Taking the First Step (blog) retiredlifenow.com


There is a moment when you move from thinking about something to actually taking steps to make it happen.

That moment can be filled with a lot of anxiety and trepidation. We talked and talked and talked about moving from outside Chicago to southern Illinois. It would be closer to our son and his family, but also moving further away from another son and his family. This is just one of the factors that was weighing us down and created that anxiety. 

How will the family feel?

Questions loomed continually and hashing and rehashing the pros and cons of this potential move were constantly being discussed.

~ How will the family close to us now feel? This included our own son and his family but also included my brothers and extended family who are predominantly in the northern Illinois area.

~ Of course the question of home values, pre-selling repairs, moving expenses, timing, and so much more were additional questions.

All those questions

~ What was at the bottom of all those questions was our life and our future, but I have trouble sometimes separating the two – us from others – and choosing for ourselves.

I talked with several real estate agents to try and narrow down who might be the agent we would choose. This was another difficult decision since I do a lot of networking and know oodles of real estate agents. Where do I begin?  I started with a trusted friend with that I felt comfortable just dipping my toe into the conversation and getting some feedback and initial input to start moving in that direction. It wasn’t actually committing to it, but sort of tiptoeing around it. At least that was how it felt. Staying safe, while poking at the fire.


I also started a conversation with a mortgage broker, also known from networking. It was someone I had known for years and felt very comfortable and could trust her.  This felt like the first step as I began uploading documents required to narrow down the financials and pre-approval phase of this potential move. Notice how I still use the word ‘potential’. LOL

Digging out those documents, reaching out to those who could provide what they required, and having it all in digital format so it could be added to the secure portal was a lot of work. Sometimes there is an imbalance of responsibilities in a marriage and the tasks that each party assumes. It always becomes a matter of perspective, I believe. One of the partners typically takes responsibility for financial matters whether it be bill paying, investments, insurance, banking, etc. When there isn’t a lot of communication around said responsibility, that is when some frustration may bubble up. 


I’m happy to say that these frustrations have never erupted into major disputes that created arguments that carried over into other areas of our relationship. Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some angry thoughts that were kept to oneself and occasional words exchanged but gladly kept in perspective.


So onward we move closer and closer to the moment of truth. The moment we must decide on the real estate agent, the moment we must decide on the mortgage broker, and the moment when we put ink to paper and set all the wheels in motion!  OMG ~ are we really doing this?

One tidbit I will add is the step of asking a staging person to come to the house and give me feedback to prepare the house for sale. Oh my!!!! It’s like opening a can of worms, so to speak. I expected some suggestions and thought I knew what they would recommend. Some of those things were neutral paint colors, wallpaper border removal, and reducing the amount of furniture in the house, not to mention decluttering. The actual list of items to address was pages long. It started before she even entered the house from the ‘curb appeal’ perspective. 

Get rid of stuff?!

Here simple statement to get rid of 50% of the furniture in the house made me shudder at the thought. Where would stuff go, or would be released it? That’s a nice way of saying get rid of it. I’m sure you have heard that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure! No truer words may have been spoken. 


Some of the more emotional recommendations were to remove any and all pictures of family members! I felt like they didn’t want us to be living there anymore. The other request was to remove all curtains! Leave the curtain rods, but remove the curtains because we are selling light and space. Having curtains covering part of the windows, or blinds drawn to block out light was a no-no. Our home now started to echo which was a most distressing sense of ‘home.’ 

I spoke with one of our family members and told her as we began painting a bathroom white, that we had begun the sterilization of our home. It was akin to divorcing myself from these walls, roofs, and closets that had housed us, protected us, sheltered us, and provided comfort and safety to us and our family. Maybe it sounds overdramatic, but that’s how I perceived all of this ‘preparation.’

And inconclusion

All this as we just start the process of selling! It’s such a huge undertaking that it’s hard to capture in words. The emotion behind the decision is so much larger. I tend to get a little obsessive when I start on tasks, and this was approaching the starting line, and then hearing the starter’s gun pop. So began the task of getting U-haul boxes and wrapping paper to remove memorabilia, photos, curtains, knick-knacks, and reminders of so many family moments. We decided that we would not strip the house and that there was one wall we had painted as a ‘featured’ wall in our living room. Our decision was that we would do the other items to make the home as appealing as possible, but it was still our home and wanted it to feel that way as much as possible. So, we would get other things done and after other painting and decorating items were neutralized (painted beige), we would repaint that feature wall so we could enjoy it as long as possible. 


What came next? Tune into the next post to continue this journey of Taking The First Step.