2017-05-17 / Editorial

Lot of work just to sell a house

If you’ve ever sold a house, you know the torture I’m about to describe.

We’ve put our home in Wendell on the market in preparation for making the move to Person County and the first thing we did was to ask a real estate agent to come to our home and look around at some things we could do to improve the marketability of the home.

We knew there were a few relatively minor things we needed to fix – little niggly things that we had just decided to live with. But we were pleasantly surprised when the real estate agent’s list was nearly as short as ours.

“This sale,” I thought, “is going to be a breeze.”

Famous last words.

I forgot that my partner in this sale – my wife – is a Type A personality when it comes to such things.

First, we had to declutter. I couldn’t figure out what clutter she was talking about. The next thing I know, I’m loading her hope chest onto a truck bound for storage, along with end tables, book cases, lamps, sofas and all manner of other stuff.

I drew a line in the sand, however, when I saw her making a beeline for my record collection.

No, I don’t listen to them often, but that was beside the point. I didn’t want them in a place that would get really hot during the day and really cold at night.

Such weather variations just aren’t good for vinyl. Becky let my records live at home where they belong.

Once the decluttering was done, I thought I was in the clear.

Silly boy.

Then we had to clean the house. Now, I’d like to think I’m a fairly clean person. But Becky’s definition of clean and my definition are wildly different.

Turns out it’s not good enough to sweep the floors, you also have to mop them. And vacuum them. If there was any dirt left in our house by the time we started showing it to prospective buyers, well, that speck of dirt earned the right to stay just where it was.

We cleaned fan blades – not just the edges mind you, which do tend to collect the dust, but we cleaned the top of the fan blades too.

Now, I’ve bought a lot of houses with Becky over the years and I can’t remember ever once checking out the top of the fan blades to make sure the seller had cleaned them.

But lemme tell you, we have got the cleanest fan blades in all of Wendell.

After we swept and mopped and scrubbed and dusted the house to within an inch of its life, Becky determined it was important that we stage the house.

Real estate professionals will tell you that homes with no furniture or decorations sell the easiest because a potential buyer has an easier time envisioning their own stuff in the empty rooms than they do if all your stuff is there.

But as a practical matter, a seller who lives in the house until the house is sold has to have some of his own stuff in there.

So, off to the store Becky went. There was a new tablecloth (we haven’t eaten on a tablecloth a single time in 23 years of marriage), new bathroom mats, even a new shower curtain to replace the one I had specifically asked for when we moved into the house, which featured all manner of colorful fish on a blue background to miimc the ocean.

And those bathroom mats? Well, apparently they aren’t for me.

After a photographer came to take pictures for marketing purposes, those mats got taken up off the floor like they’d been shot out of a cannon. I still haven’t stood on one of them.

Becky told me Monday that I likely never will.

And you remember all those lamps I lugged to the storage unit?

Apparently, proper staging requires one to go out and buy new lamps to replace the perfectly functional lamps we already had.

Somehow a relatively short to-do list intended to get our home ready to sell turned into a two-week ordeal that I think was designed to make me not want to sell our house in the first place.

The house is immaculate now. Why would I want to sell that well-appointed, scrubbed-clean home?

What worries me now is what new project Becky is going to set her mind – and my body – to working on.

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