Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm not superstitious...

I'm Catholic. I don't go for burying statues of St. Joseph upside-down in the back yard to help sell your house. A novena for his intercession, sure; burying statues, not so much. Dale's perspective is here.

We need a bigger house. The kids aren't getting smaller; their accumulated accoutrements are becoming more numerous. We ran out of room one child ago. At least.

My husband has wisely said he wants to sell this one before we buy another. We considered the theory of bridge loans briefly, getting information on how they're paid back and for how much we'd have to sell. We took it under advisement. We have even looked at one house that would give us enough space--and we could probably afford it!

Last night our friend the realtor visited to crunch numbers and reality hit. If we sell our house for what we paid, it could realistically take 20 months to sell and we'd walk out of closing with less than the cost of two movie tickets. At least that spares us the decision about bridge loans...

Which brings us to the next nightmare issue--living in a house while trying to sell it. With three small kids, a dog, and a cat. Realtor-friend offers a free service of "staging," which is basically making your house a blank canvas so potential buyers can see their own stuff in place of yours. Now, I am nothing short of enthusiastic about decluttering this place, regardless of whether or not we're planning to sell. If our house flushed, I'd be thrilled. I looked at one of the stager's write-ups.
As well as the obvious decluttering and furniture adjustment stuff, it involves directions like, "Remove all personal items from the bath and shower. Remove all religious items. Remove family pictures."

Wait a minute. I have to live here for the duration. And I take a shower daily. Where exactly am I supposed to keep my shampoo? Remove religious items? If we had a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, or a Santeria altar, I might concede the put-off factor, but if someone turns down our house because of our crucifix in our bedroom they need... help.
The taking down the kids' pictures really seems to dehumanize instead of just depersonalize. I grew up in a house without any pictures of anyone and it's cold. I'm not talking "easy on the furnace" cold, either.
I've been told we'll need to find "vacation homes" for the animals, too, and again that's beyond my limit. Maybe a year in when we've had no offers I'll change my mind, but...

I think I'd sooner bury a statue.



At 12:19 PM, Blogger Daisy said...

Um... actually you're supposed to bury it in the front yard, facing the street. How do I know? Desperate times, desperate measures. However, as I said in Dale's comments, I haven't actually buried one, since the priest who blessed mine made me promise not to.

I'm not much for staging unless you're talking about a mansion with... discriminating buyers. But taking down the photos is good advice for more than just selling your house. I had the unfortunate experience of being in my house during a showing. People don't just look at the house. They look at your stuff, and they look at your pictures. I was really glad at the time that we had no pictures of kids up, since we had none and had taken down the ones of the nieces. It would have thoroughly creeped me out to have people staring at them.

During our selling process, I used a gym bag for all of my shower stuff that I dragged back and forth from the bedroom. It was innocuous enough at the top of the closet. Thankfully, ours sold in four months.

We did keep our two dogs at the house (in the garage, not in the house) during the process, and there was never a negative comment as long as they were kenneled for the showing.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Milehimama said...

If you have cable, there are some good shows on that basically are about people staging their house to sell it. There's some good tips you could incorporate without doing an entire staging/depersonalizing!
HGTV has a show: Designed to Sell
WE network: Take This House and Sell It!
A&E: Sell This House!

Can you tell I've been taking it easy off my feet? LOL

That said, do the little fix ups (fix moldings, etc.); get rid of big bookshelves and freestanding cabinets or pantries (lest your buyers think there's not enough space!), paint over any wallpaper that is more than 20 years old.
And - get some laundry baskets. Knowing that buyers will look in every cupboard and closet, I know several people who swear by the laundry basket method - when you get a call your realtor wants to show the house, you throw any and all messes into the laundry baskets, put them in your car and take the mess with you when you drive away.

My sister sent her cats to live with another sister when the house was in the showing stage. It was just easier plus she could get rid of the litter box.

Good luck!

Mama Says

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Thank you for your breath of fresh air re: staging. Yeah, one never knows what kind of people/creeps may look at your house; them knowing what your kids look like would not be good.
I do have a basket I used in college to tote my shampoo, etc. back and forth; I just wasn't looking forward to using it again. Sigh.

Milehimama--we will be incorporating that laundry basket suggestion. That is a gem.

Thank you both for the breath of fresh air, too. It helps.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger TYF said...

I'd second the decision not to get a bridge loan. We did that six years ago, when we moved into our present home, and it was high anxiety until the original house sold. Big burden making (1) the new mortgage payment (2) the original mortgage payment (3) the bridge loan payment AND (4) homeowners insurance on both houses. Also, we had two offers fall through after we moved. If we ever move again, I think we'll insist on having the money in the bank before we sign for a new house.

I'd also second the "laundry basket" method. That helped us last time. Another tip: pack up everything you know you won't need soon (winter clothes, books, etc, etc) and take it to a mini-storage unit. For us, that (1) greatly reduced clutter and (2) gave us a head start on packing when the time came to move.


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