Saturday, August 19, 2006

Open House Redux

On Sunday we have an Open House. Stats show that something like 2% of sales crom from open houses--how stats show this I don't know but I keep reading that number--but everybody has one anyway. They are a 'selling your house rite of passage' I guess. I'm making chocolate chip cookies and iced tea and then the dogs and I will probably go to McDonalds again. Selling one's house, like getting married or being pregnant, is one of those things that is intensely interesting to the person going through it. I suspect it's pretty banal to everyone not directly connected to it.

What makes it so interesting is not the actual selling of the house. That's no more or no less interesting than selling anything else. There are blogs about real estate and there are people who follow those blogs, just as there are (many more) blogs about music and (probably many less) blogs about driving a taxi.

It's the way that it completely consumes our personal life. It's pretty much inescapable. Since I work at home, having my home become a house for sale affects my work. It affects my bedroom, because my bedroom is for sale and is now a commodity. It affects my refrigerator because 'if you can smell it, you can't sell it' means that cooking with Thai fish sauce is probably a bad idea.

I was about to say that it makes it feel as if my life was being judged because making judgements about my home feels perilously close to criticizing me. But the truth is, lots of women already feel judged about our houses. They are never clean enough, and if a realtive is coming, a thousand flaws can suddenly leap out. But putting a house on the market means that all of those house insecurities suddenly matter in a whole new way. The public is passing judgement. Years ago I saw a list of stressful events that insurance adjusters recognized as having statistically significant affects on mortality. They included death of a spouse, divorce, retirement, and moving. I don't think moving really ranks up there with divorce. But stressful? Yeah, having complete strangers come in and dismiss my house is stressful. Not knowing when someone is going to come and therefore not being able to go far from home (in case I have to come and get the dogs so they are gone for any showings) is a pain in the neck. Not knowing how long it is going to go on is Chinese water torture.

So I hope we're one of the 2% who sell their house from an open house.


Blogger Darby M. Dixon III said...

I'd buy it.

But, uh, it might be hard for me to get a loan right now.

August 20, 2006 1:02 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

You're thinking that whole employment thing, right?

Well, the showing went good and someone expressed an interest. Not an offer, mind you, but an interest...

August 20, 2006 3:25 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Interest is good. When we sold our apartment in NYC I didn't know any of this stuff; it sold anyway. Now, having been through the house-hunting process in SF, I'm much savvier; I'm not planning to sell the house, but I am thinking fondly of stripping off all the remaining wallpaper against the day when we do want to sell (and because it's butt-ugly wallpaper).

One house we saw when we were househunting was full of cheesecake shots--some of them just shy of pornographic--of the owner's boyfriend. It was also dank and lightless and cluttered. The guy could have used a little staging advice.

August 20, 2006 8:43 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Cheesecake shots of the owner's boyfriend? That is precious, Madeleine. And to think, I worried about a photo of my Golden Retreiver...

August 20, 2006 9:20 PM  
Blogger Trent Walters said...

Good luck.

I suggest that--if women are judged by the appearance of their houses--that you only invite male friends over (or make the females perpetually play pinatas or pin the tail on the donkey).

August 21, 2006 2:51 PM  
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March 24, 2009 2:10 AM  

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