Realty’s Alternate Reality: Sanity Checklist

It’s Tomorrow.  I haven’t forgotten my promise to enthrall us all with sage strategies for staying sane in Realty’s Alternate Reality.

Wait—I don’t remember actually promising anything besides breath-takingness.   I’m thinking, at this late hour, that it would be easier to just post a really pretty picture of a mountain, and call it good.

But I won’t.  I actually have a list for prospective home sellers.  It is a Brace Yourself list…. “What to Expect When You’re Selling.”  Full of realism and pith, it could still take your breath away, especially if you hold it.  Which I do sometimes…breathlessness has its advantages, as Marilyn Monroe so fetchingly illustrates.

breathless monroe

Here’s my bracing list.  It isn’t comprehensive, by the way.  It just includes the elements that have been the most traumatic and scarring for me personally.

A) There Will Probably Be Strangers In Your Home.

They will not come bearing hostess gifts or potluck dishes.  These strangers (statistics bear this out) will be astonishingly more comfortable in your home if you aren’t present…as a matter of fact, most would prefer that you aren’t even on the same block while they open your closets and scrutinize your bathrooms.  Not even if you’re parked circumspectly a few houses down, pretending nonchalance.

2) Strangers May Have Opinions About Your Home. Like Your Appalling Lack of a Basement.

What?  I thought basements were a dark, dank liability.  But let’s not get too personal here.

A good strategy, by the way.  Not getting personal.  Any evidence of your unique personality in your home might be seen as an encumbrance…not just a figurative mote, but a veritable beam in a potential buyer’s vision of your home as their own.  (Note: You remember that if you’re selling your home, you need to be at least marginally ok with someone else making it their own?).  You should probably remove pictures of your children being silly and loveable or your grandparents kissing.

stealing sugar

Think of it as mote and beam renovation.  And while this may make you feel displaced and lonely, you STILL shouldn’t hang around your house during showings in hopes of catching a glimpse of the potential buyers (aka strangers)..  Go to the library, and remember your library card so you can actually check out books after languishing there for an hour and a half.  Pretend you don’t know strangers are opening closets and scrutinizing bathrooms in your home while you rummage desperately through your purse for the library card that ultimately, you did forget at home in your rush to evacuate.

C)  Strangers Will Open Closets and Scrutinize Bathrooms in Your Home.  In Case You Missed That Earlier.  I’m Not Even Kidding.

This is a scary thought, one that can lead to obsessive compulsiveness (and redundancy) in the seller.  Housekeeping tics involving bleach, vinegar, dental tools, and chimp-like sorting and picking.  Tics which  aren’t really necessary to the sale of a home (I’ve been told, and struggle fruitlessly to believe).  But here’s a comforting thought for all sellers:  Strangers probably won’t look in your dryer.  Most likely.  I’m hoping a study is published to confirm this soon.  Meanwhile, I have hidden all kinds of liabilities and eyesores in my dryer, stopping just short of concealing the snow shovel in it (a visiting friend advised against it).  I still think it might have fit.  It had a short handle.

cleaning the bathroom with vinegar

4) There Might Not Be Strangers In Your Home.

Which could be even worse than A, B, and C combined.  Because you don’t know until the day ends that no potential buyers will be showing up to scrutinize closets and bathrooms.  So you’ll still be going to insane lengths, trying to make your home irreproachably buyable.  Scrubbing shower doors with vinegar (to the consternation and disgust of your teenage son).

looking bemusedly skeptical

Picking and sorting lint and dust specks and small children like a chimp (we actually shaved our couch…no joke).  Making and re-making beds with hospital corners even though you have no idea what hospital corners are,  and forbidding beloved family and friends to eat, for fear of crumbs in the kitchen.

birthday cake

cake crumbs in the kitchen

And the day ends; your family looks hollow-eyed, hen pecked, and hungry; your hands look like you’ve contracted leprosy, and no one—not even you—has enjoyed your beautiful, sparkling home that day.   You seriously wonder if house selling is soul selling in disguise.

E) A Stranger Might Offer to Buy Your Home

While this is what you’ve been working for, the reality of parting with your home (whether scoured and sparkling, or littered with relaxed crumbs) may be overwhelming, even sad.  After all.

Also, an offer is just a beginning to a whole new dimension of Realty’s Alternate Reality.  You’re not done yet.  Not even.

And I’m out of words again.  For now.  Stay tuned for thoughts on realtors.


{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Tabetha March 1, 2014, 6:21 am

    Oh, my heart goes out to you all. I have vowed never again to move (plus I love my stupid house and the stupid job near it). I shudder at the idea of people going through our closets…
    Tabetha recently posted…One of Those WeeksMy Profile

    • Lynaea May 4, 2014, 2:18 pm

      Well, we survived the closet compromises. And the move. Worse than people peeking in our cluttered closets was how bad they looked once I’d emptied them. I painted all of them before we left, even though it wasn’t in the contract. Not as a good will gesture… no. Just to alleviate embarrassment. PS: I think your job is cool. Very. I sometimes have job envy when you talk about it. And it’s obvious you love it. And I love the peeks you’ve shared of your home on your blog.

  • Nancy Wilson February 25, 2014, 10:11 am

    Well…you still have your humor. A vital ingredient for surviving trauma of any kind, especially selling your ome. hand in there this too shall pass.Love you!!

  • Shari February 21, 2014, 7:47 am

    Hmm. I had already begun with feelings of foreboding at the thought of listing our home next month and this post reminds me oh too well of the nightmare of it all. I swear when we sold our last house that every potential buyer wanted to look when it was dinner time. No counting how many dinners we ate in the van while sitting down the road a mile or two. Fun times!

    • Lynaea February 23, 2014, 4:46 pm

      No, I’m thinking that my own experience has helped your statistics. There must be some sort of balance in the universe. Natural laws mandate that only so many Woodburian moments can fall from the sky in any given season. You should be fine, as long as you’ve listed and sold before the turn of the next year. (=

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