Five things I’ve learned while selling this house

by DaniGirl on September 11, 2010 · 13 comments

in 5 things, It IS all about me

There’s barely been time to tweet lately, let alone blog. Although the craziness of back-to-school week has subsided, there is no end yet on the horizon for the craziness that is selling this house. It’s been two weeks since it was listed and we’ve had a dozen appointments so far to see it, but we’ve still got nothing. I’m digging deep, deep into my psyche to find a wellspring of patience and zen about this whole experience.

In fact, it’s been a huge learning experience for all of us. Here’s five things I’ve learned so far:

1. I have attained the age of 41 years without ever properly learning how to make a bed.

To be fair, bed-making is not a skill I value. I frankly don’t care whether the beds get made or not in the mornings, and love crawling into my bed at the end of the day just as much when it’s taughtly drawn as when it’s a disheveled mess, but the stager said the beds must be made to “hotel perfection” for each showing. Hotel perfection is something we’ve yet to achieve, although we’ve now progressed beyond haphazardly tossed comforters and sheets hanging down. Barely.

By the way, Mom, don’t take this one personally. You imbued me with many other important life skills that have come in far more valuable than bed-making. Why am I so challenged at this? It seems to me the beds were made every day when I was growing up — obviously not by me, though!

2. I am a lousy housekeeper.

I’m sure I have put in more hours cleaning the house in the past two weeks than I have collectively over the past year *cough-orthree-cough* and have become obsessive about keeping the place clean. No mess will rest on my watch, and seeing mess in other places that are not my house for sale is beginning to stress me out. After the first weekend of showings, I went in to work on Monday and was horrified at the state of my desk.

I have, however, learned how to vacuum myself backwards out of a room so I don’t leave footprints in the pile — excellent for later when you come home and try to extrapolate viewer satisfaction based on the number and size and patterns of the footprints in the carpet.

3. I will never, ever ask to view a house unless I am 98 per cent sure I want to buy it.

I will absolutely never ask to view a house just on a lark. Honest to god, if I’m going to spend half the day cleaning the place for you, you damn well better be thinking about putting in an offer. And, as a corollary to this point:

4. There is a special place in hell for people who make appointments and do not show up.

After spending four hours cleaning this morning and making special arrangements to drop the dog off at my parents place, we returned after the designated hour to find that nobody had bothered to show up. One entire perfect autumn Saturday wasted, for no reason whatsoever. That’s just cruel.

5. Children do not understand the concept of preparing a house for show, no matter how carefully (or shriekily) you explain it to them.

One fine day Beloved was working until just before the showing, so I had to prep the place myself. With 20 minutes left and the main floor left to vacuum and polish, I came up from the basement to find Lucas holding one of the stair rail spindles, complete with rusty nail pointing out of the end. Exactly two minutes after fixing that, I accidentally vacuumed up the Nintendo DS charger cord that was plugged in to a power bar under the television set. When I yanked the vacuum back in a panic, not only did I yank the entire power bar out from under the TV, but I yanked the Wii, the cable box and the DVD player that had ALSO been plugged into the power bar off the back of the TV cabinet and onto the floor. With 10 minutes left before the people arrived. And I found myself saying to the children, “I know it doesn’t make any sense, but please — for the love of your mother, just go and sit over there by the front door and do not touch ANYTHING for the next ten minutes. Really, please? Just. sit. there.”

I’m thinking of creating a category for these posts called “misadventures in real estate” but I’m hoping that the experience won’t last long enough to merit one.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula September 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I love reading your posts on this house selling! One more thing you WILL learn is how wonderful if feels when you hear the words, *we have a firm offer* and the euphoria you will feel when it is finalized.

2 angela September 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm


you make me laugh so hard;)

3 Jen September 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Awww, i’m really feeling for you (but also half laughing) everything you said is so true! one idea for the beds – lose the top sheet. it’s really easy to make a bed when you’re just throwing a quilt/comforter/duvet over the fitted sheet, and pulling it tight on either side 🙂

i’ve still got my fingers crossed for a sale!

4 freemommiestuff September 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm Five things I’ve learned while selling this house: There’s barely been ti…

5 Zhu September 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I never make my bed. I just don’t understand the concept. I can tidy up, that’s about it.

As for people who make appt. and don’t keep it… yes, that must be super annoying.

6 valerie September 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

we never make beds – I really don’t care. In fact, what one should do (and I try to) is flip the comforter and top sheet back to air out the bed rather than tucking in the sweat and letting the dust mites breed.

It’s tough, but hang in there. Soon it will happen.

7 Best of Ottawa Blogs September 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Five things I’ve learned while selling this house

8 Soire September 11, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I love a well made bed, and hate when DH is the last one out and doesn’t pull up the covers 😛

I hope it goes quickly for you guys. It’s def. a circle of hell. I’ve had that “Just. Sit. PLEASE” moment a few times too!

9 Amber September 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I am suddenly grateful for my husband’s bed-making skillz. I am also suddenly devoted to my current house, because selling it doesn’t sound like much fun.

I hope that it goes soon, and that there are no more missed appointments in your future.

10 2Hirondelles September 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I’m not at all convinced that these insanely high standards aren’t set by real estate agents based on absolutely nothing. How clean a house is and how well the beds are made did not sway us one way or the other when we were house-hunting. In fact, the house we bought was rather poorly kept. But maybe we aren’t your average house hunters, I don’t know.

11 Annika September 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I feel for you, I do! But I am laughing so hard right now. You deserve a column, Dani. This real estate series is soooo rich. We can all relate at some level. Sending you “firm offer” vibes. It will all pay off in the end!

12 Stefania (Ingredients for Life) September 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

That’s why my house hasn’t sold — I’m leaving footprints on the clean carpet. I will have to try your trick. 🙂

Ugh. It’s hard, I know. I hope it ends soon with an offer — in both our cases.

13 Jen H. September 14, 2010 at 10:21 am

I’m with Valerie on this one. Our beds are never made because I’m airing them out. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll have to make sure I tell my mom about this new reason for my slovenliness. 🙂

Good luck, and hoping for a buyer for you soon!

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