Monday, February 23, 2009

Workin' too hard can give you a heart attackackack

Its truly a craptastic thing to have a stranger come into your house and critique it.

I mean, I think every homeowner knows what's wrong with their house -- areas that could use improvement or a little more love. But most of us also spend lots of time and/or money on making our houses our homes.

We carefully choose the color of paint that goes on its walls, what carpet or tile will cover its floors and what homey little touches we'll hang on its walls or fill its shelves.

But once you've lived in a home for more than a year or two, the battle between "homey touches" and clutter begins. New items come in and old items don't make it out at quite the same pace. We store things thinking, "Well, maybe I'll want that marcomèed plant hanger again some day..."

Then you decide you'd like a new house.

And the absolute panic begins.

If you've been following this blog for some time, you'll already know that the Hubby and I have been looking forward to this move and working toward it for years.

We've done a good deal of purging and organizing and as soon as he got his recent job offer, we started packing. No lie.

We met with a realtor on Friday and while most of what she told us wasn't a surprise, it really sorta sucked to hear negative comments about our home coming out of someone else's mouth.

Wait...I have a friend like that. She can bitch about her hubby all she wants but the rest of us better never say a word...

Oh, sorry...I digress.

Anyway, after chatting for awhile she did a little home tour with us of the downstairs portion where we live. She said things like, "...remove all personal objects..." and "...they'll open closets, you know..." and "...make sure you clean every nook and cranny..."

In fact she said those things several times.


She may as well have done the white glove test and looked down her nose at me disdainfully.

A domestic engineer I am not, but we had scrubbed that house top to bottom prepping not only for the realtor to come over, but for Will's birthday party the following day. All that had yet to be done was to fold a single load of laundry (a freakin' record by my standards) and sort through another laundry basket of miscellani.

You know the type - it contained kids' clothes that needed to be run down to storage, tool-like components that go to Godknowswhat, stray toys that made their way onto the living room floor three minutes before the realtor came over, receipts that were sitting on top of the piano that we just couldn't decide if we really really needed...

In my home, if a laundry basket can contain all of our random clutter, its practically a miracle.

I mean, she was right. I'm sure she says those things to everyone, and I'm sure she's seen many a seller who tried to get away with stuffing their dog's smelly pillow under the kitchen sink.

She also told us that due to market conditions, she wouldn't have us start to look for new houses (read: "the fun part") until our house were ready to be listed.


She left us with a list of "to dos" which made our entire list even longer.

Oh, and did I mention? We'll have to pay capital gains.

Cuz its a duplex, which is technically considered to be an income property and that really pisses me off. We certainly didn't become rich living here...we don't have a huge nest egg that's ready for our retirement...but we're looking at being taxed on approximately $14-15,000*.


(And that's a conservative estimate.)

Later, after she'd left, I wanted to have myself a nice little pout about it all. I wanted to sit in the corner on the couch, cross my arms and puff, "FINE."

And then eat chocolate ice cream. With caramel sauce.

But I didn't. Cuz I'm a grown up.


So I'm over it (sorta) and we're moving on (dragging my feet) and we packed quite a few boxes last night. My Dad and Jay will be working on the new kitchen floor this afternoon, which, when finished, will X project number 87 of 3,681 off our list.

Now - I'm off to go find that ice cream...

*Hello Barack Obama? Yes, I'd like to apply for a bail-out please. Thank you.


Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Oh, suck! That's no fun at all! We have some major house issues ourselves, so I can totally empathize. Like when the realtor we had look at our house pointed out the crack in our bathroom ceiling and wanted an explanation. I KNOW she was making sure we didn't have water damage, but really? Did we HAVE to tell the story of how I broke our bathroom ceiling with a crow bar?

Tenakim said...

Oh man- I don't envy you- one of the worst things I've ever gone through- selling my house! I'm not going to tell you my horror stories- I know there are some that it goes very smoothly for- I hope you fall into that catergory! Good Luck- nothing else- good blog fodder.

Fireblossom said...

Real estate agents are actually demons, this is well known. When they start channeling my mother, as described in this post, I can practically smell the brimstone.

You have a marvelous wry sense of humor. Lovely stuff. Good luck with your move!

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

I'm gonna have to die and someone will have to burn the house down before I can clean it up to sell. Ain't no feckin way.

Kat said...

I feel your pain girlie!! But I am one of the dumb asses that bought a house before they sold theirs - did I mention I was a dumb ass?? yeah well I am! Good luck! Let me know if you need anything :)

PENSIEVE said...

Anything having to do with moving is a got a double dose of it, it sounds like :(. Hope things go more smoothly from this point forward.



LaskiGal said...

We had our house on the market. Then we took it off.

Now, the laundry can go unfolded, the dust can go undusted, the Cheerios can keep their cozy spot on the rug, the jelly smears can stay on the counter, the toys can be my obstacle course, and me . . . well, if I have to run after J in my underwear . . . I can.

So I won't end up with the house of my dreams. At least I won't be living the nightmare of "We are just down the street with a potential buyer . . . is the house ready?"

I wish you all the luck (and sanity) in the world!

Roger said...

Interesting, my previous comment just, went away. I hope someone is enjoying it. :)

Have you thought of renting it out? Might be less hassle, and I think you can hold off on those capital gains taxes - which, BTW, will probably be going up real soon. Another thing to thank our president for.

Good luck selling and staying sane throughout the whole process. :)

Roger said...

And now I'm repeating myself. :) I give up!

faintstarlite said...

We bought our first house in the fall on the eastside. It's a tough market right now for sellers - but the flip side is it'll be great for when you buy! Ultimately we paid 100K less than the appraised value, and about 40K less than their original asking price.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Uf. How frustrating. I suggest you do what we did when we moved into the house we're in now--we took all our crappe as we packed it (Christmas decorations, that sort of stuff) and rented a small storage garage offsite to give the illusion of a bigger house, plus we didn't have to move the contents of that storage garage on moving day which was nice.

Anonymous said...

Dude. Seriously. I think real estate agents have been watching way too many home shows on HGTV. Honestly, I know presentation is everything, but as someone who is in the business of buying properties to flip/rent, I can gurantee you that if the potential buyer can't look past clutter and recognize the bones of the house, then they are just effing morons that need to be spoon fed. I understand most people wanting a turn key property, but there just comes a point when real life steps in and you need to look past the fact that a REAL FAMILY IS STILL LIVING THERE!!!

I'm off to go duck, now that all the agents that read your site are wanting to come tell me to stick it.

Solessence said...

Kristin H - in Wisconsin it is really really tough for people to 'get past' clutter and see bones of a house. Seriously.

Should a new kitchen floor be added? Watch out how much you are spending that you won't get back. People always want to customize on their own.

Anyway, good luck and stay excited!

Tara R. said...

I think the dread of the brutal walkthrough critique is a big reason why we haven't even considered moving.

Spice said...

Good luck! I remember our realtor giving us a list too when we put our house on the market 4 years ago. It sucked. Plus, she expected me to keep the house spick and span 24 hours a day with 3 kids all under the age of 6! HA!

Connie Weiss said...

Good Luck! With the bail out and getting everything done and selling your house!

Sending positive selling house vibes your way!

Marni's Organized Mess said...

You crack me up. It will all work out. Hang in there. I am sending good vibes your way beautiful!

NicEmMOM said...

I have faith in you! You can do it... I know that it sucks but just think about the jumpoline in the end and how great it will feel to jump up and down in your own yard that is bigger than 5x5 space. Lub ya!

Kim H. said...

Hey Colleen,

Tighten up your big girl pants because when you get your house under contract, wait until the inspection. They'll rip your house up one side and down the other -- and it could be the taj mahal, but they'll still find something!!!

Know I'm thinking of you like crazy!!! And hey, if you don't get that laundry basket sorted out just throw it in your trunk. I'm just sayin'.