For the second time in our married life, my husband and I are selling our house. This is a surprising predicament to find ourselves in because when we bought this house we had planned to live here until our kids moved out. But shit happens. We thought we wanted a huge home and now we realize that huge homes are hard to clean, expensive to heat, and have more windows than one person should ever have to clean in their entire life. And so we are in the market to sell and to buy. This means we get to walk through stranger’s houses and put ours on the market, both of which are enough to send a sane person straight into the arms of 10 AM vodka binges.
Over the past few weeks while looking at houses and prepping our house, I have learned a few things I think could assist others in the buying and selling of their home. I would hate to keep this shit to myself. Here are the hell no’s and fuck yes’s of preparing your home for the daunting and somewhat intrusive act of having strangers look through your cabinets and touch your quilts. (Please don’t look in my cabinets.)
The Hell No’s
1. Placing rat traps in your kitchen.
This is a sure fire way to freak out any potential buyer, especially if they happen to be mortified of rodents or don’t like to have their toe snapped off in the process of inspecting your new counter tops. You may very well have a terrible problem with rats or mice living in your pantry (and trust me…I understand the horror), but you need to hide that shit if you have any interest in moving out of your rat zoo in the next 74 years.
2. Refusing to de-clutter your home
Watching Hoarders from the comfort of your disorganized living room is one thing, but putting your house on the market and expecting people to climb over Rubbermaid totes full of Christmas decorations to get in your front door is another thing altogether. I’m a hoarder by virtue of my DNA and I have my fair share of collections including; perfectly good empty food containers, glass vases, stained towels, and more toothbrushes than a family of 16 could use in a lifetime. (But they were a good deal, so shut your fucking pie hole.) The problem is…no one wants to see your dusty collection of Arizona salt and pepper shakers nor do they look forward to tripping over all the baby quilts you saved from your kid’s formative years. Pack that shit up and put it in storage. Then when you move into your new place you can dump that crap back on the floor where you enjoy it most and move on with your life.
3. Staying in your house when potential buyers show up.
This should be a no-brainer, folks. Unless you are deathly ill with swine flu or both your legs were broken in a tragic coyote incident, you need to vacate the premises when strangers with money come to your house. We recently made an appointment to view a home only to find both the owners at home, in their pajamas, with an overwhelming desire to follow us around and tell us about their tool shed. This is exactly the opposite of how we intended to spend our morning. Bless your sweet spirit that you want to inform potential buyers of the fact that you haven’t been well enough to mow your lawn for 5 years, but ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Put on some pants, hop in your car, and let people judge your crappy yard in peace.
4. Listing your home with the term “kill room” instead of cold storage
I really wanted to inform fellow Dexter fans about the most amazing room in our house, but some people seem to think that listing a home as “A gorgeous 5 bedroom, 3 bath home with a temperature controlled kill room” wouldn’t be a selling point. I think those people are wrong, but I’m not the expert here. Apparently. What they can’t stop me from doing is setting up a metal table with a bloody chainsaw on top and hanging a rubber apron on the door. I can’t be the only person who thinks a kill room is an amazing selling point in a home.
The Fuck Yes’s
1. Hire my sister to ‘stage’ your home. Whatever that means.
She moved a bookcase into our bathroom and made me pack up these really cool worm lamps, but I’ve stopped questioning her motives. My sister is a house staging genius. Our home went from looking like something off of Buried Alive to looking like a photo out of a magazine. (If people still read magazines.) When I set up furniture in my house, I do it once and I don’t look at again for 5 years. We had tables and lamps where no one needed light and books next to the toilet. The pee stained books convinced me that I needed expert eyes before we listed our home, so I called my sister and made her work for free. Our home looks much better now, but that bookcase in the bathroom is kinda freaking me out.
2. Make your bed.
This one doesn’t make me happy AT ALL. I hate making my bed and I sure as shit don’t want to make my kid’s beds every fucking morning, but my issues with beds must be overcome. I’ve been told (by my genius sister) that people don’t want to see my bed with piles of blankets and dirty underwear on it. Weird.
3. Do your dishes every 19 seconds. More frequently if you have kids or eat food.
My days are already filled with dishes, but I had forgotten how many dishes you need to do when you are having judgy people come to your house unannounced for five months straight. I’ve already done dishes 8 times today and it’s not even 3pm, so I’m fairly certain I will be breaking glasses and throwing plates in the trash can by the end of the week. I can’t stir my coffee without opening the dishwasher and I’m starting to have real compassion for people who have super clean houses all the time. The opening and closing of one’s dishwasher 679 times a day can’t be good for anyone’s health. (I need to get my wrist checked for carpal tunnel.)
Keep your fingers and toes crossed that we sell our house quickly and that no one finds out about all the hidden crap in my cabinets that I shoved in instead of actually organizing. I don’t need your judging eyes. I have a very accessible kill room for awhile longer and I know how to use it. (I really don’t know, but I can watch a YouTube video and find out.)