So we’ve finally (FINALLY!) reached the end of our pre-house-listing project list. Yay! Like pretty much everything I do, it’s taken us far longer to get the house ready to sell than I ever thought it would (my initial prediction? Two weeks. The reality? Two months.) Our (rather patient) agent has been ready to list us for eons now, and he enthusiastically plunked the For Sale sign on our lawn almost two weeks ago, thinking it’d only be a couple more days before we made everything official. And there are still a gazillion touch ups I’d like to do, and little places and nooks that I glance at and think “Gee, I should totally do something with that – what if a possible house buyer sees the scuff on that wall/chip in that windowsill/tiny little spec of dried up renegade paint on the floor…” But house-selling season is quickly waning. And we’ve come to the point where we just need to declare (outloud and from the front porch – it keeps the neighbours on their toes) “Good enough!” and put everything in fate’s hands and hope that someone else falls in love with the house the way we did two and a half years ago.
This whole house-selling thing makes me sad, truth be told. Sweetie and I have had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that we’re selling our beloved little 1940s house. Sure, we’ve chatted for the past year or so about possibly someday moving back to an area that’s closer to a lot of our friends and our families. But we weren’t at all planning a move this year. And, as a result, neither of us are in the mindset to get excited about moving. We’re moving because we need to. Because of finances and work opportunities and what makes the most logical sense for us right now. Not because we want to.
It really sorta sucks.
But everything will be ok. And it is a new little adventure. And, when it comes right down to it: it’s just a house. We’ll make a home somewhere else. There will be new projects, maybe a new community to explore, and lots of amazing new memories made. I have my Sweetie, I have my cats, I have my health, and the people I love are happy and healthy too. And, really, that’s all that really matters.
And, who knows: maybe our next place will even come equipped with a dishwasher. Change is good. :)
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Someone recently asked me, “Why are you spending so much time working on your house if you’re planning to sell? Don’t you think you should probably just hurry up and list?” They were referring to my basement painting/dining room purging/kitchen re-doing/nursery staging/overall house prettying attempts. And I completely understand their curiosity – this does seem a bit like house-selling overkill. I totally get that.
But here’s the truth: our house isn’t perfect. At all. The roof on the garage needs replacing. The windows are archaic and need to be updated. Despite diligent litter scooping, the basement still retains a slight air of “eu de kitty” (it’s simply an unavoidable cat-owning evil.) The chimney desperately needs to be re-pointed. And there are some questionable-looking spots on our foundation that could possibly raise a few eyebrows (despite that our basement has never ever ever ever leaked.) (KNOCK ON WOOD.)
So, recognizing all of these flaws, my strategy is this: MAKE THEM FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HOUSE. Make them adore the house. So much so that they overlook the blemishes, because they can’t see themselves living anywhere else. Because they NEED our cute little 1940s house.
This isn’t some amazing revelation I’ve come up with on my own. I’ve done my HGTV research. I’ve watched enough episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins and other house-buying shows to know how this all works. The plot goes like this: Possible Buyers enter house. Possible Buyers have an initial emotional response to the house. If the walls are painted odd colours or if the baseboards look nasty, the emotional response is a poor one and Possible Buyers make faces and start looking for other reasons to dislike the house. If the house is appealing and pretty and attractive, Possible Buyers regard any problems as minor issues that can be easily resolved in the future. Then we cut to a shot of them signing papers. And then we see Possible Buyers (now New Home Owners) two months later, happy and all moved into the house and gushing about how wonderful it is.
Thusly, our house needs to be absolutely perfect from a cosmetic standpoint when we list, because that’s what buyers fall in love with. They don’t fall in love with a perfect foundation or fancy new windows. They fall in love with paint colours and pretty decor and the overall emotion that they feel when they step into a house for the first time.
HGTV told me so.
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I’m so SO sorry – I had to. I really couldn’t resist. Please don’t hate me around 3pm tomorrow afternoon when you’re still humming that song.
And in case you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, here – watch this…
It’s quite the catchy little tune eh?
I’ve been packing up (packin up, packin up, packin up) for a few days now. Specifically, the dining room has been ruthlessly cleared out, as recommended by Ms Stager who said the room would look much much bigger without the china cabinet and with less cluttery stuff on the bookshelf. And, of course, she was right. See?
BEFORE (with lots of pine):
AFTER (so much bigger looking!)
I should have removed the china cabinet YEARS ago, eh? Ms Stager is really really smart. :)
Luckily, Sweetie invested in a storage unit (since we seem to have a lot of stuff, and stuff isn’t particularly good for staging), so removing the china cabinet from the dining room was indeed a realistic decluttering option. And, if nothing else, the room looks far less pine-y without it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting the china cabinet before it reappears at our next happy little abode.
Oh! And see that mirror? That’s new. Once the china cabinet was gone, the wall behind the table was a little… empty-looking. I found that lovely mirror at my beloved HomeSense store for TWENTY BUCKS. Yep. Twenty. Why so insanely cheap and cheerful? The frame has a few scratches.
But you only really notice these if you’re standing four inches from the mirror. And I’m assuming potential house buyers won’t be carefully examining my wall-hangings.
Falling into the category of “weird things that I own and love” is this Mozart teapot that’s now been carefully packed away…
It’s one of my most favourite things ever. And yes, he’s holding the score to the Marriage of Figaro tightly in his hand (which also serves as the spout. Yep – it’s not just a decorative teapot! This baby is functional!) Ridiculously silly, I know, but it makes me smile.
So that’s where things are at for the moment. New kitchen floor? Check. Severely decluttered and prettied up dining room? Check. Basement painting half finished? Check. Progress moving way slower than expected? CHECK. Ugh. I’m hoping we can get everything we need to get done by the end of April.
A full month behind schedule.
But then again, I’m always late. For everything. So why would this be any different, I suppose. If nothing else, I’m consistent. :)
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My ongoing staging attempts (you win some, you lose some… but all that really matters in the end is that you got a kickass bee canister)
After Ms Stager’s visit the other day, I headed out to HomeSense, my favourite home-stuff store. Have I ever mentioned how much I adore HomeSense? I probably have. I’d put a big flashing promotional HomeSense sign on my front lawn if I could (but I won’t – that’d likely be bad for resale.) (Although, good HomeSense people, I’d seriously consider it if the price was right? Just saying…)
Anyhow, Ms Stager mentioned that we should probably get a new shower curtain. I’ll be honest – I knew this suggestion was coming long before she stepped through our bathroom door. And I totally agreed with her – while I’ve loved the practicality of our little PVC (ack – I know) shower curtain, and its pretty little dots (oh how I adore my pretty little polka-dotted shower curtain!), I knew that something a little more… grown-up (and a little less college dorm-ish) would likely be advisable.
While out merrily meandering around HomeSense, I found THIS…
…and I swooned. So pretty! And here’s that same shower curtain in our tiny bathroom…
I feel very grown up indeed. And I’m completely enamoured. I’ll occasionally wander into our little loo and just stand there for a few seconds staring at the shower curtain. It’s weird, I know, but I’m a little obsessed.
(I’m also hoping the wrinkles fall out of the curtain soon. Why pull out the iron when I can let steam do all the work for me, right?)
The second thing Ms Stager asked us to do: declutter and make things visually less cluttery. In particular she zeroed in on the clear canister (well, it’s actually a vase) (fancy eh?) of ladles and spatulas and spoons and such that we had sitting out on our countertop.
She asked us to put all of it away entirely. Instead, I went to HomeSense and found THIS…
TWELVE bucks. Twelve! That’s a whole lot of cuteness for very few buckeroonies, if you ask me. And now it holds my pared-down utensils very nicely (and with way less clutter-ish-ness) next to the stove.
Adorable, non? I’d buy this house JUST based on that. And then I’d ask the home owner to throw in that sweet little bee canister. Because it’s lovely.
The third thing Ms Stager requested? All new luxurious bedding for our bed. I almost had a meltdown. For the record, we will not be getting all new bedding – hell, our duvet cover is only two weeks old! However, while out on my HomeSense mission, and as a compromise, I found new red pillowcases that coordinate rather nicely with our pretty Alvine Orter duvet cover.
And here they are all coordinate-y-ish on our bed…
Wait… Don’t see them? That’s because they’re not there. They were very… red. Too red. And not nearly as serene as I wanted. (I’m not sure what I was thinking – red isn’t a particularly soothing colour.) Instead, I dug out the Alvine Orter matchy-matchy shams that came with the duvet (I normally just ignore the shams that come with Ikea’s duvet covers, but in the name of staging, I bravely pulled them out of the linen closet) and grabbed a spare throw cushion and tada! This was the result.
I’m definitely not going to win any bed-staging awards, but it will do. :)
So those were my little moments of staging fun over the past couple of days. It’s been a fantastic procrastinating tactic – I really hate packing. And moving. And applying for jobs. And whatnot. I just keep reminding myself that wherever we end up next will be even better, right?
And besides, I was running out of rooms, here, to paint. :)
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