I love houses. I love house hunting. I secretly love that sneak peek into other people's lives. What I do not love (well, not so much) is being shown house after house with just bizarre, yet common sense, problems. So, courtesy of my last house hunting experience, here are a few things to mull over, provided you never, ever want to sell your house (and also want people like me to write about you in the future).
Don’t bother with all that “staging” crap. Leave all your furniture right where it is, even those two chairs that somehow made it into the living room even though they really aren’t supposed to be there, and does anyone even know where they came from anyway? Just neaten up those piles of mail and other cluttered areas -- everyone knows a house is for living in after all!
Leave the litter box alone. You buy that multi-cat odor-blocker stuff, and it’s really only been a week since you cleaned it. And the dog gets in there and eats the cat poop anyway. No one will even know there’s a cat in the house.
Put the porn in the oven. No one ever looks there. Vibrator and fuzzy handcuffs? Under the bathroom sink is fiiiiiiiiine. No stranger would ever come into a home that’s not yet theirs and dare open cabinets or check out appliances. Nope. Your secrets are safe.
Express your individuality. That Pepto-pink bathroom with hand-painted swirls just shows your artistic side. Everyone can appreciate that. And as for your collection of vintage Raggedy Anne dolls (which just crested 100, thank you very much) -- leave those out on the guest bed. No really, it’s not creepy at all.
Make sure that you are home when potential buyers come by. I was thrilled to pieces to meet the family living in one house I looked at. Grandpa, who had NO hands, was in the kitchen struggling to make a cheese sandwich, while Grandma puttered around in the hall and a very strange boy was naked with his door open. I was so pleased, in fact, that I complimented their collection of tires out front on my way out.
Curb appeal is all hype. All anyone is really interested in is the house, so it doesn’t really matter what the yard looks like. Everyone knows that houses get cobwebs on the porch, and that sometimes the recycling doesn’t quite make it to the curb, and that paint peels. As for the lawn and garden, they aren’t even going to be outside that much. Who cares if the grass is a little long and your tomatoes have collapsed and are rotting on the ground?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one’s going to care if the house reeks of cigarette smoke or last night’s fish dinner. Mildew in the shower, dusty shelves, rusty kitchen hardware, the pile of crap shoved hastily into the closet -- these are also small matters that you really don’t need to worry about. It’s just a first impression and all buyers can see past that stuff to the good, solid bones of the house.
Besides, whoever makes a snap judgement based on a first impression? That’s just ridiculous.
Image via greenkozi/Flickr