Transitions to a fresh start

Gary Kelley, Realtor –
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By Gary Kelley, Realtor®


Energy Unlimited

The simple question, “What do you do?” used to give me pause. When I’d say, “I’m a senior vice president with Fidelity Investments,” people would lean in to hear more like I was about to share the secrets of investing and the markets. When I’d say I am a Realtor, people often retreat from a conversation. “I sling houses for a living,” yields a chuckle and at the same time trivialized my profession. “I help people transition to a fresh start,” hits the mark well.

That’s the thing about real estate. There’s the transaction and mechanics taught in real estate school. Then there are tears.

There are tears when a first-time buyer hears their offer was accepted. In fact, every woman gives out a squeal of joy.

There are tears when a young couple has a baby and suddenly need more space. Their house gets packed up with the efficiency of a diaper bag and eventually the seams virtually split.

There are tears when the divorcing couple sells their home. Separate from the legal entanglements the sale of a divorcing couple’s home highlights a certain finality to their relationship. They’ll be living separately going forward.

There are tears when the downsizing happens. The home of the dreams, also known as the forever home, becomes too expensive, too large, too outdated. Memories were made in the home. And for some, it is acknowledgment of the next life stage.

There are tears when it’s time to sell mom’s (or dad’s) home. Mom or dad no longer needs an independent home.

While the real estate process focuses on the orderly ownership recording, the people involved are the real story. And we need to pay attention to their needs.

There’s the woman wanting to put in an offer on a property and doing so reluctantly. When asked, she asked to go on a Facetime session and was crying a river. “I want to live in another place and this one will be fine.” We responded, “Then you shouldn’t offer on it. There will be other houses, and we want you excited.”  She beamed, and we continued looking.

There’s the couple with new baby where finding the house must fit in between feedings and naps. “Is there a home for us,” one asked. Yes…is the answer. And you’ll know you found it when you can’t get the house out of your mind.

There’s the divorcing couple where he has moved out and there are basic repairs needed.  She’s feeling overwhelmed. We connected her with an affordable contractor to do needed basic repairs making the home more livable, helping slow the tears and make a situation feel less out of control.

There’s the couple where the wife keeps breaking down thinking about selling the house. “We raised our family here. The memories.” We suggested writing a letter to the house and hiding in the attic or basement. Record your memories…. someday your letter will be found, and the memories will go on.

There are the children not knowing where to start with mom/dad’s place. “Take the items you want for the family, and we’ll take care of the rest.” We can get the items removed to donation/consignment/junk and tend to any cleaning/repairs.

Real estate school teaches people about real estate transactions. Real estate transactions teach people about people. Having a Realtor working with you through these transitions can help with a fresh start.

Kelley is a member of the Rotary Club of Westborough and is an award-winning Realtor. He invites you to follow him on Facebook at

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