When I moved into my tiny little home back in 1990 it was going to be our starter house. We had larger visions of what we wanted but at the time, this was all we could do. Somehow or other it came to pass that we have stayed here for 21 years. And now we think it really is time to move on.
Aside from the millions of sentimental reasons that have kept us attached to our house, I have now learned of the process of putting it on the market. And I am scared. Very scared.
Back in 2005/2006 the market was booming and we could have listed the house for $100k more than what we have been told now. If that's not painful enough, we have been informed that nowadays to sell, you must "stage". As the realtor began to describe the steps to staging I could feel my blood pressure rising and my stress levels shooting through the roof.
It can't be that I just pop a sign on my lawn. No, no. Now I have to do all of the following:
1) Declutter: Most important thing on the list. This means that all of the shit that I have laying around has to go away. I don't have a basement (which will make my home harder to sell) so we have accumulated a lot of stuff. You know, stuff. Indescribable, insignificant stuff that you keep around you because you maybe got it somewhere that was fun and it's a good memory keepsake. Or it's that pile of papers on your kitchen counter that never seems to go away. Or the 30 old magazines piled up in your bathroom (I only have 2, seriously). Or as in the case of my husband his golf tees, ball markers, receipts, change, assorted watches, and other paraphernalia that cover his dresser.
2) Depersonalize: Every picture you ever hung or have laying around your house must go. The refrigerator art, the graduation photos, the family portraits. The gifts that may say best mom or dad, gone. Trophies - gone. Remember, when you are selling your house it is NO LONGER YOUR HOUSE.
3) Lighten up on your furniture: Rent a storage unit and get rid of all things that you don't use every single day. Actually that doesn't matter. Your favorite chair can go in storage. Sit your ass on the floor if you want to sell your house. And don't forget the knick knacks. GONE.
4) Put bright bulbs in all your lamps. In other words, run your electric bill up as high as you can. No one likes a dark home. Forget those eco-friendly bulbs for now.
5) Repairs - Anything and everything you have been neglecting for years better be fixed before you show your house. Those faulty handles on the scratched up screen doors, fix 'em. And better yet, get new doors. And the oak paneled doors you had installed? You may want to have them stained, you've had them for 5-10 years. And that upstairs carpet? No, no no to the carpet allowance. Those are the old days. Replace, replace, replace. It's only money!!
6) Make sure everything is painted in neutral colors - So that paint job you just had done in that deep red that looks so great should be painted over in a nice boring shade of cream. That sponge faux finish that took you three months needs to go too.
7) Put EVERYTHING away in your kitchen and bathroom: Even if you eat toast every morning, put that toaster away. All of your toiletries, hide them. I'm pretty sure it's okay to leave toilet paper but that may be considered too personal.
8) Give the house curb appeal - Make sure your lawn is finely manicured for that first impression! So what if grubs have been eating away at your yard, buy new sod. No big deal.
There are more things but I am feeling like this: if I am going to do all this to make my house look great am I going to want to move? If we do all the things I have been begging my husband to do for years will I want him dead because he is now willing to do them?
This is a big decision. I really want to move on but can't decide if it's worth all the effort. Or is it that little house we had built in the yard 19 years ago that my girls played in (and I can still hear their giggles) that is keeping me here?
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