There are many things you’ve planned to do or achieve in 2010, one of our plans was to put our house on the market. No, we’re not cynics (at least not all the time) and are usually pretty realistic with our expectations too, but nevertheless decided to give it a shot. Just like child birth, baby’s first three years or raising a teenager, losing your favorite coworker and dealing with a new boss—you never really know what to expect until it happens.
Before getting your home listed in this market, you already go through life-altering weeks or months, depending on the condition your home is in. Unlike when we were out looking during a totally overpriced and booming market, walking through houses in conditions that sometimes were questionable, and might even have been hazardous, your home nowadays needs to be a showcase, a furniture gallery, a place staged to perfection that allows you however to live within set limits. The latter can be quite challenging.
I wouldn’t say we’ve ever been the Clutter Family, and really try to keep things nice and neat—but I guess we all still hang on to too many little and big things. Knickknacks from travels long forgotten, clothes that may fit a twenty-year younger version of ourselves, medicine that saw its expiration date in 2008. So I sorted through and organized our belongings, mostly however threw away and donated a bunch of things that no of us has ever missed, asked for, or will remember existed in the near or distant future. All our shelves, closets, drawers and otherwise clutter endangered areas look so much better, and it was an overall quite freeing experience. My husband worked little and big miracles in the meantime with cosmetics around the house. Some weeks and three months later we were ready for the sale sign to be put in the yard by our realtor.
And then the waiting and patience game (aka “the staged life”) begins. While marketing, listings, and whatever else your realtor is doing for you, starts, you’re sitting in the waiting room of waiting rooms. You’re a seller, and there’s many of the species out there, some just as enthusiastic as you, some not quite the staging perfectionistas, and yet others who aren’t sellers but banks, trying to get rid off their excess foreclosures, burying your dreams of profit and a quick turnaround in the sand.
You maintain the probably cleanest carpets and floors in America, make your beds to perfection every morning, wash an enormous amount of constantly fresh hand and bathroom towels, plug in the hardly noticeable but fresh and appealing scents, dust, mob, and clean, and beyond all: wait …
And, you have to be ready, all the time. A prospective spontaneous buyer (do these people really exist?) could after all just stand in front of your driveway with their realtor wanting to come in. They don’t want to stumble on your kid’s toys, don’t want to see your coffee cup staining their perspective new countertops, but expect the house to look like your wonderful show-off photos in the listing. Otherwise, they surely won’t offer top-dollar, or so they say.
We’re getting used to never leaving the house without making sure everything is at its place, but I somehow get the feeling that on that one day you’re a bit lax the real buyer will be knocking at your door. Neverminding the coffee maker on the countertop because that’s what you’ll see in most people’s kitchens, not paying attention to the glass standing on your patio’s table, since it’s just so inviting to sit down, relax, take in the view, AND have an ice-y soda, and actually simply falling in love with the house we did, all those lightyears ago when our house and life was anything but staged.