Everybody’s Selling Something

My house is on the market.

No, this isn’t an homage or reference to a “Company Men” instance, in fact, life is good at the Big Travel Company. But the fact of the matter is my house and its square footage (interior, not so much exterior) isn’t enough for Myself, Boy, Man Person, and His Cat. Honestly, it’s the Cat that needs the square footage.

Having taken most of the unused furnishings and the entirety of my 2k+ volume library and boxed them up, tetris-style, into my garage, I can no longer park in it. Having replaced the carpet and repainted much of the interior, the house is officially on the market. This is a demoralizing, un-fun event, on several levels.

First, there is the fact that one needs to work with a realtor. In a buyer’s market, selling a house is a pain in the butt, and it’s a double pain in the butt if you’re a hyperanalytic metrics fiend. I can tell you right now the selling stats of every realtor who’s been through this house, the days on the market of each competitor to this house, and the pros/cons to my place vs. my comp set. I can also tell you it astounded me, too, that the competitor house listing at 35k more than mine that had their hot tub in the front yard (mine was in back) and had 100square foot less and about 1/3 the acreage just went pending. I have no idea why. Your realtor is there to guide you through this, mine is guiding me, but that doesn’t mean that her years of experience and my years of analysis don’t clash occasionally.

Second, there is the fact that your house is no longer your home — it is NO ONE’S home. It’s staged. Ever live in a staged house? It’s seriously un-fun. First off, staged houses do not admit that people wash their hands, so 2/3 of the bathrooms and the kitchen have the soap dispensers hidden. Also, because people do not wash their hands, the towels in those areas can totally be wrapped in raffia — no point in drying hands that haven’t been washed. Somehow it is still okay to have toilet paper in the bathrooms, apparently we all acknowledge that people poo. They just magically have sanitary hands afterwards. 

In a staged house, your TV will be at an angle that home-theater experts will declare is “exactly wrong”, you will have dishes in areas that you never had dishes (over the fireplace??), you will have angled “uplights” and fake ficus, place settings on the never-used breakfast bar and feature cards touting the wonderfulness of your RV parking (hey, mine has coax and full hookups!). Your glass coffee table and dining table (they aren’t really mine, in a way) will be cleaned daily (as will your stovetop) JUST IN CASE folks show up to view your house.

About that: item 3,492 that sucks about having your house on the market? Realtors who leave messages insisting they will show your house between 11 and 1, and then don’t. Or show up early or late. Or call with 5 minutes’ notice.

You would think the yummy prospect of homebuying (with a staggering pre-approval) would take the sting out of this: it doesn’t, quite. It’s not that we haven’t found some amazing places (we have — and considering that our search radius is 1.5 miles, that’s impressive). It’s not that we haven’t created a pecking order (we have a solid #1). It’s that there are so many that come *close* but are either oddly laid out or have too much space or have too little space or have EVERY ROOM angled. Paint and cabinets are relatively easily ameliorated, bones of a house are not. I tell you what though: anyone who wants a beige and brick 2-car garage house that looks like every other one on its block is TOTALLY in luck.

This also brings up a different sort of language you speak with your Significant Other. You start to refer to housing prospects by such monikers as “619 Dog Pee” (it was going for 619, the garage smelled of Dog Pee) or “Rambler Weird Kitchen” (nuff said) or “Eat Pray Love” (you don’t want to know). And then you need to explain the relative merits of things that excite you: “Oh, okay. So finding a house with a greenhouse is like you finding one with a complete home cinema already wired and all tech stays”. “Marble slab countertops = good, marble tile = bad. I would explain why but it’s like you explaining why one projector is so much better than the other. Just trust me.” 

I totally get that these are great problems to have. And ultimately there are things I will not be flexible on — location, for example. There are things he will not be flexible on — space, for example. If it means we are left in this house for another year while we wait for someone to transfer or bail, that’s fine.

I have cranberry juice in my crystal decanter, and artfully done throws on each bed; so I cannot live like this for a year or even several months.

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