We’ve all heard at least one person say that buying or selling a home is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life. It’s right up there with a death in the family, divorce, and having a child. All of these life events seem so personal and important. In the past year, however, I’ve seen the act of buying and selling houses as very impersonal. What was once a group effort of both buyers and sellers forming an important relationship has become a simple, “Out with the old, in with the new.”
The memories I have as a child at my grandmother’s home in Brooklyn, New York are so vivid. I never saw the old Brownstone building as a structure. It lived and breathed like the family that occupied it. When my grandmother was ill, my mother, along with my aunts and uncles, decided to sell it and move her closer to the family in Staten Island. The transaction was strictly business. My family didn’t know the buyers and the buyers didn’t bother to get to know us. The only thing that popped into my head when I got the 411 on the closing was Why?
My office manager, Barbi Bozich, recalled her family selling her childhood home with a different experience. Both families understood how important what they were about to share really was and how preserving the memories made there would only be justified by keeping ties with one another. A backyard barbeque was the perfect setting for both families to mingle. I thought of how great it would have been to share a meal with the new owners of my grandmother’s home and take turns telling our favorite memories that the old Brownstone held and listening to the ones the new family had developed.
Those instances seem far and few between now. While I’m hard pressed to say that people just aren’t as nice anymore, there may other elements at play that may distract buyers and sellers from that special bond of mutual homeownership. The biggest one I can think of is the increased use of technology. In an industry where people were practically forced to meet at a table to sign documents, loan packages, warranty deeds, and title commitment (among everything else) can now all be scanned and send across the world to buyers and sellers in mere seconds. Why stick around when you can take your vacation and sell your home all at the same time?
John Saladino, a world renowned architect and designer said, “A house is much more than a shelter. It should lift us spiritually and emotionally.” With such a powerful impact on your family’s life, you owe it to your home to get to know who’s buying it. Likewise, buyers should do their best to form a relationship with the sellers. This gives previous owners peace of mind and confidence that their home will be in good hands. No one likes strangers in their home and no one likes being a stranger. Take the time to shake hands and exchange some friendly words. You’ll be glad you did!