March 11, 2006

House-selling stress.

I'm exiled from my house again. I would have gone out anyway, but today, I had to be out at a specific time, while another set of prospective buyers came through. It's not a normal Saturday out and about, when you've got to leave at a particular time, with everything in extra-tidy form, and then think about how strangers are wandering about in there, saying either nice things or bad, the details of which you will hear later.


Truly said...

Hey, as long as they're not rifling through your underwear drawer. You hope, anyway.

Did you hear that Milosevic kicked it? It is wrong to be really pleased when someone dies?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Then again, you could use the time to think about how you're gonna' commemorate your 4 millionth hit.

I'm still waiting for my squism prize.

Ricardo said...

Ann, Ann, Ann. And I thought we had made so much progress. And here you go, backsliding into stress, again.

First, the only person you can control is yourself. What someone else says behind your back, or in your house, is fundamentally unimportant. Second, lets look at this through the prism of the glass being "half full" instead of "half empty". What if there were NO prospective buyers? Be glad that you're being run out of your house, while people are cooperating with you in making your dream of the condo come true. If I were new-agey, I would say that the universe is now aligned with you, helping you move toward your current life goal. Don't fight back!

Joan said...

Ricardo, you crack me up. I hope Ann got as many chuckles out of your pep talk as I did.

I never heard word one of what anyone said in the house, unless they were being shown around by my own broker. Even though my broker was diligent about following-up after showings, we never really got much feedback. I've learned to have very low expectations in that regards.

I took the advice of my realtor on staging seriously: always cleaned the glass door, kitchen, and bathrooms; always made the beds and picked up the toys and ruthlessly eliminated all clutter even inside the closets. I did what I could -- after that, it was up to the market. It helps if you can be "zen" (ha!) about it.

Ann Althouse said...

Joan: My broker is always there, even when other brokers are bringing through their clients. I get info from him because I ask. I ask, because if I know that if someone said X is bad, I can offer reasons why X is not bad. For example, if someone says the kitchen doesn't have a whatever the hell shape they read a kitchen is supposed to have, I point out that it's set up so two people can work in their own spaces. If someone thinks the upstairs is confusing, I point out that the children's rooms have the feel of being in their own wing. That's something I want to be able to do.

Ruth Anne: I should hit 4 million tomorrow, I think.

Ricardo: It helps me to put it in writing.

Brendan said...

Hide the empty wine bottles.

reader_iam said...

When I was trying to sell the house back East a decade ago, I returned home to discover that a box of condoms and other birth control had been stolen from the bathroom vanity. That definitely weirded me out.

I mean, I suppose I could have considered it donating to a worthy cause, but still ...

alikarimbey said...

Your house will go well. No stress. Let me get you to laugh. The TVland has an add that says -- you want to see sensitive cowboys, then we have these on Gunsmoke. They are taking off Broback mountain.Must hand it to TVland.

Maxine Weiss said...

I always look through someone else's medicine chest.

--Just out of curiosity, of course.

Peace, Maxine

XWL said...

Ruth Anne: I should hit 4 million tomorrow, I think.

But what percentage of that 4 million is just quxxo alone?

(.5% - my guess)

That's a bit better than 25 visits a day over a two year period, sounds just about right.

As to the house selling, it's a tough process, hard to open your life to strangers no matter the motive.

Territoriality is ingrained in our DNA (or so it seems to me).

And, RIA, did you mention a bathroom vanity just so I could link to this post?

(Ruth Anne in the comments to that post had mentioned Prof. Althouse might be amused by that post also, I'll use that as an excuse for this self-indulgent tangent)

Very kind of you, thank you, thank you.

One last tangent, anyone remember the Looky Loo commercials that ran in the 70s for a real estate firm? Can't remember which one, but I do remember the animated looky loos (looked similar to the inspector in the animated Pink Panther cartoons from the 60/70s). Couldn't find any reference on the web, might have been a SoCal only commercial, not sure.

Bee said...

I *totally* remember the Looky Loo commercials. I grew up in San Bernardino area from '74-'80. In fact, as soon as I read Ann's post I thought, "Uh oh, here come the Looky Loos." I remember they looked through people's closets and medicine cabinets, and I always thought it was so rude (even at the age of 5).

I can't remember the Real Estate company though--was it Century 21?

Robert said...

if I know that if someone said X is bad, I can offer reasons why X is not bad

Ah. Well, to each their own, but in these imaginary conversations, it's probably worth noting that the people saying "X is bad" are lying.

They are saying X is bad because civility requires them to give some reason for not buying your house. The real reason they're not buying your house is that the architecture made them want to vomit, or it costs a million dollars too much, or because they felt the chilly presence of a thousand damned souls in the basement. But they can't say that, because it would hurt your feelings. So they say that the bathroom is too small.

You can explain your system of leaving the doors open and strategically placing small mirrors to give the illusion of space, but this will not address their actual concern, which is probably the damned-souls one.

But don't feel bad - every house is yucky to 70% of the market. It's the couple that walks in and squeals "oh my god it's perfect!" that will love the place, even with the confusing upstairs, and they will buy it and give you lots of money. So fret not!

chuck b. said...

Sooo, what did your realtor say the home shoppers said??? Blog commentors want to know!

chuck b. said...

Robert said, "they felt the chilly presence of a thousand damned souls in the basement"

So, is it a nation-wide thing that sellers have to disclose unnatural deaths in the house? I know when I bought I had to sign a form saying I understood that the seller understood that no unnatural deaths occurred in the house. When my realtor explained that particular form in the five foot high stack of forms I had to sign I loudly exclaimed, "LAME!!!" Like the house is haunted, or what? Come fucking on.

What numb nuts brought suit against someone for a nondisclosure of unnatrual death? It was explained to me that Chinese people won't buy houses where there was an unnatural death because it brings "bad luck".

THere is no such thing as bad luck!


SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truly said...

Think about the Amityville Horror, though. If, say, the gate of hell was in your basement, you'd want to know that, wouldn't you?

Have you tried the more subtle tricks, like baking an apple pie while prospective buyers are there?

Ann Althouse said...

Robert: "they felt the chilly presence of a thousand damned souls in the basement"

Funny! They might feel a grungy/punky/progressive presence in the basement.

Anyway, I think some people say negative things in order to set up a low offer. But let me be clear: I hear overwhelmingly positive things and negatives that relate something that is a plain fact about the house: it was built in two phases, in the 1920s with an addition put on much later (around 1970). I put work into making these two parts relate to each other better. The greatest positives deal with the huges space that is provided on two levels because of this addition. So, it is what it is. Some folks love it. Whoever buys the house will be someone who loves the old, historic neighborhood and the houses that fit this style and thinks it's cool to get away with a fabulous, big added space that the historic board would never approve today.

Anyway, it's only been on the market since Wednesday, and there's been a lot of interest in the place, with 6 sets of prospective buyers.

Joan said...

Ann, I think it's terrific, but also rather unusual, for your broker to be there every time your house is shown. Or perhaps that's a difference in the R.E. markets between Madison and Phoenix.

I can't imagine what a scheduling nightmare that must be. Do the buyer's brokers call you to arrange a showing, or your broker? We always had the buyer's brokers call us directly, both here and in Massachusetts. And while my brokers have always been diligent about following up, as I said, we never got much useful feedback. It boils down to what you said: ultimately, the buyer will be one who loves the house for what it is, despite its quirks, whatever they are.

Of course, one big difference is I never sold a property for as much as you are offering your house for. Perhaps that explains your broker's dedication.

Ann Althouse said...

Joan: I think I may be getting special treatment because the house is expensive. There won't be any open houses. It's not available for people just to scope out. There's no lock box on the door. There's only one key out there and my realtor always has it. This is minimizing stress for me, and I appreciate it.

Willie said...

there are some ways that i noticed that you can sell your home (and get rid of all the STRESS) a bit easier then by just a sign in front of your house, because brokers wont neccesarly know that you have a house for sale, but when i was selling my home in NJ, a friend told me about a company that lists nyour house on the MLS system for you, so brokers can see it, and you can save tons of money, it worked for me, (i saved about $7,000) all i paid was $500 to list it, one such company is (the company i used) but there are tons others like them (although they were a pleasure to deal with!!:))

Unknown said...

I am only 19 days into this and I need a laugh. I have had some feedback-spotless, lovely but they dont buy it. I am going crazy and getting worried send me a laugh