Thursday, May 17, 2007

Movin On

Times have changed. I know that as we get older, our lives become less "pop culture," we start to lose touch with the latest music and fashion trends (who wants to see a 40-something, overweight woman dancing to Brittney while wearing hip hugging jeans?) We start to look at the list of celebrity birthdays and say, "Who is that?"
Well, I'm pretty out of touch with the trends of house selling as well. When my husband and I bought our house, a grand piano ate up most of the square footage of our living room - it was clearly too big a piece for the space; hideous wallpaper hung (badly) on most of the wall surfaces; the carpet needed replacing; a dresser blocked the entrance to the master bath, which also could be entered from the hall; I didn't like the kitchen flooring or countertops and two Great Danes - along with the homeowners greeted us and our real estate agent upon one visit.
But I could visualize the house as mine. I loved the curved fireplace; the rounded windows overlooking the entry; the vaulted ceilings and the size of the kitchen.
Icould envision......
Ours is starter home and with that in mind, knowing it would probably be another young, first time homebuyer who also likes our house, we had to cater to that demographic when prepping our house for sale.
According to our real estate agent, today's buyers can't visualize the space as their own.
"Your house has to be model ready the day we put it on the market," he said to us.
Now, with the clutter in storage (or in the trash), new carpets, paint, flooring and appliances, it feels like we're living in a model home, rather than our home. We only have the minimum it takes to live - in every room, including my office - and that has to be put away if the house is being shown. On top of that, homebuyers don't want to see any photographs, animals or us - which means I have to pack up 2 cats and three dogs, roll up carpet remnants that is protecting the brand new carpet from a hint of dirt, hide a litter box and leave the house with the animals each time a potential homebuyer comes along. And we won't even get into my husband's beat up 1979 work truck that the real estate agent didn't even want in the same state, much less this neighborhood. Unfortuantely, we don't have a bush large enough to stash it behind when he's not working....
This all makes for a chaotic work life. I only know one hour in advance when they want to show the house. In the past two days, I've learned to get my work mostly done before 9 a.m., leaving only phone calls I can make from the cell while sitting in the park with my menagerie.
If you're working from home and planning a move, here are some more tips from two other freelance writers on juggling a house sale with your assignments:

Jennifer Willis, who endured the sale of her home with a home full of animals three years ago. "For those with dogs, one idea might be to ask the realtor to schedule as many showings as possible on specific days, and then take the dogs to day care on those days. Then you'd only have to worry about getting yourself out of the house (and head over to the library or coffee shop with wifi)," she said.

Diane Benson Harrington offers these tips:

  • If you don't have kids and dogs, get a cigarette lighter adapter for your laptop, make sure your phone is charged, and you can do work from your car (as long as your car is running, if you need the laptop plugged in). Or go to a B&N or something and work from there.
  • For last-minute stuff you need to "put away," (magazines, mail, dirty clothes) just toss it in your washer or dryer. No one looks in there when buying a house. Just remember to take it out when you get home!

Karen Queen, who has had several offers on her house in just 10 days says "Sometimes the showtime is negotiable." For example, if she has an appointment at 3 and the agent asks for a showing at 2:30, she just asks if they can reschedule. And, she says, she blocked out time from the show listing, as are the times she teaches piano on her home.

Reading these tips gave me more ideas on how I can still be productive while we go through this process. Hopefully, though, my agent is right and he will see an offer by the weekend. And then I will be trying to figure out how to be productive - and find my computer - after moving 300 miles away.


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