The reality of a divorcing homeowner is one of fear, paralyzation, overwhelm, sadness, anger, and that's just the beginning.
When a Realtor is enlisted to handle the sale of the house in a divorce, it's easy to come in and give a laundry list of things to do: Mow the yard, plant some begonias, paint the eaves, declutter and remove half of all the stuff in the house, replace the cracked window, clean the carpets, trim the trees, figure out a solution for the dogs, vacate the house at a moment's notice for strangers to peruse through your bedroom and closets, get used to seeing pictures of every room in your house all over the internet, suck up all of the feedback - good and bad - that we'll be getting from picky buyers, rearrange the kids' schedules, line up a place to move to, and make some of the most important financial decisions of your life......hurry up, we don't have time to waste, the market is moving fast and we'll be in escrow before you know it. Congrats! Isn't this exciting?
Oh, and the emotions of a failed marriage, untying all of the knots that lie underneath all of that, and being a source of comfort to devastated children.
It's no wonder we are met with fight, flight, or freeze responses.
So what's the solution? First, we must recognize the magnitude that the sale of the house has on a family, and acknowledge the trembling fear that drives much of the emotion we face with our clients.
Secondly, we don't overwhelm them with a laundry list of stuff to do, like dropping a bomb and thinking we've done our job. We give them baby steps.
Create milestones. Set realistic timelines for things to get done. This week, focus on the yard. Next week, the bedrooms. And so on...
Lastly, be patient. Our sense of urgency can be in direct contrast to what our clients are able to cope with.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.