into these roles as well. Life marches forward and your new home will be filled with new memories. Enjoy this new stage of life and the freedoms it brings you.

Ask the Expert: Family Home May 2024 was last modified: May 15th, 2024 by Sprout Media Lab Testing