Selling our house has been an exercise in patience. A whole lot of hurry up and wait. Questioning our sanity, God’s plan, our realtor’s opinion, our decision to procreate and so on. A house is such an enormous emotional and financial decision, it’s a wonder that anyone actually survives the buying and selling process. With Josh starting his new job next week, we’ve been anxious to get our house on the market and sold. Fast. We’re priced competitively (ouch), staged to perfection, and nary a toy is out of place – which likely contributes to my insanity.
We’re finally listed but the journey to actually getting that “For Sale” sign in our yard has been a doozy. If you ever want to test the strength of your triceps and marriage, try selling your house. Whew. It ain’t for the faint of heart. In a brief moment of clarity, here are my 8 Stages of Listing Your House.
1. We’re selling our house! Weeee! The excitement of what selling the house represents – a new home, a new city, new neighbors – overwhelms every other logical thought. “Our house is awesome! Everyone is going to want to buy it. Lets start packing!” Time is equally spent scouring Pinterest for the best home staging tips and searching Zillow for your next home.
2. Oh my goodness, we’re selling our house. Still in a romantic haze, you begin to pen the to-do list. All the projects you intended to do since moving in appear before you on lined sheets. Undeterred, you rally with your partner and agree you’ll be able to get most everything done in one weekend. Ha. You meet with a realtor and realize that, like most everyone who bought a home in the past 5 years (except those crazy souls with the time, energy and money to invest in seriously updating a home) you’re going to either break even or take a hit once you factor in closing costs. The realtor brings in a stager and you wonder a.) who can live in a house with only two items allowed on the kitchen counter and b.) if potential home buyers really think you only own four pairs of shoes. Regardless, you heed her advice and relegate the paper towels, bananas, toaster, junk mail, and soap dispenser to the cabinets and wear running shoes to church on Sunday morning.
3. House, house, everything house. Weekends once spent at brunch and the farmer’s market become occupied with trips to Lowe’s, painting, scraping, more painting, back to Lowe’s, patching and trying to keep the children from drinking turpentine while you dislocate your shoulders painting fascia and soffits. Your first thought upon waking is wondering when you’ll rest your paint spattered head upon the pillow once more.
4. The weary spirit. Remember when life was fun? Remember when we used to smile? I think we used to like each other. On revision number 5 of the ever-growing to-do list, you stop with the specificity of “sort through seed packets, clear out compost bin, put seed spreader into storage” and start generalizing items like “clear out the crap in the garden shed” because you realize that otherwise, you will use every single page in your daughter’s Princess Sofia notebook. Your list now includes a “MUST-DO” column and a “Meh, it’d be nice” column of tasks. Your husband sets down his Superman cape and agrees to hire a handyman to tackle the remaining big items on the to-do list. You stop showering and convince yourself white paint streaks in your hair are sexy.
5. The second wind. Okay, we’re listing in three days. It’s the sprint to the finish line – well, the first of many finish lines. You begin to wipe base boards and door frames and scold yourself for neglecting to clean while you were busy caulking showers and pulling rogue weeds from the flower beds. You lay pine straw and sweep porches and then a crazy thing happens…
6. You fall in love with your house again. It’s amazing what some fresh paint and marathon cleaning sessions can do to a house. You remember all the little things that made you love this house in the first place and have a stirring of pride when you see the results of the hard work you’ve invested. You vow that when you buy your next house, you’ll put in the time and money in the beginning so you can really enjoy the results.
7. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Listed. Followed by more waiting. Waiting and cleaning and peeking between the blinds to stare cars creeping past your newly listed house. Stalking page views on Trulia. This is an exercise in extreme patience and trust that your realtor is legit and doing her job.
8. Show time! Your first showing. Squeeeee! You’re certain that they will walk into your house and instantly fall in love. You try not to think about strangers rifling through your belongings while you circle the block with the dog and kids, listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat. You compulsively check your email for feedback and feel both crushed and amused to learn that the prospective buyer won’t be putting in an offer because he doesn’t like something completely arbitrary and uncontrollable like trees or the type of grass growing in the yard. Repeat every Saturday from now until eternity.
Patience, patience, patience. It has never been my strongest trait.